Do Car Recalls Expire?

Product recalls related to a motor vehicle and its component parts are not uncommon. The Takata airbag recall continues to make headlines as it has resulted in the recall of 41.6 million vehicles, a staggering number. For any type of car-related product recall, and the Takata recall is a good example, it is crucial that consumers have their vehicles repaired as soon as possible to prevent the defective component from causing serious injury or even death.

How long does a typical car recall last?

Technically, car recalls are only enforced for a “reasonable period,” according to the NHTSA. Recalls end if a vehicle’s manufacturer goes out of business, or if the parts necessary to make the repair are unavailable or no longer manufactured.

Recalls may occur in two ways. The manufacturers of the vehicle may voluntarily issue a recall, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may order them, typically as the result of an investigation initiated by consumer complaints.

When the NHTSA issues a recall order, the manufacturer is required by Federal law to use registered mail to notify all registered owners and purchasers of vehicles subject to the recall.

The notice must contain information that describes the potential safety hazards posed by the defect and inform consumers how and where to correct the problem. It must also explain the length of time that it will take to repair the vehicle and contact information if any problems arise during the repair process. Any repairs must be performed at no cost to the consumer.

There are instances when consumers experience problems and, without notice of any recall related to the product, have the vehicle repaired before a recall is announced by the manufacturer. There are also cases where a consumer may not know about a recall.

If a consumer has the defect repaired before a recall is announced, typically the manufacturer must reimburse the consumer if proper proof such as a receipt is presented. In most cases, a manufacturer is required to pay for safety-related repairs that were completed up to one year before the recall unless the NHTSA opened a formal “engineering analysis” more than a year prior to the recall, then the date on which that analysis was opened is the beginning of the term whereby a consumer is eligible for free repairs.

As required by the NHTSA, manufacturers must file quarterly progress reports indicating the number of vehicles that have been inspected and repaired, as well as the number of owners that have not yet been contacted.

If the NHTSA decides that additional efforts are necessary to notify consumers, it may request the manufacturer repeat the notification process.

Our decades of experience make it the clear choice to meet your legal needs for representation in personal injury and products liability cases in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury resulting from the use of a product, contact Powell Law today at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay a fee unless we win.

Do Car Recalls Expire?

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