Recalls up, but data shows not everyone gets their car fixed

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- More car recalls are issued each year, but not everyone gets them fixed and they could be taking a big risk on the roads.

One issue is that some drivers don't even know there car has a recall. The number of car recalls hit a record last year; more than 900 recalls affecting 53 million vehicles. Government data suggests only about 70 percent of those ever get fixed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lets you check for recalls by entering your VIN. So we took that tool out for a spin to see how many people had recalls they didn't know about.

"There was an acceleration issue," said Brenda Salat of Iowa City.

"The power window switch," said Steve Orban with the Deery Brothers dealership in Iowa City.

"There was a seat belt recall," said Sara Taylor of West Branch.

That's just some of the recalls people we found have fixed already. Sara Taylor has already fixed two recalls on her Ford Edge.

"I just feel safer knowing that I'm driving around in a car that works and that Ford stands by," said Taylor.

But when she typed her VIN into the website, it turned up another one for her airbags.

"I can't say that I would know for sure, no," said Bryce McAndrew of Peosta.

Bryce was worried, but we found his Ford Five Hundred is clear. Everyone we spoke with agreed they would fix any recalls if they knew about them.

"Know that your vehicle is sound and you're protecting yourself and others and that's important," said Salat.

"I don't think anyone would knowingly say yeah I want to put my family in danger if there was something that was not safe with their vehicle," said Orban.

Orban said they fix a couple hundred cars for recalls every month, but he said some people still don't bring their cars in even if they know about a recall.

"Busy schedules. I think there's a mentality of it couldn't happen to me," said Orban.

But since recall fixes are free, Sara said it's worth the time.

"It's just not worth it for something as simple as a couple hours of waiting so that your seat belt can get fixed. It really is important and I don't know why people wouldn't do it," said Taylor.

That's why she's getting her airbags fixed as soon as possible.

"It is truly important to listen to the recalls. People die because of safety issues and recalls keep us safe," said Taylor.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a pilot program that started in October in Maryland. It would alert drivers to a recall when they register their vehicle. But if you want to check your car, you can visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls