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What happens if my car is recalled?

Kwik Fit | Wednesday 10th July 2019 3:19pm

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In the UK, approximately one million vehicles are recalled for safety reasons every year. When a recall is issued, it can affect thousands of cars and the process can be extremely costly to a manufacturer. It even has the potential to seriously harm a brandís reputation.

But what happens if your car is recalled? To find out more about this process and what you should do if you receive a safety notice in relation to your vehicle, keep reading.

The basics

If a car manufacturer detects a potential problem in regards to a specific vehicle model, it will issue a safety recall. The recall enables the manufacturer to fix the problem to ensure the car is safe to drive. If repair work is required, it will not cost you anything at all.

The truth is, car safety recalls are common, and the faults detected can be anything from a simple software glitch to a major issue, such as a fire risk.

Some examples of vehicle safety defects can include brake problems, steering wheel failure, unexpected airbag operation, fuel leaks, incorrect warning light display, handbrake self release and faulty doors.

However, in most cases, the faults detected are minor and there is nothing to worry about.

What to expect when a car is recalled

When a car manufacturer issues a safety recall, it will get in contact with the registered keepers of the specific model of vehicle using information obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Usually, it will contact each owner by post, but it may also choose to communicate the recall by phone or email.

The manufacturer will provide an explanation of the problem, as well as what kind of repair work is needed to fix it. The manufacturer will also advise who to contact to organise for the car to be inspected so that the work can be completed. Although it is rare, you may also be advised to not drive the car until it has been looked at by a professional.

What to do if your car has been recalled

If your car is recalled, you should follow the instructions given to you by the manufacturer. For example, if you receive a safety recall by post, the letter will explain how to proceed. It should provide you with a phone number to call so you can book an appointment to get your vehicle inspected.

In most cases, you will be asked to take your vehicle to a nearby dealership. Depending on how long the work is likely to take, you may be entitled to use a courtesy car until your vehicle is fixed.

If you canít take your vehicle in for an appointment straight away, donít panic. Some safety recalls are simply a preventative measure and are carried out in advance of a problem that may occur, so thereís no need to worry that your car will fail all of a sudden if you donít get it looked at immediately. However, itís paramount for the safety of you, your passengers and other road users that you arrange to have the repair work carried out as soon as possible.

The consequences of ignoring a car recall

The truth is, choosing to ignore a safety recall could land you in serious trouble with the law. As a car owner, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy, so itís important that you take the required steps to have your car fixed if a fault is detected. If not, you could be found guilty of Ďusing a defective vehicleí and receive a warning, penalty points on your licence or even be banned from driving altogether.

Whatís more, ignoring a recall could also impact on your car insurance. For example, if youíre involved in an accident and itís found to have been caused by a mechanical fault that you have failed to fix even though you received a recall notice, your policy may become invalid. This could mean that you will not be able to make a claim.

Buying a used car and how to tell it has been recalled

If youíre considering buying a used car, itís definitely worth checking if it has ever received a recall notice and if so, itís important to see if there is any proof that the fault was fixed.

When youíre buying a used car from a dealership, they should have already checked the vehicle for outstanding recalls and they should be able to provide you with this information if you ask.

However, if youíre purchasing a car through a private sale, there is a chance that the previous owner will have chosen to ignore a recall in the past. So, to make sure the vehicle youíre buying is safe to drive, itís a good idea to carry out a background check before handing over the cash and walking away with the keys.

To check if a car has any outstanding recalls, you can visit the DVSAís Vehicle Recalls site, where you can simply enter the model, make and manufacturing date of the vehicle.

Reporting a car defect yourself

If you think your vehicle has a defect that is impacting on your safety, itís important that you report the problem to the car manufacturer as soon as you can.

To report a defect yourself, itís likely youíll need to complete a form provided by the manufacturer and give information such as the make, year and engine type of your vehicle. You should also explain why you think your vehicle is defective and include any photographic evidence you may have.

If you receive a recall notice for your vehicle, thereís a good chance there is nothing serious to worry about. However, to make sure youíre driving safely, you should get your car looked at as soon as possible.



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