How to Follow-Up on a Vehicle Recall
It seems like a new vehicle is recalled every day for varying reasons. A quick check of the evening news can confirm this. Just this year, Honda (airbags), Jeep (brakes), and General Motors (ignition switches) have issued mass recalls of popular vehicles.
NHTSA Streamlines Recall Process
CBS News, last year reached a record high for recalls, with numbers reaching 64 million. This is mostly a product of General Motor’s ignition switch recall, which affected over 27 million vehicles and is blamed for 124 deaths. This year has seen 32 million recalls, the second most ever.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been receiving heat for being too lenient on defective vehicles, and they have responded to these critics. The NHTSA has made great strides in holding manufacturers responsible for recalls. Just this week the NHTSA fined Takata, manufacturer of airbags that can explode and spew shards of metal, $70 million with an option to raise to $200 million if the company does not respond accordingly
This tougher policy has been largely attributed the NHTSA’s new administrator, Mark Rosekind. Safety advocate Joan Claybrook, a former head of the NHTSA herself, told CBS “They are doing a whole lot better. The new administrator, Mark Rosekind, has a different, tougher attitude toward enforcement.”
What to Do if You Believe Your Vehicle Has Been Recalled
- So, what should you do if one of these recalls affects your vehicle? Most issues can be fixed with a simple service visit to your local dealer when parts become available. If a recall should affect your vehicle, take the following steps:
- Double-check that your individual car, SUV or pickup really included in the recall. Some recalls cover only part of the vehicles produced in a given model year. NHTSA provides a search engine in which consumers can check for recalls using their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You can find the VIN on your state registration document or at the base of the windshield on the driver's side in most cars.
- Look for an official, written notification from the auto company. This is your official notification that your vehicle is recalled. If you are not the original owner of the vehicle or moved, you may not receive this letter. In this case, print the NHTSA report and bring it to your local dealer.
- Schedule a free repair with any dealership of your brand. (The auto company pays the dealership to make the repair). When you make the appointment, give the scheduler the number of your recall along with your VIN number.