Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What to do if Your Vehicle is Recalled

Fairly often, you’ll see reports in the news about vehicle recalls. You hope that the recall doesn’t affect the car you own, but if it does, you don’t have to panic.
A recall means you can have your car repaired or replaced at any of the brand’s dealerships. Repairs are free as long as the vehicle is not more than 10 years old on the date the defect or noncompliance is determined, and can be initiated by any owner.
You should be notified by mail, but if you changed addresses or aren't the original owner, you might not have received the mailing.
Recalls are published at and reported by the news media, but it can take a month or more after any announcements for manufacturers to notify owners and to send essential parts and repair instructions to dealers. Your alert may also arrive by electronic notification, or via an onboard communication system in the car, if it is so equipped.

You may choose to wait to be officially notified if it's a minor repair, but if your car shows signs of a dangerous problem, you should call your dealer and ask to have the problem checked. They will help you assess how quickly your vehicle needs to be brought in. Your recall notification will specify exactly what you need to do and should indicate how long the repair should take, describe the safety risk caused by the defect and explain any potential hazards. The notice should also include a quality assurance number to call if any problems develop when trying to get the work done.
Could your vehicle have any recalls? 
You can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (tty: 1-800-424-9153), or research recalls and complaints at
 Each manufacturer has its own dedicated informational recall centers that can check a vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to identify whether the car is part of any recalls; they can even tell you if the car has had any recall repairs in its history.

Do your research when shopping for a car 
Recall repairs can even be required for a new car, so it's not a bad idea to ask the dealer to check for recalls or technical service bulletins before you drive a new car off the lot. If you're shopping for a used car, check up-to-date safety recall information at or purchase a CARFAX report to reveal any recall information in the history of the car.

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