According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), auto manufacturers recalled about 22 million vehicles in 2013. Knowing how to handle vehicle safety recalls can help protect your family.
Q: Who issues safety recalls?
A: The NHTSAís Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) or auto manufacturers.
Q: How will I know if my vehicle has been recalled?
A: Manufacturers must alert the NHTSA and affected drivers, dealers and distributors. You should receive a letter from the manufacturer that details the recall and outlines instructions for having it repaired.
Q: What if I'm not the car's original owner?
A: If you drive a used car, the manufacturer may not have record of your ownership, and you may not receive a recall letter. Visit the ODIís online database to search for recalls or sign up for email alerts. The NHTSA now also requires manufacturers to provide access to a free online tool that uses vehicle identification numbers to determine whether a specific car has been recalled and if itís been repaired.
Q: Where should I go to have my car fixed? How much will it cost?
A: Visit your dealer or mechanic to have the problem corrected. You shouldnít be charged. However, if your tires have been recalled, youíll have only 60 days after receiving the letter for a complimentary repair.
Q: Iím concerned about a problem Iím experiencing with my vehicle. What should I do?
A: Have any problems fixed immediately; donít wait for a recall letter. You also can file safety concerns with the ODI or call the Department of Transportationís Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-800-424-9393. Your report helps the ODI investigate safety issues and determine whether a recall is necessary.
Want to know more? The NHTSA has additional information about safety recalls on its website.
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