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How can I know if my vehicle is under recall for defective parts?

Motor vehicles are among the most important single devices Americans possess. Whether you live in the heart of a major metropolitan area like Atlanta or out in the more rural reaches of Georgia, having a vehicle can often mean the difference between making a living and barely getting by.

With so much riding on the wheels of our vehicles, it's essential that they be as safe as they can be. Each individual and business bears a responsibility to be sure our vehicles are properly maintained and functioning well. But most of us are not engineers or mechanics. How are we supposed to know when something is wrong?

Our senses might be fine-tuned enough to be able to hear when the engine isn't running smoothly or if the brakes aren't working quite as they should. Beyond that, federal laws are in place to make sure manufacturers make products that meet certain safety standards. And federal agencies like the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration exist to help keep tabs on issues when they arise and press for recalls if defective parts pose a threat.

As we all know, however, unsafe vehicles with defects are out there. Maybe your car has a bad ignition switches. Maybe it has one of those touchy air bags that don't deploy when they should, or do deploy when they shouldn't. Those are only a few of the possibilities. The list is seemingly endless.

When injuries due to automotive defects are suffered, victims should know they have a right to seek compensation for the pain and damages they endure. An experienced attorney can help.

Fortunately, you don't have to guess about whether your vehicle has known problems. The car's maker is required to inform you when a recall is issued. But if you don't want to wait for that to happen, NHTSA's robust tracking system offers a means by which you can perform an online search using basic information -- the vehicle's make model and year.

It's just such tools that make it possible for us all to do what we can to enhance vehicle safety.

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