A recent data analysis by Craft Law Firm, P.C. examined vehicle recall data in the U.S. from all time. Recalls are an important way for vehicle manufacturers to alert consumers when there is a safety issue, and to fix that problem through maintenance, replacing a part, or providing a refund.
The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) keeps a record of all recalls, whether recalled by the manufacturer or by the NHTSA themselves. Manufacturers usually initiate recalls voluntarily, but sometimes the NHTSA has to step in and initiate. Overall the NHTSA reports a total of 22,559 unique recalls in the United States, affecting millions of vehicles. 17.3% of these were initiated by the NHTSA. Recalls can be for defective cars, tires, child safety seats, and other parts and equipment.
For the purposes of this study, recalls refer to only unique recalls for both make and model.
Which Car Company Has the Most Recalls?
Ford has the most vehicle recalls of all time, with 3,086 unique recalls. The runner up is Chevrolet, with almost a thousand less at 2,127. Four out of the top six recalled vehicles are from American manufacturers.
The Ford model with the most recalls is the F150, with 115 unique recalls. The most common recall reason is the automatic transmission.
Below are the top 5 recalled vehicle makes and their most affected system(s):
- Ford – adaptive/mobility equipment
- Chevrolet – service brakes, hydraulic:foundation components:hoses, lines/piping, and fittings
- Mercedes-Benz – electrical system (software)
- Dodge – service brakes, hydraulic:foundation components:hoses, lines/piping, and fittings
- BMW – engine and engine cooling
Which Vehicle Models Have the Most Recalls?
The Blue Bird All American, which is one of the classic yellow school buses, has the most recalls with 192. The system most affected in these All American bus recalls is the adaptive/mobility equipment. Blue Bird also has the second most recalled vehicle model, Vision, with 149 recalls. Vision is the classic yellow school bus with a “nose” that sticks out, while the All American is the model of bus with a flat front.
The reason these school buses are at the top of the list could be how long they have been in service, as well as the wide distribution at schools throughout the U.S. and Canada.
In addition to the top two Blue Bird models, some of the most recalled models are also commercial vehicles:
- T800 – Kenworth (commercial truck)
- Cascadia – Freightliner (commercial truck)
- Saf-T-Liner C2 – Thomas Built Buses (school bus)
In terms of passenger vehicles, the most common recalled model after the Ford F150 is the Jeep Cherokee, with 97 recalls.
How Do I Check if My Car Has a Recall?
The NHTSA provides a recall database where you can look up your car by VIN or make and model. They also provide recall information for car seats, tires, and other vehicle equipment. After entering your information, you will be provided with a list of recalls, investigations, complaints, and manufacturer communications. If your search turns up recalls for your vehicle that you haven’t addressed yet, contact your local authorized dealer and set up a service appointment.