Need to check the safety rating of a car? here’s how
Not everyone starts buying a new car with the safety of a vehicle in mind, but it is an important part of any vehicle. While, basically, every new car on the road today is a pretty safe machine, some still overshadow others. And it is very easy to check these safety ratings from the Federal Government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Read on to find out how to do it and what happens if the federal government hasn’t tested a particular car.
1. Have your year, make and model information
Maybe you know it by heart, or you need to find this information. The owner’s manual included with your car will give you all the relevant information needed to provide the correct year, make and model. Don’t have the owner’s manual? A window sticker, dealership documents, or an insurance card can also provide this information.
2. Check the NHTSA database
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the agency responsible for evaluating new cars and rating them on a 5-star scale. Go to nhtsa.gov/ratings and the website will prompt you to enter your year, make, and model. From there, the same page will populate the results, which will display a vehicle’s star rating.
3. Select your vehicle
After viewing the vehicle in the NHTSA database, click on the link that appears under “Vehicles.” This will bring up an entire page dedicated to the particular model with more detailed information on its performance in frontal crash, side crash and rollover tests. The page also explains what happens during the test and what the ratings mean to give you a better idea of what the car went through to receive its rating. You will also see all recalls relevant to the car and owner complaints.
4. Check the IIHS database
Not only does the federal government cover safety ratings, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, funded by the insurance industry, also performs independent testing. Sometimes the NHTSA doesn’t test a particular model on the market, which might make the IIHS your only option.
Go to iihs.org where you will again need information on the year, make and model. Select your vehicle and you will be taken to a preview page much like NHTSA.
However, the IIHS does more crash tests and tests other areas of a vehicle, such as active safety equipment and headlights. All of these factors will determine whether the IIHS awards a Top Safety Pick award, or an even better Top Safety Pick Plus award.