If you notice that your vehicle feels or sounds like it needs some repairs, your first inclination might be to quickly pop into your local mechanic to get the work done. However, you should always check to see if there has been a recall issued for your vehicle and the particular issue you're having. You can do so by checking the listings on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.
In 1966, legislation was enacted that gives the NHTSA power to screen cars for safety defects and make the manufacturer fix the problem. Manufacturers address any safety concerns by recalling all affected vehicles. To date, more than 390 million vehicles have been recalled. In 2014 alone, more than 53 million cars were recalled.
Safety Recalls Are Serious
While some recalls are for minor safety issues, others are for highly dangerous defects that may put you and your family in danger. Take the recent recall for defective ignition switches for example. More than 50 people were killed as a direct result of defective switches with many more being injured. Other notable recalls included defective rack-and-pinion steering systems, which caused cars to suddenly careen off the road.
Before any of these major incidents happen, your car will likely begin to act funny. For example, it might start drifting to one side if there is something wrong with your steering. At the first sign of trouble, you should search for recalls. There might be a recall that you're not aware of, and it might be a very serious one.
A Lot of Cars Don't Get Fixed
The NHTSA estimates that approximately 25 percent of cars that are recalled never make it into the shop for various reasons. In some cases, the owner doesn't know there has been a recall. Some owners simply don't take their car in for repairs due to the inconvenience involved. If the NHTSA estimate holds true for the 53 million cars with faulty ignition switches, approximately 13 million deadly cars may remain on the road.
For this reason, you should never assume that all recalls for your car have been addressed. No matter how long it has been since a recall has been issued, contact your local dealership to see if your car is on the "fixed" list. They will need your car's serial number to do the verification.
All repair work done under a recall is absolutely free. In some cases, you may even be able to get a rental car to use while your vehicle is in the shop free of charge. What's more, recalls never expire, meaning that you can get your car fixed if the recall is 10 years old or older. There really isn't any reason to not take advantage of a recall and have your car fixed.
For further assistance, contact a local auto repair shop, such as NAPA Autopro.