A Practical Guide to Understanding Car Recalls

car recall

Sixty-four million vehicles were recalled in 2014. This represents the highest number of cars to ever be recalled in a single year. And according to a widely reported study by Carfax, it’s estimated that one in five cars currently on U.S. roads is in need of a repair that falls under a government recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also estimates that one in four recalled vehicles is never repaired. This is true despite the fact that drivers can have repairs done for free at U.S. dealerships. When you add to these unsettling statistics the fact that nearly 47 million cars currently need to be repaired, you might feel less than excited about your morning commute.

Unfortunately, most people are not sufficiently informed about auto recalls, including why they happen or how they work. In this series of posts, we’ll help clarify things by covering the following topics.

  • What kinds of problems prompt a recall? What does it take for a manufacturer to announce a recall? We’ll take a look at how either the government or a manufacturer determines whether a safety defect warrants a recall.
  • What should you do if your car is recalled? It’s likely that at some point in your driving life, your car will be subject to a recall. Generally, certain regulations make the process easy and at no cost to you—yet around 25 percent of recalled cars are never repaired. We’ll look at reasons why.

Ready to understand more about car recalls? Then let’s get started.

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