When we purchase brand-new vehicles, we expect a lot more than that amazing “new car smell” that only new cars seem to have. We expect the vehicles to drive well, to be safe, and to be reliable for a long time. While these expectations are understandable, they’re not exactly realistic. You see, a lot of new cars are less than perfect and when they pose a safety risk, they can be subject to what’s called a “recall.”
Your new car is very important to you and your family. You rely on it for transportation, to be free of mechanical problems, and to protect you in case of an accident. But your safety is of utmost importance. If your new motor vehicle equipment has a defect that threatens the safety of you, your passengers, and other roadway users, it can be recalled by the vehicle’s manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the government agency that oversees the automotive industry.
When Are Recalls Necessary?
According to the United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (Title 49, Chapter 301), motor vehicle safety is defined as, “the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.”
So, to better explain a “safety defect,” it’s a problem that a vehicle has that poses a safety risk and that may exist among a group of vehicles that were designed or manufactured the same.
Generally, when a vehicle has been recalled, the manufacture has to repair the vehicle free of charge and this is usually done at a dealership. If the defect does not respond to a reasonable number of repair attempts, the manufacturer may be required to replace or refund the vehicle at no cost to the consumer – this is often called a “Lemon Law claim.”
“A recall is issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or in rare cases repurchasing the vehicle,” according to safercar.gov.