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Following Up On An Auto Recall

The Takata airbag recall has been one of the primary reasons a record number of U.S. vehicles have been recalled this year. If your vehicle has been affected by a recall, it’s important to remedy the problem as soon as possible.
Why Should You Follow Up On An Auto Recall?

The most important reason to follow up on an auto recall is pretty clear. Taking action to replace a defective product that’s been recalled can save the life of you and your family. If a recall is issued, it is done so for a reason. By the time a recall has been issued, there have already been at least a dozen accidents proving that the product in question is defective. Continuing to drive around with a defective part can drastically increase your chances of being harmed.

For many companies, an auto recall is a measure of last resort. There’s no reason to drive a car around knowing that a part needs to be replaced or repaired. Safety is one of the many factors people weigh when buying a new car. Why would drivers neglect their vehicle’s safety once purchasing? They replace the tires and windshield wipers as they wear down over time, creating a potential safety hazard. Why would drivers not replace a part of the car that has been proven faulty?

Recalls come at a huge cost to automakers because the recall comes at no cost to you. Typically, a recall will indicate one of three courses of action that will be taken. The company issuing the recall will offer to

  • Refund your purchase, less depreciation. This option is only available for full car recalls. Because of depreciation, you won’t be compensated the full amount that you paid. You’ll also have to deal with finding a new car. This is only issued in truly dire circumstances.

  • Replace the defective part, at no cost to you.

  • Repair the defective part, at no cost to you.

  • Discovering If There Is A Recall Order For Your Car

    It’s entirely possible that there has been a recall issued for your car, but you’re simply unaware of it. It’s a problem for many car owners, and it’s not that far-fetched. Of course, you know what model car you drive, but do you know the model of, say, your airbag or headlight? Probably not. The car you’re driving today could have had a part recalled, and you could have no idea.

    When a recall is announced, the manufacturer must notify all registered owners and purchasers of vehicles that have been affected. Their notification must be sent via first-class mail. But this method is not full-proof. You could have moved since you’ve purchased your vehicle, or you could have purchased your vehicle second-hand.

    A more concrete way to check if a part of your car has been recalled is through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database at This site allows you to search for recalls by your Vehicle Identification Number.

    If you hear about a recall, it’s not a bad idea to check to see if your vehicle is affected. It’s also not a bad idea to check your vehicle’s registration every so often in case a smaller recall has come about.

    Auto Accidents And Recalled Vehicles

    If an accident occurs and you suffer an injury prior to the recall, or after the recall was announced but prior to having received notice, you may be eligible to receive compensation in a civil suit. If you were harmed, you would still be responsible for proving the elements of a product liability case, and that the specific product in question directly caused your injuries.

    Often times, the recall itself will not be admitted as evidence in a case. Many judges fear that this will influence juries. The onus is on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant is at fault.

    If you receive a notice for an auto recall and ignore it, you may have a tough time receiving compensation if you are in an auto accident as a result of the defective product. A recall mailing in and of itself will not clear a manufacturer of liability, but if they can prove you received direct notice and refused to remedy the situation, the likely will not be liable for damages.

    Since the Takata recall, more and more companies have been making efforts to contact potential vehicle owners. Fearful of civil suits, companies have been using social media, advertising campaigns, and phone calls to reach drivers to inform them that their vehicle has been recalled. Honda has even gone door-to-door in an effort to alert drivers.

    These outreach tactics are beneficial because they will likely cause more drivers to have their car repaired. But if you have an encounter like this and refuse to fix your vehicle, it will be nearly impossible to sue an automaker for damages. They will have direct evidence that they informed you about the recall.