Does Your Car Need Work?

Don't Drive An Unsafe Car!

VIN LookupThe most current recall notice involves airbags on around 4.7 million vehicles that may have issues in states with high humidity. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has created a new website, Safercar.gov, which is designed to help consumers discover if their particular vehicle has been subject to a recall. Assuming that you are already a safe driver, you should want to know if there are any critical issues with your engine, brakes, steering, or anything else that could either cause an accident or fail to work in a collision.

Under many state lemon laws, cars may be returned if they have serious repair issues over the course of a year. A high number of recalls may also activate your own state lemon laws, and in some cases vehicle owners are actually reimbursed for their cars if major issues have led to lawsuits or government actions.

The first step toward seeing if your car is a lemon is to check the VIN number against databases of bad cars. Remember, recalls do not mean that the whole vehicle is bad, and are done for safety purposes. Sometimes the recall is for things like wear and tear that were not anticipated in the original vehicle testing. This often happens where wires can become frayed, or cables can get tangled with road debris.

Make Sure Your Used Car Is Safe!

If you are buying a used car, checking for recalls is one good way to make sure you won't have problems later on! An original owner may not know that the car has problems, and you still may be covered if you buy the car, so pointing out the recalls may give you leverage in the negotiation process. At minimum, the owner may get the car fixed for free before selling it to you.

Stealth Recalls

This happens more often than you might expect: you take your car in for service, and notice on the receipt that you got free service for "service bulletins" that were actually back-end recalls. Often manufacturers will have problems fixed prior to (or instead of) a public recall notice. This can happen when you notice that things have been fixed up, and in some cases this happense when wire harnesses are tightened, cables replaced, or extra parts are placed on safety devices. This kind of work generally gets noted on your vehicle repair history so often if there is a recall notice you may not get one because your car has already been unofficially fixed.