DETROIT — Last year, 53 million vehicles, car seats, tires and equipment were recalled, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But a portion of those defects, and those reported this year and earlier, likely won’t get fixed. That means vehicles with potentially dangerous problems might remain on the roads, putting lives in danger. A 2017 Detroit Free Press story put the number of unrepaired vehicles under recall at 30%.

NHTSA, however, is launching a tool, a smartphone app, that could put a dent in the number of unrepaired vehicles and make it easier to find out whether there’s a recall on your car and what to do about it. Once you download the SaferCar app and enter your vehicle identification number, or VIN, or information about equipment or car seats, you can get notifications, the agency said in a news release. The app was available Thursday morning for download on the Google Play store, and NHTSA said it would be available later Thursday at the Apple App store.

Car lifted. (Photo: spyderskidoo, Getty Images)

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The app will check for recalls daily, in the background, and send alerts to your smartphone when a new recall is issued or if there are any unrepaired recalls on your vehicle. NHTSA said that user data is only stored on the phone and not sent back to the agency, which should limit privacy concerns. The app should also direct you to a dealership making repairs. 

“In today’s world, smartphones are the tool of choice for many tasks — and the updated SaferCar app is a new safety tool at the public’s disposal,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said in the release. “The SaferCar app allows you to store your information locally on your device and then the app goes to work to inform you of recalls as they occur — and owners can more quickly get their free recall repairs scheduled.”

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence

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