When a safety problem is uncovered in a motor vehicle, the car can be recalled. Owners with the make and model of the vehicle in question are entitled by law to be notified and obtain a free fix.
Generally, a recall will be initiated by the manufacturer of the car or by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after it has investigated complaints about the type of car in question.
Failure to fulfill the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards is at the heart of a recall. For example, the Standards provide bottom-line performance requirements for the parts of the car that affects its ability to operate safely, including tires, lights, and brakes. The Standards are also designed to protect drivers and passengers from serious injury or death if there is a crash, including such items as air bags, child restraints, safety belts motorcycle helmets, steering columns that take the brunt of a forceful impact, and so on.
Federal law requires that manufacturers must follow a certain process to locate motor vehicle owners about a recall. This includes the manufacturer of the vehicle merging records of purchases with each state’s vehicle registration information to identify owners of the recalled vehicle. If the recall involves motor vehicle equipment, then the manufacturer must notify their chain of distribution in an effort to track down owners of defective equipment.
Next, the manufacturers must send a letter describing the hazard or defect, the free repair to fix the problem, and other details, including what the owner can do if the manufacturer does not actually complete the repair within a reasonable amount of time.
During a vehicle recall, the NHTSA will be monitoring behavior of the manufacturers to make sure that they are complying with the standards required to effectively fix the defect at no cost to the consumer. This may potentially include anything from the defect repair to a motor vehicle or equipment replacement.
However, the manufacturer does not have to pay motor vehicle owners for any damage that was caused due to the defect or for costs that the owner incurred by fixing the defect before the product was recalled.
In the case of a motor vehicle that is older than ten years at the time the defect is uncovered, the problem does not have to be remedied for free by the manufacturer. This means that you will need to pay for the repair out of your own pocket.
Questions About a Motor Vehicle Recall?
We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so that you pay nothing until we win an award for you. To contact J. Lewis & Associates, call 800-228-0507.