Millions of vehicles are recalled every year, and roughly eight million have already got been in 2021, in accordance to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Getting a discover from the automaker that your automobile is amongst them and has a security deficiency is not solely alarming, it could additionally lead to a flood of questions.
What should I do subsequent? How do I get this taken care of? Is this going to price me something?
Even extra urgent is how pressing it is to get the issue remedied. The reply is that whereas minor upkeep can slide a bit with out inflicting main bother, the security issues addressed by a recall should not a footnote for the “maybe someday” part of your to-do checklist. Recalls range in urgency, and typically repairs can’t be achieved by the vendor instantly as a result of alternative elements should not out there; it could take months till they’re. But as a current South Carolina case makes clear, procrastination may be lethal.
In January, the driving force of a 2002 Honda Accord died on account of a crash through which the automotive’s airbag deployed. As the 19th dying within the United States brought on by shrapnel from a ruptured Takata airbag inflater, it was hardly unprecedented. But this time there was a twist: Honda, which recalled the automotive in 2011, stated it had tried greater than 100 occasions to attain the automotive’s proprietor by mail, telephone and by in-person visits. The defective inflaters had by no means been changed.
The Takata recall, the biggest in historical past, entails 100 million inflaters, together with 67 million within the United States. And these remembers should not all a decade previous. As just lately as March, Ford recalled 2.6 million vehicles, vehicles and sport utility automobiles to exchange Takata driver-side airbag parts.
Action could also be taken for security threats that come up even when the automobiles are parked. In March, a number of Hyundai and Genesis fashions had been recalled to right electrical brief circuits that prompted a fireplace danger. In that case, the traffic safety agency advised owners to “park their cars outside and away from homes, other structures and other flammable materials” to prevent property loss.
Recalls are not about customer complaints like a balky air-conditioner or a rusty fender. They are specifically safety issues, even if the danger is sometimes not readily apparent. Correcting the problem should be done as quickly as possible, and, yes, the automaker will pay for it.
They are required to contact owners by mail, but if you’ve been living away from your normal home during the pandemic, there’s a chance you could have missed the notice. And if you bought a used car, the recall notice may not have caught up with you yet.
It’s easy for you to check whether a vehicle has been recalled by entering the 17-digit vehicle identification number (or VIN) on the safety agency’s web page — nhtsa.gov/recalls. The VIN can be found on the car’s registration and often on the insurance card. It’s also visible through the glass on the lower edge of the windshield on the driver’s side.
Checking for recalls is a must, especially if you are buying a used car. Using that search, you will learn if the vehicle was recalled in the past 15 calendar years and whether the issue has been addressed. The report covers major automakers, motorcycle manufacturers and some medium/heavy truck manufacturers.
If the vehicle has not been recalled or if it has but the defect has been repaired, you will get this message: 0 Unrepaired Recalls associated with this VIN. Recently announced recalls may not show up because it takes time for the VINs to be identified, so you may need to check back.
Recalls are carried out by the automaker but can be ordered by the safety agency. The process can start when a carmaker discovers a problem during regular quality checks, or defects emerge through the dealer service network. By law, when an automaker learns of a safety defect it must notify the safety agency promptly.
The process can also begin with consumer complaints filed on the agency database. Those complaints are reviewed, and if an analysis deems further action is needed, an investigation is opened. If that finds a problem, a recall is initiated. In practice, automakers typically begin recalls on their own, before the agency intervenes. The safety agency monitors the process to assure that customer notices are properly issued and that repairs are tracked.
The automaker can choose to repair the defect, replace the vehicle with one of identical or similar specifications, or refund the full purchase price (adjusted for depreciation). If you’ve already paid for repairs that would have been done under the recall, the automaker often must reimburse you.