Every major auto manufacturer does all it can to deliver safe, reliable, quality products to market, but sometimes things happen. On occasion, faults are found with certain vehicles, and manufacturers will issue a recall to replace or repair those faults.
What Are the Chances My Car Will End up in a Recall?
The governmental organization responsible for overseeing the recall process is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Recalls have risen sharply over the past few years due in large part to the NHTSA’s stringent policies regarding vehicle safety and what warrants a recall.
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) puts the number of vehicles currently on the road with an open recall at more than 70 million, with some 280 million recalls issued over the last decade. Organizations like the CFA are working hard to convert those numbers into remedied cases.
In summation, there’s a fair chance your vehicle will be affected by a recall at some point during its life.
If I Receive a Recall Notice in the Mail, How Do I Know It's Real?
If you’ve been notified about a recall you find yourself thinking, “Ok, there’s a recall out for my car, how can I be sure it’s legit?”
It’s a sad truth that there are some repair shops and dealerships that will try and scare customers into bringing their vehicle in for unnecessary “recall service.” In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sued a chain of car dealerships for sending out fake recall notices. Thus, it’s important to do your homework and be sure your notice is real. If your notice is actually fake, be sure to report it to the FTC immediately.
One fantastic tool to help verify your notice is the safety issue and recall lookup tool provided by the NHTSA. Simply enter your vehicle’s VIN. The site also offers a wealth of terrific recall related information. Always remember to look through Protect My Car’s vehicle recall notice blog where you can stay up to date on all recall notices like our latest post here. Or some of our earlier post.
Once You Know Your Recall Notice Is Real, Take Your Car to Be Repaired
Head to a dealership that services your car brand right away for repairs. If you have the recall notice, bring it with you. If you don’t, you can print out the recall report from the NHTSA’s website and bring that instead.
Depending on the size and scope of the recall you’re involved in, it could take some time for your vehicle to be serviced. For example, if you’re one of the 19 million vehicles impacted by the massive Takata airbag recall, it might be months before the recall work is completed. Moral of the story: Patience is a virtue.
Remember, Safety Recall Repairs Are Free
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, only about two-thirds of vehicles involved in a recall have been fixed within 18 months, and in some cases, less than half have had the necessary repairs completed. This could mean owners are unknowingly driving around in a vehicle that qualifies for potentially significant repair work.
But, there’s great news! Recall work is mandated by the government to be done at no cost to the consumer. Should recall repairs take significant time and you need a loaner vehicle, the dealership isn’t obligated to give you one. However, most car insurance policies will cover the cost of a loaner during the repair period.
Car Insurance Is Always a Good Idea
It can feel burdensome at times to pay for car insurance, but in those hopefully very rare times you need it, it’ll be worth its weight in gold. While you’re at it, it’s also worth considering an extended warranty, too. This added layer of protection will give you peace of mind!
Getting a recall notice for your vehicle is never fun, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Should you receive one, double check to make sure it’s real, do a little research, and take advantage of the free repair work right away. It’s worth it!