If the manufacturer is found to be responsible for a serious defect, a recall is issued. A recall requires the manufacturer to send an official notice to owners of the vehicles found to be defective. More often than not, only a portion of the production run of a certain make, model, and year vehicle is affected by a recall. For example, we ran a search for recalls pertaining to our long-term 1997 Toyota Camry at the end of last year. According to NHTSA, notification began October 1, 1997, of a recall involving the brake vacuum hose. The recall covers cars registered in 19 northern states, including Colorado where our long- term Camry is plated. Within 30 seconds we were able to get the NHTSA Campaign ID number (97V156000), a report on the exact problem and the symptoms which indicate that the vehicle may have the defective part, the number of vehicles affected (18,746), and an explanation about what the dealer is required to do to fix the problem. We also got the proper phone numbers for both Toyota and the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline in the event that the dealer is uncooperative regarding the brake system fix. NOTE: Since Edmund's has not been notified by Toyota that a problem exists, it is safe to assume that our car is not one of the 18,746 vehicles affected by the recall.