How does an automotive recall work?

Learn about the process of automotive recall. Find out who is involved in the process and why it happens.

There are often news reports about automotive manufacturers recalling vehicles. While most people understand that a recall means there is something wrong, they may not understand how this process works or how it gets started. It is important to know about recalls and the recall process because citizens in Illinois may end up playing an important role in the next auto recall.

Issuing the recall

According to the United States Department of Transportation, a recall is limited to issues that cause safety risks to users. It may occur if there are excessive reports about defects. Typically, the NHTSA looks for violations of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. It may also issue recalls when any defect compromises the safety of a vehicle.

The initiation of a recall can come from the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Manufacturers may realize through testing or other means there is a safety issue with a vehicle, which will prompt them to voluntarily issue a recall.

When the NHTSA issues a recall, it is often because the manufacturer refuses to do it and the NHTSA secures a court order. The NHTSA will investigate reports of issues with vehicles. It may get information from consumers who can file a report on problems they have with a vehicle.

Regardless of who issues the recall, the NHTSA must be involved every step of the way. It is this agency’s responsibility to ensure the recall is communicated and that it is completed so all vehicles are properly fixed.

Managing the recall

Once a recall is issued, manufacturers must offer to repair the recalled vehicle at no cost to the owners. Manufacturers and the NHTSA ensure consumers know about recalls through the news media. Sometimes, owners will also receive something in the mail alerting them of the recall.

If a person owns a recalled vehicle, it is best for him or her to check with the manufacturer to find out what to do. Many times, the manufacturer will have people take their vehicle to a service center at a dealership to get it fixed. However, depending on the issue, there could be other steps taken.

It is essential when a person receives a recall notice or hears about a recall that he or she takes action immediately since all recalls are based on safety issues. Letting it go and not getting the vehicle fixed could pose a serious risk for injury or accidents.

If you have concerns about the safety of your vehicle, you may want to talk with an attorney to find out what you should do. Consider contacting an attorney that handles product liability, such as Kujawski & Associates LLC.