Manufacturers often recall vehicles to correct defective components or address critical safety concerns. While some recalls may affect an entire model lineup, others target specific vehicles within a model year. Regardless of the nature of car recall, you should understand how it works if you own a car.
Read on to understand how car recalls work and the common types of recalls. Plus, we’ll tell you what to do if your car has an open recall.
What Is a Car Recall?
According to theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a recall is a safety alert that arises when a car manufacturing company or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies a vehicle, car seat, tires, or equipment with an unreasonable safety hazard or flawed safety standards.
Although the NHTSA plays a significant role in enforcing road safety compliance, a manufacturer may recall your vehicle voluntarily without the NHTSA’s directive.
Types of Car Recalls
Vehicle manufacturers may issue car recalls at various levels to address safety concerns. It all depends on the severity of the reason. Below are the three most common types of vehicle recalls.
Technical Service Bulletin
A technical service bulletin (TSB) is the first level of recall. A TSB doesn’t contain a directive to repair a vehicle; hence, it isn’t sent directly to the customers. Instead, manufacturers may issue bulletins to dealerships, highlighting a specific problem and how to fix it. TSB-related repairs are usually available from an approved dealer, even if the service isn’t part of the warranty.
A voluntary or “safety” recall is the most common type in the automobile industry. Manufacturers may recall a vehicle voluntarily if they discover a malfunction or a defective component that could pose a safety hazard to car owners with a similar vehicle model. Manufacturers may also issue voluntary recalls to reduce liability arising from such defects.
Voluntary recall services are usually free at approved dealerships. Moreover, if your vehicle is due for a safety recall, you may continue driving without legal implications until you fix the problem.
A mandatory or “stop drive” recall is the highest level of vehicle recall. The situation usually happens when the manufacturers discover a serious safety defect that requires an urgent remedy. A mandatory recall also restricts you from driving the car until you fix the defect highlighted. However, mandatory recalls are rare since cars are subject to stringent safety tests before sale.
How To Get Car Recall Alerts
Federal law requires vehicle manufacturers to inform registered owners of recall notices affecting their cars. For this reason, you’ll receive an email from the car manufacturer within 60 days of the recall.
The letter will describe the defect, possible hazards, and likely time frame for solving the problem. Some recalls, however, may affect selected vehicles within the model year, prompting the manufacturer to notify the affected buyers only.
Alternatively, the manufacturer will issue a press release on media publications informing the public of the recall notice. The publication will have a contact address to help you reach the company.
You can also get car recall alerts from the NHTSA website or retrieve the information online using your vehicle identification number.
What To Do if You Have a Recalled Car
A recall notice includes detailed instructions on the possible remedies from the manufacturer. It’s advisable to read the instructions carefully to understand the best action. That said, the NHTSA recommends the following actions to resolve the problem.
A repair is the most common remedy for minor defects. You should contact an approved dealership near you to take care of it. Although the manufacturer has the legal duty to repair the defect within a reasonable time frame, the availability of spares and the number of clients on the waiting list may determine how long you’ll wait.
The car manufacturer may replace a defective component or provide an equivalent car model instead of the recalled one. A replacement is the only remedy if the defect is irreparable or compromises the car’s structural integrity.
You may qualify for a refund if the defect is irreparable and the manufacturer doesn’t have an equivalent model to replace your car. In this case, the manufacturer will pay the car’s original sales price, excluding depreciation cost.
A refund also applies if you paid for a repair that later compels the manufacturer to issue a recall notice. You may receive compensation if the dealer completed the repairs within the right time frame and you filed for compensation not long after receiving the recall alert. Always hang on to your receipts, as you’ll need to provide them to prove the repair expenses.
Recalls on Pre-Owned Cars
Some pre-owned cars may be available for purchase despite having outstanding recalls. Experts recommend conducting a background check to determine if a pre-owned car has an open recall. If your search reveals outstanding recalls, ask the dealership to repair the fault before buying it.
The U.S. DOT collaborates with car manufacturers to keep important car ownership details. Subsequently, when you buy a pre-owned car, an approved dealership will request your current address and ownership details. That way, you’ll receive recall notices from the manufacturer whenever they arise.
Recall Repair Cost
Safety recall costs typically include labor charges and the cost of equipment pre-owned. The service is free of charge, provided your car is less than 15 years old. If the car is older than 15 years, the dealership may fix the defect free of charge or for a small fee, depending on your agreement. Other expenses beyond recall repairs may also attract charges from the dealership.
Are You Worried About a Car Recall?
Car recalls are inevitable if a manufacturer discovers a fault that requires repair or replacement. Although a recall may come when you least expect it, it’s beneficial since it enhances your safety and that of other road users. So, if your vehicle falls on the recall list, don’t fret. Simply follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for corrective action. Mercedes-Benz of Tyler is the best dealership for new and pre-owned cars in Tyler, Texas. Contact us to schedule an appointment if your car is under recall.
As part of Mercedes-Benz on-going commitment to providing you the best customer service, Mercedes-Benz wants to keep you informed about any applicable US recall campaign that may include your US vehicle.
This resource is always available to you. Simply enter your 17-digit US-based Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) below to see the most complete and up-to-date information on current or previous recalls. This tool will not work for non-US VINs.