According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) every year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States due to safety defects. However, despite efforts by manufacturers to notify owners,  many of the cars go unrepaired. To help car buyers, owners and renters know that their vehicles are safe and their safety defects have been address, NHTSA has unveiled a free online search tool that now allows a recall search based on a specific vehicle’s identification or VIN number.  It is a new feature of  NHTSA’s automotive safety website  and it joins an existing search engine that relies on year, make, and model of a vehicle.

This tool couldn’t have come at a better time since automotive industry recalls are running at a torrid pace. The Associated Press reports, U.S. automakers have recalled more than 40 million vehicles so far this year, breaking the previous annual record of 30.8 million set in 2004. “Safety is our highest priority, and an informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in ensuring recalled vehicles are repaired," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Starting today car owners, shoppers, and renters can find out if a specific vehicle has a safety defect that needs to be fixed – using our free online tool."

The new tool is available on<> and provides consumers with a quick and easy way to identify uncompleted recalls. All major light vehicle and motorcycle brands can be searched, although as the search engine is launched, information on some cars and trucks is still being added.