Here is why you need to pay attention to vehicle recalls and what to do about it.

Automakers issue safety recalls when something in a car goes wrong. It could be a minor thing, like a label with the wrong information, or it could be something very dangerous, like a faulty airbag.

Either way, you should always pay attention to recall notices. The most famous recall today, affecting millions of Takata airbags, concerns a flaw that federal regulators say contributed to at least 10 deaths in the U.S.

If your car has been recalled, you should get a brightly colored recall notice in the mail, but don't throw it away.

Open it and follow the instructions. Call your local dealer and schedule an appointment to get the recall work done and the dealer will do it for free.

If you don’t feel comfortable driving until the repair is done, see your dealer about getting a loaner car. Several automakers are providing loaner cars for vehicles affected in the airbag recalls.

Two more tips:

  • Make sure your car is registered at your home address. If it isn’t, you won’t get these notices.
  • Get in the habit of entering your vehicle identification number into the government’s online recall database at least twice a year to see if it has any unfixed recalls. If your car has one, call your dealer and get it fixed right away.