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Filing a Vehicle Safety Complaint

Filing a vehicle safety complaint is a process that’s very important to understand if you are ever in a situation requiring such action. There are many different situations that might require you to file a complaint. One of the more common examples is a performance issue that the dealership mechanic is unable to resolve. If you think it is time to report a problem but unsure how to proceed, take a look at these tips and make the process simple, similar to learning to drive stick shift vehicles.

Submitting Complaints to the NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a good place to start for car owners that want to file an official complaint about their vehicles. The NHTSA has the authority and influence with manufacturers to do something about these issues when it is apparent that there’s a pattern with vehicles performing inadequately in certain areas. It is possible to file a complaint online at or over the phone [1].

There are some important pieces of information that drivers need to remember to include in their complaints. This information is crucial because when enough drivers take the time to do this and include the necessary information, automakers might make choices such as getting recall efforts going. It is simpler in some ways to go online to get this done because then all you have to do is fill out a form.

But as you are getting ready to file the complaint, get the following information together and it will be much easier to get through this process:

  •  The make and model year of the vehicle as well as the model year.
  •  The part of the vehicle in question, such as the brakes or the tires.
  •  The VIN (vehicle identification number) of the vehicle, which can be found on your registration form as well as in certain locations on the vehicle itself.

There are other things that complainants should be ready to provide, such as information on the events that led to the failure that they are sharing about, how often these events occur or have occurred, and what if anything has already been done to try to fix the problem. This includes any repairs and replacement parts that have been installed.

Starting an Auto Recall

Sometimes recalls start when the NHTSA detects a pattern with even the replacement parts installed on certain vehicles proving to be faulty. There is nothing any individual driver can do to begin a recall on an automobile, but there are things that any one of us can do to influence a decision to do so through our contribution. If there is a persistent problem with your car that new replacement parts don’t correct, it is pretty obvious that something more must be done.

Filing a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the best thing you can do to promote your own safety as well as that of anyone else who owns and operates cars just like yours. When you file a safety complaint, a review process begins that could trigger a recall. So in this sense at least, your complaint could make a difference all on its own.

When you choose to file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are certain protocols to follow in order for your complaint to be registered. But these requirements are not overly burdensome and there is no reason to let them stop you from going through with this. Do something about car safety and let your voice be heard when auto performance issues come to light.

[1] Retrieved 2011-03-13.


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