Steering Wheel Mystery

“In Southern Hemisphere, would that have to be left-handed ViceGrips?”

Actually, that would be Vise Grips–unless you are referring to illicit activities.

Get a grip, my friend!


@melott, the car manufacturers are under no statute to even notify the first owner of the car of any Recalls. The only thing they’re required to do is put any notice out in the public domain. Owners and addresses change, collisions and car crushings take place, etc, etc and to keep up with everyone would require an automaker to have a full time detective agency on staff whose sole job would be to track down cars and owners. Too expensive so that will never happen.

Sometimes the 2nd or 3rd owner, much like the 1st, will receive notices but there are no guarantees.

"melott (Duct Tape Specialist)
Is there a way to make sure you hear about recalls if you are the second or third owner of a used car? "

Chances are the manufacturer will find you once the car is re-registered in your name and address, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a dealer, for your car, run the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and check it for “open” recalls. Also, your tax dollars help make available the NHTSA website which has a feature that allows owners to check for recalls.


I’ve gotten recall notices on several cars by mail. I’ve NEVER been an original owner.

As long as the title is in your name, I think you’ll get the notice.

Manufacturers are required to notify current owners. They’re also required to issue public notices. See the attached link.

I have to respectfully disagree to some extent. There’s a difference between being required to make public and notifying each individual car owner.

Note that on page 12 about notifications to vehicle owners there are requirements about how the letter is to be formatted, envelope branded, and how it is to be sent but it does not state that a letter to each owner is going to be sent.

The same would apply to Recalls on power tools, Weedeaters, and pop-up toasters which are items subject to Recalls. No way on Earth are the manufacturers going to send a letter to every buyer of power tools, Weedeaters, and pop-up toasters.

Vehicle manufactures are required the notify vehicle owners within 30 days of a recall. Often a remedy and/or parts are not available at the time of notification. This leads to panic and confusion with the customers. The first notice is usually an “interim” notice with a second notice to be sent out in phases by the manufactures recall staff.

This is from page 14 of that link;

Owner letters concerning vehicles must be sent via first class mail to each person registered under
State law as the owner, or if that person is not notified, the most recent purchaser known to the

You can check for open recalls at many manufactures web sites, for example;

But on a 16 year old vehicle don’t expect any future recalls.

I have never owned a Lexus or Toyota. Out of curiosity I tried Everything you want is there including a form for VIN, name, mailing and email address, and phone number(s). You can also search by VIN for any current recalls.

I’ll say this. My cars are kept for a long time and in my entire life I’ve received one Recall letter.
I can’t even count the number of people who have entered the dealer shop and got a Recall, or multiple Recalls, performed for which they had no knowledge. The car is in the shop for some service so why not nail down any outstanding Recalls both for PR purposes and a little extra labor pay.

The catch phrase there is “known to the manufacturer”.

My Mercury had over half a dozen Recalls out on it. Not a word.
One of my SAABs had 1 Recall out. Ditto; not a word.
My daughter’s Mustang has 4 out. Nothing.
Daughter in law’s Lincoln LS had 1 out. Owned since new. Not a word.
Sister in law has several out on her Trailblazer; owned since new. Not only never a word about Recalls but she’s always been a buy a new Chevy every time person. She’s never received a letter about a Recall on anything she’s ever owned.
One of my Subarus had 3 or 4 out on it and to make matters worse I could not get the Recalls done even though I worked for the dealer who sold the car new. Failure to perform one of those Recalls came close to killing me about 10 years later.
Son and daughter in law’s new Dodge Caliber with 3 Recalls out. Not a peep from Chrysler from the time they bought it new in 2008 until they traded it off year before last

That’s just scraping the surface so my opinion is that the car makers may play a little loose with the “known to…” bit of the wording.

I’ve gotten recall notices a number of times on cars I was the first owner and second and third. But I always have up to date titles with the current address on them. Of course I only move every 20 or 30 years so that helps.

I was was going through the owners manual to look at warranty info on my Acura when I found the form to fill out for change of address. Kinda surprised me.

I’ve lived in the same place since 1983 and the lifelong Chevy owner sister has lived in the same place since 1977.

I suspect most of your cars are too old to be currently pursued by the manufacture.

From my experience the notification process is effective. We normally see a 80% completion rate after one year with recalls.

Dealers are required to update vehicle owner information when selling or servicing a vehicle. An owner can submit this information with the post card mentioned or on the manufactures web site.