Car Safety Recalls - Why Do We Need To Take Our Car To The Garage?

Car Recall courtesy of
Car Recall courtesy of

After working for over ten years in Ford Recall England, I know the importance of Car Recalls. I have sent out thousands of letters over the years, mainly into Europe and Africa, but also locally too. The recall letters are usually concerning new cars that have only been recently released for sale.

The reason why many new cars are recalled is because the manufacturer, however careful, can and does miss tiny problems that only show up after a few weeks or months of driving.

Some of the maintenance problems can be something as small as the seat cover coming unstitched. But of course there are many things that can go wrong and some of them are really dangerous. That's why the second you receive a car recall letter you should always take your car to the nearest garage and preferably the one you bought the car from.

Copyright Nell Rose.

Faulty Brakes.

I remember a few years ago, the new ford mondeo had a serious brake problem. We had over 50,000 recall letters to send out. The letter was written in a very subtle way, but enough to show the seriousness of the problem. The wording was something similar to this. 'Please be careful on braking as you may find that the car may glide farther than you think'.

I remember a few raised eyebrows over that one. When asked, we were told that the words, 'You will crash and have a terrible accident' would not go down well with customers, and would probably cause the crash!

We did see the point. Most cars that are recalled are perfectly fine with the problem only showing up in the original complaint which was then tested. But if one or two have a problem such as a loose seat belt, then its possible that the rest of that batch of cars will have the same. Probably not, but its best to be safe. So what to do?

Faulty Brakes public domain
Faulty Brakes public domain

What Is A Safety Recall?

Any car or motorcycle that has to be called back happens because a vehicle owner has discovered a fault that could be dangerous for the driver. Sometimes the car manufacturer discovers the fault after the initial first sale of the cars that have been distributed to the garage.

The cars go through a process of checks by the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin, but sometimes the car faults can slip through the net.

This is the time for the manufacturer to get in touch with Ford Recall or other car firms so that they can send out the recall letters.

The actual recall does not mean the car itself is faulty. After working for many years at Ford, I realised that virtually every time the latest model of the car, whether it be a Fiesta, Mondeo or any of the other makes of car come onto the market there is usually approximately 70 to 80 percent chance of a recall letter being sent out.

As I mentioned above, the majority of recalls usually consist of small but niggling problems such as a light that doesn't come on, the seat belt fraying easily, or even the wipers not working properly. But of course there are many that could be really dangerous, such as brakes being faulty, headlights cutting out and so on.

car recall public domain
car recall public domain

Providing The Owners With A Recall Letter.

Without going into the background work of the recall such as the manufacturers job of finding and distributing the information, all the car owners need to know are the facts about the recall itself.

The letter must describe the defect, what could possibly go wrong with this fault, the fact that the work will be done for free as it's a manufacturers problem, how long it will take and so on.

There will also be a Customer Recall Administration phone number for anybody who needs extra information, or doesn't understand the procedure.This is where I and my colleagues come into it. We take the phone calls and pass them onto the appropriate garage or Customer Advice Centre for more help.

Car Safety Recall Remedies.

  • Free repair of the defect.
  • Buying back or repurchase of the car or equipment if the problem is to big.
  • Replacement of the vehicle or equipment.

What To Do When You Receive A Recall Letter

When the recall letter appears on your doormat don't panic. It will probably only be a small repair that needs doing. All you need to do is contact your local garage that deals with your make of car. Tell them that you have received a recall letter and then book a time to bring the car in for the repair.

There shouldn't be a problem, but if you find that there is something you don't understand then contact the Recall Advice Centre. The telephone number should be on the recall letter. If the repairs are going to take some time the garage should give you a courtesy car to cover you for your time away from your vehicle.

Just remember that any problems, you are just a phone call away from someone who will help you. We dealt with people all the time who were completely confused by the whole thing. That's what we were there for. And just remember, the repairs are completely free. Its nothing to do with warranty. A recall is purely what it says on the packet. Recalled for repairs because the manufacturer made a small mistake.

The Importance Of Your Address

Not all faults on the recall car are actually on new cars. Sometimes the particular make of car can have been sold over a number of years. So taking this into consideration many cars may have passed through at least two or three new owners.

Many times when dealing with a customer and sending out the letters to their address we have found that actually we have an old address or different name on the letters. These usually get sent back from the old owners to tell us where the car is now.

But sometimes there are returned letters with no information on them. This means that the old car owners didn't have the new owners address and details. So its really important to take down the address of the person who buys the car from you.

