What Every Car Owner Should Know About Safety Recalls

As a consumer, it’s reasonable to expect that anything you purchase meets the explicit and implicit promises made of it by the manufacturer and retailer. This becomes doubly true when dealing with expensive items like vehicles. After all, a simple defect on a car or truck can lead to accidents or injury. Whatever the make or model of car you own, here are a few things you should know about how safety recalls work.

What Standards Necessitate a Recall

While many manufacturers will recall a car voluntarily out of fear of public backlash, they’re only required to do so when a vehicle part doesn’t comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. These standards exist to ensure that all vehicles properly protect drivers and passengers from accidents and injury, and they include tires as well as internal components of a vehicle. To meet this standard, the part must demonstrate an unreasonable risk to the safety of owners and exist in vehicles or equipment of the same type and manufacture. These defects can appear in everything from seat belts to steering systems to internal computers.

How to Know If There’s a Recall on Your Vehicle

In an instance where a recall is issued, the manufacturer is required by law to send a letter to any customer affected. Since title transfers are tracked by your state registration policy, that means you should receive a letter whether you’ve purchased your vehicle through a dealer or through a second party. Since recalls are sent through the physical mail, it’s important to always update your mailing address through the USPS. A recall letter outlines the nature of the defect, the potential dangers it can cause, and any warning signs that could indicate your vehicle may be subject to the defect. It also provides instructions on how to deal with the issue.

What to Do When a Recall Is Issued

A defect could put your life in danger and jeopardize the safety of other people on the road, so it’s important to deal with the issue as soon as possible. The financial burden of fixing a defect is completely on the manufacturer, so all you have to lose is the time it takes to get the problem resolved. In cases of more labor-intensive repairs, your dealer may even be able to provide you with a loaner car while the work is being completed.

Safety recalls may be a frustration, but the risk of driving a car that’s suffering from a defect is well worth the hassle. If you’re bringing your car in for Nissan repairs, for example, you may want to check with your dealer to see if there are any outstanding recalls you may have missed.

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