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How to Handle an Auto Recall

Auto recalls are more common than you might think, so if you happen to own a car that has been the subject of a recall, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean you’re driving a lemon and it certainly is not the end of the world. But it does call for some organization and sensible action on your part. How you handle your car recall will determine whether repairs go smoothly or whether the experience will turn out to be a nightmare. In most cases these things have way more to do with the driver than they do the automaker, because automakers in most cases have well laid plans for handling these things by the time they announce recalls.

Responding to a Recall Notice

Most recalls issued by automakers are actually voluntary, although this is not always the case. Usually a car manufacturer comes to an agreement with the NHTSA over a recall issue, and sometimes we do see the FTC or the Consumer Product Safety Commission get involved. In any case, the intent is to get the problem taken care of as soon as possible while trying not to disrupt the lives of car owners any more than necessary, something that appeals to all parties involved. When your car is subject to recall, keep that in mind and remember that the manufacturer has the same goal you have when you show up at the dealership.

Safety in Recalled Automobiles

Keep your family safe in a car that has been recalled, that includes foggy driving safety. If there is some time to come before you can get the recall work done, be sure to study up to find out if the car is safe to drive. If it is not an urgent notice, you are probably fine to drive and the defect must be something not essential to the safety of the vehicle. Also, make sure that your vehicle is actually being recalled. The NHTSA or the manufacturer will have that information, with make and model as well as model year details. Your car may not even be the right model year, so you need to be certain.

Review the recall and see what’s involved. Use government or manufacturer sites only to verify information and do not trust any other sources of information. The NHTSA should have an assessment of any dangers as well as recommendations on whether the repairs needed are urgent. Usually you will also get some correspondence by mail detailing the action that you need to take. This could include taking the car to a dealer and dropping it off and getting a free loaner while the repairs are being done.

There are some recalls that do affect your safety, and in these cases there may be important recommendations on how to deal with the dangers posed by the potentially defective parts if you ever run into the problem before getting the vehicle fixed. You should pay attention to all of this and be sure you understand every part of the instructions. Don’t be afraid to contact someone if there is anything you are unsure about.

Dealers and Recalls

Dropping off the car is something that has to be coordinated with the dealer in order to properly handle auto recall situations. Dealers actually are required to have parts in stock based on a certain timeline that you’ll be made aware of in the correspondence you receive. Make sure to get all of this straight and do not waste your time heading off to the dealership before they are ready for you. Make an appointment by calling ahead and let them know why you are coming in.


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