Apart from the log book info and details, writing down their address and keeping it in the drawer at home can and does save a lot of time, trouble and possibly lives.

courtesy of copyright
courtesy of copyright | Source

Unavailable Recalls.

Sometimes the car cannot receive a free recall purely because of the fact that the car is over ten years old, has been damaged because of the problem or more likely, the owner has paid for the repair to be done themselves. Saying that, most manufacturers or garage will reimburse you the full money. If you have trouble claiming back on a possible recall, then call or write to the recall centre. They will phone the garage and try to help you get a solution to your problem. usually one phone call from the recall centre usually makes them change their mind!

Checking For Recalls.

The majority of cars will have a recall on them at some time in the car's life. If you own a new or even second hand car, and you have no knowledge of there ever being a recall done on it then its a good idea to check either on the Internet or with your local garage to see if there has been a recall that you have missed for some reason.

You don't want to pay out large sums of money on mending a fault in your car if there is a possibility that you can get it for free through a recall. And its always a good idea to let your local Ford or appropriate garage know that you have their make of car so that they can contact you.

Technical Details.

If you need to get in touch with your garage to find out if you have an outstanding recall, then its a good idea to make sure you have the right details in front of you ready for them to check.

You will need your Vin Number or Vehicle Identifcation Number and Reg Number so that they can check your exact vehicle.

An example of a Vin Number. - 5GZCZ43D13S812716

An example of a Reg Number - English PA51 ABC American - GBQ 7198

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Comments 47 comments

HoneyBB profile image

HoneyBB 4 years ago from Illinois

Thanks for sharing this important information that will surely save people from hassles, some money too, and most importantly keep them safe on the road. I will surely be more active if I ever receive a recall letter.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Wonderful to know that we will receive a recall notification whenever a default is detected. But you just reminded me, Nell, that my Ford Fiesta is in dire need of a proper service.

Excellent hub, addressing an important matter :)

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I've had several recalls done on my cars. Most are minor, but one concerned an electrical fire that could happen at any time, and whether the vehicle was running or not!

Good Hub, Nell!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I almost did a hub on this subject; sure glad I didn't because yours is much better. Happy New Year Nell!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks billy, I used to work there for years, so when I spotted the weekly topic I thought well why not? lol! Happy New Year!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

thanks Will, thank goodness you got that one sorted out, and that is the sort of thing we dealt with too, thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Lol! there you go Martie, glad to be of help! thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Honey, thanks so much, and I am glad you found it helpful, many people don't realise that their car could need a recall, so its good to know sometimes, thanks!

Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

Hi Nell,

Good information. But not all manufacturers are as conscientious as Ford.

A few years ago, there was a scandal about accelerator pedals on certain Toyota models getting stuck. Initially the response was to minimize the problem, to make lame excuses, to blame the dead victims, and generally to attempt to avoid taking responsibility.

Mr Toyoda wanted to save a few pennies, and in the process, he reinvented a problem that had already been solved! He is a real piece of work.

Voted up and useful.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Larry, I hadn't heard about that, unbelievable! I worked for Ford as I said but I tried to cover all the car recalls, we did a few others too, then I moved on to selling volkswagon, thanks as always, nell

Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Go0d information to know and it's always enlightening to learn what my hub friends do when they're not writing!

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

I have been through two recalls, but one of them I paid for. I never knew that I could be reimbursed. I guess you live and learn. Thanks for the enlightening info, Mel.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Kathy, lol! thanks! It was a while ago that I worked for Ford, then Volkswagon, now just here! great to see you, nell

Hi avian, sorry to hear you had to pay, hopefully next time it will be better and you will get it for free, thanks as always, nell

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

Very informative Hub. I had a Honda once that was recalled for some faulty part (can't remember exactly what part). I took it in and it was repaired free.

I voted this UP, etc.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi mary, thanks so much for reading, I worked for years at Ford and there were many recalls but that was just normal, all cars seem to have them after their first release, I am glad yours was sorted out okay, thanks nell

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Wow...such resourceful information, Nell.

Always helps to have first hand information ESP from a person who worked there.

Voted up as useful.

