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Frequently Asked Questions About Car Recalls

Category: Automobile/Car Accidents

Car recalls are common and important for maintaining the safety and drivability of a vehicle. To make sure you know what to do if you receive a recall notice, take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about car recalls in California.

What Is a Car Recall?

When a vehicle has been found to compromise safety for drivers or passengers in some way, the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will issue a recall. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to contact the vehicles’ owners and cover the repair costs.

How Do I Know If My Car Has a Recall?

When car recalls are issued, the manufacturer must notify all affected vehicle owners by mail. To guarantee you will get notified, check that your car’s ownership records are updated with the manufacturer—for example, if you moved or purchased a used car. Additionally, you can receive alerts by downloading the NHTSA’s free SaferCar app or subscribing by email. The NHTSA also has a recall database where you can look up your car using its vehicle identification number (VIN).

What Do I Do if My Car Has Been Recalled?

Call your local, authorized dealer to set up an appointment for recall repairs. They should be aware of the recall and will work directly with the manufacturer; it should be a simple process for you. By law, the manufacturer must pay for the repairs if the recall is announced 10 years or less after the date of the car’s original purchase date.

How Long Does It Take to Fix a Recalled Car?

When you call to schedule a recall repair, ask the dealer how long you should expect it to take. It will depend on the extent of the repairs. Some may take an hour or two, whereas others will take a few days. In some extremely rare cases, an automaker may buy back or replace your entire vehicle. However, this usually happens only if there is a defect that cannot be repaired. In any case, you are entitled to a free rental car if the repairs are expected to take long.

How Often Do Recalls Happen?

Approximately 1,000 recalls are issued in the U.S. each year, according to NHTSA, each impacting an average of 50,000 to 90,000 vehicles.

Common Reasons for Car Recalls in California

The most common reasons for car recalls in Southern California include issues with the following:

  • Seat belts
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Airbags
  • Electrical components or wiring
  • Door latches
  • Fuel pumps
  • Accelerators or gas pedals
  • Ignition switches
  • Windows
  • Windshield wipers
  • Steering systems

The types of defects with these parts can range from something as minor as a malfunctioning window to severe issues such as defective fuel pumps that can cause engines to catch fire.

Can I Still Drive My Recalled Car Until I Can Get it Repaired?

The recall notice you receive from the manufacturer should tell you whether the vehicle is still safe to drive. However, even if it is, it is essential to take it in for the repairs as soon as possible.

I Was Injured Because of a Recalled Car; What Are My Rights?

If you are injured due to a recalled part on a vehicle, you have the right to hold the manufacturer responsible for damages. This claim would fall under product liability law, which holds manufacturers liable for any harm caused by defective products. As a result, you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. To learn more about your legal options, speak to a Fresno personal injury lawyer today.