Getting out of the recall plight
An auto recall occurs when a manufacturer (or the NHTSA) determines that a car model (or several models) has a safety-related defect or does not comply with a federal safety standard. Usually, the problem is concentrated on models that were produced during a certain time period at one specific plant. Therefore, not all Toyota Prius drivers, for example, would be forced to pull off the road when a defect for that model is announced to the public. A recall can target for anything from entire vehicles to replaceable equipment such as floor mats, airbags, and engine parts. It begins with the discovery of a defect. Although the manufacturer will discover a car defect and issue a recall on its own initiative, more often, it is the consumers who file a complaint with government regulators, the manufacturer, or a dealership with a problem, if the problem concerned defect is serious enough to raise safety concerns, a recall might occur. The manufacturer is required to send out notices to all registered owners using data it gets from each state’s department of motor vehicles. The outside of the envelope states that it is a recall notice in bold red letters. There are voluntary recalls and recalls requested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The recall remedies can be repair, replace, or refund. You do have certain legal rights demanding remedy if your car is recalled. However, while your recall remedy is free, the choice of remedy belongs to the manufacturer. If you want to consult more recall information, you can read online booklets of the NHTSA or contact the NHTSA.
If a recall do happen for your car or for your car parts, how to deal with it? First of all, don’t be panic and read the recall notice closely. Your recall notice would be either in the form of a letter or an email. It should contain four parts of information: a description of the defect, the risk or hazard posed by the problem (including the kinds of injuries it can cause), potential warning signs, how the manufacturer plans to fix the problem (including when the repair will be available and how long it’ll take) and instructions regarding what you should do next. You’ll just need to follow your recall notice instructions. Generally, you’ll be instructed to call your local dealer to set up a repair appointment. For example, the recall letter you’ve received will tell you what day you can start bringing your car in for the recall repair, usually within 60 days of the recall notice. And there will often be advice about who your closest dealer is and a phone number.
You may wonder whether the recall means danger in driving. You can also find the answer in your recall notice. Check to see whether the recall involves a key operating component, such as the acceleration, brake, steering, suspension, or fuel systems. Usually, it aims at some defects which might create a nuisance but don’t pose an immediate danger. If you want to know for sure, call your dealership.