Thank god my vehicle has not been recalled, yet :)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I have a 2003 Toyota and I have never received a recall. Dave has a 2003 Honda and he's received about 4 or maybe 5 recalls. GO Toyota!!! Anyway he's never taken the truck in to get the recall fixed, nothing major. One day we'll tend to that tedious task.

midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Ford is a responsible manufacturer. Recalls can be so important for safety! Thanks for sharing, Nell. Passing it on.

shara63 profile image

shara63 4 years ago from Delhi

Yes dear, Recalls are for the safety & not to ignore...thankyou for sharing this wonderful piece of information!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Great post and very useful to many. I had a car that had about four recalls. They were minor but it makes you wonder how it ever passed inspection.

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 4 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

This is such a needful and helpful article on car recalls. So often the news of recalls become like an urban legend, "I heard the Ford...was recalled, but..." without such important information it may be impossible to get a car that is recalled, or has parts recalled fixed, or safe. I have bookmarked this for future "what-ifs" Thank you.

Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Very informative and useful. Recalls should not be ignored and taken care of as soon as possible. Voted up.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Vellur, thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks Lilly, yes the best idea is if you have a Ford car or any other make if you haven't heard about any recalls for ages its best to check, they may have the wrong address for you.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi teaches, sometimes the fault doesn't show up until many miles on the clock have happened. For example we had a faulty seat belt that was fine to start with but after a few miles and months it started to fray and not click on properly, hence the recall, thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks shara for reading.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Glad you decided to write about this topic because you did such a good job. I think, here at least, people tend to ignore recall letters unless there's a big to do about it in the news. You never know if the recall is serious or not so, as you say, its always a good idea to take your car in.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks for reading midget!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Linda, maybe your Toyota hasn't got the right address on record? okay, you win Toyota are the best! haha! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Ruchira, thanks so much for reading, its great your car hasn't been recalled yet, but maybe give them a call just in case? thanks!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks mary, yes we got lots of people just ignoring the recall letters. One time it was the brakes that I mentioned above? so many people did not get back to us we had to send out another wave of letters with the wording slightly more pressing, such as 'your brakes will fail'! lol! seriously! thanks tills, nell

always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Important info. Nell. I have never received a recall, but my friend Tom got one on his Honda CR-V, nothing serious. Thank's ...

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Ruby, thanks for reading, yes there are loads of recalls out at the moment I am glad your car is okay, great to see you, nell

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for the useful information, Nell. It's especially helpful coming from someone who's worked at a recall center! People in my family have owned Ford cars for some time, and the company has been good about sending out recall notices.

girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

Great, your hub is surely going to save many hassles, particularly coming from an experienced person. Thanks

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Alicia, yes Ford are always on the button so to speak, I often wondered if other car makers had so many recalls too! lol! but it turns out they do, its a good thing to keep people safe, thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Thanks girishpuri, glad you liked it, nell

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Nell...I guess I've been lucky, not receiving a recall letter in my history of car ownership. I have known individuals who have had to take their cars in and although, no one wants to discover their car has an issue, it's comforting to know that the manufacturers will take care of it to one's satisfaction!.......UP+++

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Paula, yes at least its free too, which it should be as its their fault, but it can be a bit daunting for older people who get a bit confused, been there done that with them on the phone! lol! the funniest thing was that we had to speak to the CRC in Scotland, customer advice etc, and their accents were so strong we could never understand them! haha! it was so funny, and the Scots thought it was hilarious and played on it!

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Here in the U.S. we have a government website for all types of recalls, including cars. It's called, appropriately enough. Voting this Up and Useful.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi alocsin, I think there must be one over here too, I will have to look into it, thanks as always, and Happy New Year!

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 3 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Your Hub is stolen. I recognized it www car article has thousands of our Hubs. There is a forum by Paradigm? Regarding the fight to take down the site...

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Lily, Grrrrr! thank you so much for letting me know, this is the second time this has happened in a week, I will go and check it out, thanks.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Since my comment 6 months ago I have received a recall for my Toyota and a couple more for Dave's Honda. We have yet to take either car in to get the recall fixed. Since it's their mistake they need to come to us, I don't have time to go to them. Maybe I should write a rant letter! ;)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Linda, lol! yes you should! did you know that not only was this copied, but when I tried to leave a comment on theirs I couldn't do it? So I went and joined Wordpress, and still couldn't complain! makes me so angry! thanks as always linda.

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lovedoctor926 3 years ago

It's good to know that the repairs are free. "Please be careful on braking as you may find that the car may glide farther than you think'." LOL. not funny, but this is a serious mistake. A very good hub, useful too. Lol@ sunshine linda.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Thanks lovedoctor, yes can you believe it? I didn't when I read it! Thanks for reading, nell

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