Car recalls are unfortunately common in California and across the country. When recalls are announced, however, it is not always clear what the problem is and which specific cars are being called back. It is important that people whose cars are defective get accurate information and understand what they can do to get the vehicle fixed.
What is a Car Recall?
In the U.S. recalls are either ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or voluntarily announced by car manufacturers. They generally happen when vehicles do not comply with specific safety standards or have a safety-related defect.
The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are designed to set minimum requirements for car operation and safety, including:
- Steering columns
Safety-related defects generally are those considered to pose an “unreasonable risk” and many exist in a group of vehicles from the same manufacturer.
How Often Do Recalls Happen?
Some 1,000 recalls are announced in the U.S. alone each year, according to NHTSA. The average number of cars covered by each individual recall has varied in recent years from 50,000 to 90,000.
Most, if not all, of the world’s largest auto manufacturers announce recalls every year. The reason for the recall can range from malfunctioning door handles to fuel pump issues that could cause engine fires.
What Happens if a Car is Recalled?
A manufacturer that recalls a car is required to notify the registered owners of those vehicles by mail. Car owners can also check for recalls on NHTSA’s website.
Once a recall is issued, the manufacturer is required to fix the problem, replace the vehicle or refund the owner. The recall notice will usually ask the owner to bring the car to a local dealer for a fix.
Should I Buy a Car That Has Recalled Parts?
Unfortunately, many used car dealers sell vehicles that are covered by recalls. That puts unsuspecting buyers at risk. Although there are some limited warranties that certain used car dealers are required to offer in some situations, buyers, by and large, are on the hook for any problems with a used car after it leaves the dealership lot.
How Do I Know How Unsafe It Is?
The recall notice will tell you whether the car is still safe to drive and, in some cases, where the vehicle needs to be parked outside. Even if you can still drive the car, it is important to get it fixed as soon as possible.
If I’m Injured in an Accident Because of a Recalled Part What Happens?
You have the right to seek compensation for your injuries from those responsible, which may include the manufacturer or the dealer.
How Can I Prevent Buying a Car With a Recall?
Do not buy a car without checking first to see if it has been recalled. You can search the NHTSA website for recalls by vehicle identification number, as well as by the make, model and year. The VIN is 17 characters, listed on the left side of the car’s windshield and on the registration card.
Are There Certain Brands That Get Recalled More?
Larger manufacturers tend to issue more recalls, in part because they make more cars. A recent report found that the following brands had the most recalls over a five-year period:
- General Motors
How Can a California Lemon Law Attorney Help Me?
If you are a car owner or lessor with a recalled or malfunctioning vehicle, an experienced California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help.
We represent people in defective vehicle cases across the state, helping them fight back by holding defective car manufacturers legally liable.
Our offices are conveniently located in L.A., San Diego and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a California lemon law attorney today.