Vehicle safety recalls are common in the United States. You wonder if the growing number of car complaints and affected cars indicates a decline in vehicle safety.
Other than the car’s make and year, the vehicle also depends on the manufacturer. Many of the most recent recalls have included cars that are older models. The headlines may feature large numbers, but they rarely go into depth.
Recalls highlight various safety issues to prevent potential accidents on your roads and highways. This article explores the risks a recall poses and what drivers should do once a recall has been announced.
If you were injured in an accident that may have been related to a car recall, call (561) 800-8000 for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer serving Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Read on to learn more about vehicle recalls.
What Are Motor Vehicle Recalls?
Manufacturers issue recall notices when they discover a problem with a vehicle that could endanger its occupants or cause property damage. When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies a potential threat to public safety, a recall is issued and the affected products must be repaired.
What Are Safety Defects?
A safety defect is something that:
- Creates an unsafe driving environment
- Exists among a fleet of cars that were all made by the same company
It would be best if you didn’t have to pay to have a recalled product fixed or replaced. A safety fault has been detected if your vehicle, car seat, or tires are being recalled.
Procedures for Recalls Issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration enforces car safety regulations in the United States. The NHTSA mandates that automakers cover the cost of fixing any safety-related issues for their customers at no extra charge.
Manufacturers may hesitate to initiate widespread recalls due to the high costs of replacing faulty components and performing related repairs. However, The NHTSA uses a recall procedure to fix any problems that could compromise safety.
The recalls process usually entails the following:
- Car complaints
- An investigation by the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI)
- Vehicle recall notice issued by NHTSA
How Can I File a Car Complaint with the NHTSA?
Manufacturers may voluntarily initiate recalls when they find potential safety issues. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the courts initiate recalls for other manufacturers. The latter can emerge from consumers’ own exploration. There are three ways to notify the NHTSA of a safety issue:
- Make a call to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s vehicle safety hotline
- Report the issue online
- Send a letter to the Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation.
The NHTSA may launch an investigation if it receives multiple complaints about the same problem with the same vehicle make, model, and year. Now that a recall has been issued, the Office of Defects Investigation will investigate the cause of the problem.
The process usually entails the following:
- Screening: Reviewing customer complaints to see if further investigation is needed
- Petition analysis: Reviewing petitions for defect probes
- Investigation: Through two phases that look into possible safety defects.
- Management of Safety Recalls, or Recall Monitoring
Vehicle Recall Issued by NHTSA
Recalls issued for potential safety issues are the responsibility of the NHTSA. The NHTSA is the final authority, but manufacturers can dispute claims and provide new data.
The public is alerted and given instructions once the recall has been issued. Customers usually need to schedule an appointment with the service department of their preferred dealership.
You can sign up for alerts if you’re concerned about recalls but aren’t sure if they apply to your vehicle.
Is My Car Under Recall?
Are you wondering if your car is safe or has been recalled?
If it’s under recall, you should get a notification. Manufacturers must send a notice to all known owners of the recalled vehicle within 60 days of making a recall decision. Visit their website to sign up for automatic email alerts whenever the NHTSA issues a recall.
By searching the NHTSA’s recall database, you may also see if your vehicle is included in a recall. You only need the car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) and a search engine to do this. Recall rates vary by make and model, which may leave you wondering if specific brands are more vulnerable to problems than others.
Common Safety-Related Defects
The most common defects related to safety during car recalls include:
- The unexpected failure of the steering mechanism leading to a loss of vehicle control
- A malfunctioning or stuck accelerator
- Broken or cracked wheels
- Failing seats
- Random deployment of the airbag system
- Safety belts, buckles, or other components of car seats that are faulty and pose a risk of injury
Brake pads need to be inspected, serviced, and replaced regularly because of normal wear and tear. Other non-safety-related defects include excess oil consumption.
Who Is Responsible for Reporting Safety Recalls?
Vehicles and all factory-installed accessories are the responsibility of the manufacturer. They must report problems to the NHTSA, inform vehicle owners, and provide free repairs.
Notification, reporting, and recall actions related to equipment not installed by the vehicle manufacturer are the purview of the equipment manufacturer. Verify that your home address and car registration are current. It’s crucial if you want to get alerted promptly after a recall.
Do Vehicle Recalls Expire?
No. As long as the automaker continues operation, you are entitled to free repairs for recall-related issues. If an automobile is subject to a recall and then sold, the recall will still apply to the new owner.
Suppose you decide to buy a used car, only to learn that it has been recalled, and the safety defect that prompted the vehicle’s recall was never fixed. In this case, you have the legal right to take your car in for free repairs because of the ongoing recall.
Evidence from vehicle recalls can be helpful in court. They have ample evidence that a car is problematic, because of the manufacturer’s admission that it is through the recall process.
Who Pays for Vehicle Recalls?
The manufacturer should bear the expense of fixing any safety defects, and you should be reimbursed for any repairs you’ve already made because of a recall. Automakers are obligated to pay for recall-related repairs incurred by customers for up to a year after they are notified of a recall.
Vehicle owners can rest easy knowing that this compensation also extends to pre-announcement expenses.
Can I File a Lawsuit if I Was Injured by a Recalled Car?
Yes, and you should talk to a lawyer about your rights and any financial recovery alternatives.
At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we have extensive experience helping personal injury victims seek financial compensation. If you or a loved one sustained injuries because of the negligence of another party, we can help you get justice.
Get in touch with an accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by dialing (561) 800-8000 now for a free initial consultation.