If you were watching the nightly news and saw that your car, truck, or SUV was recalled you are one of the millions who has had their vehicle recalled for a defect that affects safety over the past decade. There is usually scant detail about this looming danger to you and your loved ones when you ride in the family car. You have no idea where and how to start looking into your vehicle being recalled; with that in mind here are some actions you can take when your vehicle is recalled.
If you purchased the vehicle directly from the dealer, a notice will be sent to you in the mail if your car is of the type being recalled. Dealerships are required by law to inform their customers when a recall occurs, so you will be contacted. If you are not the original owner, or not willing to wait because say something such as the gas pedal is sticking to the floor, or a component that causes the gas tank to explode are the reason for the recall there is a way to find out if your vehicle is being recalled.
Ever car has what is known as a vehicle identification number (VIN) that tracks things like transactions the car was involved in and for things like recalls. Usually, you can locate the VIN on the front corner of the dashboard in front of the steering wheel. In some cases, it will be found on the driver’s side door jamb when you open the door.
Using the vehicle’s VIN, you can go to safercar.gov which is run by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. By entering the VIN, you can determine if the recall applies to your vehicle.
When you receive a letter from the dealership where you purchased the car, it will give you instructions on how to set up an appointment at the dealership or with an authorized mechanic to perform repairs.
If you did not purchase the car directly from a dealer, contact the manufacturer dealership in your area, and they will be able to assist you. In most cases, there won’t be a charge for repairs. However, if the recall is on tires, you will only have 180 days to have them replaced before a fee is assessed.
Unfortunately, the reputation of car dealerships and mechanics being unscrupulous has been well earned by some. Remember, in almost all vehicle recalls there is no charge for repairs. If the dealership you received the letter from, or the dealer authorized mechanic who is going to do the repairs asks for money, take your car home.
Contact another manufacturer dealership and explain what happened; in most cases, they will offer assistance or direct you to another authorized mechanic.
As previously stated, the only scenarios where there would be fees associated with recalls are when the car is older, or it’s past 180 days on a tire recall. There should be absolutely no charge on a recently purchased vehicle.
If you do encounter someone trying to charge for recalls be sure to inform both the manufacturer and the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration.
So, breathe easy, having your car recalled may cause some slight inconvenience, but it is not the ordeal many think it will be.
Don Westerfeld has been active in the field of Insurance and Financial Planning since 1997. Don grew up in Indiana later moving to Lakeland Florida where he continues to reside with his wife and children. When he’s not in the office you can find him enjoying the great outdoors. He has served on several charitable business and non-profit organizations and continues to provide guidance, advice and support to local charities.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.