Car recalls warn drivers of defective vehicles or auto parts that are not safe for road use. If you were notified that your car or vehicle part has been recalled, there are steps to take to ensure that the problem is fixed before it causes an accident. What are the next steps after a car recall?
Even after learning about car recalls and the steps to take following a vehicle recall, you may have been in an accident. You can reach out to the law firm of Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC with any further questions about your car accident in Maryland. If you were involved in a crash caused by a recalled car, a car accident attorney may be able to help you get the compensation you need to recover your losses.
What Is a Car Recall?
When a car or auto part creates a safety risk or fails to meet the minimum federally-required safety standards, it may be recalled. A car recall may be issued by the auto manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
A recall may be due to a safety issue related to the:
- Performance of a motor vehicle component or system
- Entire vehicle itself
If a car or car part is in any way a safety hazard, it is legally required to be recalled. It’s a violation of federal law if a company fails to recall a vehicle with a known hazard. Manufacturers not only have a duty to notify registered vehicle owners of the problem, but they are also obligated to offer a solution free of charge.
A vehicle or parts manufacturer has an obligation to address a safety issue as soon as it is identified. In some situations, there is one single component or system of the vehicle that is identified as needing to be fixed or replaced. Depending on the type and severity of the issue, companies may repair the problem or replace the defective part. In situations in which the whole vehicle is deemed a safety hazard, the defective auto may be recalled entirely. When the entire vehicle is recalled, the auto manufacturing company may offer a refund to registered vehicle owners.
How Will I Know If a Car or Car Part Is Recalled?
If your car, truck, or SUV is registered in your name, you should receive a letter in the mail alerting you of the recall. You can also check your vehicle on the NHTSA recalls webpage by searching your vehicle identification number (VIN). This will inform you of any recalls that may have been issued on your car or auto parts. Those who would like to receive alerts on their mobile devices can download the SaferCar mobile app or sign up to receive email or text alerts from NHTSA about recalled vehicles and auto parts.
On the NHTSA webpage you can also send a report about a vehicle safety issue you may have noticed. You may think that an issue is minor, such as a defective windshield wiper, but even a minor defect can be a severe hazard when it comes to auto safety. If you notice something, it’s a good idea to report it. And it’s always important to take car recalls seriously. Ignoring a recall could result in a preventable car accident and injuries.
Steps To Take After a Car Recall
When you receive a letter or digital message notifying you of a car recall, there will be directions listed within that notice informing you of the next steps to take. The manufacturer should provide information about how to resolve the safety issue that has been identified. Because recalled parts are ones that are known to have a significant risk of failing on the road and resulting in an accident, these steps must be taken immediately, as soon as you are able.
As mentioned above, there are generally three ways that a manufacturing company can handle a recalled auto: repair a part, replace the car or part, or refund the owner for the vehicle. Regardless of the method chosen to fix the problem, you shouldn’t have to pay any expenses out of pocket.
If the best option is to repair a defective part of your recalled car. The recall notification should provide information about where you can get your car repaired. Usually, you will need to go to a car dealership or auto mechanic specializing in the type of vehicle you own to have these repairs performed. You can schedule an appointment with a local shop or dealership to have the defective part repaired. You should not be asked to pay a fee for this service.
Sometimes the manufacturer will inform you that your car, or a part or system of your car, should be replaced completely. In the notification, they will provide exact information about what kind of part should replace the faulty one and where you can go to have it changed. It is very important that you only use the exact part advised in your recall notice.
Don’t attempt to use another part to replace the recalled part. This can cause mechanical issues, and it may damage your vehicle. Additionally, if you attempt to sell your vehicle in the future, the value may be significantly decreased because it is no longer up to manufacturer standards. Your recall notice will give you information about where to exchange your car or have a part replaced at no cost to you.
When an entire car is recalled, the vehicle manufacturer may offer owners a refund for the cost of purchase. There will generally be a deduction made for depreciation, which should be of a reasonable amount based on the age of the car. Registered vehicle owners can then use the refund to purchase a new vehicle.
What to Do After an Accident in a Recalled Car
If your car was recalled and you were involved in an injury-causing accident because of a defect, you have legal options. You may be able to recover compensation for the injuries and losses you suffered. You can discuss your case with an experienced car accident attorney to determine how best to move forward after an injury. If you have questions, reach out to our office to schedule an appointment with one of our car accident attorneys.