Vehicle Safety Recalls - A Complete Guide

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Vehicle recalls landscape can be a difficult one to navigate. Many drivers are unaware whether a vehicle has an outstanding safety recall – and that’s understandable.

There are so many kinds of car makes out there on our roads. And with so many different models of each make (some spanning decades) many faults can go undetected and unremedied. 

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When it comes to the used car market, it can be even more tricky with repairs slipping through the net due to previous owners who haven’t responded to recall notices.

We’ve put together a helpful guide that answers the most common questions when it comes to vehicle safety recalls and how to find out if your car may have been subject to notice in the past.

Where are vehicle recalls issued from?

As it’s the legal obligation of any car brand to report safety-related problems to the DVSA, recalls almost always originate from the manufacturer. 

In some cases, individuals will uncover these faults themselves, but they usually end up contacting their dealership about this. While this is the case, the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) also has an online system where drivers can submit faults to be assessed as well.

Click here to check any car for a recall for free.

 

What if a manufacturer is unwilling to issue a recall?

According to the DVSA, this hasn’t been the case to date in the UK. However, if an automaker were to begin acting irresponsibly, the DVSA does have the power to force their hand in issuing action.  

Are there different types of vehicle recalls?

There are, in fact, two different levels of recalls for cars. 

‘Stop Drive Recall’ – This is known as the highest recall level. Cars that have been labelled as ‘Stop Drive’ should not be driven. In other words, they should be ‘grounded’ like an aircraft as they may have significant safety issues. It’s worth noting, however, that these kinds of recalls are scarce.

‘Safety Recall’ – This is the most common kind of recall. Manufacturers order this when they believe the vehicle in question (or one of its component parts) may present some safety issues. Unlike the first kind of recall, you can continue to drive your vehicle under a safety recall, ‘unless informed otherwise’ that is, by the manufacturer. 

What should I do if I find out my car has outstanding safety recall?

If you’ve received a letter from the manufacturer, then you should contact them as per the instructions in the letter. If the vehicle is under a safety recall, then you as the driver should not have to pay for any remedial work. 

Problems arise when a particular vehicle is used and has changed hands. In that case, the previous owners may not have responded to a manufacturer letter. That means there still may be repairs needed on the vehicle that you’re unaware of. 

How do I find out if a vehicle has an outstanding safety recall?

As mentioned previously, not all recall issues are resolved when uncovered. Manufacturers may have contacted an owner about a safety issue to no avail. In some cases, they may also have failed to find the owner before the car has changed hands. That results in component faults and failures that remain unremedied, particularly in the used marketplace. And this can create a headache for an unsuspecting purchaser of a used vehicle.

If you’re interested in buying a used car, then it’s worth getting clear about what you’re actually purchasing. While you can check if a certain type or model of vehicle has been affected by a recall using government services, knowing whether the particular vehicle you’re interested in has had the necessary repairs is often less clear. 

Car Guide’s comprehensive buyer’s report will uncover outstanding safety recalls and many other important things you should take into consideration when buying a used car. What’s more, Car Guide makes it easy to compare used cars from various websites, all in one place.

With Car Guide’s subscription, you can compare as many vehicles as you like and access more data than any other free car checks provide. Unlike free car checkers,  our Car Guide buyer’s report will help you uncover any outstanding issues a particular vehicle might have from repairs to financing. That includes its MOT history and whether a car has been recalled (including what repairs it’s had since). That way, you’ll have peace of mind when it comes to making the final purchase decision.

Keen to find out what’s going on under the hood? Try Car Guide today. All you need is the vehicle registration number to get started. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated team.

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