According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle recalls are historically high, but people aren't taking them seriously. NHTSA reports that every year, on average, 25 percent of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired.
Which major metro areas are most and least impacted by recalled vehicles? Car repair estimator site RepairPal gathered user data related to car owner inquiries for repairs and compared the info with NHTSA's vehicle recall data to find out.
The site used user ZIP codes to come up with a list of where the top-researched vehicles that had been part of a recall in the last five years are, and the No. 1 city is Pittsburgh. The top five "most affected" cities are:
5. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. and N.H.
4. Newark-Union, N.J. and Pa.
3. Edison, N.J.
2. New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y. and N.J.
On the flip side, the top five metro areas least affected by vehicle recalls are:
5. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va. and N.C.
4. Richmond, Va.
3. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.
2. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore. and Wash.
1. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.
RepairPal says its data suggests that 60.85 percent of vehicle researchers in the Pittsburgh area looked at a vehicle involved in a recall. It says the area's preference for Chevrolets may be partially to blame: Two of the vehicles RepairPal users in Pittsburgh researched most frequently are the 2008 Cobalt and 2006 Aveo — both involved in large recalls during the past five years.
It's important to note that the study does not go into whether these recalled vehicles have been repaired. Not sure if your car is involved in a recall? Wondering if the used car you're shopping for has an open recall that needs to be fixed? Find the car's vehicle identification number, usually located on your car's registration, the driver-side doorjamb or the driver-side dashboard near the windshield. Next, use NHTSA's free VIN lookup tool; type in your VIN and it will alert you to any incomplete safety recalls on your car.