“Record breaking” sounds pretty cool… well until you realize that it is not for something good! This has been the plight of the automotive industry lately; in 2014 they recalled approximately 60 million – yes, 60 MILLION – automobiles, almost double the previous record set almost 10 years ago. It seems like every few weeks there is another huge recall in the news and consumer confidence is at an all-time low. So what do all these recalls mean to consumers, how do they find out if their vehicle is affected and what should they do if auto repair is needed?
If you already know that there is a recall on your vehicle, you need to talk to your dealer and make an appointment to get the recommended repair as soon as possible. Not all recalls are for dangerous components, some automobiles are recalled because of a misprinted sticker or something else just as innocuous. However, there have been some recalls lately that pose a serious risk to drivers such as the GM ignition switch recall and the Takata airbag recall that impacted almost 34 million vehicles and has resulted in several injuries and at least eight fatalities so far.
Even though automakers are required to notify consumers if there is a recall on their vehicle, there are still a lot of vehicles that fall through the cracks. If a vehicle
has been sold by a private party, the recall letter will probably never arrive at the new owner’s address. If you suspect that your vehicle has a recall on it or if you just want to check to see if there is one, you can go to Safercar.gov at https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ and input your VIN number to get recall records for the last 15 years. It will show you any safety recalls that are incomplete on your vehicle, if there ever was a recall and what safety recalls are ongoing.
Ignoring safety recalls can be a dangerous endeavor, but unfortunately it happens all too frequently. The LA Times reported that only about 40 percent of all vehicles recalled in 2014 were repaired by the end of the year. Doing the math, that means that there are 24 million ticking time bombs still out on the road! Of course not every car is going to have a problem but what if it does? Do you really want to risk your life or those around you just because you didn’t want to take the time to get your auto repaired? Recalls are done free of charge at the dealer and not only that, you can usually get a free loaner vehicle if necessary. It’s important and worth it to check for any recalls on your vehicle and to have it repaired as soon as possible.