Auto recalls can be tricky. Especially if drivers crash because of equipment defects before learning about a recall. Unless car owners are on top of recall news they may miss one or two. This puts their lives and the lives of others in danger. Here at Bernard Law Group, attorneys are well acquainted with this reality. And we understand that each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launches more recalls. That’s why we decided to put this easy guide together to help drivers prevent accidents (and liability in case others suffer in a crash). Here are a few steps car owners should take to check their cars for open recalls.
There aren’t laws requiring auto dealers to tell potential car buyers that a vehicle has an open recall. That’s why it’s important that used car buyers ask dealers about any and all open recalls. If you suspect the dealer isn’t reporting all recalls, there are other steps you can take to check it for yourself.
By going to the NHTSA website and entering the VIN number in the appropriate field, the site will give you a detailed list of past and open recalls impacting that particular car.
Once you learn that the car you either own or you’re thinking of buying has an open recall, you can wither schedule a visit to a dealer for repair or, in the case of the used car for sale, you may decide to decline purchasing the vehicle or buy it and have it repaired as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that not all recalls are the same.
Sometimes, automakers don’t have enough replacement parts for certain vehicles and may ask car owners for patience as they stock up. Other recalls require simple fixes or software updates, and others will only require an updated manual. Depending on the severity of the recall, you might want to reconsider your purchase options.
Auto firms must contact impacted car owners by mail whenever they launch a new recall. If the automaker doesn’t have your updated contact info, you might never see a notice in the mail. Because many recalls involve serious injury risks, keeping your information updated with the dealer is nonnegotiable.