Many drivers don’t repair their recalled cars

Car shopping site Autotrader found that only 56 percent of drivers repair recalled cars.

Car shopping site Autotrader found that only 56 percent of drivers visit dealers to make necessary repairs after their cars were recalled.
Car shopping site Autotrader found that only 56 percent of drivers visit dealers to make necessary repairs after their cars were recalled. –GETTY

Feeling too lazy to hit the gym is one thing, but ignoring a recall on your car out of sluggishness is a whole other matter.

Amid the largest consumer recall in U.S. history, car shopping site Autotrader found that despite warnings of potentially deadly car defects, only 56 percent of drivers visit dealerships to make necessary repairs after being notified of a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also says that 30 percent of recall notices mailed to vehicle owners are virtually ignored.

Consider that Takata’s recent recall involved air bags exploding with so much force that metal shrapnel blasts into the passenger compartment. The airbags have been responsible for six deaths and over 100 injuries so far.

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So why are drivers so ambivalent to the danger?

When a recall is issued, the car manufacturer is required to contact every owner of record for that particular model by mail. But this usually excludes second or third owners, Forbes reports. That means if you own a used car the onus is on you to check whether the car has been recalled. Drivers can easily check this by going to SafeCar.gov and looking up their vehicle using its vehicle identification number (VIN), which drivers can locate on their specific vehicle-maker’s site.

Many owners who do receive the notices most likely ignore them for other reasons.

Some carmakers have been criticized for sending out notices that soften the danger. “The auto companies dumb it down so it doesn’t say, ‘Alert, alert, you could die,’’’ Joan Claybrook, the former head of NHTSA told The Washington Post.

Other drivers may have become desensitized to recalls because they seem so common. Just last year, over 50 million cars and trucks were recalled. And sometimes dealers don’t have parts ready for repairs when customers do bring their cars in. For example, Honda did not have the proper parts to fix over 5 million cars with faulty airbags last year, during the first phase of Takata-related recalls.

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Here are some recalled cars that can cost you time and money:

But by not bringing your recalled car to a dealership, you could be harming future owners of the vehicle should you ever sell it, especially when only 35 percent of shoppers research recalls when looking for a new vehicle, Autotrader reports.

When your car is subject to a recall, your manufacturer must fix the problem for free. If you wait around, however, financial compensation could become an issue, Patrick Regan, a civil trial attorney based in Washington, D.C. who also handles product liability cases against automobile manufacturers told Market Watch. So as your car ages, it becomes more likely something will go wrong related with the flaw, and your shot at a free fix lessens.

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