Recalls, Your Car, and You

The Takata airbags recalls that rocked the Japanese automotive supplies giant for the past three years serve as a cautionary tale pertaining to the relevance of vehicle recalls. With millions of vehicles, and counting, involved in what was deemed as “the largest and most complex safety recall in US history” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); Takata’s downward spiral is a shocking reminder that the automotive industry is also vulnerable to human error – and a terribly costly one at that. The fact automakers are in the business of ensuring the safety of drivers and passengers in transport means that their failure in doing so can definitely result to outrage due to severely damaging consequences to life and property.

Consequences of a Recall

From the perspective of automakers, vehicle recalls prove to be harmful to both their reputation and finances – perhaps two of the essential things they need to survive and make it big in the industry. Given the sheer expense of manufacturing even just one automobile, it is fairly understandable to expect consumers to have high expectations from automakers. Once those expectations falter down, automakers will certainly have a difficult time rebuilding the trust consumers once had for them. In the case of vehicle recalls, automakers can still redeem themselves by offering services to correct the problem free of charge. That, however, is certainly costly on the part of automakers, which is why preventing the causes behind vehicle recalls in the first place is of paramount interest to them.

Dangers of Recalls

Given that there is a clear and present danger to manufacturing flaws on the part of automakers, the significance of vehicle recalls is certainly defensible. With that, it is always important that you pay attention to any announcements your automaker may make with regard to vehicle recalls. Regardless if the issue for vehicle recalls have yet to involve any injuries or casualties, it is still very important that you listen and act on whatever your automaker says about the matter. Think of it this way: no automaker would stake their reputation by making an announcement regarding vehicle recalls, although they have to do so anyway to demonstrate that they are, indeed, taking responsibility to solve the common problem immediately.

Find Out if There is an Active Recall on Your Vehicle.

Now, if you wish to find out whether your vehicle is the subject of any vehicle recalls your automaker may have issued, consider the following ways:

  • Check your automaker’s website for any updates on vehicle recalls. These days, automakers prefer to use online means of disseminating crucial information, especially with regard to vehicle recalls. Typically, automakers would make it a point to disclose full details concerning the reasons for vehicle recalls.
  • When in further doubt, you may contact either your local dealer or the national customer service number for further details. After all, you might find yourself dealing with gray areas the moment you find that your car is possibly affected by vehicle recalls, so it is always best that you make sure.
  • The NHTSA has a Recalls and Defects page on their website. Access said page so you can check whether your car is affected by any vehicle recalls.
  • When purchasing a used car, make it a point to check its vehicle identification number (VIN) to investigate its history. Use the VIN as your reference when calling your automaker for vehicle recalls-related inquiries.

Do I have to pay for a recall?

If you are worried whether you may have to shell out a specific amount of money to compensate any part of your recalled car, fret not because automakers do not charge anything for problems that are directly covered by the vehicle recalls they have issued. If you are worried about not having another car for commuting, your automaker should be able to help you out by providing a substitute vehicle you can use – again, free of charge.

Accidents caused by a recalled vehicle

In the unfortunate event that you figure in an accident caused by anything that is the subject of vehicle recalls, your vehicle accident lawyer should be able to help you out on your rights under the law. But do note that vehicle recalls are different from a technical service bulletin (TSB). Automakers can issue your car a TSB once it finds that it has a recurring but non-fatal problem. In other words, when your car has a problem that continues to be the subject of repeated repairs, but does not affect passenger safety in any way, then you may be issued a TSB. Unlike vehicle recalls, a TSB does not stop your dealer from charging you with repair fees. Think of a TSD as the automaker’s way of indicating your consent to use your car continuously despite its recurring non-fatal problems.