USED CARS: Top 10 Most Recalled Vehicles

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With the rash of National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) recalls steadily coming down the pipe over the last year, I pondered upon which vehicles had actually been recalled the most frequently. General Motors garnered national attention after a recent ignition switch snafu, earning themselves free publicity on almost every late night talk show. Nearly every other automaker has suffered under the ineptitude of Takata’s infamous airbag inflators prompting the government to form a senate subcommittee on the subject. It seems that every week hundreds-of-thousands of vehicles are recalled for one malady or another (some serious safety issues and some seemingly inconsequential for a rational driver). Nevertheless, here are the top ten all-time global offenders and you just may be surprised to find only one GM vehicle among them.


As number one on the list of most recalled vehicles (with 27) the 2001 Honda Civic has caused consumers more than its fair share of heartache. Most of the safety recalls associated with this vehicle have been caused by the infamous defective airbag inflators manufactured by the Takata Corporation in Japan. A senate subcommittee is currently looking to accusations of wrongdoing by the massive conglomerate. The defective parts have been associated with serious injury and even death, particularly in the Honda Civic.


Again, the most popular and best-selling vehicle in North America for the past four decades has won an award. It has taken second place in the most recalls with 26. The 1997 Ford F-150 was the first year of a ground-up redesign that experienced quite a few growing pains. Virtually every facet of electrical, mechanical, and structural integrity has been called into question at one time or another until the last entry was logged in 2011.


Earning the third spot for total campaigns (with 22-recalls) is also a pickup truck. The 1994 Dodge Ram also represents the first year of a total vehicle redesign and the glitches that often go along with such monumental endeavors. Various lighting, latches, locks, and everything in between were flagged for recalls against this new body design. Fortunately, Ram has worked out the kinks to become a real contender in the light-duty pickup market.


Breaking into the car market, we find a selection worthy of 18-NHTSA safety recalls. The 2000 Ford Focus remains in production and get more refined with each model year.


The 2000 Ford Windstar arrives in style with 15-safety recalls to its credit. This mid-size front-wheel drive van was known to be problematic despite decent sales numbers.

currenthonda crv

In harsh contrast to Honda’s sterling reliability reputation, the 2002 Honda CR-V posted 14-safety recall campaigns. This is a crossover SUV that has seen several design changes over the last decade. It has evolved into a stylish and dependable family vehicle.

2008 Mazda Tribute

It is no mystery that the 2001 Mazda Tribute has 14-recall campaigns and its sister vehicle (the 2001 Ford Escape) has 13. After all, they are built on the same production line by the same people.


Surprise! The sole entry for General Motors on this infamous top 10 list is the 2002 GMC Envoy with 14-recalls.


Finally, the 2013 Ford Focus and 2010 Toyota Tundra bring up the final spots with 12-recalls each.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.

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