Car recall check: how to check DVSA safety recalls for your car as 382,000 issued in 2022

BMW, Citroen, Mercedes, VW
Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Citroen and VW among brands with most safety alerts

More than 382,000 vehicles in the UK have been affected by safety recalls so far in 2022, with major models from premium car brands among those most likely to require remedial work.

As Mercedes announces a global recall of more than one million cars, the latest data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) shows that since the start of the year, 382,270 cars, vans, motorbikes and trucks have been recalled by their makers for a variety of faults.

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Some have been relatively minor issues - such as flickering tail lights or software errors affecting the infotainment system - but others are far more serious and put the vehicle’s occupants at risk.

Some brands, including Subaru and Toyota have reported problems with their driver assistance systems while others such as Alfa Romeo have been affected by potential fuel leaks and Peugeot and Citroen reported some vehicles are at risk of sudden power loss.

Various generations of the Mercedes C-Class hav been recalled in 2022Various generations of the Mercedes C-Class hav been recalled in 2022
Various generations of the Mercedes C-Class hav been recalled in 2022 | Mercedes-Benz

Premium car brand Mercedes-Benz has issued the most recalls, with 30 separate notices affecting 20 different models, ranging from the A-Class hatchback to the AMG GT supercar. Many of its recalls relate to software issues although some are for more serious mechanical problems.

The DVSA figures do not include the latest Mercedes recall, which has seen ML, GL and R-Class cars from 2004-2015 recalled over potential brake failure.

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The Mercedes C-Class has been subject to the most recalls of any model, with 10 different notices since the start of the year. The recalls cover models up to 14 years old and issues include software problems which affect the car’s electronic control unit or user interfaces, incorrect cable routing and even potential fuel leaks in the injection system.

The brand’s luxury S-Class saloon has also been subject to 10 recalls, including some of the same software issues affecting the C-Class, as well as issues with its brakes and airbag systems.

Rival German brands Audi and BMW have issued six and five recalls respectively, covering everything from the Q3 and X1 SUVs to the high-performance Audi R8 and BMW M3 and issues ranging from seatbelt faults to incorrect wheel alignment.

Ahead of them on the list of manufacturer recalls, Citroen has issued eight notices affecting the C3, e-C4, and Spacetourer, as well as the DS3 Crossback and DS7 from its premium sister brand. Problems range from incorrectly tightened suspension components to a software error that could cause a sudden loss of power.

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In many instances, recalls affected multiple different models which share components, including across brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda. An issue affecting the engine cover on the VW Golf, Passat, Tiguan and T-Roc, for example, also affects the Seat Leon, Audi TT and Skoda Octavia, among other models.

Vehicle recalls are common in the automotive industry and are generally a result of the DVSA or manufacturer determining that a fault in a vehicle constitutes a safety defect. In some instances the faults are detected and fixed before any users are affected but in some, such as cases involving Vauxhall Zafiras and multiple BMW models which caught fire due to faulty components, they come after owners experience problems.

Issues affecting the VW Golf also applied to a number of Audi, Seat and Skoda modelsIssues affecting the VW Golf also applied to a number of Audi, Seat and Skoda models
Issues affecting the VW Golf also applied to a number of Audi, Seat and Skoda models | Volkswagen

According to the DVSA Code of Conduct, a car must be recalled if: “a failure due to design and/or construction, is likely to affect the safe operation of the product/aftermarket part without prior warning to the user and may pose a significant risk to the driver, occupants and others. This defect will be common to a number of products/aftermarket parts that have been sold for use in the United Kingdom”.

Vehicle makers should contact the register keeper of any car affected by a recall but owners can also check their vehicle’s recall record for free online.

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You can use our quick look-up table below to search by make and model to see relevant recalls since the start of 2022.

The DVSA and Motor Ombudsman also both offer vehicle recall checking tools. The DVSA service simply requires the vehicle’s registration number and also provides details of the car’s MOT history, while to use the Motor Ombudsman service you will need the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN). Both services will tell you if your car is subject to an outstanding recall but don’t provide details of the reason for the recall.

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