When a manufacturer or the NHTSA determines that a car model doesn’t comply with federal safety standards or has a safety-related defect, an auto recall is issued. When this happens, your automaker should alert you so you can take proper action. If you are not alerted of the recall and get into an accident, then you won’t be liable. If, however, you did receive a notice and didn’t act on it in a timely manner, then you will hold some liability.
To avoid getting in this sticky situation, here are 4 things you need to know about car recalls:
1. You should receive a notice in the mail
Once your car manufacturer or NHTSA become aware of a defect, they will send you a notice in the mail with a description of the defect, the risk or hazard posed by the defect, potential warning signs, how the manufacturer plans to fix the problem and instructions detailing what you should do next. Once you receive this notice, you should make it a priority to visit your auto mechanic to get the issue resolved.
2. All recall-related fixes are free
Because you are not responsible for the defect, any related fixes are free. It’s important to note that if your repair requires a specific part replacement, then it could be a few days or weeks before that part comes in. If that happens, then ask when the part will arrive and schedule to return on that date.
3. Recalls aren’t limited to new cars
Sometimes it takes years for defects to surface. So, if your car is of an older make and model, don’t assume that you’re exempt from receiving a recall.
4. Increase in recalls doesn’t mean cars are becoming less safe
It’s important to remember that auto safety law is becoming stricter, and that’s a good thing. Just because the number of safety recalls look like they’re soaring doesn’t mean the majority of cars are no longer safe to drive.