As such, drivers may sometimes deal with automotive recalls as part of their vehicle ownership experience. When ignored, a car recall may have serious implications on your safety. Here are answers to some of your questions about car safety recalls.
What is a car recall?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a recall “is issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or in rare cases repurchasing the vehicle.”
This error may come in the form of ignition switches (as in the case of General Motor), air bags (as in the case of Takata), seat belts, tires, brakes, steering wheels, and other parts of a vehicle.
What is a car recall for?
Car recalls, for the most part, are for everyone’s safety. Also known as a safety recall, it is done in case of possible problems in manufactured vehicles. Naturally, automakers should see to it that all the necessary safety measures are followed throughout the manufacturing process. Management and appointed authorities are responsible for the process, but even they cannot guarantee that concerns will not arise in the future.
A car recall may happen for only a few cars, or it may happen for a large number of cars. If it’s the latter, the NHTSA steps in to investigate. In any case, the automaker is required to fix the problem promptly and supposedly without asking for additional fees.
Are car recalls only for new cars?
Not necessarily. Even if you have used your car for years without encountering any issues, you are responsible for bringing it forward if you hear of find out that it’s being recalled. As a driver, you must do your due diligence.
Even cars that are no longer being manufactured or come from previous eras can be recalled. That is because not all car defects are instantly evident. A car may exhibit problems in later years that weren’t detectable early on.
Has my car been recalled before?
If you have a secondhand car, it is important to know if the vehicle has undergone a safety recall when it was still with its previous owner. Buying a used car involves notifying the manufacturer and registering the car anew under your name. Even though used cars older than 10 years may no longer qualify for free repairs, it pays to receive notifications regarding your car, especially if it is for a safety recall.
Check the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the used car you bought or plan on buying to identify if it has been repaired as a result of a safety recall. The government and car manufacturers have a database of recalled cars. You must determine the status of any secondhand car you own with the help of certain agencies.
How can I be notified of a car recall?
Safety recall notices are usually sent through the mail. This is ideally done right after a recall has been officially issued. In some cases, especially with used cars, current owners are not properly notified, and this can turn into a safety issue.
Make sure your details are updated with the manufacturers or the authorities. Let them know how they can best contact you in the future. It may be a hassle, but better safe than sorry.
What does a car recall mean for me?
Whether you have to check for it or you receive a notification, you must address a car recall immediately. As an automobile consumer, you cannot ignore a recall. If you fail to act on a safety recall, you are putting yourself, your passengers, and everyone else at risk.
However, all of this does not make you responsible for car defects or vehicle problems caused by manufacturing. If you wish to learn more about the implications of recalls and your legal rights or if you may have been affected by defects in a car, a personal injury lawyer can help you.