Manufacturers recalled over 52 million of vehicles in the United States in 2014, according to the Associated Press. Often times, these recalls occur due to a defect in the vehicles that make driving dangerous. When a manufacturer issues a recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will publish it on its Recalls & Defects page. Further, the manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will send you a notice in the mail regarding the vehicle. After you receive the notice, there are a few steps you need to take.
Follow the Instructions on the Notice
The notice that you receive in the mail should contain instructions about how to go about seeking repairs for your vehicle. The recall letter will include all the important details that you need to know, including:
- The reason for the recall
- Any hazards associated with the vehicle
- Warning signs that the vehicle may exhibit
- How the automaker will fix the problem
- Instructions for seeking repairs
If the recall notice tells you to stop driving your car, do so immediately.
What if I did not buy my car from a dealer?
If you bought your car from a private entity, it is highly unlikely that you will receive a recall notice. However, there are ways to find out about recalls without this notice. You can visit the NHTSA’s Recalls & Defects page, use Carfax’s Recall Check or visit SaferCar.gov’s Recall page. You can always call the manufacturer for any information about recalls as well.
After receiving your recall notice, you should call a dealer that sells your vehicle type to schedule repairs. The NHTSA requires all dealers that carry a defective car make or model to fix the defect free of charge – if the dealer tries to charge you for the repairs, it is violating both your rights and the law.
If you do not want to visit a dealership that sells your vehicle type, call your vehicle manufacturer. You should be able to seek repairs through a private mechanic on your own and have the manufacturer reimburse you for the costs.
Will I receive a temporary vehicle?
Sometimes, repairs cannot take place immediately. When this is the case and your car is too dangerous to continue driving, the manufacturer of your car may offer you a temporary vehicle. If you are in need of a temporary vehicle during the repair process, contact your vehicle manufacturer to discuss your options.
Your Legal Rights after a Vehicle Recall
You cannot file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a defective vehicle simply for manufacturing a defective vehicle; rather, the vehicle defect must cause you harm in order to take legal action, e.g., the defect caused your brakes to malfunction and cause an accident and your subsequent injuries.