When you become a mom, you might feel like you’re obsessed with safety. You want the safest everything, you obsessively babyproof and you may find yourself driving more carefully and just living your life differently.
This is normal because of course, we want to protect our children, but one area that you may be overlooking is the safety of your vehicle.
You might constantly read reviews and check ratings for all the gear your kids use, but have you ever checked to see if there’s been a recall on your family vehicle?
The following are some important things to know about car recalls.
What Is a Car Recall?
A car recall is something that happens when either the car manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determines that the entire vehicle or a portion of the vehicle and its equipment pose an unreasonable safety risk or doesn’t meet minimum safety standards.
If this is the case, a manufacturer is required to fix the problem in one of a few ways. They can repair it, replace it, give a refund or in some unlikely cases, repurchase the vehicle.
Motor vehicle safety is defined by federal law as ensuring the performance of the car or equipment protects against an unreasonable risk of accidents, injuries, or death. A defect can stem from the construction of a vehicle, a single component or a material used to manufacture the vehicle.
How Do You Find Out About Recalls?
If you have a vehicle that’s under recall, the manufacturer should notify you by letter. In order to make sure you get any recalls that come out, you should ensure your car registration is always up-to-date and has your current mailing address listed.
If you get a car recall letter, it should include a description of the problem, the risk of potential hazards or complications that can stem from the problem, and warning signs. It should also include details of how the manufacturer is going to fix it and instructions for what you can do next.
If you get this letter, you should follow all the next steps which usually include calling a dealer to set up an appointment for repairs.
If you get a tire recall, you need to have the work done to fix the issues within 60 days of getting notification.
You might hear there’s a recall that affects your vehicle type, but you may not get a notice about it. If so, the NHTSA has a list of safety recalls on their site.
Even if you don’t receive a letter, the manufacturer is still required to fix the issue at no cost to you.
If you figure out there’s a recall for your car, it doesn’t mean you’re in immediate danger, but you should try and get the problem fixed as soon as you can.
Paying for the Repairs
As was touched on, you aren’t responsible for covering the cost of repairs related to a recall. If your car is on the NHSA car recall list, then any repairs that are related to the recall are done free of charge to you.
You would need to take your car to an authorized dealer, however, because they work directly with the manufacturer. If you got a recall letter it’s also a good idea to bring it with you.
If the dealer tries to make you pay, speak with a manager. If you still have issues, you need to contact either the manufacturer or the NHTSA.
What Else Should You Know About Car Recalls?
There are a few other things to know about car recalls, the first being that they don’t just apply to new cars. Manufacturers might not identify a problem for years or even decades.
Even if you’ve had your car for years and it’s been great if there’s a recall you need to get it fixed quickly to keep yourself and your family safe.
You don’t necessarily have to stop driving your car immediately unless it’s a very serious recall issue but again, get it fixed quickly.
If you want to look up whether or not your car is subject to a recall, check the VIN and use that to look it up online. A VIN is a 17-character number that is printed behind the lower corner of the windshield on the driver’s side, and it may also be on your driver door jamb.
When you’re a mom you hardly want to add one more thing to the running safety checklist in your mind, but it is a good idea to keep up with vehicle safety and maintenance, including any potential recalls.