The 10 Most Recalled Passenger Vehicles of All Time
There have been some major, embarrassing car recalls throughout history.
Car companies usually issue a recall when they discover a problem with one of their vehicles; registered owners are then notified by mail within 60 days of car manufacturers alerting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Once a recall is announced, it’s up to car owners to bring their ride into a dealership and request the fix.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your vehicle, you can always check the NHTSA database for a list of current recalls. It’s important to stay informed and make sure your car is as safe as it can be.
Some of the most recalled vehicles of all time are actually commercial (like trucks, vans, and buses)—but here are the 10 most recalled passenger vehicles of all time, according to Craft Law Firm.
Number of Unique Recalls
1. Ford F150
Ford is the most commonly recalled make of car—they issued 67 recalls in 2022 alone—and their most recalled model is the F150, with 115 recalls. Over time, Ford has issued 3086 total unique recalls, with each of these recalls affecting many more cars. The most common reason referenced is the automatic transmission. In February 2023, the certain 2022–23 F-150s and a few other models were recalled because their transmissions contained a loose bolt.
2. Buick Regal
While Buick comes in at spot 24 for makes with the most recalls, their Regal model comes in second with 97 unique recalls so far. The Buick Regal has most commonly experienced issues with its seat belts, service brakes, and rear suspension. One of these brake recalls happened just last year, affecting almost 24,000 Regals from 2018–2020 (though Buick reported it wasn’t aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the issue [PDF]).
3. and 4. Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee are both in the top five most recalled passenger vehicle models of all time, with 97 and 83 unique recalls respectively. Issues with these Jeeps range from the electrical system to the service brakes.
Jeep also issued a recall on their Wrangler model in March 2023 for an issue with a fastener that in a crash could cause a potentially flammable fuel leak. Overall, Jeep comes in at spot 29 for total unique recalls.
5. Ford Explorer
As recently as January 2023, Ford recalled hundreds of thousands of Explorers for an issue with their backup cameras. Overall this model has had 83 unique recalls, with a common issue being the rear suspension.
Ford’s biggest issue with the Explorer happened in the 1990s and early 2000s when reports emerged that the Firestone tire’s treads separated, leading the vehicle to rollover. Ford blamed the design of the tires; Firestone blamed the design of the Explorer. Millions of tires were recalled, the nearly-century old relationship between Ford and Firestone ended, and the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act was passed. Ultimately, according to The New York Times, “At least 271 deaths and more than 800 injuries have been linked to accidents involving the tires and to Explorer S.U.V’s.”
6. BMW X5
Not only is the X5 the sixth most recalled car model of all time with 81 unique recalls, but BMW comes in as the fifth most recalled car manufacturer. BMW’s recalls frequently reference their vehicles’ engine cooling systems or airbags. Still, Consumer Reports declared BMW to be the third most reliable car company, with a reliability score of 65/100. You can find current BMW recalls on their website.
7. Subaru Legacy
Although Subaru is not a company with frequent recalls, their Legacy model has had 77 unique recalls. The vehicle has experienced issues with the inflator module for the airbags, fuel system, and more. As recently as 2022, there was a recall on the automatic transmission due to a potential for the clutch to engage before the drive chain is completely clamped. You can find current recalls on the Subaru website.
8. Dodge Charger
Dodge actually ranks number four for car companies with the most recalls, and the Charger model itself has had 76 unique recalls over time, with the automatic transmission often cited as the reason.
In late 2022, Dodge issued a statement asking 2005–2010 Charger and a few other model owners to stop driving their cars immediately. There was an issue with the Takata airbags, and the car company urged drivers to fix this issue before continuing to drive. Around 276,000 Dodge cars were affected by the problem.
9. Ford Mustang
Although Ford is the number one car company for total recalls, the Ford Mustang actually ties with the Dodge Charger with 76 unique recalls. The Mustang has experienced issues with its airbags as well as its cooling system. In the summer of 2022, it there was a recall for a software issue that could affect features like the backup camera and traction control. Ford also issued a recall for over 300,000 Mustangs earlier that year due to a backup camera issue.
10. Chevrolet Suburban
As a company, Chevrolet comes in at number two when looking at total unique recalls: The company has issued 2127 recalls over time, and their Suburban makes up 74 of those. The most common issue with this car is the airbags, specifically an issue with the inflator module.
In general, Chevy has also had recalls related to their service brakes and their transmission. Chevrolet is one of many car brands owned by General Motors; recalls can be found on the GM website.