Has There Been An Increase In Recalls?
If your feel like there’s been an increase in the recalls being issued by automakers in the last five years, you’re not wrong. A whopping 20 percent of cars currently in use on U.S. roads have been recalled in the last three years, and the number of cars under recall has tripled in the last two decades. With increased safety, technology, and design, why are there more cars being recalled than ever before?
Cars Have Become More Complex
Buyers have demanded more and more functionality from their cars, with things like touch screens and smartphone integration moving from the fringes to become standard options. With so much more technology in modern cars than ever before, there’s more electronics to fail. Issues are no longer limited to physical parts. Recalls for flaws or vulnerabilities in the software that controls many modern car systems are relatively new and surprisingly numerous. The extra screens and electronics that power the infotainment systems customers now demand can also be subject to failures. Defects can cause key systems in the car to stop working, or pose serious fire risks.
There are new government safety regulations in cars, too, adding more complexity. 2018 was the first year backup cameras were mandatory in the U.S., putting the technology in every new car sold. Customer demand has seen safety systems that rely on external sensors, like adaptive cruise control, become more common. When there are problems with the electrical parts that make up these systems, there are serious safety consequences. With more smart technologies and electronics in modern cars than ever, there has been a noted increase in the number of non-engine related car recalls.
Car Brands Have More Shared Parts
As cars have become more complex, manufactures are finding more ways to make them cheaper to build. To cut costs, many automakers use the same parts from the same suppliers. Companies like ZF, which makes the transmissions found across several makes in current models, provide solutions that save car companies the trouble of developing and building the technology themselves. It means, however, when one of these parts fails, the impact is global. The Takata airbag recall now includes over 37 million cars from 15 different brands, making it the largest in history. Since more cars are using more of the same parts, the potential impact for a recall is widespread. Instead of being limited to a brand or model, they affect customers of multiple brands around the world.
Only 70 Percent of Recalled Cars Actually Complete Repairs
It’s surprising to think that there could be as many as 30 percent of cars on the road today with some safety issues, but it’s true. Numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, suggest that 30 percent of cars on the road today haven’t been back to the dealer for essential car recall repairs. This means that with more cars being recalled, there are more unsafe cars on the roads that haven’t been safely repaired. In some cases, the sheer size of the recall can delay repairs, with owners waiting months before finally getting notice to visit a dealer.
Another reason for such a high number of outstanding recalls may be the way people are currently notified: by mail. Automakers do make use of news organizations to announce recalls to the general public, but not all models may be affected, and those that are may miss the notice. Social media could be a way for companies to spread the news further about recalled vehicles. Many cars are now equipped with companion mobile apps which give owners access to various remote-control features. Car makers could notify owners through these apps, or to the registered email account, about outstanding or current recalls on their cars.
Software recalls have the advantage of not always requiring a visit to the local dealership to repair. Over-the-air updates have started becoming available. In the near future, many recalls related to the software in a car can be patched easily over the air, making sure that all cars have the latest and safest version available.
Stay Up To Date
As cars have become more modern and complex, there has been an increase in the number of recall notices issued in the last five years. Customers are looking for more modern technology and conveniences in their cars, which have increased the number of recalls for non-engine related issues, technical failures, and software recalls. More safety requirements have only added to the complexity. With so many cars being recalled, and only 70 percent of those cars being repaired, there are more unsafe cars on the roads. Owners need to check their cars for recalls. Visit the NHTSA website, or the website for your manufacturer, and run your VIN to check for any recalls your car may still need. Getting a recall repair helps to keep your car safe, and the others on the road around you safe, too.
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