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So Many Recalls, So Few Spare Parts

2014 and 2015 have been banner years for vehicle recalls. Partly this is thanks to a few major defect scandals like the Takata air bag grenades and the GM ignition switch flying-coffin trick, both of which have demanded recalls in the order of several million vehicles each. Partly it’s the effect all these high-profile scandals have had on the industry, as automakers are now issuing recalls for the slightest defect as soon as possible. Regulators have also had to step up their game since many of these defects only came to light thanks to civil lawsuits.

Naturally, safety is of great importance in an industry that has to consider the roughly 5 million road vehicle accidents which occur each year – and that’s just the ones that end with a police report. Unfortunately, one major problem with issuing millions of recalls each year is the fact that the factories that make the parts can only make so many at once.

The Capacity Problem

Automakers have a responsibility to their customers and to government regulators to issue timely and effective recalls which fix the problem as quickly and conveniently as possible. At the same time, however, automakers also have a responsibility to their employees and their stockholders to make a decent profit, and that’s not something they can do when their factories are churning out free replacement parts day in and day out.

The fact of the matter is that factories can only produce a certain number of parts over a certain period of time, and while it isn’t much trouble to cover a recall batch of a few thousand or even a few tens of thousands, it’s another matter entirely when every month adds another million vehicles that need replacements. Even assuming the car dealerships have enough time and space available to accept your car right away, there’s a fairly good chance that they won’t have the parts they need to make the repair.

The Legal Problem

So because your car’s manufacturer made a mistake 5-10 years ago and covered it up instead of fixing it, they can’t make replacement parts fast enough to repair all the recalled cars and you’re stuck driving around in a potential deathtrap for weeks or even months while your local dealership is waiting on a new shipment. To say that this situation is not ideal is a severe understatement. But what can you do?

Depending on your particular situation, you have a few different options at your disposal. In the first place, if your car has a severe enough problem, your dealership may be able to offer you a loaner car which will get you from place to place until the parts finally arrive and they can fix your vehicle. The loaner may even be a fairly nice car, since a crafty dealership will use the situation to tempt you into trading up to a nicer ride, or at least to convince you to stick with their brand.

Another way to get out of driving a defective vehicle is the lemon law, which varies on a state-by-state basis. In Florida, for instance, the lemon law applies to new vehicles purchased less than two years prior to invoking the law. If the defect in question substantially impacts the car’s use, value, or safety, and if you’ve either attempted to bring it in for a repair at least three times or else it hasn’t worked for a grand total of 15 days, then you’ll need to mail a Motor Vehicle Defect Notification to the vehicle’s manufacturer. This is the “last chance to fix this thing” notification, and if the manufacturer still hasn’t made things right or at least inspected the car within 10 days, then you’re free to head to arbitration to try and get your money back.

If you’re looking to get a refund and you need legal advice or representation, and if you live in southwest Florida, then consider contacting All Injuries Law Firm. We’ve spent over 30 years representing plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits and more, and we know more than a little about the ins and outs of Florida’s civil law statutes. You can contact us anytime for a free case review, but when it comes to civil cases, the sooner you get started, the better.