- Car Care & Maintenance
Car Safety Recalls - Why Do We Need To Take Our Car To The Garage?
DIY Auto Repairs
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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