What Is a Car Recall and How Do You Deal With It?

Don’t get surprised if you get a letter one day on your car recall. You may wonder what a car recall means and how to deal with it. Normally, car recalls relate to safety issues and you need to take your car to a repair shop to fix the problem at the cost of the manufacturer. In January-March 2018 there were more car recalls than during the entire 2017. This year manufacturers like Lincoln, Lamborghini, Audi, Honda, Subaru, Ford, and more announced car recalls. So, it’s not something uncommon and chances are that your car may also be on the list one day.


What is a Car Recall?

Suppose a manufacturer produces a big batch of car models and one or several of them have a safety-related defect or do not comply with a federal safety standard. In that case, the manufacturer must announce a recall for the specific model and offer a free repair.

You are the one who should take the car to a repair shop and sometimes there is a time limitation to that. While the manufacturer is obliged to repair all recalled cars at no-charge within ten years, there are exceptions to that. For example, you must take care that the manufacturer repairs the tires within 60 days after receiving a recall notice.

How Do You Know If the Manufacturer Announced a Car Recall?

Manufacturers normally send a notification letter within 60 days of notifying NHTSA of a recall decision. But if you notice a problem with your car, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer or local authorized dealer yourself.  To be on the safe side, make sure that you sign up for email alerts from NHTSA. In case you purchase a used car, the first thing you should do is contact the manufacturer and register your car. This will make sure that you will get recall notices.

What To Do If My Car Gets On the List?

First, you need to know what type of safety problem is addressed. You can learn about that from the manufacturer’s letter, or you can contact the manufacturer yourself. Never ignore the recall alert as you may endanger your life and the life of others if you don’t go to the dealer immediately and take your car to repairs.

In most cases, manufacturers pay for the repair. But if your car is more than ten years old, they may or may not. In such a case, the manufacturer has no obligation to a free repair, but they may choose to, so it’s worth asking.

Normally, you take your car to a local authorized dealer. This need not be the dealer where you bought the car. Any authorized dealer can help you fix the problem. The only nuisance about recall repairs is that you may wait for an appointment and may even need to park your car. In the latter case, if the manufacturer has warned about a safety issue, it’s better not to drive and be on the safe side.

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