How Often Should I Check for Recalls on My Vehicle?
Norman Taylor & Associates
September 15, 2021
How Do Vehicle Recalls Work?
When a vehicle has a defect that affects the vehicle’s safety or when the vehicle fails to meet minimum safety standards, manufacturers are required to repair, replace, or repurchase the vehicle back from the consumers. When a manufacturer or the NHTSA determines that there is a problem that affects a group of cars (such as a specific model or year), they will issue a recall for that vehicle. Recalls may also be issued for vehicle equipment, car seats, and tires.
How to Check for Recalls
If your car is registered and the manufacturer issues a recall, they will contact you (typically through the mail), notifying you of the recall and how to go about getting the problem repaired. However, you do not have to rely on the manufacturer to get in touch with you. There are several other ways you can check for recalls on your vehicle yourself.
Ways to check for vehicle recalls include:
- Check for recalls using the NHTSA recall search tool
- Sign up for recall notifications via email through the NHTSA email system
- Download the NHTSA’s SafeCar Mobile app
- Check for recalls using your car manufacturer’s online recall search tool
It is worth periodically checking for vehicle recalls, especially if you purchased your car used from a private seller or you have recently moved. This will ensure that if the manufacturer or dealership can’t access your current mailing address, you will still be informed.
Keep reading for more answers to frequently asked questions about vehicle recalls.
When Should I Be Checking for Recalls?
If your car has an active recall, the manufacturer or dealership where you purchased the vehicle will attempt to reach out to you. They are legally required to do this. However, if you have moved recently or purchased your car used, you may want to take a more proactive approach to keeping up with potential recalls.
There is no hard and fast rule regarding how often you should check for recalls. However, checking once a year is a good rule of thumb. You may also wish to check for recalls before taking a long trip for peace of mind. You should also check for recalls before purchasing a used car, especially if you are buying from a private seller.
If you are having an issue with your car, and you are taking it to a private mechanic for repairs, it is worth checking to see if the problem is associated with a recall. If it is, you should then contact the manufacturer or dealership to have the recalled part or equipment replaced or repaired.
Do Recalls Expire?
One concern that people have regarding how often they should be checking for recalls is whether recalls expire. No, vehicle recalls do not expire. Therefore, if you check for recalls and discover that there was one issued the year before, you should not have a problem getting the problem repaired. Typically, car manufacturers will repair recalls issued within the last ten years for free. However, if your recall is older than a decade, you may have to pay for repairs.
Does a Recall Mean I Have a Lemon
Generally speaking, no. Just because there is a recall issued for your car does not mean that you have a lemon. A lemon is a vehicle that not only has a manufacturing defect, but that defect cannot be resolved after several repair attempts by the manufacturer. Furthermore, for a car to be classified as a lemon, it typically has to be recently purchased, and the problem needs to have been discovered before a certain amount of mileage has been put on the car.
If you have a problem with your vehicle and believe you may have a lemon, you should reach out to a law firm experienced in handling lemon law cases, like Norman Taylor & Associates. A knowledgeable attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for either a lemon law claim or a breach of warranty claim.