We wouldn’t allow our children to play with an unsafe toy, nor would we use a household item that was deemed dangerous. But, when it comes to our autos and trucks, many Americans continue driving one that has been recalled because of a safety concern.
It’s More Than You Might Think
The statistics are a bit unsettling – the number of recalled vehicles reached 51 million in 2015, second only to 2014’s record of 60 million vehicles.
What do you need to be worried about?
Auto experts say the bulk of the recalls are for faulty airbags, which have been linked to injuries and deaths. However, other recalls were for hazards involving steering, cruise control, engines and seat belts. These failures have led to sudden loss of control of the vehicle, parts failures in a crash, or caused vehicle fires.
Many Are Not Getting Fixed
Despite a major effort by automakers, only 75 percent of vehicles that might have issues are being looked at or repaired.
And that’s the concern; a recent Carfax survey found that tens of millions of vehicles that have been recalled the past few years have never been fixed. By their estimate, one in five on the roads today is in need of a repair for a safety defect. Even more troubling is that the type of vehicle with the highest rate of unfixed safety issues is a family-owned minivan. SUVs and pickup trucks are a close second and third. Often, this means the drivers of those cars or trucks, maybe someone you know, is at significant risk if a part should fail.
So Why Wouldn’t Someone Get the Fix?
There are many reasons why drivers aren’t getting defective vehicles to a dealer or mechanic:
- They are not aware of the recall
- They worry it will take too much time or cost too much
- They just don’t care
- Recall notices are often mailed to an old address
- So Has Your Vehicle Been Recalled?
The government maintains an excellent website where you can check, for free:
If you find your vehicle on the recall list, safety groups recommend that you contact the car dealer immediately to set up an appointment to have it looked at. Keep in mind, you should not have to pay for any parts or labor because of a recall. Not all vehicles may need a fix, but finding out will bring you peace-of-mind. And, if you think your vehicle has a defect, but hasn’t been recalled yet, save any receipts; you should be reimbursed if the recall occurs later.
What Does a Recall Mean for My Insurance?
While driving a recalled vehicle shouldn’t affect your insurance, the quicker you have it checked out or repaired, the safer you and others will be.
However, you should contact your insurance company if the dealer gives you a loaner car while yours is being repaired; you’ll want to verify that you have the right coverage..