Ask anyone involved in the automotive industry about 2014 and they will tell you it was the year of the recall. As a working member of an automotive work force working for a dealership this is great news. Recalls as horrible and redundant as they are, means there is always work, even in the slow season.
As an independent service provider it can be a real problem. First it forces vehicles that are out of warranty away from the independents and back into the dealership where a lot of the service work that we may have been doing is done at the dealership because of the convenience issue. For the consumer free is free and that as it should be.
The first thing you as the consumer must learn is the difference between a “TSB” or technical service bulletin, a “campaign” and a recall.
A recall is when a vehicle has a safety related defect as stated by the NHSTA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). This vehicle must be brought back to the dealership, regardless of mileage or age and repaired by the manufacturer free of charge to you the consumer. A campaign is when a manufacturer voluntarily recalls NON-SAFETY related issues and either repair’s them free of charge or at a reduced rate. Many times there are either time or mileage limitations.
A TSB is an updated revision or repair that has been noted by field testing and greatly reduces the time need to repair this fault, thus costing the consumer less. There are times when the manufacturer will supply parts kits at a reduced rate to help keep the cost of these repairs in check. Of course if a vehicle is still under warranty when this repair is performed there will be no charge to the consumer, if the vehicle is out of warranty the owner is required to pay for said repairs.
The easiest way to determine if your vehicle is involved in an ongoing recall is to first locate and copy the Vehicle Identification Number, most commonly known as the VIN number.
This number is always found on the dash plaque under the windshield on the driver’s side of the vehicle and then usually on the driver’s door or on the door pillar. Take note that if you are not the original owner of the vehicle make sure that both of these numbers are the same. A vehicle that was involved in an accident and has had the driver’s door replaced, may have a different number on it. Take this note from personal experience as I once had a Ford Van that we could not get the right parts for sometimes and this is exactly what had happened.
Secondly and the easiest way is to use your computer and go to NHSTA.com. Fill in the vehicle’s VIN number and check open recalls and you should get all of the information that you need. If you don’t have a computer, you can call the closest dealership of your vehicle and ask for service. Have the VIN number right in front of you and ask the service advisor if there are any open recalls on your vehicle.
Please remember that this is a service that they are performing and wasting their time decreases their efficiency which affects their pay check. The main reason that many people do not get their recall notices is because the notice goes to the original owner only and it is up to them to notify the manufacturer if they do not still own said vehicle so that it can be forwarded to the second or third owners.
If your vehicle is involved for a recall you must be patient. Once the manufacturer is informed that your vehicle is involved, (remember you might be that second or third owner) it will be put into the system and you will be called by the closest dealership to you that your parts are in and when to bring your vehicle in. Understand that the most dangerous of recalls, such as air bag debris or brake system will take precedence over recalls such as GM’s ignition key or ignition switches.
This year there were 57.8 MILLION vehicles recalled, an astronomical number that involved so many different makes and models, and most people cannot fathom how that could have happened. Well actually the long and short of it is very simple. Due to the fact that single manufacturers are now producing either whole assemblies or parts of assemblies for specific vehicles these defective parts are crossing over several continents not just manufacturers’ lines. I understand that that statement was as clear as mud, so to really simplify it I will use this example.
As part of the Chrysler air bag recall some Dodge trucks have two different air bag issues for the same vehicle. The driver’s side requires a new air bag while the passenger side needs a new igniter which actually propels the air bag. Both of these components are manufactured by Takata, the largest supplier of air bag components to most Japanese and domestic vehicles but also BMW’s, Volvo’s, Volkswagens, Audis and Mercedes. That means a lot of vehicles have these components which is why there are 7.8 million air bag recalls.
If by chance you still cannot find out if your vehicle is involved in a recall feel free to stop by the shop and it will be our pleasure to assist you in any way that we can.
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