Consumer Reports Posted a Car Recall Guide That You Should Read

Recalls aren’t as common as the internet makes them seem. In fact, they are pretty uncommon, and because most consumers aren’t used to dealing with them, they can be pretty confusing. There is a lot of important information that you should know when it comes to handling recalls with your car. Lucky for us, there are websites that step up to help us to understand the whole process.

Where the problems begin

Many people would assume that a recall happens after the compromised part or mechanism fails and starts to become a real hazard. This isn’t always the case, and there are many ways that a recall can be advised. No matter what prompts it, a recall covers any manufacturing failures that compromise the safety of the driver and passengers, or the car. They range in type and severity, and some can be much worse than others.

Car repair shop manager Marc Oliver Dahl has connected a VW Passat TDI to a computer used for diagnostics in the Nouvertne Volkswagen car dealership in Solingen, Germany, 04 March 2016. Photo: MARIUS BECKER/dpa | usage worldwide   (Photo by Marius Becker/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Car repair shop manager has connected a VW Passat TDI to a computer used for diagnostics | Marius Becker/picture alliance

Recalls are time-consuming

Having recall work completed is a cost that is usually footed by the manufacturer. That means that regardless of what the recall is, the price or repairing the car or replacing the compromised mechanism is covered by the respective manufacturer. But you probably know that time is money, and even though having recalls serviced doesn’t cost consumers, it can take time.

Having your car in the shop for hours or even days can be frustrating. It can sometimes mean taking time off of work, reworking your whole schedule, or other frustrating things that just throw off your day. On top of that, sometimes you might find yourself needing a rental car, which is also usually provided for by the dealership. It can be a pretty annoying inconvenience.

The word, RECALL, is seen displayed on a smartphone.
The word, RECALL, is seen displayed on a smartphone | Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

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Staying informed

There are several ways that manufacturers contact car owners in regard to recalls. In the United States, owners are required to register their cars to their home address. This registration information can be used to help car manufacturers get connected with the right owners. Typically, owners will get some type of notice in the mail with information on how to proceed.

The NHTSA has also released a new smart phone app. This app could be a faster, easier way for manufacturers to reach out to consumers regarding recalls. Most large-production manufacturers also have portals on their recall website that allows owners and potential buyers to quickly obtain recall information simply using the car’s VIN.

Takata airbag recall
Japanese auto supplier Takata has issued recalls for 34 million airbagsJohn Patriquin/Portland Portland Press Herald

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You can even continue to drive while you wait for time to make it to your local car dealership, depending on what the recall is. The best way to know if this is possible is to call your local dealership and to ask their specialists how urgent the recall is. Many recalls are for more minor repairs, and even if they aren’t very time consuming, they do typically require an appointment to service.

Thanks to websites like Consumer Reports it is not only easier to find valuable information on recalls, but also to get quick guidance on how to handle them.