Recent high profile news of vehicle recalls may make you nervous about the safety of your vehicle. From the recent recalls of the Toyota Camry and Corolla due to pedal acceleration issues to the recall of several Honda models due to airbag problems, drivers are wondering whether their vehicle will be the next one with a major problem.
Finding Recall Information
You can keep yourself informed about recalls pertaining to your vehicle by accessing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall website at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/latestRecalls.cfm. These results are regularly updated, giving you the most recent information about the safety of your vehicle.
The Recall Process
Do you recall the scene in Fight Club where the narrator (Edward Norton) explains the process of a vehicle recall? Pretty scary, right? But that process only applies to a manufacturer’s voluntary recalls. There’s a safeguard for drivers and passengers that isn’t related to the auto maker’s bottom line: mandatory recalls initiated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
For nearly every part in every car, there are safety standards that the component must meet. These standards are in place to keep drivers and passengers as safe as possible on the road and in the event of an accident. Sometimes, these parts are either not made in compliance with standards, or there is a defect in the part that affects safety compliance.
When there is a safety issue with a vehicle part, it means that a part in the vehicle is defective in a way that could affect the safety of the vehicle as a whole. Not all defects are considered a safety defect; for example, a radio that does not work would not be a safety defect because it does not affect the safety of the driver or passengers in the vehicle.
Defects are reported by vehicle owners to the NHTSA, and an investigation is launched based on these reports. If a safety defect is detected, the NHTSA will issue a “Recall Request Letter.” Many times, the manufacturer issues a recall upon receiving the letter. They can contest the findings of NHTSA’s investigation, but that begins a whole new complicated process.
If a recall is issued, typically that means that vehicle owners will take their car to a dealer for maintenance that corrects the issue. And, just to put your mind at east, most vehicle recalls are actually initiated by the manufacturer. They continually conduct their own safety testing. They’re really NOT just looking out for their profit margins.
Doing Your Part
If you feel that your vehicle has a defect that affects its safety, you should immediately report the issue to the NHSTA. You can file a safety complaint online at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/. Your identity will be kept anonymous so that the manufacturer and other consumers will not be able to access your personal information.