NORFOLK, Virginia (July 6, 2021) You may or may not have seen the warning in your mailbox, with the bright red letters “URGENT” or “REMINDER” on the outside of the envelope. Every day, vehicle safety advisories are issued and these warnings are still largely ignored by consumers. Add in military service members and their family’s busy schedules, deployments, PCS moves, undelivered mail, etc., and it’s even easier not to receive or see these notices. Every year, automakers will recall millions of vehicles in the United States due to significant safety concerns. Many may not know what a vehicle safety recall is, where to find more information, or why it is very important.

I witnessed a friend’s close calling experience with her own vehicle, which could have been avoided. As her family’s vehicle was on fire in a parking lot at a shopping mall that was shut down by firefighters, I can only imagine what she and her children might have felt. She later found out that there had been a safety recall for a problem with this vehicle and she never received the posted notices. This prompted me to research vehicle safety recalls more. I realized that this is a common issue that we should all be aware of not only as informed consumers, but as vehicle operators, in order to mitigate unnecessary risks to ensure the safety of our roads and other people.

So what exactly is a vehicle recall? A vehicle recall is an automotive-specific product recall, a manufacturer’s statement that a safety risk is present in certain vehicle models. Motor vehicle safety recalls occur when a vehicle or part of a vehicle does not comply with one or more federal motor vehicle safety standards set by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), or when cars or parts have a safety-related defect. According to the NHTSA, tens of millions of vehicles are recalled each year in the United States with more than 31 million out of 786 recalls in 2020 alone.

If you are not sure if you have a recall for your vehicle, it only takes a few minutes to have peace of mind. To check for outstanding recalls on your vehicle, enter your 17 character Vehicle ID
number (VIN) on the NHTSA Recall Search site – www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. The VIN is located on the lower left windshield on the driver’s side of your vehicle, inside the driver’s side door, on your insurance card, or on your vehicle registration. You can also call the NHTSA helpline at 1 (888) 327-4236. Vehicle owners can also sign up for NHTSA Recall Alerts to learn about new recalls before manufacturers send recall notices to affected owners.

Once a safety defect has been determined, the law gives the manufacturer three options to correct the defect: repair, replacement or refund. Depending largely on the cost, the automaker may choose to repair the defect at no cost, replace the vehicle with an identical or similar model, or refund the purchase price in full, taking into account a reasonable provision for amortization. The manufacturer is not obliged to repair the defect if the vehicle was built 15 years or more before the date on which the defect was determined. Homeowners are always advised to have recall work done, but if they do, they should pay out of pocket.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) invites you to make a habit of checking recalls. Think of it as part of the routine maintenance of your vehicle. If your vehicle is the subject of a recall, the manufacturer will send a letter to the address you provided on your vehicle registration DMV. However, people often forget recall notices or move without updating their address. It’s best to be proactive in making sure your vehicle is safe to drive, and keep in mind that safe cars save lives.

There is a free app called SaferCar available for IOS and Android users. When SaferCar discovers a safety recall for the vehicle or equipment you entered, it will send an alert to your mobile device. The app is available in the Apple Store for Apple device users at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1526869558 and in the Google Play store for Android users at ‘address https://play.google.com/store /apps/details?id=gov.nhtsa.safercar2&form=MY01SV&OCID=MY01SV. For additional resources on safety awareness, visit the Naval Safety Center website, https://navalsafetycenter.navy.mil.

Date taken: 07.06.2021
Date posted: 07/21/2021 12:54 PM
Story ID: 401389
Location: NORFOLK, Virginia, United States

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