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What Should I Do if My Car Has a Recall?

by on March 6, 2016 » Add the first comment.

Recalls are often the subject of horror on news outlets. Ford recalled their popular Explorer model in 2001 after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deemed them responsible for 200 deaths. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered a massive recall involving 33.8 million airbags produced by popular manufacturer Tanaka.

Injury and death often make for the splashiest news headlines, but the reality is that the vast majorities of recalls are voluntary and issued by the company. So if you receive a notice in the mail about a vehicle recall, don’t fret. Chances are you’re receiving a notice because there may be a problem with your vehicle, not because there already is one.

Do’s and Don’ts of Vehicle Recalls

Generally, if your vehicle is part of a recall, you’ll receive a notice from the manufacturer. The letter will detail the extent of the recall and should direct you to the nearest certified dealer or auto mechanic to fix the issue.

When a vehicle manufacturer becomes aware of a defect, they’re required by law to report it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Once they do, they have 60 days to inform all of their affected customers. Depending on the extent of the recall, you may hear about it on the local news channel before your notice arrives in the mail. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your local dealership to schedule a repair.

Your vehicle manufacturer will repair your car or replace defective parts free of charge. However, the turnaround time for service depends on the extent of the recall. In most cases, your vehicle will be speedily repaired and returned, but in other cases, there may be a waiting period for service (like if the recall is especially large). If you find yourself in this position, make a decision whether your car is safe to drive in the interim. Use some common sense to guide your thinking:

  • Does the recall involve the braking or acceleration systems? If so, keep your car parked in your garage until it’s time to repair.
  • Is suspension affected? This can contribute to your overall rollover risk.
  • Is the fuel system or engine block misfiring? Anything that causes a fire risk should be considered a compelling threat.

In cases like these, your dealership may offer a loaner car to get you through the waiting period. Take them up on the offer to minimize your risk of injury.

No matter what you do, don’t ignore your letter from the dealership or manufacturer. Any malfunction on a vehicle can put your life at risk, even if it seems small.

Take a Proactive Role

Do you think your vehicle may have a flaw or defect? Don’t wait around to see if there’s an issued recall. Many recalls are issued as a direct result of consumer complaints, so reach out if you have specific concerns. Report any suspected safety issues with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.

If you drive an older vehicle, take a few moments to check the NHTSA website for a complete list of vehicle recalls. Simply enter your car’s VIN number into the search box (find it in the corner of your dash or the inside of your driver’s side door). A list of recalls will pop up so you can address any safety issues, if any.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident as the direct result of a manufacturer defect, we can help. You’re entitled to a personal injury claim any time you sustain an injury as the result of someone else’s negligence. Contact our office for a free evaluation, and we’ll review the specifics of your case.

Find more like this: Personal Injury

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