You’ve probably heard of an automotive recall, whether it’s been on the news or you’ve received a recall notice in the mail. We’ve put together a list of basic information about recalls so you’ll know what to do and when one affects you.

When are recalls issued?

Safety recalls are issued when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined that a part of a vehicle, car seat, or equipment creates a safety risk or doesn’t meet the minimum safety standards. The recall is issued to alert those who may be using the specific vehicle or accessory that it may be unsafe and needs to be repaired or replaced.

According to the NHTSA website, a safety defect is generally defined as a problem in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment that:

● Is a risk to the safety of the vehicle, and
● May exist in a group of vehicles or equipment of the same design, type, and manufacture.

How do I know if there is a recall?

Vehicle manufacturers will reach out to all registered vehicle owners who are affected by the recall through a letter in the mail, so it’s important to ensure that your registration is up to date. If you’re concerned that you may not receive the letter, you can register to receive NHSTA email recall notifications for your make and model.

What do I do if the recall affects my car?

If you receive a recall notice or are otherwise alerted that your vehicle is affected by a recall, first look to the immediate safety advice associated with the recall.

Some recalls are more urgent than others! However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be in immediate danger. You should have your vehicle serviced at a dealership as soon as possible.

Safety recalls may also require certain actions on the part of the vehicle owner. Then, you’ll need to take your vehicle to a dealer for servicing.

Do I have to pay for the repair or replacement?

If you take your vehicle to an authorized dealer, the dealer should repair the recalled portion of the car at no cost to you.

If your dealer refuses, you can contact the NHTSA.