Will My Automotive Defect Trigger a Recall?

Reporting an automotive defect is the first step not only in ensuring your safety, but possibly helping to keep others from harm as well. A recent report from Carfax notes that 46 million vehicles across the country in 2014 have been recalled but still have unrepaired safety-related issues. The report notes that Texas is among the states with the most unresolved issues, which translates to people unknowingly driving in potentially dangerous vehicles.

If you suspect your vehicle has a defect, reporting the issue promptly to the manufacturer is key. The company will be responsible for fixing the error, which could mean making a repair, replacing your vehicle or even refunding your money.

You should also report the defect to the federal government. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that since 1966, the agency has recalled more than 390 million vehicles and millions of more pieces of equipment and tires. The NHTSA can issue a recall based on either a vehicle or its parts not complying with federal standards, or it can issue a recall based on a safety-related mistake.

When you report your defect, it will not necessarily trigger a recall. The NHTSA tracks all consumer complaints regarding automotive defects. Once it receives a significant number of complaints about a certain issue, it can launch an investigation and may recall the affected vehicles.

You can and should report your defect to the NHTSA either through the agency’s vehicle safety hotline, through the website Safecar.gov or by mailing a letter to the administration. While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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