A vehicle recall means something is wrong with the car that could put consumers in danger. Issues often come to the vehicle manufacturer’s attention when consumers begin to report incidents and accidents involving defective vehicle parts, such as airbags that fail to deploy or bad brakes. Once the manufacturer hears of the problem, it must issue a recall in writing to all affected consumers. If you receive a notice that the manufacturer is recalling your vehicle, take certain steps to protect yourself and your family from potential injuries.
Read the Recall Instructions
The recall letter will have all the information you need about the issue with your vehicle. It should describe the nature of the problem and whether the company has received any reports of injuries or deaths associated with the defect. It should also give you directions on how to proceed. Some recall notices will recommend that consumers not drive their vehicles at all until they get them repaired, while others will recommend driving to the nearest dealership for a remedy or simply watching for warning signs.
Not all vehicles on a recall list require repairs. Some recall notices give signs owners should look out for in case of a potential problem but do not recommend repairs for every vehicle. If you do not see any of the signs mentioned, you may be able to continue driving your car without issue. If you notice warning signs, however, follow the instructions for how to repair your vehicle. The manufacturer will explain how it plans on fixing the problem, often by paying for repairs at the nearest dealership, along with instructions for how to proceed.
Set Up a Repair Appointment
Call your nearest authorized automotive dealership to arrange for repairs of your recalled vehicle. The auto shop or vehicle manufacturer may offer a complimentary tow to the shop if it is unsafe to drive your vehicle. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Try to avoid driving your vehicle until then. It is important to note, if the vehicle defect involves a tire, you must schedule repair work within 60 days of receiving the recall notice to qualify for complimentary repairs or replacements.
If you received a recall letter, bring it with you to your appointment to avoid complications. The dealership should already be aware of the situation and how to fix your vehicle. The mechanic should complete repairs free of charge. If the dealership tries to charge you to repair the recalled part, ask to speak to a manager. Explain the situation and show them the recall letter, if possible. You may need to contact the vehicle manufacturer directly to speak with the dealership about recall repairs on your behalf.
Take a vehicle recall seriously. While, in general, only a handful of recalled vehicles show signs of a defect, your vehicle could be one of them. Vehicle defects have caused serious injuries in the past, ranging from bad burns to wrongful death. If the recall is something that could potentially cause a car accident or personal injuries, play it safe and request a tow to the nearest authorized dealership. The manufacturer should pay for a tow if it is reasonably necessary to avoid potential injuries.
How to Check for Recalls
Vehicle manufacturers must notify all known owners of the vehicle in question when they issue a recall. This notification should come in writing, in the form of a letter mailed to each recipient. You may also receive notice of the recall via email. If you are curious about whether your vehicle has a recall, use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s VIN search tool.
This online tool lets vehicle owners type in their VINs to automatically find out if the vehicle has any current or existing recalls. The search tool will show any unrepaired vehicles with safety recalls against them in the last 15 years. Get an attorney’s assistance if a vehicle defect has caused an accident or injuries.