Guest Blog by The Car Counselor- John Miller
How many cars are recalled in the US each year? In 2011, the last year for which we have complete data, there were 14,434,000 vehicles recalled. Considering that 12,778,00 were sold that is pretty significant. Of course recalls cover several year models and normally do not include the current year as problems are often slow to be identified as recall items. Still 14 million is a huge number of cars to be recalled.
What is a recall? A recall is a government mandate to the car maker to get them back into their facilities and repair a safety or emissions item that has shown a clear pattern of repeated failure in a certain car line or body style. It does not cover non-safety or emission items such as air conditioning, radios, power windows or other repeated failures due to poor design or material. Often these will be addressed by the car maker as a service advisory or program where the owner can get the problem repaired free. ALL RECALL REPAIRS ARE FREE.
To find out if your car is subject to a recall you can go to recall.gov and enter your make and model and see what if any recalls are on your vehicle. Of course, you can give us a call at the shop and we will look it up on the manufacturer data base – 281-540-2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the years there have been some infamous recalls that had a huge impact on the manufacturer. In the mid 80’s Audi was hit with a massive recall of their vehicles due to sudden acceleration. Sound familiar? Much like the recent recall of Toyota products this recall involved cars that would suddenly accelerate with a wide open throttle. Audi, and later National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials claimed that the problem was due to floor mats slipping out of place and holding the accelerator down or PMS. Yes they really did term it that; Pedal Misapplication Syndrome. Audi sales slipped from about 100,000 to only 12,700 in a couple of years due to this bad publicity. We got the interlocking brake pedal and gear shifter out of that recall and investigation.
The early 70’s Pinto is perhaps the most notorious of recalls. The pinto had a rear mounted gas tank that would rupture and explode in a severe rear end collision. After a couple of years of investigation an internal memo from Ford came to light that outlined the discussion of the cost to reinforce the rear tank versus the cost of paying off claims for injuries. Ford had decided that the $11 per car to make them safer would cost more than paying off the claimants. They were wrong!
In recent years cars and light trucks have been recalled for power mirror switches, cruise control switches and ignition switches that catch fire, for floor mats that might slide under the gas pedal, for leaky fuel lines and for computer reprogramming to correct self test or tuning ability.
According to Edmunds only about 52% of the cars recalled ever have the work performed. That means that if you are buying a used car checking the recalls on it is an important step to take when evaluating the purchase.
Remember to check recall.gov to see if your car is under a recall order and then arrange with your local dealer to get the car repaired as soon as you can. All recalls have to be done at an authorized manufacturers dealer.