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Trying to understand car recalls (via a survey)

Hey all,

I’m using a survey to figure out how car owners approach recalls and what does/doesn’t work. Would love to get your input and thanks for your help!

I answered the survey, but I believe that it is incomplete.
There should be a question asking…
Have you had all recall-related repairs performed on your vehicle?
If not, why not?

This is a good area to explore given the fairly significant percentage of recalled cars that are never bought in for those free (and frequently vital) repairs.

Recalls are safety issues.

The vehicle owner is notified by the manufacturer that a recall campaign has been issued for that vehicle.

The vehicle owner then contacts the nearest dealer to find out if their vehicle falls under the vehicle recall campaign. This is usually determined by the VIN and the date of manufacture.

If the vehicle falls under recall campaign, it’s brought to the dealer and the vehicle is repaired at no cost to the owner.


I suspect spam again. I always get notified by the manufacturer of any recalls and I always take it to the dealer to have it checked and dealt with. Any internet search including the feds to me would be incomplete.

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a very incomplete survey that won’t tell you much.

‘‘recalls are safety issues’’ is NOT a blanket universal statement.

I get Ford recalls on my desk every week. It is an extremely common occurrence at all manufacturers’ dealers.
A recall is issued for ANYTHING that the manufacturer needs to repair or replace for all vehicles involved.
From emission reprogramming, paint peeling, door handles, to headlights aiming, wheel color and satellite radio reception . . we get recall after recall constantly .
It’s such a common occurrence and so easily handled that I’m flabberghasted at the uproar I hear when one ‘‘makes the news’’.
Y’all from out of town and stop in for an oil change ? WE run every VIN and if there’s an open recall we’ll do it on the spot, your schedule permitting.
The only time to be worried as an owner is, like the Takata recall, when they don’t yet really know the fix for the problem being recalled. . .and others where they tell you to park the car.

as a customer, handling a recall is dirt simple . . .
Just drive in to your, or any, dealer.

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Maybe yes, maybe no.
Over the years, I have received many recall notices through the mail, from several different manufacturers (despite some people claiming that they have never been notified of recalls–which I tend to not believe).

However, when I made the appointment for my last oil change/tire rotation a few months ago, the service writer mentioned a recall and stated that, as a result of that recall, my waiting time at the dealership would likely be ~1 hour, instead of my usual 30-40 minutes. I asked about the details of the recall, and he stated that it had to do with installing a moisture shield on the windshield wiper motor in order to prevent electrical problems.

The recall was performed at the time of that service, and the invoice bears the recall number and a brief description of the recall, but…to this day, I have still not received a notice in the mail of that recall.

You also have to remember, there’s a difference between a recall and a Technical Service Bulletin.

A recall is for a safety issue.

A TSB informs technicians where to look for a certain problem where safety isn’t the issue.


Definitely a good call- I’m trying to understand people’s preferences around what’s most useful to them when they look up recalls, but may be unintentionally targeting people who are active about it. Might have to use a separate questionnaire to understand people who don’t bother to check em out in the first place.

Thanks very much for your input. The way every OEM handles recalls seems to be different- some people are notified often and through different mediums and other people never hear from the OEM/dealership. The questions are intended to get behind people who don’t hear from anyone and try to do a recall search on their own.

One of the problems w/recalls is that if the car owner moves the manufacturer may no longer have an address to contact them. So some method to address that problem would help. Since the DMV knows a mailing address for that car’s VIN, the DMV could keep the manufacturer informed of the proper mailing address for recalls I suppose. Or maybe that already done.

One needn’t be at a dealer for service to run a VIN for recalls.
You can phone or visit and ask any service writer to check . .it’s just that easy.
Even if you are the third owner of a beater from Joe’s auto sales . .
If there’s an open recall . . the dealer will do it.

Yet far too many owners are just . . ‘‘drive it till it breaks’’ users that most wouldn’t even hint that maybe they should check.
They expect to be baby-sat and when anything goes wrong it’s all someone else’s fault.
I’ve even heard one customers say about their U.S.Mail . . ‘‘I thought it was just a sales pitch junk mail so I tossed it.’’

IMHO, one of the biggest problems in our society is the failure of so many people to accept responsibility for their own actions or inactions. Everything is always somebody else’s fault.

Instead of actually opening their mail, or instead of actually taking advantage of a free repair that is clearly spelled-out in a letter, or instead of actually following the mfr’s maintenance schedule, they choose to ignore things–until it is too late and then some type of catastrophic failure takes place. At that point, they come to this forum–or another site–and proceed to trash the mfr of the vehicle for allegedly producing junk.

And, now if those ignorant people are challenged on their failure to do what they should have done in the first place, they can just claim that they were heeding…alternate facts…