Dealers Voice: Don’t Ignore Auto Recall Notices
Take appropriate action today to ensure the safety and performance of your vehicle.
Consumer product recalls are fact of life in our society. Food, furniture, athletic equipment and children’s’ toys are among the many items that have been recalled for health- or safety-related issues.
Automobiles are no exception.
Automobile recall notices are issued by auto manufacturers and regulated by Transport Canada, and they are quite common in our industry.
There are two categories of recall notices: safety-related and nonsafety-related. Safety-related items include items such as faulty wiring, steering components, airbags and child restraints, while nonsafety-related items include air-conditioning systems, rust, radios and paint blemishes.
An auto recall notice begins when a complaint is brought to the attention of Transport Canada, either by the general public, the police, lawyers or a government department. All reports and alleged safety issues are reviewed by Transport Canada if it receives enough reports about an alleged defect.
Admittedly, recall notices represent an inconvenience to motorists, but they should be regarded as a good thing. The purpose of a recall notice is to make a vehicle safer for driving, which should be a priority for all motorists.
If you happen to receive a recall notice in the mail for your vehicle, bring it into your local new-car dealer as soon as possible. This applies to both owned and leased vehicles. Dealerships provide the necessary repairs on recall issues at no cost. The longer you wait, the greater the risk of doing damage to your vehicle and compromising your safety.
When you are purchasing a pre-owned vehicle from a registered new-car dealership, ask about any outstanding recalls on the model you are interested in buying. It is possible that the car’s original owner received a recall notice but never acted on it.
It is estimated that up to 25 per cent of all vehicles on Canadian roads today have unfixed safety issues related to a recall notice.
Visit the Transport Canada website to see if your vehicle is affected, or contact your local new-car dealership. You will need to enter your vehicle information number (VIN), which can be found in your ownership manual and on the dashboard (driver’s side).
To report a potential automobile defect that could comprise your safety (or your car’s performance), contact Transport Canada online or call 1-800-335-0510. The statute of limitations for all no-charge auto recalls is eight years from the original sale date of the vehicle.
There are other types of notices relating to safety and performance that manufacturers issue from time to time. These are known as “technical service bulletins” (TSBs). Similar to recall notices, TSBs address mechanical defects that arise after a vehicle has experienced real world driving conditions.
A TSB is an advisory from the manufacturer to new- car dealer service departments. TSBs include an outline about how to make the necessary repairs, and are typically issued within two or three years after a model is released.
A TSB can relate to a wide range of nonsafety items, such as difficult starts, rough idles, stalling engines, rattling engine noises, poor heater performance, inoperative power windows, etc. TSBs are sometimes used to inform dealerships about new parts and service manual or warranty updates.
When a TSB relates to your vehicle, the work is usually performed when the vehicle comes into the service department at a new car dealer for service, or the customer inquires about a specific problem.
If a TSB has been issued for your make and model year, and your vehicle still qualifies to have the repairs made, your new car dealership will perform this repair at no charge.
Don’t wait to have a recall notice addressed on your vehicle. Take appropriate action today to ensure the safety and performance of your vehicle.
This column represents the views and values of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to tada.ca. Cliff Lafreniere is president of the TADA and is president of Pinewood Park Motors (Ford) in Kirkland Lake. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.