What If My Car is Recalled During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Norman Taylor & Associates
April 28, 2020
When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or an automotive manufacturer issues a recall, it means an automobile has a serious problem that poses a safety risk to consumers and other roadway users. A recall also means the issue is so serious that it has to be fixed. But what if your vehicle is recalled amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? After all, it seems as if most of California has shut down.
According to William Wallace, manager of safety policy at Consumer Reports, if you can use another vehicle or if driving isn’t essential, you can probably wait to have your vehicle repaired for the defect. While vehicle warranties expire, that’s not the case with recalls; they can be done at any time, even if your car’s warranty expires before the recall repair is performed.
Car Repair Facilities ‘Essential’ During COVID-19
By now, you’ve heard the terms “essential” and “non-essential” used a lot. Fortunately, the Department of Homeland Security decided that car repair and maintenance facilities are essential, and we have to agree. In other words, our federal government sees the importance of keeping our vehicles safe and maintained; therefore, it’s recommending that such facilities remain open, even though “non-essential” businesses have been directed to shut down.
Jason Levine is the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. Levine said that over 50 car, truck, and motorcycle recalls have been issued since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency due to COVID-19 in March. Levine says that if a car dealership is open, it’s obligated to perform repairs for vehicles that have been recalled. “The current situation hasn’t changed the automakers’ responsibilities with respect to recalls,” Levine says.
Are You an Essential Worker?
Are you an essential worker because you work in healthcare, you’re a delivery driver, or you’re another type of essential worker that’s important for California’s infrastructure? Or, do you depend on your vehicle to get food, access medical care, and pick up prescriptions? If so, you may not be able to wait to get your car fixed.
What do you do? Don’t just head over to your dealership. Automakers told Consumer Reports that consumers should first call their local dealer because not all dealerships are open. Find out which one is open and when you can schedule the recall repair.
“In most cases, dealerships will still be able to perform recall repairs, assuming trained staff and parts are available. But the unique circumstances of a virus outbreak complicate how easily or safely consumers can get those repairs performed,” Keith Barry wrote in Consumer Reports.