Astonishing new figures suggest that one in every 13 vehicles on UK roads is subject to an outstanding safety recall, according to the latest government numbers.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says there could be around 2.4 million vehicles on UK roads that have not yet had recall work carried out, causing potential safety issues.

Recalls usually occur when a manufacturer identifies a fault with a model after the car has gone on sale. The company will then ask owners to bring the car back to a dealer for remedial work. By law, this work must be carried out on the car free of charge.

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Famous recalls include the Suzuki Celerio, which was recalled after just a day on sale following an issue with the brake pedal that was discovered by a car magazine, and the Volkswagen diesel recall, which has seen millions of cars returned to the German car maker to remove a so-called ‘defeat device’ that was used to fool official government emissions testing procedures.

To help drivers who may be unsure of whether their vehicle is subject to a recall, the DVSA has launched an online checking system that allows motorists to enter their vehicle’s registration number and find out exactly which – if any – recalls are necessary.

DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: ‘The DVSA’s priority is helping you keep your vehicle safe to drive. Whether you are buying a car from a dealership, through an auction or from a private seller, you want to be confident that the vehicle you’re buying is safe to drive. Once you own a car you’ll also want to keep up-to-date with new safety recalls.’