Automotive App of the Week: Car Recalls for iPhone
Recalls are part of the car ownership experience. But how do you stay on top of them if your car isn't on a recall register via a dealer — and without constantly checking Edmunds.com's car-recall resource? Now there's an app for that: Car Recalls.
The 99-cent iPhone app helps you make sure your vehicle is in compliance with federal safety standards long after leaving the lot. You can search all current recalls on any vehicle and set up alerts for any recalls that might be issued for your particular make and model. And if you are in the market for a used vehicle, Car Recalls could save you from buying a lemon.
Thanks to the Car Recalls app, I found out that the used 2006 Honda CR-V LX I bought had a recall related to side- and rear-window tempered safety glass that doesn't always break on impact as it was designed to do. While I don't have that particular type of glass in my vehicle, I appreciated having the chance to check the recall number and find out the info now, rather than during an accident.
After downloading Car Recalls, the app displays a simple yellow bar across the top with a plus sign in the right corner, which you tap to add a vehicle. You then choose a year by scrolling through a list that goes back as far as 1950 and hitting a blue "Done" icon on the right. Next, tap the "Make" or "Model" icons and choose your vehicle, using a similar scrolling list.
When finished, your vehicle appears under the "Add a Vehicle" section with an "Off" icon on the right. Tap on the vehicle listing and the app displays any current recalls, with a plus sign that you can tap for further details. At the end of each recall description is an e-mail icon that allows you to e-mail a copy of the recall notice.
Back on the recall listing screen, to the right of each vehicle listing is a "Gear" icon. Tap it and you're sent to an options page to activate the recall alert feature and send a text message to your phone any time there is a recall notice for that vehicle. Or you can delete the vehicle completely from the recall listings.
Improved With More Info
While this app keeps it simple and is helpful, it could be improved by providing more information on what to do if you find a recall notice for your vehicle. It would be useful to have a simple icon to tap to get contact information on corrective action for the recall.
Edmunds.com offers recall contact info, which can be found in the Car Maintenance Guide. Once I input the information on my '06 CR-V and tapped the "Recalls" tab, the Web site displayed the same recall notice regarding the tempered glass. But it went a step further by providing a Consequence of Defect description (injury by shattered glass) and the course for corrective action, including a toll-free number to call to get the glass replaced.
It would be great if the makers of Car Recalls could add such a feature in the next app update.