How to React to a Recall

An auto recall is when a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) decides that a car model has a safety-related defect. They will alert owners to the problem and most often offer a free repair. Reasons for a recall can be connected to any spots in the vehicle, such as brakes, seat belts, air bags and other areas that might threaten the safety of the driver and passengers. If you notice a problem with your car, you can report it to the NHTSA. If others report a similar problem, an investigation could be opened.

Car companies are required to send letters to customers affected by a recall. If your car is recalled, the company is expected to send the registered car owner the notification within 60 days of notifying NHTSA of a recall decision. The recall letter should describe the safety issue, the possible risk,s and warning signs. It should also give instructions for scheduling a time to have the issue fixed at a local dealer. If you have a tire recall, repair work needs to be completed within 60 days of receiving the recall letter. If you cannot reach the dealer for one reason or another, contact the manufacturer and ask for help. You may also file an NHTSA complaint if neither the dealer or the manufacturer are able or willing to assist you.

All recall-related fixes should be done free of charge.

You’ll need to take your car to an authorized dealer since they contract directly with the manufacturer. Bring your recall letter with you. If your dealer tries to charge you for the necessary fixes, ask to speak to a manager and explain the situation. If you still run into issues, your next step is to contact the manufacturer directly. Again, if either are insisting on charging you, file a complaint with the NHTSA.

When you buy a used car, contact the manufacturer and register the car to receive recall notices.

However, used cars that are more than 10 years old may not qualify for free repairs. Naturally, you may also be charged for any additional repairs you agree to that fall outside the scope of the recall. Paying out-of-pocket for these kinds of expenses is never fun, but it is recommended to address safety issues as they happen. After all, you can’t really put a price on safety.

Register your new and used cars with the appropriate manufacturer, and provide the manufacturer with your new address after a move.

The NHTSA recommends checking its recall database twice a year to see whether a recall has been issued for your car. Search using your car’s 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN). It can be found on your registration paperwork and your insurance card. You may also search using the make, model and year of your car.

If your car is on a recall list, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re in danger; the recall letter should warn you if your car is too dangerous to drive.

Still, if you learn that your car has been recalled, it’s best not to take the risk. Have your car repaired as soon as possible, especially if the defect could pose a major hazard. After all, a defect in your car may be not only life-threatening to yourself, but also to your passengers and anyone else on the road.

Stay up-to-date on recalls by visiting the NHTSA’s website.

Cars need consistent maintenance; they are all one problem away from becoming large metal and plastic blocks going at fast speeds with no driver. You may think your car is fine, but if it shows up in a recall list, don’t take any chances. Get it to the dealer. However, in the case that you forgot or missed the letter, be prepared. Having Good2Go Auto Insurance can help with the aftermath of an accident. Visit to get a free, no-obligation quote for low-cost, minimum limits auto insurance that can keep you driving legal for less.

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