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It is quite important to check if the vehicle you are currently riding has ever been recalled and validate that the recall was heeded to by the “then” driver.
This article explains everything you need to know about Car Safety Recalls and how to go about the process when the manufacturer recalls your new car.
This can be seen as a security cum safety practice, especially if you’re riding a used car. We have an article on Where To Get The Best Car Safety Inspection.
Vehicle recalls aren’t bad, but if a driver ignores to “recall” / send back a “recalled” vehicle to the manufacturer, it can be said that the driver is harboring a big risk.
Auto manufacturers don’t just issue a vehicle recall without solid reasons that are deemed a big risk to the vehicle’s driver. You will want to know the car safety features.
So many drivers do not know they’ve got a recall notice from their car manufacturer.
A vehicle recall is issued when a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies a faulty element/component on a particular car model/version.
The fault must be verified as a safety risk before a recall notice is sent to the car owners.
More so, when a particular vehicle doesn’t meet with the minimum safety standards of the NHTSA, a recall may be requested.
Typically, when a recall is made, it means a component or some components of a car is faulty or do not meet the minimum standard.
It’s rare to have a situation where the whole vehicle needs to be recalled; that is to say, it rare to see a car that’s recalled because all its components were cheap or faulty.
Why are recalls made?
Recalls are only issued when the discovered fault on a car is safety-related.
Any fault that does not pose a safety risk would not warrant the manufacturer to issue a recall.
Also, when a recall is issued, and it happens your car version or model is among the affected ones, it doesn’t imply that you’re facing an immediate danger; nevertheless, it is advisable that you get the vehicle fixed as soon as possible.
If you’re able to recall the car immediately as you got the news, that’s good; you’ll be among the (if not the first person) first persons to be served before the workshop becomes crowded with many cars.
The reason(s) for a recall can be fixed by the car owner at a reliable auto workshop; however, it may be expensive.
But when you “recall” the car to the manufacturer, youtypically would not be charged any fee.
You may have to wait for a longer time for your car to be fixed – that’s the only fee you may have to pay when you recall your car.
An automaker may issue a recall notice for a particular car model it produces; however, because you own that particular model that has been recalled by the manufacturer doesn’t mean your vehicle is amongthe faulty ones.
You can check if your car is among the ones to be fixed per a recall request using the VIN on your car, vehicle registration number (plate number), or make/model/year.
Some platforms and sites allow you to know if your vehicle is eligible for a recall request.
One of the reliable ways to check for recalls is to look up your car’s VIN on the NHTSA official site – https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.
Nevertheless, some automakers do have a portal where their customers can keep tabs with its vehicle recalls.
Who actually requests for recall: NHTSA or Manufacturers
Both automakers and the NHTSA do issue vehicle recalls; however, when the NHTSA does that, they actually report to the automaker, and then the automaker issues the recall.
The NHTSA doesn’t really issue car recalls, they only direct automakers to do that when a particular car model poses a risk to the drivers.
Nevertheless, most car manufacturersdo issue for recall without the NHTSA directives.
This happens when the manufacturer discovers a failing part in one of its cars or spots a potential safety threat on a particular model it produces.
Not all recalls are publicized or attract much ballyhoo; hence, most drivers may not even know that their car is up for a recall situation.
But as you may guess, some high-profile recalls do make the news headlines.
Some recalls are a result of complaints made by drivers through NHTSA’s ODI – Office of Defects Investigation.
When the ODI receives several complaints regarding a particular car model, the organization is triggered to carry out investigations on the said car model and then direct the manufacturer to issue a recall if the investigation’s result showed safety-related faults on the vehicle.
It’s pretty easy to fill a report about the new car you just bought, visit the NHTSA’s portal and fill the report form.
How do you know when a car safety recall is made?
A federal law indicates that the manufacturer issuing a vehicle recall must notify everyone that has bought the affected vehicle by registered mail.
It is expected that the automaker also lists and explains the reasons for recall in the notice to the car purchasers.
In most cases, the manufacturer provides a detailed guide on the car owners can fix the indicated problem corrected.
Furthermore, the recall notice must indicate when the car purchases should send in their cars for the fix, which must not attract any fee/charge.
Finally, the recall notice explains how long it may take to fix each vehicle so that the owners can plan out when to recall their vehicles.
Normally, recall notices are publicized via different means, and media awareness is usually before the mail from the automaker to the registered owners/purchases of the affected car model.
The best way to keep up with car safety recall news is via the NHTSA’s car recall portal.
