What To Do If Your Car is Part of a Recall

Man with broke down car

We’ve all been there. You go to open your mailbox expecting to see the usual junk mail and bills. Instead, you find an envelope with the bright red “RECALL NOTICE” printed on the front. This probably leaves you wondering what to do if your car is part of a recall.

With issues such as the Takata Airbag Recall fresh in many people’s minds, you might be scared to go anywhere near your car before you’ve even found out what the recall’s for. As long as you follow these tips – and the instructions in your recall notice – everything should be relatively smooth sailing.

Step One: Relax

While it’s easy to get overwhelmed and freaked out by a recall notice, remember that auto manufacturers sometimes issue recalls for simple issues. Sometimes it’s just to replace a hook that keeps your floor mats in place, or it may just be a software update for new emissions standards. Take a deep breath and open the envelope before you panic.


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Step Two: Read the Recall Notice Thoroughly

You’ll really want to go over the notice with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it applies to your car. There are websites you can use to check if your vehicle is affected based on your VIN. You’ll also want to plan when you’ll be able to bring your car in for the service, and which dealerships you’ll want to go to. You’ll also need to confirm if you’ll be charged for the repairs. If your vehicle is under 8 years old, the manufacturer should be responsible for the cost of repairs, but if it’s any older, the cost may be on you.

Step Three: Set Up Your Appointment

Try to set up your appointment to get your auto repaired as soon as you can. Remember, there are probably lots of other people who also have to get the same repairs as you, and the longer you wait, the longer the lines will be. It’s also smart to get your repairs done quickly if the problem is something more serious.

Step Four: Head to the Dealership

The interaction at the car dealership should be relatively painless. Bring your car to the closest dealership for your car’s make (e.g., if you drive a Ford, take your car to your local Ford dealership), and head to the service department. Hopefully your repair will be a quick fix, and you can relax in the waiting room with some coffee and the magazines the dealership has provided. If the repairs are going to take longer than a day, the manufacturer may be able to provide you with a rental car.

Step Five: Back to Business as Usual

Once your car has been repaired and returned to you, you’re free to return to your normal life. You can breathe a little easier knowing that your car is up to the automakers standards, and hopefully you won’t have to deal with another recall for a while.

Do you have any other advice for people going through recalls? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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