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What is an auto defect recall?

It seems as though there are always automotive recalls being announced on television, by mail, via email and through other means. With the prevalence of automobiles on the roadways, the speed at which they travel and the size of vehicles, it is vital that they function as intended so that people don't get harmed while traveling. Our Washington, District of Columbia, readers might like to know the answers to some basic questions about motor vehicle recalls.

How are vehicle owners notified of recalls?

Vehicle owners are sent notification letters to ensure they know about the recall. The letter is sent to the owners of record, which is the person who purchased the car as a new vehicle or as a used vehicle from one of the maker's dealerships. In some cases, the records for state registrations might also be used to find contact information for affected owners. The distribution chain is also notified to ensure that word gets out about the recall.

How are recalled vehicle fixed?

Vehicles that are part of a recall should be fixed without charge to the consumer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration works to ensure that the recall is handled appropriately. This means that repairing, replacing or repurchasing of affected vehicles and components must be done in accordance with federal guidelines. Consumers who are unable to get the recall remedied because of a problem with the manufacturer or manufacturer's representative responsible for fixing the issue should contact the NHTSA to file a complaint.

Having vehicles on the roadways that aren't safe because of a manufacturer's vehicle or component defect, whether that defect is the subject to a recall or not, is dangerous. Anyone who has been harmed in an accident caused by a defective automobile has the right to seek compensation. Working with someone familiar with recalls can help consumers to learn who they should seek compensation from for the damages they suffered.

Source: SafeCar.gov, "What is a Safety Recall?" accessed Jan. 14, 2015

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