Vehicle Safety Recall Information Added to Smog Check Program

Efforts by vehicle manufacturers to notify consumers of safety recalls issued for their vehicles are often hampered by outdated vehicle owner databases. Other factors such as a vehicle being sold or a consumer simply disregarding or mistaking a notice for an advertisement also impact recall compliance. To help supplement consumer awareness efforts and improve compliance rates in California, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has incorporated vehicle safety recall information into the Smog Check Program.

On May 21, 2020, BAR On-Board Diagnostic Inspection System (BAR-OIS) analyzers received a Vehicle Information Database (VID) update providing access to vehicle-specific recall information from the Vehicle Recall Search Service. This real-time service, jointly developed by Carfax and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, uses the vehicle identification number to return one of the following results: recalls, no recalls found, or no recalls found because the vehicle manufacturer is not participating.

Recall information provided includes the recall date, campaign number, and a description of the recall to aid in repair. The recall results are displayed to the Smog Check inspector and are also printed on the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR), a copy of which must be provided to the consumer. A subsequent update was released ensuring VIR recall pages are not printed when there is no recall information available.

The addition of recall alerts to Smog Check inspections prioritizes consumer safety and provides Smog Check inspectors an opportunity to engage with their customers and positively influence recall repair compliance rates in California. For additional information on safety recalls and repairing recalled vehicles, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at

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