How the NHTSA manages manufacturer recalls

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The National Highway Safety Administration, or NHTSA, works hard to administer safety recalls in accordance with the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Recalls are issued by the car manufacturer if it’s determined that there are any safety-related defects in the product. Meanwhile, the NHTSA controls manufacturers and is authorized to conduct an investigation on recall verification as well. Today, we’re going to plunge into the process of NHTSA recalls. 

Step 1

How does NHTSA find out that a defect may exist? The first step is very important: reporting the problem. The agency has to receive enough similar complaints about the same product from a number of people. Then, they look into every filed complaint and other information related to the alleged defects to decide whether to open an investigation.

Step 2

After that, the NHTSA opens an investigation. They review all reports and conduct an analysis of any petitions calling for defect investigations. If the petition is denied, the reasons for the denial are published in the Federal Register. An investigation is closed only when they notify the manufacturer of the recall recommendations, or they don’t identify a safety-related defect.

Step 3

According to the Safety Recall Compendium, auto manufacturers are required to notify the vehicle’s owners about the problem within 60 days. The manufacturer is responsible for repairing or replacing all related details. Usually, the bigger the recall, the longer you may wait for an appointment with a local dealership to get it fixed. But this rule doesn’t work with vehicles older than 10 years.  

To sum up, recalled vehicles don’t conform to applicable federal and safety standards, posing a hazard to passengers and others on the road alike. If you suspect your car has an unrepaired recall but you haven’t received a notification yet, it’s time to contact the manufacturer or local authorized dealer to find out. Also, since the probability of getting a notification about an open recall is very low for used car consumers,  it’s very important to check that on your own. You can enter your VIN on the ClearVin website to get an instant detailed vehicle history report, including all open recalls. 

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