In 2014 alone, a record 60 million vehicles were recalled in the United States. We’re only into March in 2015 and already, hundreds of thousands of vehicles have been recalled for various safety defects. Federal regulators expect the number of recalled vehicles to climb this year. Under such circumstances, it is very important that we as consumers don’t ignore safety recalls and know what to do as vehicle owners in the event of a recall.
Here are five questions to ask if your vehicle has been recalled:
- Why was my car recalled? This is probably the first question you should ask if your vehicle has been recalled. The answer is quite simple. Vehicles are recalled because either the automaker or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has discovered that the vehicle has a defect or fails to meet current safety standards. Although the exact nature of the recall will vary, a recall is initiated because there is a risk or danger. So, it is important to take all recalls seriously and get the issue addressed as soon as possible.
- Will I know if my car is affected? Yes. You will know if your car is included in the recall because automakers are required to notify registered owners by mail if their vehicle is being recalled. Such correspondence will usually have the words “Safety Recall Notice” in red text so you will know its significance. The letter should also include a description of the problem, the risk posed, warning signs, how the problem will be resolved, and where you can get your vehicle repaired.
- What if I didn’t get one of those recall letters? There is the possibility that your letter was lost in the mail. If you think your vehicle may have been recalled, check with the automaker and NHTSA. You can do so, by visiting safercar.gov and entering your VIN number to find out the details of the recall and if your vehicle is a part of it. If your car has been recalled, contact the manufacturer or take your vehicle to the dealer to find out what you should do next.
- What should I do if my car has been affected? In some cases, your fix may not be available right away. You should still take your car to the dealership. Your recall letter should give you a time frame as to when you can expect to get your vehicle fixed. If that’s not clear to you, contact your local dealer.
- What will the fix cost me? Once the recall has been issued, the manufacturer is required under the law to repair your car at no cost to you. All recall repairs should be free of charge. If, however, you want to make other repairs that are not connected to the recall, you will be asked to pay for those.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of an auto defect or defective part, please contact an experienced auto product liability attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.