Despite the fact that cars are supposed to go through rigorous safety testing before they’re released on the market, that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t happen. In fact, automotive manufacturers are known to make errors. Sometimes, those errors affect just a certain batch of vehicles, and other times, they affect an entire lot of cars. Thankfully, there are systems in place for when things do go wrong. These systems are designed to notify consumers so that errors can be corrected. This is known as a car recall.

How Do I Check If My Car Has a Recall?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tens of millions of vehicles receive recall notices in the United States each year. In fact, in the year 2020 alone, there was more than 31 million safety recalls on cars.

Are you wondering if your vehicle has been affected by a recall? Keep on reading to find out why and how car recalls are issued, and how to find out if there’s an active recall on your car.

What is a Car Recall, Anyway?

For automobiles, a product recall – or a car recall – is a statement that is issued by the manufacturer to make consumers aware that a safety risk has been detected in certain makes and models of the vehicles they have produced. More specifically, a car recall is issued when a vehicle or a vehicle part does not comply with one or more of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards sets that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established. A car recall may also be issued when a car or any of its components displays a defect that affects its safety.

Car Recall Campaigns

Car recall campaigns can impact a variety of vehicles. Perhaps the largest and most infamous vehicle recall was issued by Volvo. The Volvo recall affected every single 2019 and 2020 model year vehicle that the manufacturer produced. Recalls can also affect just a few specific vehicles. For instance, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz issued recalls in 2021 that affected only one of each manufacturer’s vehicles, respectively.

Another major recall, which affected more than 42 million vehicles, the Takata airbag recall, occurred in 2019. The Takata airbag recall not only alerted defects in airbags, but also alerted consumers to defects in electrical, braking, powertrain, and exterior lighting systems.

According to the NHTSA, most car recall decisions are made by manufacturers without involvement from the government’s safety administration. That said, however, there are instances when safety administrations do need to be involved and have to urge manufacturers to issue recall information/campaigns.

Do Car Recalls Cost Money?

Generally speaking, car recalls are free-of-charge to consumers. However, there are some exceptions. When a vehicle recall campaign is issued, three legal options for correction are offered to consumers:

  • Repair
  • Replace
  • Refund

The manufacturer will cover the cost for all of the above.

However, if the vehicle was built 15 or more years before the date the defect was discovered, the automaker isn’t legally required to correct the defect. In this case, it is recommended that vehicle owners have the necessary repairs made. However, the vehicle owner is responsible for covering the cost of the related repairs.

How to Find Out if Your Vehicle is Affected by a Recall Campaign

As you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that there could be an open recall on your vehicle. Car manufacturers are legally required to contact vehicle owners about any and all recalls that apply to the vehicles they own. However, if you aren’t the original owner, or if you have the car serviced by an independent mechanic, there’s a chance that the automaker may not have access to your contact info.

How can you find out if there is an active recall on your car? The easiest way to do so is by visiting the NHTSA’s recall site. Once here, input your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This information is usually located in the lower-left corner of the windshield, as well as on your vehicle registration. You can also check the SaferCar app, which is available to download for both Apple and Android devices. If you are using the app, simply open it up, follow the prompts, and provide the requested information.

Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE

Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.

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