If you've been keeping up with the news or paying attention to major headlines, you've probably seen quite a few stories about cars and trucks being recalled. These vehicle recalls are normal and, for one reason or another, they happen all the time. This year, however, has been unlike any other when it comes to automakers issuing safety recalls. A record-setting 56 million U.S. vehicles have been recalled so far in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That's more than 3x the number of new cars Americans will purchase this year.
The latest round of recalls making headlines involve defective airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation. The airbags, which can explode during deployment, have been linked to several deaths and many more injuries. General Motors, which came under intense criticism for faulty ignition switches, is continually acknowledging higher death counts caused by their defective switches. Both of these defects have accounted for millions of recalls.
Are You Safe From Auto Recalls?
Because defective auto parts place so many motorists and pedestrians at risk, safety recalls are incredibly important. What's more important than the recalls themselves, though, is making sure vehicle owners actually get them fixed. Below are a few tips that can help you make sure your vehicle is safe from recalls and car wrecks:
- For Vehicle Owners – Federal law requires all auto manufacturers to inform vehicle owners about safety recalls by mail. These notifications will contain information about the recall issue and where you can go to get your vehicle serviced. This service should not cost you anything. If you haven't received a notification and you're concerned about news of recent recalls, you can check to see if your vehicle has been recalled by visiting your automaker's website or using the NHTSA VIN search tool.
- For Vehicle Buyers – Are you thinking about buying a new car or truck? If so, make research on safety recalls part of your buying process. Carfax reports that roughly 3.5 million used vehicles were listed for sale with unfixed recall issues last year. Protect yourself and your loved ones by searching the VIN number of the vehicle you're looking at. If you find that a recall hasn't been fixed, you can potentially use it to your advantage by negotiating a lower price. Just make sure to take the vehicle in for service if you buy it.
- For Vehicle Renters – Currently, there aren't any laws that require rental companies to service vehicles with safety recalls. This means you'll have to find out if certain rental companies state explicitly in their policies that they don't rent recalled vehicles (some don't). You may also search online to make sure you stay away from certain makes and models that have recently been recalled or search the VIN. A law is currently pending in Congress that would make all rental car companies immediately address safety recalls.
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers hopes these tips will help you stay safe from auto recalls. If you have any questions about defective auto parts or your rights after a car wreck, call a South Carolina injury attorney from our firm.