How You Should Take Action When You Get A Recall Notice

by Community Manager on ‎06-22-2015 11:44 AM - last edited on ‎08-05-2015 01:56 PM by Lithium Technologies (8,541 Views)

Vehicle recalls are on the rise. Here’s what to do if a notice lands in your mailbox.


Since 2014, there have been roughly 100 million vehicles recalled in the United States—a record-breaking number. Yet it has been estimated that there are about 60 million recalled vehicles on the road that have not been repaired.


Problems described in recall letters are serious, and driving an unrepaired vehicle can be very dangerous, depending on the safety issue. A recent example is the defective air bags made by Japanese manufacturer Takata—which led to a recall of some 34 million cars in the United States since 2014. The air bags could explode violently when deployed, sending shrapnel flying in a car’s passenger compartment. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the flaw to date.


You can take three simple steps to ensure your vehicle is recall-free.


Check Online
You can look up your car’s recall history. Enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if the car has had any recalls and whether or not the problems have been fixed. If you’re buying a used car, it’s important to check the car’s recall history to be sure that all the problems have been addressed.


Fix the Problem—For Free
If you get a notice or discover that you have an unresolved recall, contact the dealer immediately. The car manufacturer has three options for correcting the problem: They can repair parts, replace them or give you a refund if you fixed the issue before the car was recalled. The recall should never cost you any money. Sometimes, you may not be able to get your problem fixed right away. If the repair is part of a major recall and parts are in high demand, for example, the dealership will notify you when the parts are in stock and they can fix your car.


Voice Your Concerns
Usually, manufacturers initiate recalls. But consumer complaints to NHTSA lead to recalls, too. Over the last three years, NHTSA investigations resulted in 450 recalls involving 20 million vehicles. If you think your car has a defect, file a complaint with the manufacturer and NHTSA. You’ll need your vehicle make, model, year, VIN and a description of the problem.


Vehicles aren’t the only things that can be recalled. Child safety seats sometimes have defects, too. AAA’s website is a comprehensive resource on car seat safety, including what to do if your car seat is recalled.


A version of this story appears in the July/August 2015 issue of AAA Living magazine.


Image credit/source: Getty Images

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