Automakers issue recalls to fix defects, or sometimes just to check for defects. When a model is recalled, the automaker contacts every owner of that model by mail, and asks him or her to bring his or her car to a dealer. The dealer replaces defective parts at no cost to the car owner. Every recall is registered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is where cars.com gets information for our recall database.
Automakers issue recalls to fix defects, or sometimes just to check for defects. Oftentimes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will ask for a recall, after investigating common safety problems. If you receive notice of a recall, contact your local dealer.
You don't have to wait to be contacted by mail, which happens two or three months after a recall is announced.
Sometimes an automaker will catch a defect in its own tests. Oftentimes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will ask for a recall, after investigating common problems. The main way that NHTSA hears about these problems is by complaints from owners, so if you think your car is unsafe, contact NHTSA at www.nhtsa.gov. NHTSA conducts frequent investigations, but not all lead to recalls.
If you think your car has a safety defect but it hasn't been recalled, save your receipt and other documents if you get it repaired.
If the car is recalled later for that specific problem, you may be able to get reimbursed from the automaker.