Can Car Dealers Let Defects Go Without A Recall?

A recall happens when a car manufacturer or the National Highway traffic Safety Administration deems that a car model or models have a defect that does not adhere to safety standards, such as faulty seatbelts, steering components, or airbags.

For more information on common defects, see our 10 Most Common Vehicle Defects page.

If your car has been recalled, then the car manufacturer or dealer that you purchased your vehicle from will notify you through a letter. If you purchased your vehicle used, you may not receive a letter, as the manufacturer may send it to who registered to it first. So, it is important to stay up to date with current recalls. For a free check try our Recall Check Tool. This notification will describe the defect in detail, any safety hazard it poses, and instructions on what to do next.

If the defect is safety related, government laws and the NHTSA will require that the car manufacturer perform a recall. Manufacturers cannot let defects go without a recall if it will be a safety issue for users. Manufacturers can often choose to issue a voluntary recall, or wait until the NHTSA requires them to do so. It is in the public interest to get the defects and information to the public as quickly as possible before a serious accident occurs on the road.

Car manufacturers will often work closely with their dealerships to make sure that they provide repairs, free of charge. on recalled vehicles. Dealerships are required by law to service the vehicle. Often, the recall letter will detail where you can take your vehicle to be serviced. If the dealership refuses your request for a repair, then you can report it to the NHTSA. The NHTSA looks over every safety recall to make sure that manufacturers have provided users with free and effective remedies. Also, contact the NHTSA or dealership if you feel that the problem was not fixed or if there is another problem related to the defect.