The U.S. Department of Transportation hosts a search engine for recalled cars at SaferCar.gov that includes vehicles manufactured since 1949. Users can also search using a vehicle's VIN to see if any components have been subject to a recall.
Manufacturers often recall vehicles if part of the vehicle needs replacement or service, and they list these recalls with the U.S. Department of Transportation. However, the database does not provide information about individual vehicles, so potential buyers need to check the service history of a car to find out if it has received appropriate service. A missed recall might indicate that a vehicle hasn't been maintained well, and buyers should always check safety recalls before purchasing a car.