Product recalls are serious, particularly when an automotive manufacturer issues a recall notice for a vehicle. When a car or truck has a significant defect, the results can be catastrophic. Receiving a recall notice on your vehicle is inconvenient and distressing, but it’s important to know what to do to protect yourself and your family as well as others sharing the roadway. Automotive companies have a grave responsibility to produce safe, reliable vehicles, but each year they release vehicles with defects that pose a serious safety threat to motorists.
What Does a Vehicle Recall Mean?
When automobile manufacturers discover that one of their products has a serious defect that has resulted in accidents and injuries, they have a duty to issue a recall notice to those who’ve bought the vehicle model with the defect. In some cases, the recall is voluntary on the part of a manufacturer after they’ve received multiple consumer complaints, but at other times, federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issue orders compelling the recall after they receive data alerting them to a safety problem in a particular make and model of vehicle.
When manufacturers issue a vehicle recall due to a defect, the law requires them to repair the defect or in less common cases, replace the defective vehicle or issue a refund.
What Do I Do After Receiving a Recall Notice on My Vehicle?
If a recall has been issued on your car or truck, it’s important to carefully read the notice to determine the severity of the problem. In some instances, manufacturers issue “Do Not Drive” recalls for very serious safety defects such as those in a recent recall for vehicles with defective airbags that degraded over time and caused dangerous pieces of metal to explode into vehicles on impact. In more common cases, the recall notice alerts vehicle owners to a defect in their vehicle that has the potential to cause harm. The notice includes details about where to take the vehicle for repair at a local dealership and should include the dealership’s contact information so you can make an appointment. You will not be charged for the repair.
Sometimes it’s difficult to get through to a dealer after a major automotive recall or to get an appointment. If you can’t reach your local dealer to get an appointment for a repair, contact the manufacturer directly or report the problem to NHTSA.
Vehicle owners may also periodically check to see if there’s been a recall notice issued on their vehicle by visiting the NHTSA website.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities After a Vehicle Recall
The California lemon law attorneys at Young & Young APC explain that it is always in a vehicle owner’s best interests to take a vehicle recall notice seriously and make every attempt to address the problem as soon as possible. Despite the inconvenience of a vehicle recall, the impacts of ignoring a recall notice are significant and a danger to yourself and others on the road.