Plenty of car manufacturers ordered the recall of some of their models in the past year, including BMW, Nissan, Toyota, and Subaru. Were you aware of these recalls? Do you own an affected model? If so, did you take your car to the dealership immediately for evaluation, or did you simply ignore the announcement?
Car recalls are there for a good reason
Car manufacturers recall their products under extremely special circumstances. The brands understand that such activities can deal serious damage not only to their bottom line, but also their reputation. And yet they are compelled to do so by law, because consumer welfare is paramount.
In most cases, car recalls are related to safety defects in one or more of the vehicle’s systems, including steering, brakes, airbags, seatbelts, ignition, and emissions, to name a few. Most of the time, auto manufacturers initiate the recall when a good number of car owners complain of a common problem. Other times, the recall can be ordered by car safety organizations such as the New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) when tests reveal a defect, or by government agencies like the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Regardless of who initiates the recall, manufacturers must provide a solution to the problem whether by repair, replacement, or refund, often at zero-cost to the consumer.
Too many car owners ignore car recalls
In 2015, Nissan PH urged its customers with affected vehicles to bring in their units to have their Takata airbag replaced. Three years later, the company continues remind their customers about it. This is a perfect example of how, despite a car manufacturer’s efforts, people still choose to ignore what is supposedly in their best interest.
Of course, the risks associated with ignoring a recall depend on the reason for the recall itself. Unfortunately, many consumers simply do not understand the importance or urgency of a recall that could potentially keep them and their loved ones out of harm’s way. When people were surveyed about why they chose to ignore a vehicle recall, some of the reasons cited include:
- Busy schedule.
- Fear that the repair will take too long, leaving them with no car to use.
- The repair might cost them money.
- Scheduling an appointment is too bothersome.
Ignoring a car recall can have dire consequences
Since recalls are often safety-related, the problem that they seek to address can rear its ugly head at any time. A car accident can result from the failure of bringing a car in to fix a safety defect, which can deal damage ranging from minor to life-threatening. For your own sake, don’t ignore a car recall if it affects your vehicle.
What should I do if my car gets recalled?
First things first, read and understand what the recall is about. The recall should detail the seriousness of the issue, and if you must stop using the vehicle altogether. It should also give you instructions on how to proceed–you may be instructed to set an appointment with your nearest dealer or contact the manufacturer directly. The important thing here is to respond as soon as possible, because procrastinating or ignoring the recall altogether puts you, your passengers, and other road users in danger.
What if the manufacturer asks me to pay for repairs?
In most cases, a manufacturer will fix a recall-related issue free-of-charge. Some will even reimburse their customers for any out-of-pocket expenses. Nevertheless, there will be cases wherein a car owner may be required to pay certain fees. This is especially true if the car is way past warranty. It’s never fun to pay for these kinds of fees, but you can’t really put a price on your safety and wellbeing. If you feel that the fee is not justified, you can assert your right as a consumer by filing a complaint with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).