Auto recalls. Maybe you got a notice in the mail. Maybe you saw something about it on the news. Maybe your mechanic told you about it. Hopefully, if you are affected, you'll find out about any potential recall that is affecting you sooner rather than later. There are some important things to understand about these types of recalls. Namely, you need to know how you should handle them and what your rights are.
The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that since 1966 more than 390 cars, trucks, buses, RVs, motorcycles, and mopeds have been recalled. That’s to say nothing of the millions of tires, motor vehicle equipment, accessories, and car seats that are also subject to recalls.
In 2014, Time published an article about the record number of recalls that had been announced. Only about halfway through the year, nearly 40 million cars had been recalled, setting a new record as compared to the previous record of 33 million cars recalled in a single year in 2004.
As of late, we have seen recalls due to Takata airbag defects, seat failures, and more. The reality is: Vehicle defects are probably a lot more common than you realize.
Many automobile, truck, and consumer products manufacturers issue their own recalls. Beyond that, the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will also issue recalls.
If you purchase your car from a car dealer, the automaker will notify you, typically via direct mail based on the address you provided when you purchased the vehicle. If you have moved or purchased your car secondhand, you can always check out the NHTSA Safecar website. Car owners will be notified of the issue, potential risk, and where to take the vehicle to be serviced.
Slow down, there! In most cases, the issue causing the recall can be repaired. Because there is a recall on the vehicle, the repair is made at no cost to the owner. It may be a bit of an inconvenience, especially with a popular model where there are not many authorized repair facilities to handle the repairs, but it is certainly worth it. Remember, recalls are typically done based on safety matters, so you want to be sure to get your vehicle inspected and serviced as quickly as possible.
Most of the time, taking your vehicle in to be serviced for a recall is a relatively painless and quick affair. There can be times when things fail to go as planned. For example, particularly with a major recall, it could take days, weeks, or months before the dealer has all the parts or labor your repair requires. In this case, you have some decisions to make. Get as much information as possible. Is this a repair you can delay? Does the repair deal with electrical, brakes, tires, or any other critical system that could put you or others at risk? Do you need to put your car in park until the repair is made? What options do you have if your vehicle is unsafe to drive, but the repairs cannot be done in a timely manner? Discuss this with the authorized repair center, including loaners or rentals. If they can't minimize the time you're without your vehicle, you may want to check a competing dealership or repair shop that is authorized to complete repairs.
When we talk about recalls, we are usually talking about a relatively simple and straightforward process: The owner of a broken vehicle takes it in for repair. However, there is something we haven’t spoken of as yet…
What about when the automobile manufacturers know they have sent out a defective vehicle, but have not yet issued a recall?
Take that one step further.
What about when those vehicles are driven, and end up leading to the injury or death of a loved one?
That’s where a qualified auto defect lawyer like those at Lowe Eklund Wakefield comes to stand by your side and make sure that you are taken care of—rather than being taken advantage of—by the car manufacturer.
If your vehicle was involved in a crash and any safety system failed to deploy (airbags, seat restraints, brake systems), you should contact Lowe Eklund Wakefield right away.
Complete the form on this page to download our free PDF guide, "13 Reasons You Should Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident." You can also call us directly with any questions at 844.714.7360 or send us a discreet message.