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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Vehicle recalls and safety notices

If a fault is discovered in a vehicle after manufacturing it might be subject to a recall. To find out if your vehicle is subject to a recall use the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) recalls database.

The Codes of Practices

The Codes of Practices set out the guidelines and procedures, for recalling vehicles and components that have safety-related defects. The defects could be a feature of the design or construction of the vehicle. The defect is likely to cause significant risk of injury to the driver or occupants of the vehicle or other road users.

There are now two Codes which cover the following:

  • Code of Practice on vehicle safety defects which includes components.
  • Code of Practice on action concerning the recall of tyres, wheels and associated parts in the aftermarket

The manufacturer's responsibility

It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to tell the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) when substantial evidence of a safety defect needing action has been confirmed. Also, evidence may be passed to the manufacturer by VOSA as a result of investigations into accidents and safety defects. This would have been brought to VOSA’s attention from other sources.

What to do if you think you have a safety defect

If you think your vehicle or related part has a safety defect you can report this to VOSA. They will consider if any action is required by the manufacturer to correct the defect.

Things to consider before reporting a safety defect

VOSA’s vehicle safety branch work to three codes of practice relating to different products. These codes detail the actions required by a manufacture/supplier when a serious safety defect is suspected in their products.

The codes define a safety defect as:

'A feature of design or construction liable to cause a significant risk of personal injury or death'.

Evidence must exist to show that there is a safety defect as defined above and the defect must be common to a number of components, vehicles or products.

Things that are not considered to be defects are:

  • defects that can be identified during routine maintenance/service and not repaired
  • defects that give prior warning due to warning lights, marked changes in handling and unusual noises

This may be an issue that happens unexpectedly.

Please note that VOSA is unable to assist in any claim for reimbursement of repair costs or any other form of compensation.

For issues related to recently purchased vehicles, faulty repairs or durability issues please contact your local trading standards office, consumer protection or citizen’s advice by visiting.

Submitting a safety defect report

Further information about safety defects.

If after considering the above information you still think your vehicle has a serious safety defect, please complete and submit a vehicle safety defect report using the link below.

VOSA will assess your situation and decide if the matter can be taken forward.

Vehicles you can't use at the practical test

There are a number of vehicles that can't be used for a practical driving test for safety reasons. These vehicles have either been recalled or a safety notice issued, because a fault has been identified which needs correction by the manufacturer or dealer.

If you would like to use your vehicle for your practical driving test, find out if this affects you.

Using the vehicle recall database

If you would like to find out if your vehicle has been subject to a recall notice use the VOSA online database.

You will need to know your:

  • vehicle manufacturer
  • vehicle model
  • date of manufacture

To list all the recalls launch by a manufacturer during a specific date, leave the model box blank.

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