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What You Need to Know About Car Recalls

Did you know that in 2017, 63 million recalled vehicles were in use across the country? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), which administers recalls, only about 75 percent of recalled vehicles actually get fixed. Leaving 25 percent of vehicle owners either unaware of recalls or, perhaps, ignoring them.

What is a recall?

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are maintained by the NHTSA and include performance requirements for all vehicles made in or import to the U.S. These requirements monitor vehicle parts that are critical to safe operation and parts that protect passengers. For example, brakes, steering, lighting, air bags and seatbelts. When a safety-related defect is identified, a recall is issued. Then, once a recall has been determined, the vehicle manufacturer is legally required to inform car owners about it, typically by mail. The manufacturer must also inform owners of how to get the problem corrected and provide repairs at no cost to the vehicle owner.

Get in the know

So, how do you know if your car has a recall notice? You should receive a mailing to your house to let you know. But, perhaps, you’ve purchased the car used from someone else and are worried you’re not receiving the mailings. The NHTSA keeps a comprehensive current database of safety-related recalls. This online search uses your car’s VIN number to let you see all open recalls, as well as information about repairs. You can also set up things like future recall alerts by e-mail.

When you receive a recall letter, it will likely contain the following information:

  • A description of the defect
  • The risk or hazard posted by the problem
  • Potential warning signs
  • How the manufacturer plans to fix the problem
  • Instructions regarding what you should do next

What to do if you find out your car has a recall

As soon as you find out there’s a recall on your vehicle, use the guidance provided by your car manufacturer and get in immediate contact with your local dealership. The dealer will fix the recalled part or portion of your car for free. Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. By ignoring these recalls, you could put yourself, your passengers and other drivers who share the road with you in danger.

When your car is well-maintained, it simply runs better. Make sure you’ve got the coverage you need by contacting your local Farm Bureau agent.