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What is car recall and why you should pay attention to it

Chrysler Corporation recently issued a vehicle recall, it’s twelfth since June this year, affecting 840,000 of its automobiles around the world. Chrysler said it’s a pre-emptive measure, and cited a faulty head restraint as a reason for the recall.

Vehicle recalls are almost standard procedure in the world of automobiles today, but what does it mean to you as an owner to have your car recalled? Should you be worried? Should you even pay any attention to a recall notice? Reports suggest that 72% of Americans don’t, but that may not be a smart thing to do. When you paid for your car, you paid for the faulty feature, too, so you should take up your automaker on their word and have the faulty part repaired.

What a recall means

When automakers find defects in batches of vehicles that have already hit the market, they issue a recall. They send out letters to the customers owning the vehicles to be recalled, intimating them about the faults in their vehicles. These may or may not be safety-related, but in either case the car maker will suggest getting them repaired at a local dealership. The automaker will, of course, pay for the repairs.

Counter-intuitively, the word ‘recall’ in this case only means replacing or repairing the defective parts of the recalled vehicles. Though, legally speaking, the automakers do have the option of either replacing the recalled cars, or refunding to the owner the recalled vehicle’s price (minus depreciation), but it often doesn’t come to it.

Pay attention to the recall

The federal laws require all the vehicles and their parts, particularly those that “most affect their safe operation”, to comply by certain safety standards. Recalls are issued when this compliance is found wanting. If your car has been affected by a safety-related recall, you might want to make it a priority to have the defects fixed. You may not be in any immediate danger in the meantime, but why would you even want to push your luck? Better be safe than sorry.

Check how the recall affects your car insurance

Recalls made due to safety-related defects usually do affect car insurance rates. A potentially dangerous vehicle, as you car is now if it’s the subject of a recall, would cost the insurers more to repair (theoretically) if it were to be in an accident. Since auto insurance rates are directly related to the good health and safety of a vehicle, this would cause your insurance rates to rise. On the other hand, fixing the safety defects of your car, and thus making it a safer proposition overall, should bring down your insurance premiums.

If the recall is big enough to gather a lot of media attention, it will negatively impact the market value of your car. A dip in resale value will also bring down your insurance rates. Furthermore, if your car (prior to being recalled) is involved in an accident, your car manufacturer will be liable to pay the resultant damages to you.

If you are caught up in a recall, check with your insurer how it would affect the insurance you pay. That might just sway you in the direction of having the safety defect looked at professionally.

Ignore the recall at your peril

If you ignore a recall notice and are later found to be in an accident that could be blamed on the recalled faulty parts, you would be held responsible for it. You won’t be able to claim any damages from your automaker, so in the interest of peace of mind and the safety of your car, yourself, your family, and those on the road, kindly tend to any vehicle recall notices you may receive.


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