The auto industry issued more recalls this year than ever before, with many of the recalls affecting older models, the New York Times reports. At least 60 million vehicles were recalled, which equals about one in five vehicles on the road, according to the analysis.

From a General Motors ignition switch defect (which was linked to 42 deaths) to Toyota’s recall of models with defective exploding airbags to Fiat Chrysler’s recall of Jeeps with gas tanks that can catch fire in collisions, auto makers are spending billions of dollars to fix defects. They also are taking extra steps to make sure customers are aware of the importance of having their vehicles repaired, such as hiring outside companies to make direct contact with customers over the phone instead of mailing out first-class letters (as required by law).

From the Times story:

“The attention to safety has also awakened car owners. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the nation’s top auto regulator, is on pace this year to receive 80,000 complaints from consumers about possible defects — about double the average annual number.

David Friedman, who has served as N.H.T.S.A.'s temporary chief this year, said in an interview that the agency, which has been criticized by lawmakers for being too lenient with automakers, had put the industry on notice that problematic vehicles needed to be identified and repaired more quickly — or automakers will risk maximum punishment.”

Wondering whether your car is safe to drive? An easy way to find out is by visiting SafeBee’s Alerts and Recalls center. It lets consumers know about the latest motor vehicle recalls as well as product, food and drug recalls — all in one place. You can search for your car make and model (look for the Search Recalls box) and even sign up for recall alerts.

While you’re there, you just might discover that your coffee maker, a food item in your kitchen, your power cord or one of your child’s toys, pieces of furniture or items of clothing have been recalled. You’ll be glad you looked.

On SafeBee you can also find tips on how to winterize your car and whether or not your all-season tires are going to cut it this winter.

Angela is a Pulitzer Prize-winning digital editor with more than 15 years of experience delivering news and information to audiences worldwide. Prior to joining SafeBee, she was the features editor for Boston.com at The Boston Globe, overseeing health, travel, entertainment, business and lifestyle coverage. Before moving to features, she was the news and homepage editor, covering stories such as the Boston Marathon bombing, Red Sox World Series victories, presidential elections, a papal inauguration, and more. Her favorite safety tip: Clean your phone! The average cell phone has 18 times more germs than the toilet handle in a men’s restroom.