VRA Certification has just launched a new VRA Reclaimed Parts Standard that includes recyclers checking the vehicles they handle and parts they sell for outstanding recalls.  You can find out more at the VRA Certification website HERE


A vehicle recall occurs when a manufacturer (or the Government) identifies that a vehicle, or part fitted to a vehicle, has a potential safety-related defect.  When this happens, the vehicle manufacturer will alert owners to the problem and offer a free repair.

In the UK recalls are regulated under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR) and monitored and enforced by the Government agency DVSA and are only issued when there is a genuine safety concern.  In most cases, recalls are ‘just to be on the safe side’, but sometimes there are very serious examples (e.g. the Takata airbag recall).

When a manufacturer becomes aware of a potential problem & wants to recall a vehicle, it must contact DVSA, which will issue a recall number. The vehicle manufacturer is then able to accesses ownership data from the DVLA so that current owners of vehicles involved in the recall can be contacted.

Recall.jpgRecalls don’t apply only to cars but also to:

  • motorcycles, quadricycles & tricycles
  • caravans & horse boxes
  • child car seats
  • seat belts & harnesses
  • tyres
  • components & parts
  • agricultural equipment
  • lorries, buses, coaches & minibuses
If a vehicle is subject to a recall the current registered keeper will usually be sent a letter by the manufacturer saying:
  • why it’s being recalled (what the fault is)
  • what needs to be done
  • who to contact

Recalls are very visible in the press.  The number of recalls issued is rising year on year, and the numbers of vehicles involved can be enormous.  Recalls often don't relate to faulty parts but to faulty assembly (for example, routing of electrical wiring, under-tightened bolts etc.).

Most vehicles/ parts subject to a recall will be returned to a dealer/ replaced so its extremely unlikely that any will appear in vehicle recycler's premises.

However, the very high profile of the Takata airbag recall (which may even bankrupt the company) means that some parts/ vehicles should be very carefully checked.


The simplest way to find out if there is an 'outstanding' recall on a vehicle is to use the vehicle registration number in the MOT History page of the Government website:

An outstanding recall is where the vehicle has not yet been returned to the dealer for rectification work.

Although this will tell you whether or not there is an outstanding recall, it won't tell you exactly what the recall is for.  To find that out you'll need to go to another website.  Simply follow this HYPERLINK to the Government website.  You’ll need to know the:

  • manufacturer
  • model
  • date of manufacture

The recalls database contains information for vehicles since 1992