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Consumer Watchdog: Ignoring Auto Recalls Increases Accident Risks

Automakers are required to contact car owners directly via mail when their vehicles are recalled. Additionally, news outlets and blogs such as ours regularly report on auto recalls, hoping that the announcements will reach a greater number of people and help to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, many car owners either ignore recall alerts or put off getting their cars fixed. With the COVID pandemic, this situation has only worsened, Consumer Reports’ auto editor told reporters.

All Auto Recalls Matter: Avoid Accidents By Responding Promptly

To those of us who were forced to stay home through most of the past few months, driving may have become a rarity. But driving less often does not mean that open recalls must be ignored. As a matter of fact, automakers are doing their part to ensure that the process is as safe for car owners as possible, even through the pandemic. If your car has been recalled for a safety issue, Consumer Reports’ auto editor said, it is your responsibility to have the issue resolved. Thankfully, carmakers will most likely never charge you for a recall-related repair. 

If you suspect your car has been recalled but you never received an alert in the mail, there are steps you can take to check.

You can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, where you can look for open recalls by plugging in your VIN. If your vehicle is listed as being recalled for one or more issues, do not be alarmed. According to the Consumer Reports auto editor, automakers recall tens of millions of cars yearly over a variety of issues ranging from software glitches to visibility problems. Whatever the matter, the auto editor told reporters, drivers must keep in mind that “every recall is important and should be taken seriously.”

Depending on the severity of the problem, you might be advised to park the car outside until it’s fixed, or you might even be asked to avoid driving. However, the editor with Consumer Reports said, automakers are not required to offer drivers a rental car or a loaner. 

“Sometimes a dealership or an automaker will offer one as a courtesy, but it is not required by law,” he explained.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cars with open recalls can be legally sold. If you’re buying a pre-owned vehicle, you might want to request detailed information on the car, including any open recalls, or find out more by checking the NHTSA website. After all, not all dealers will volunteer this information. 

Whatever you do, keep in mind that car makers recall vehicles for a very important reason and that is to help keep you safe. Ignoring these alerts will only expose you and your loved ones to unnecessary risks. 

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