NHTSA is an acronym for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an organization you'll see us reference a lot on this site. NHTSA is a federal agency that helps enforce vehicle performance and safety standards by managing investigations into problems and issuing recalls when a safety issue is uncovered.
Technical service bulletins (TSB) are official recommended steps and procedures for repairing vehicles, issued by automakers to their network of dealerships and certified technicians.
A TSB is not limited to safety-only problems, like an investigation or recall.
For years TSBs were difficult to come by for owners, outside of a short and sometimes cryptic summary. In recent years NHTSA has started storing TSBs and allowing owners to search for full documents by using their vehicle's VIN or make / model / year.
TSBs are useful tools to use when discussing repair options with an authorized technician. You'll often see TSBs used as evidence in lawsuits for problems that go unrepaired.
The best way to find out what's wrong with a vehicle is from the people who drive them. Not only do owner complaints help us rank vehicles by reliability, but they're often used to spark class-action lawsuits and warranty extensions. Plus, they're a great way to vent.