Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Vehicle Recalls

Car recallIn 2017, 63 million recalled vehicles were in use across the country. (Could your car be one of them? Click here to check NHTSA’s database and find out.)

Even more alarming, family-oriented types like Minivans and SUVs are more likely to have open recalls on the road. In any given year, only about 75 percent of recalled vehicles actually get fixed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which administers recalls. Owners of the remaining 25 percent are either unaware of the recalls or, as one recent study suggests, ignore them because fixing the problem would be an inconvenience.

But according to the National Safety Commission (NSC), heeding recalls is crucial to minimizing accidents on U.S. streets and highways. “Drivers may not realize how serious safety recalls really are,” said Maureen Vogel, a spokesperson for the NSC. “But manufacturers don’t issue recalls unless the defect poses a real risk. Even if the problem seems small, it is important to fix recalls when they occur.”

What a Recall Means

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards maintained by NHTSA include performance requirements for all vehicles made in or imported to the U.S. and driven on public roads. These requirements monitor vehicle parts that are critical to safe operation (like brakes, steering and lighting) as well as parts that protect passengers in the event of a crash (like air bags and safety belts).

When a safety-related defect that will prevent a vehicle from meeting these federal standards is identified, a recall is issued. Vehicle manufacturers usually discover such defects, but occasionally they’re identified when many individual car owners report the same problem, prompting NHTSA to open an investigation.

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 must provide repairs—at no cost.

Stay Informed, Stay Safe

How do you know if your car has a recall notice? In addition to the mailing you should receive, NHTSA keeps a comprehensive, current database of safety-related recalls. A quick online search using your car’s VIN number will let you see all related open recalls, as well as information about repairs. You’ll also have the option of getting future recall alerts by e-mail.

Automotive-service companies are also doing more to help drivers stay up-to-date on recalls. CARFAX, for example, which provides vehicle-history reports to buyers of used cars, recently teamed up with GEICO to offer Vehicle Care—a feature on the GEICO Mobile app that provides the latest recall alerts, as well as service-related reminders, powered by myCARFAX.

And a pilot program recently launched by NHTSA may eventually allow more car owners to be notified of open recalls when they register cars with their state Department of Motor Vehicles. Though it’s still in the early stages, the program has the potential to reach more drivers before they take their cars on the road.

Another smart way to protect your car? With GEICO auto insurance. Get a fast, free quote now. And don’t forget to download the GEICO Mobile app for access to the new Vehicle Care feature.

Read More: Some car problems could be our own fault. Here are 5 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Car.

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  1. Susan Neville says

    It was a very good artical. I found it very interesting. This is just another great feature of Geico. Great insurance co.

  2. Ann Pichardo says

    I wanted to know if you buy a car at a dealer if it’s their responsibility to inform you of a recall on the car. I bought a car from a dealer and found out later there is a recall on the car.

  3. Marilynn Fournier says

    I’ve been trying to get the recall replaced since I received the letter after I bought my 2003 Ford Escape . The ford dealers in Starke and Gainesville, Florida have been giving me the run around. The one in Starke laughed and said if it hasn’t gone by now it probably won’t.

  4. Jan Maddox says

    There are recalls on my Mazda. However, Mazda says they will furnish a rental car until the repairs are made. There are so many recalls that there are NO rental cars available. General Motors says they will, since I live so far from a dealer, that they will come to my home, pick up the car, do the repairs and then deliver the car back to me. That’s very nice, convenient and helpful. But I live 10 miles from the nearest small town, 25 miles to the nearest bigger town and 82 miles to the closest large city. So am I to walk to get what I need, or incase of an emergency, run to town? What am I supposed to do for transportation while the car is being repaired?

    I have no other mode of transportation. So what am I supposed to do? The nearest dealer for me to travel to is 82 miles away. And with them not having rental cars available, what do I do? I can’t afford to rent a car, there is no telling how long it will take them to repair my car. So does GEICO offer rental cars in this type of situation?

  5. Patricia C. says

    I purchased my kia2018 in December 2017, I got a recall for computer system, I take it in and they told me that they have to fix cvs. 3 times I had to call warranty servicebecause car wouldn’t start. Did I make a mistake buying a Kia Sportage

  6. Ilona Liepins says

    So what does one do in this case?
    Senior Citizen who doesn’t want to drive to a dealership 50 miles away, or has no one to drive you there/back……………………….