Have you ever received an official-looking letter from your automobile manufacturer? If so, what could easily be mistaken as a piece of junk mail is a notice informing you that something in your car is defective. Due to safety concerns, a recall has been issued.
Suddenly, all of the worst-case scenarios begin to flash through your head. The last thing anyone wants to hear is that they have been putting themselves and their families in danger.
Before you lose your cool, know that many safety recalls are issued because of minor defects. Furthermore, it’s pretty unlikely that anything in your car will go wrong. Even with recalls that reach into the millions, it’s a very small number of vehicles that experience a malfunction.
What to do if your car is subject to an auto recall
Because the greater good is to ensure that everyone on the road is driving a safe car, individual drivers are not charged for repairs that are part of a recall. Depending on the size of the recall, the fix can take a few minutes to several days. For large recalls—like the recent 2.6 million cars GM recalled due to a malfunctioning ignition switch—the wait for service and parts took some time.
Despite how easy the government has made recalls, around 25 percent of recalled cars are never repaired. This may be because the issue is so minor that many drivers aren’t concerned or because people miss the recall notification.
If you never received a letter or an email about a recall but you suspect your car may be included in one, you can do a simple vehicle recall check by visiting recalls.gov. Simply enter in the manufacturer, model and year of your car.
Remember that work performed as part of a car recall should be free of charge. If you are charged or experience any other problem, contact the NHTSA by either calling their toll-free line at (888) DASH-2-DOT or emailing or chatting with them by visiting the NHTSA website.
Finally, if you experience an issue with your car that you believe may compromise your safety, speak up by visiting safecar.gov or calling (888)-327-4236 to file a complaint. Everyday drivers really do play an important role in keeping the roads safe.