What to Do if Your Car is Recalled
An automotive recall can hit home, but the process may be relatively painless.
It can be quite unsettling to discover that your car has been recalled. And it’s happening more than ever: There were over 400 recalls in the U.S. in 2022 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Recently, the NHTSA issued a recall on Takata airbags, one of the largest and most complex safety recalls in U.S. history, affecting approximately 47 million vehicles. Visit NHTSA for details and see if you’ve been impacted. 
“With so many new cars on the market every year, the chance of yours being recalled at some point during its life span is pretty good,” says consumer auto expert Kristin Varela of Cars.com.
What is a car recall?
For starters, car recalls can result from a number of events. Car manufacturers will put their products through multiple tests and may issue a recall based upon subsequent findings. NHTSA can also ask for a recall after investigating a number of complaints from owners. If your vehicle is subject to a recall, don’t panic; it doesn’t necessarily mean that the car has a defect. Sometimes a recall is intended to check for potential defects, Varela says.
“Recalls are issued because the defect or possible defect might make the vehicle unsafe in some way,” she says. “You don’t have to wait to be contacted by mail, which happens 2 or 3 months after a recall is announced. After all, chances are that you’re transporting your most precious cargo: your family. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.” To stay connected, NHTSA provides recall notifications and updates. You can sign up there to receive notifications via email or have alerts sent directly to your phone through NHTSA’s Safer Car app.
What happens if your car is recalled?
The recall letter should have instructions on how to proceed. Typically, you will be advised to take your vehicle into an authorized local dealer to conduct a maintenance check for defects, update software or replace parts. Make sure to call and set up an appointment beforehand.
Is there a cost to car recalls?
For any recall, defective parts are replaced at no cost to the owner. As for anything else, that depends upon the manufacturer in question. However, automakers have been known to provide free rentals, taxi reimbursements and even the free pickup and return of the vehicle in question.
 “Automakers With The Most Recalls In 2022,” carpro.com/blog/automakers-with-the-most-recalls-in-2022 (Jan. 5, 2023)
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