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How to see if your Uber, Lyft has a safety recall

A Consumer Reports study shows 1 in 6 vehicles used for rideshare services has an open safety recall. There's an app that let's you check before you get in.

CLEVELAND — CLEVELAND – As of late, talk in the rideshare community has been all about safety. Riders are being urged to check to see if the driver knows their name before entering the car. Also, encouraged to check the vehicle license plate to make sure it’s the right car. But here’s a new one: you want to make sure the car you get in is road-ready.

A Consumer Reports study shows 1 in 6 vehicles used for rideshare services has an open safety recall. Consumer reports reviewed over 90,000 vehicles in New York and King County, Washington near Seattle.

Ride-hail vehicles registered on both Uber and Lyft had unaddressed safety defects. Many of those recalls include issues that have caused death when left unrepaired – for instance, Takata airbags. Some cars even had multiple recalls.

We checked with two drivers here in Cleveland who said riders are never concerned with the maintenance of the vehicles they’re hopping into.

“None of my passengers have [asked about maintenance],” said Cedric, a driver for Uber. Little did he know that’s the sole reason I was in his vehicle.

Riders and drivers alike should know there’s an app that will allow you to check the status of recalls on any vehicle by simply entering the license plate. For riders, this is information provided to you when you request a ride, giving you ample time to check the vehicle that’s headed to pick you up.

The app is called myCarFax and is free to download on both iOS and Android devices.

Once you signup for a free account, you’re able to enter a VIN or license plate of your choosing.

Using the app, we were able to alert our driver of an outstanding safety recall on his car that said the passenger airbag needed to be replaced. It was part of an expanded Takata airbag recall in January. He appreciated knowing there is an easy way for riders and drivers to check the status of a vehicle.

“I got some knowledge about my car,” Cedric said.

Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft don’t check maintenance records on vehicles that are used to provide services. That onus is left on the drivers who are considered independent contractors.

But using this app, and asking a few more questions about the cars we’re in makes the roads safer for everyone. Good reason to add a “maintenance” question to the list of things you’re worried about.