Generally, a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will administer a recall if either party discovers a safety risk in a vehicle; typically caused by a defect in the equipment, structure, or parts of the vehicle. The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety mandates that a vehicle, its subsequent pieces, and/or equipment must be recalled if they pose an unreasonable risk of injury, accident, or death.
If a recall exists, the manufacturer must repair the issue, replace the defective parts, or repurchase the vehicle. However, the latter rarely occurs, as most defects can be resolved through repair. If you receive a recall notice for your vehicle, the NHTSA has identified a problem with some aspect of your vehicle; the repairs of which will be provided free of charge at the manufacturer’s expense.
How Will I know If a Vehicle Recall Exists?
Generally, you will receive notice of a recall within 60 days of discovery. However, your vehicle’s manufacturer can only reach you via mail if your vehicle’s registration is up to date with your current information. Legally, your vehicle’s manufacturer must only attempt to contact you regarding a recall.
You may also sign up to receive emails directly from the NHTSA concerning vehicular recalls; or with other third-party companies such as CARFAX. Alternatively, you can research open recalls by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. Here you can input your vehicle’s VIN and receive a report on all open recalls on your specific vehicle.
What Should I Do After I Recieve a Recall Notice?
After receiving a recall notice, you should call and schedule a repair with your auto dealer, or vehicle manufacturer. If the dealership refuses to repair your vehicle, you can report them to your vehicle’s manufacturer, or to the NHTSA. If you file a report with the NHTSA you should provide as many details as possible; i.e. the name of the dealership and any personnel involved in the denial.
How Long Will These Repairs Take? Can I Get a Substitute Car in the Mean Time?
Repair times may vary based on a myriad of factors. For example, a recall may be issued before a fix is available. Additionally, your dealership may have limited resources o fix these recalls; resulting in extra wait times for repair. When you schedule a repair for a recall, you can ask the dealership or manufacturer to estimate how long the repair may take.
In rare circumstances, the dealership or manufacturer might purchase your vehicle back from you, or they might offer you a substitute vehicle if the repairs to your vehicle are extensive. However, vehicle manufacturers and dealerships are not obligated to provide you with alternate transportation. Legally, they are only obligated to fix recalls safely and free of charge.
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