Published on July 24th, 2019
It seems like not a day goes by without another recall making headlines. In 2018 alone, according to Cars.com, Ford itself had three different recalls of more than one million automobiles: one for its F-150 truck, another for the Focus, and a third affecting both the Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ.
The electric vehicle (EV) poster child Toyota Prius had nearly as large of a fallout, with a recall of more than 800,000 cars.
All of this has occurred in the wake of the Toyota runaway accelerator recall of nearly 10 million cars last decade and the Volkswagen emissions scandal that, while impacting a small number of vehicles, by comparison, has caused incalculable damage to a carmaker with a once-glowing reputation for safety and consumer satisfaction.
Combined, the ongoing barrage of recall news is enough to make all owners weary that they will be next. And, indeed, many car owners will be forced to deal with the repercussions.
The sad truth is that many people don’t even realize when their automobile gets entangled in a recall, whether voluntary or mandatory.
The sheer number that now occurs each year means that the traditional news media doesn’t give recalls that much attention.
It is unfortunately up to the consumer to stay in the know and watch for any information about potential defects — or end up ignorant to vital updates about one of their most prized and expensive possessions.
The good news is that you can get through this. And it hopefully won’t be that hard. By heeding the following tips about how to stay up to date on the latest news and the steps to take if you do fall, victim, you can ensure that any future recalls won’t significantly disrupt your life.
1. Be Proactive
In the event of a recall, your car company should contact you. But this isn’t a reliable way to find out that you have been affected. For one, addresses and phone numbers change and they may have outdated information.
Secondly, sometimes the timeline to reach you can be slow. And lastly, especially if you bought the car second hand from another individual and the paperwork was filed improperly, they may not even be aware that you are the current owner.
Ultimately, these and other factors leave you no choice but to be proactive about news for your own make and model.
2. Stay Up To Date
Now that you know you have to stay up to date, the question is how? Luckily, there are many resources on the market, both large and small, devoted to automaker news, including recalls.
On top of these leading sources, look for niche newsletters and blogs related to your specific car company.
3. Understand It May Happen To You
Even with all the recalls in the news, they remain relatively rare in terms of how many cars are actually on the road.
Modern vehicles are more reliable than ever in the grand scheme of things and production standards are very high.
So chances are you will not be affected in any given years. Still, this is not like getting hit by lightning or attacked by a shark.
There is a sizable probability that your vehicle will be recalled over the next decade, let alone your life. You need to be ready for it to happen at any time.
4. Relax and Act Rationally
The stress and headache of dealing with a recall are often worse than the actual reality of the event. Immediately, you will start to wonder if your family is safe and want to get the vehicle off the road. First off, try to relax.
Recalls are usually a reaction to a small risk of failure. Your automobile is probably not about to explode. That said, as soon as you learn about a recall, you should begin figuring out what to do next.
Your auto company should provide instructions on how to proceed. If necessary, you may also want to consider taking the vehicle into an authorized retailer for inspection.
5. Take Proper Precautions
One other way to be prepared for any recall is to cover all bases when it comes to vehicle maintenance. A popular method to gain some peace of mind is by investing in a used car service contract.
This way you will have an aftermarket extended vehicle protection plan that allows you to drive far and wide without worrying about the miles you’re racking up.
Surviving A Recall
Auto recalls are quite common and they are usually minor. In most cases, this isn’t the end of the world if it does happen to you, and it will hopefully just require a small (and free) repair.
Still, you need to be aware that you could have a lemon on your hands. Luxury cars, high-end SUVs, new-age electric vehicles, and old junkers alike have all been recalled.
That’s why it’s up to you do proactively stay up to date on the latest news, realize it could happen to your car, relax in the event you are affected, and take proper precautions to ensure the safety of your automobile.
If you follow this advice, any recall will end up being an inconvenient nuisance and not an actual catastrophe.