Cars can practically drive themselves these days, and with ever-evolving technology comes (unfortunately) ever-evolving problems. Recently, Ford and Chevy have recalled some of their most popular vehicles for various technological problems. But even the most basic components of automobiles can be subject to safety issues. So even if you have the base-model with no bells and whistles, it’s important to stay on top of vehicle recalls. You can’t predict which makes and models will be next on the NHTSA’s (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) chopping block, so here are a few tips on how to find out if your car has been recalled… and what to do if it happens.
So first off, what does it mean when a car is recalled? Auto recalls occur when multiple vehicles of the same make and model experience some sort of malfunction that the NHTSA deems unsafe. A variety of engineering errors can cause a defect in a car. Usually, the problem is concentrated on models that were produced during a certain time period at one specific plant.
Does My Car Have A Recall?
The NHTSA is not a big bad wolf that nitpicks each and every car that rolls off the manufacturing line. But they are a watchdog with public safety in mind. They determine which cars are unsafe through multiple tests they conduct on vehicles as well as customer complaints they receive via mail, or through their website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/. You can also use the NHTSA site to file a complaint about your car and search to see if your own vehicle is subject to a safety recall.
NHTSA also offers a free app for the iPhone that can help you find out more about auto recalls and how to report a problem with your car. You can save all your vehicles to the app, and be automatically notified by NHTSA if a safety issue becomes known. To download this app, check out http://www.safercar.gov/.
If you bought your car from a dealership, you will also be informed by mail or via email (if you have an online account with them). When the manufacturer or the government finds that there is a defect, an Official Safety Recall Notice is sent to owners who are at risk. This recall notice will provide details about the problem as well as instructions on the best way to handle it.
Deal(er) With It:
If your car has been recalled, it is best to take it to your local dealership. Most of the time, a repair of the defect will be free. For example, when Toyota recalled thousands of their Prius vehicles back in 2011, Toyota dealers upgraded the faulty pinion-shaft nuts at no charge to the car owner.
- Report major problems you experience with your vehicle to the NHTSA – they will use this information to determine if there’s a case to be made for a car recall.
- Stay up to date on automotive safety issues – there’s an app for that!
- If your car is recalled, get it checked out right away by your local dealer – it’ll likely be fixed at no cost to you, and you can’t put a price on safety.