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Car Recall Basics

» Posted February 13, 2017Resources | Share This Post

If you have a problem with your vehicle, you need to understand the laws that will protect you. A Los Angeles lemon law attorney can provide you with insight into how the lemon law works if you have problems with your car. You should also know how the process works for mandated recalls when a manufacturer releases many cars with defects and the cars all have to be recalled to fix the safety problem.

How Does a Safety Recall Work?

Many vehicle owners do not understand how the recall process works, which can lead to confusion about how to handle the potential problems that develop with their cars.  Cars.com recently published a comprehensive guide to what happens when a car is recalled.  The current system for recalls has been the same since the process was initiated in the 1960s and more than half a billion cars and types of car equipment have been recalled using the same process.

According to Cars.com, a safety recall can be initiated if a car is released that violates federal safety standards in terms of its parts or equipment.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can initiate an investigation if consumers file complaints and, if problems are found, can get a court order to impose a recall. 

There is no set number of consumer complaints that will result in an investigation being initiated. However, the NHTSA will compare the total number of complaints to the number of vehicles that were manufactured to decide whether to investigate a potential problem based on consumer reports.

If the NHTSA launches an investigation, the agency will ask for information from the manufacturer. An engineering analysis could be conducted and investigators will submit the information they obtain to a panel. The panel will send a recall request to the car's manufacturer and the car makers can voluntarily recall the vehicle.

If there is no voluntary recall, a public panel will be convened by the NHTSA for debate over the issue. If a defect finding is supported, the NHTSA administrator can order a manufacturer recall, which the manufacturer could then challenge in federal court.  In many cases, car makers will simply voluntarily recall their vehicles once the NHTSA has found problems.

When a car is recalled, manufacturers provide notice to vehicle owners. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN number) is also listed on an online website set up by the government.  Depending on the issue with the car, car owners could be given the option to get the car fixed (usually for free) or for the manufacturer to repurchase the vehicle for a reasonable sum. 

Car owners can take their vehicles to the manufacturer's dealerships for fixes to be made.  There is no deadline for when car owners must take their car in for a recall, except if the recall is for defective tires in which case consumers have 180 days to get repairs done.

While a recall can make sure cars get fixed if many cars all have a defect, individuals who have new cars that turn out to be lemons may have a more difficult time addressing their issues. A skilled lemon law attorney can provide assistance with helping you understand your rights. Call The Bickel Law Firm, Inc. today to find out more.


Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"I was having a reoccurring problem with my vehicle that the dealer couldn't seem to fix and when I contacted the manufacturer they were not willing to help me at all, so I contacted the Bickel law firm. This law firm knows what they are doing and will tell you honestly whether you have a case or not. I highly recommend that you give them a try."

The Bickel Law Firm, Inc.