According to the Associated Press, automakers called back more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2010; the most since 2004.
The first thing to do is to NOT get alarmed. Although recalls on vehicles are safety related, the chance that the issue would appear on your vehicle and cause a problem is small.
Recalls are not as rare as people may think and occur often. With more than 300 different types of cars, trucks, and SUVís in the US; each model is bound to be recalled at some point.
Itís usually not heavily publicized unless there are a number of fatal accidents or the problem is extremely widespread on a popular model.
Itís usually a good idea to have the recalled part replaced or repaired as explained in the recall notice. Usually, any dealership that sells the brand thatís recalled can repair the problem and if itís an official recall it wonít cost you anything.
You can check at anytime online to see if the car youíre driving has been recalled by going to the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database for recalls at: www.safercar.gov.
You can also sign up on the site so that you get an email notice if the car is recalled in the future. If youíre driving a car with a previous owner, thatís probably a good idea since they may not otherwise be able to find you.
Although you bring the vehicle in for recall service, the dealer service department may be able to let you know if there are any other problems with the vehicle; especially if the recall work requires some type of engine repair or replacement.
Service departments also receive what are called ďtechnical service bulletinsĒ from the manufacturers for less significant problems that donít require a recall of the vehicle. These would typically be brought up when the car is in for service.
You may also want to research recalls as part of your information gathering when purchasing a new or used vehicle. The same government databases usually have this information.
I wouldnít let the recall information be the main deciding factor though on whether or not you buy a vehicle. Itís just one more piece of information but, not the most significant by any means.
Donít confuse recall data and quality ratings either. You may find that a car youíre interested in has a great quality record compared to other similar cars in its class but, has more recalls. That shouldnít be a problem though unless the recalls were on a significant area of the car.
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