What to do when Your Car Model Gets Recalled

April 5th, 2024 by

Vehicle recalls are a common thing. If you’ve recently discovered that there is a current recall for a car model that you own, but are unsure what to do next, we’ve got you covered. We’re here to walk you through the process of identifying if the recall affects you and what to do if it does.

To start, you should understand exactly what a recall tend to entail. A recall can include the vehicle, equipment such as air bags, tires and seats, or other specific operating parts of the vehicle. When a recall is issued, the manufacturer will issue a report detailing the following information.

  • Details of the vehicle and the number of units affected
  • Description of the defect or issue
  • Why the recall decision was made
  • How the issue will be fixed
  • The recall schedule

There are a few ways you can go about identifying if your vehicle is among the recalled. If you have heard word that your car model is being recalled, you can start by checking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. From there, you can plug information about your vehicle in to search for current recalls on it. The NHTSA recommends checking its recall database twice a year to see whether your car has any open safety recalls. Consider setting a calendar reminder so you don’t forget.

For the best results, search using your car’s 17-character vehicle identification number, or VIN. It can be found on your registration paperwork and your insurance card, though you can also look for it on the lower left side of your car’s windshield (the driver’s side). If you don’t have the VIN on hand, you may also search the database for your car’s make, model and year.

For an even more direct route, you should contact your local dealer or store where you purchased the vehicle to speak with a representative. The dealership will be able to tell you if the year model of your car is listed under the recall and can begin immediately assisting you with the next steps.

You should always fully inform yourself on the details of the recall, even if you’re already gotten in touch with your dealership. The recall letter should describe the issue in full. Make sure you know about any risks that the issue poses and what repairs will need to be made. This will be especially important if you’re unable to get your car in to be fixed immediately.

In most cases, you won’t have to pay anything for the necessary repairs. However, the maintenance tech may identify other issues that need repairs. These are sometimes things that may be indirectly related to the recall issue, but only identified upon full inspection. Be prepared to cover these repair expenses if they are necessary at the time.

Depending on the severity of the recall issue, the amount of time the work will take can vary. The dealership may set you up with a loaner vehicle in the meantime. This should also come at no cost to you.

So don’t sit on recalls, always act as quick as possible and get your vehicle checked or repaired. The only cost is potential inconvenience, and this heavily outweighs the risk of driving a car that may be unsafe to operate.