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How Do Vehicle Recalls Work?

Posted by John Hadden | Feb 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Each year, hundreds of recalls are made that affect thousands of cars and trucks. Usually, it is because there is a defective part or accessory that has led to an issue that is dangerous for the driver and passengers as well as others on the road.

When a car manufacturer initiates a recall, it is usually because they have decided that defending against potential lawsuits and paying settlements will be more expensive and troublesome than just admitting that there is a problem. When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) pressures a carmaker into issuing a recall, it is often because consumer complaints have resulted in an investigation that has determined there is indeed a defective part.

When a recall is issued, the car manufacturer takes steps to notify owners about defective and potentially dangerous vehicles by either:

  • Mailing notices to the last-known addresses of the owners of the vehicle, and 
  • Publicly posting information including what the recall is, why the vehicles are being recalled, and the make, model, and manufacturing years of the affected vehicles. Some recalls will also include the vehicle's identification number (VIN) and owners can then enter their vehicle's VIN into a website to see if it is part of the recall.

After the recall notice is sent out, it is on owners to take their vehicle to a dealership or authorized mechanic to have the recall addressed, most often free of charge to the owner.

2019 Saw Many Recalls

According to the NHTSA, there were 1,031 recalls in 2019, each of which affected hundreds of vehicles. The following are just two of the most important recalls from 2019.

Honda and Acura Fuel Pump Problems

One of the larger recalls of the year targeted an estimated 437,000 vehicles made by Acura and Honda. In these vehicles, solid particles in gasoline had a tendency to stick to the parts of the fuel pump. If they were allowed to build up, it could lead to an engine stall, which could cause a crash if the driver was not able to safely get off the road. As a part of the recall, Honda dealers would update the software in the engine control unit or replace the entire fuel pump for free.

Ford Trucks and SUVs Faulty Seats

Another large recall involved 483,300 Ford trucks and SUVs and Lincoln SUVs. These vehicles were recalled because some of the seats did not have a third pawl inside the backs of the seats. Pawls are metal posts that keep the seat from bending in a crash. Without a third pawl, drivers and occupants would not be sufficiently restrained in the event of a crash. Owners were supposed to take their vehicles into a dealership for an inspection, and if their seat is defective, it would be replaced for free.

Hadden Law Firm

If you were involved in an accident and you believe either the accident itself or your injuries were caused by a defective part, you will have to prove it in a personal injury lawsuit. If the defect was the subject of a recall, that recall then becomes strong evidence in your case. Attorney John Hadden will fight for your rights and help prove that a recalled defect was responsible for your injuries. Call The Hadden Law firm at 404-939-4525 or fill out a contact form to get started on your case today.

About the Author

John Hadden

John D. Hadden is the owner and founder of the Hadden Law Firm. An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, he is author of three respected treatises on Georgia litigation practice: Greens Georgia Law of Evidence, Georgia Law of Torts - Trial Preparation and Practice, and Georgia Magistrate Court...


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