If you bought the recalled car as “used” from a dealership or private seller, it might be difficult for the automaker to send you the recall mail.
Hence, you have to keep your heads up and check for car safety recall updates regularly.
A recall mail details the following:
- A detailed explanation of the identified defects/faults
- The potential hazards or injury that could be caused by the recall issues.
- Warning signs that indicate recall problems
- When the recall repair will be available
- How much time it would take to fix each recalled vehicle
- How the recall problems would be fixed (by the automaker)
- Instructions on what to do next.
What if I already fixed the problem and paid?
Most times, some drivers might have paid and fixed the identified problems that led to the car’s recalling.
In such situations, if the driver presents reliable proofs, it is expected that the car manufacturer reimburses him/her.
If you had paid for safety-related repairs within a one-year window before a recall was issued on your car, you’re liable for reimbursement from the manufacturer.
However, an automaker will not pay back the cost for repairing other faults (that are not safety-related) on the recalled vehicle.
Takeaway: the law exempts drivers from paying for recall-related repairs once a car safety recall is issued.
Whether you’re a dealer or a legal title-owner of the recalled vehicle and have spent money on fixing the problem prior to the manufacturer’s official recall, you’re eligible for reimbursement.
Where to take recalled vehicles?
Once a recall is made, the manufacturer (automaker) identifies verified workshops where purchasers of the recalled model could take their car if they are unable to get to the automaker’s workshop.
This is helpful for car owners who might have left the state to another location before the recall was announced.
Suppose you ditch the selected auto repair workshops indicated by the car manufacturer.
You may have foot the repair cost all by yourself and won’t get reimbursed by the manufacturer. Some brand-specific dealerships do repair recall vehicles.
For cars older than 10 years, the owner may have to pay for the recall repairs.
This is because vehicles older than 10 years are not covered for free recall repairs; basically, such cars do not qualify for car safety recalls.
Some facts about car safety recall
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that only about 75% of vehicles in a recall notice are actually fixed.
This is because some people do not check for vehicle recall notices, while others fail to send in their recall-eligible cars within the speculated time.
- Always endeavor to read the car recall mail sent by the automaker; it usually contains a lot of handy information you should know about the recall process.
- Tire recall repairs MUST be done within the first 60 days of receiving a recall notice.
- Receiving a car recall mail doesn’t need to scare you. Before a recall notice is made, the automaker has already identified the issue(s), as well as discovered how they could fix things up.
- You are not expected to pay a dime for recall-related repairs. All parts and labor required to fix the identified problems will be taken care of by the automaker.
- If you bought a used car, the most reliable way to check if your car is up for a recall is by following up vehicle report news from NHTSA or other auto-news shows and programs.
- Buying your car as a “used car” doesn’t make it ineligible for a recall; for as long as the car is not older than 10 years, it is well eligible for a recall.
- Once a recall notice is sent, you can either take the car to the automaker’s official workshop or fix the identified recall-related problems at selected dealerships or auto repair workshops. If you allow your personal mechanic to handle the recall repairs, the total cost is upon you.
- It doesn’t matter how many issues were detected on your car, as long as it is a recall-related issue, you are not supposed to pay a dime (if you’re fixing the car at a verified workshop.
- Don’t be shy to ask the dealer (if you took the recalled car to your dealer) if you could use a loaner car while your vehicle is being fixed. This question is allowed because recall-repairs may take a long time to be completed.
- Basically, car recalls don’t expire; you can plan to bring your car at any time you’re chanced to do that. However, recalls are typically enforced for “reasonable periods;” thus, you should pay attention to the details available in a car recall mail. Again, a recall becomes invalid after a 10-year period or if the automaker is out of business. Also, if the recall-repair parts are not being manufactured, the recall becomes invalid.
- The NHTSA keeps pressurizing automakers to ensure that more people are able to fix their recall vehicles. This is to increase the recall response rate from 70% to anything close to 100.
- No fewer than 26 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. alone.
Why you must fix the recall problems?
No one would love to put his/her life at stake by riding a faulty car.
Car safety recalls are only issued when safety-related issues are identified on a particular car; since the recall issue must be safety-related, that means you need to adhere to ascertain your safety.
Recalls do not cost a dime – it can only take some time to be completed. Nevertheless, it is not compulsory to recall your vehicle – it’s just a necessary step you should take.
Checking for recalls is done using the car’s VIN, plate number, or registration number.
www.cars.com/recalls/ regularly lists recall vehicles; you can keep up the tab from there.
Interestingly, we post regular updates on car safety, used car articles, any diverse tips about owning a car.
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