Car Defects and Recalls



Today, cars are being manufactured with the latest innovated automotive technology and most advanced features. In facts, 75% are made by robots and 85% car operations are controlled by computers, and when mass production cars turns into millions, there could be possibility of minor defects left in the vehicles. It all depends on where (Plant location) and when(production date) that particular car was made, based on the 17-digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) found mostly on the driver door pillar or front dash which can be viewed from front windshield.
It goes without saying that vehicle recalls, once identified by car manufacturers and Ministry of Transport of local government, must be notified to both dealers and their customers.
Today, raised awareness of liability claims resulting from potential safety issues has led auto manufacturers to consider recalling their vehicles even when there is only a very slight risk stemming from safety, liability and quality concerns.
When such recall news is released through the media, it can often cause customers to panic, which can result in a difficult situation for the dealers.
However, like many other aspects, it is often how the dealer handles customer concerns that will have a bearing on the future in terms of relationships and business.


What is car recall?
An auto recall occurs when a manufacturer determines that a car model (or several models) has a safety-related defect or does not comply with a safety standard. When this happens, the automaker will alert owners to the problem and usually offer a free repair. Keep in mind that a recall doesn’t mean that the entire vehicle will be replaced.

What does a recall letter/notice include?
A recall letter should contain the following information:
• A description of the defect based on model and production period.
• The risk or hazard posed by the problem (including the kinds of injuries it can cause)
• Potential warning signs
• How the manufacturer plans to fix the problem (including when the repair will be available and how long it’ll take)
• Instructions regarding what you should do next

What should I do if I receive a recall letter/notice?
The recall letter should have instructions as to your next steps. Generally, you’ll be instructed to call your local dealer to set up a repair appointment.

What if don’t receive a recall letter?
When a recall is issued, manufacturers will do their best to contact all affected owners. If you don’t receive a car recall notice, however, you can contact your dealer. Whether you have received a letter or not, the manufacturer is still obligated to repair the defect (for free).

Does a safety recall mean I ‘m in immediate danger?
No, unless it is related with safety of your car such as brakes. If your car is on a recall list, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re in danger. However, if you learn that your car has been recalled, its best not to take the risk especially with recalls related the brake system. Have your car repaired as soon as possible, especially if the defect could pose a major hazard.

Do I have to pay to have my car fixed?
No! If your car is on recall list, all recall-related fixes should be done free of charge. You’ll need to take your car to an authorized dealer since they contract directly with the manufacturer. And to avoid complications, it’s best to bring your recall letter with you (if you have one).
If your dealer tries to charge you for the recall fixes, ask to speak to a manager and explain the situation. If you still run into issues, your next step is to contact the manufacturer directly (their number should be provided in the recall letter).

Will the problem be fixed?
Good question. The local government’s transport ministry monitors each safety recall to ensure the manufacturers provide owners with safe, free, and effective remedies. If you’re concerned that the error wasn’t resolved or believe a further problem exists, contact head office of your local car manufacture or Ministry of Transport.

Do I have to pay for extra?
You don’t have to pay for repairs to parts that have been recalled, but some drivers could still end up with a bill. Any extra work that the dealer may recommend is not mandatory and not covered. Some dealers feel that the recall issue of a car is an opportunity to build a business relationship with the customer.

Will I be facing delay?
Many car owners may face long delays before getting a car fixed. There can be a delay if parts aren’t ready, but this can be a huge disadvantage to owners/drivers, some of whom might feel pressured to keep driving a car that they need but don’t feel is safe.
However, car manufacturers do need to fix the car, but there is no requirement that they fix it right away, unless it is unsafe to drive. Some dealer may provide rental or loaner car while your car is in the shop for fixing recall issues.
As authorised dealers, do not hide recalls to make money later. In fact, follow up and encourage your customers to bring their car in to fix genuine recall concerns and issue alternate transport if required. At the end of the day, customers can save substantially on unexpected repairs resulting from recall campaigns.
For dealers, the key question is not whether your dealership will face a recall, the question is when. Is your dealership staff is fully trained and ready to respond to and stay in control during these events? There is only one way to minimize risk during this situation – be fully prepared to face a recalls.
Consider recalls as an opportunity to invite new and welcome back lost customers to explore and expand service business, and in many cases dealers can improve customer retention and loyalty by fixing free recalls issues that could translate into prospective business.

Written by: Muhammad Shahzad exclusive for Monthly AutoMark Magazine’s March-2017 printed edition