Should I Respond if My Car has a Recall?

If you own a car or truck and find out that it is on a recall list, do you know what to do next? Just to clarify, a recall occurs when the vehicle manufacturer (or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) determines that a certain vehicle model has a safety-related defect or does not meet federal safety standards. The recall is issued to alert vehicle owners to the problem (and there is also usually an offer to repair the problem free of charge).

So what do you do if your vehicle is on a recall list? In most cases, it is best to contact an authorized dealership and arrange to bring your vehicle in for repairs. You should have received a recall letter in the mail, and it’s best to bring it with you. The repairs should be done free of charge. If the dealer tries to charge you, ask to speak to the manager. If there’s still a problem, call the vehicle manufacturer directly and report the issue. If that fails, you can call the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 to report the problem.

So what happens if you don’t bring your vehicle in for repairs? Maybe nothing – or maybe a problem with your car down the road. The thing is, just because your car is on a recall list doesn’t mean that you are in any immediate danger. In fact, millions of people ignore recalls if they think that the problem or defect in the vehicle does not pose a serious hazard. However, the smart move is to go ahead and have your car repaired rather than take any risks. It won’t cost you anything except a bit of time and inconvenience – but it can give you peace of mind knowing that a potential problem with your car has been prevented.