Purchasing a vehicle may represent an exciting time in your life. Perhaps you are buying from an expensive brand you have coveted since you could drive, or perhaps you require a larger car for your growing family. In any circumstance, you hold the right to feel safe in your vehicle.
Cars go through extensive testing to become available in the market, but some models sneak past minor qualifications, resulting in major impacts. Thousands of recalls occur every year, but how are problems discovered and reported?
Many recalls start with you, the car owner. Though rare, dangerous car problems like invalid airbags or brake malfunctions cause serious injury to drivers and passengers. Identifying and reporting a problem you experience with your car could begin the process of a recall. You may even help prevent disaster for another car owner.
Recalls at a glance
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalls when, “a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards.”
Law requires manufacturers to remedy the situation by:
- Repairing the problem
- Replacing the vehicle
- Offering a refund for the purchase price
- Repurchasing the vehicle
When carmakers test models for potential problems, they may only test a fraction of the vehicles that drive throughout the country. The confirmation that each vehicle displays safe driving elements may fall to the consumer.
The collective impact of the individual driver
In class-action lawsuits, a court may determine a manufacturer was negligent when producing the vehicle. A car manufacturing company may be required to pay substantial damages due to injury or dishonesty.
In 2014, a court found that Toyota covered up safety issues when cars were found to have unintentionally accelerated. Such isolated incidents peppered the United States, but as individuals reported, an investigation took place. Toyota agreed to pay $1.2 billion in damages to avoid prosecution in U.S. court.
The safety and performance of your car lies with its designer and manufacturer. The responsibility carmakers hold to make cars suitable for driving proves essential in maintaining driver and passenger safety. Recognizing and reporting car problems may result in a life-saving recall.