HomepageBlogUsed car checkCar recall: what you need to know and how to stay safe
08 March 2023

Car recall: what you need to know and how to stay safe

  1. What is a car recall?
  2. Which parts of the vehicle are subject to recalls?
  3. When is a car called for a recall?
  4. How to check if my used car has a recall?
  5. What are my rights in case of a withdrawal of a recalled vehicle from the market?
  6. Is it possible to buy or sell a used vehicle with a pending recall?

As a car owner, one of the most important things you need to keep in mind is the safety of yourself and others on the road. Unfortunately, sometimes car manufacturers find defects in their vehicles that can put everyone at risk. In such cases, a car recall is issued to fix the problem. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about car recalls and how to stay safe.

What is a car recall?

A car recall is a safety campaign conducted by a car manufacturer to address a safety-related defect in a vehicle. A safety-related defect is defined as a problem that poses a risk to vehicle safety and may exist in a group of vehicles of the same model. A recall may be initiated by the car manufacturer, a regulatory authority such as the European Commission or the national authorities in member states, or even by consumer complaints. The car manufacturer is responsible for notifying the owners of affected vehicles. When a vehicle is subject to a recall, the manufacturer is responsible for fixing the defect free of charge. The repair can be done at an authorized dealership or a certified repair facility, depending on the nature of the recall.

Which parts of the vehicle are subject to recalls?

Recalls affect parts of the car that could cause an immediate safety hazard. Tires have a significant impact on safe driving. Tires play a vital role in the overall safety level of the vehicle. Vehicle safety features, such as all-wheel drive and anti-lock braking systems, keep you safe while driving, but if your tires are damaged, of poor quality, or not suitable for the road conditions, you will not be as safe as you should be.

While recalls of airbags and brakes receive more media attention, recalls of tires are more common than you might have thought. Some of the major tire problems that have led to recalls include bulging tread, tread separation, cracks in the sidewalls, and tire air leaks. All of these issues can increase the risk of an accident.

Recalls of child car seats, sunroofs, and steering wheels are also common. Even if these are not installed in the vehicle, any recall of any part can affect your safety and the safety of your passengers, so it is vitally important to address the issue as soon as possible.

💡 The world's largest car recall was initiated due to Takata's defective airbags. The recall campaign started ten years ago and continues to this day. 30 million vehicles have been affected so far, because airbags can explode when deployed, causing serious injury or even death. According to the media, the error has already cost 25 lives. The numbers clearly indicate that recalls should not be taken lightly.

When is a car called for a recall?

The recall process is overseen by the European Union, and it is the responsibility of the car manufacturer to identify and report any defects to the relevant authorities. Once a defect is identified, the manufacturer must notify the owners of the affected vehicles and provide a solution to the problem, which may involve repair, replacement, or refund. The timing of the recall depends on the severity of the issue, but it is generally initiated as soon as possible to ensure the safety of all road users.

How to check if my used car has a recall?

Before buying a used car, it is important to check whether it has been subject to any past recalls or if there is any current recall. Recalls can greatly impact the value and safety of a vehicle.

In the best-case scenario, if your vehicle is subject to a recall, you will receive a letter from the manufacturer. The letter will explain the problem, the possible consequences, and the recommended steps to resolve the issue. But in the case of a used car, how can you be sure that the vehicle you are planning to buy has ever had a recall? There are several ways to know the truth.

  • If you want to check if your used car has a recall in Europe, you can start by visiting the official website of the European Union for the Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Dangerous Products (RAPEX). This website contains a database of all recalled products in Europe, including vehicles.

  • If you are planning on importing a car from the US, a CARFAX report can show if the vehicle has been subject to any safety recalls issued by the manufacturer. This information can be useful for car buyers to ensure that they are purchasing a safe and reliable vehicle.

What are my rights in case of a withdrawal of a recalled vehicle from the market?

In case of a withdrawal of a recalled vehicle from the European market, the vehicle owner has the right to have their vehicle repaired or replaced by the manufacturer free of charge. The manufacturer is also obligated to inform the owner about the reason for the withdrawal, the possible risks associated with the defect, and the measures that will be taken to remedy the situation.

The owner should be notified about the recall through a registered letter, and the manufacturer should provide a clear timeline for the repair or replacement of the vehicle. In some cases, the owner may also be entitled to financial compensation, depending on the specific circumstances of the recall.

A driver can only claim compensation if the problem has caused an accident or has been intentionally caused by the car manufacturer, or if the manufacturer has not timely reported it, such as in the case of the diesel scandal, which also affects other manufacturers.

A vehicle owner can be entitled to financial compensation only if the defect caused personal injury or property damage. The specific compensation entitlements and procedures vary depending on the country and the type of defect. That is why it is recommended that affected owners consult with their local consumer protection agencies or legal counsel to understand their specific rights and options.

Is it possible to buy or sell a used vehicle with a pending recall?

When it comes to buying or selling a used vehicle with a pending recall, it's important to know that it is legal to do so. If you're in the market for a used car, it's always a good idea to check if there are any pending recalls and to ask the seller if they are aware of any. Additionally, if you're selling a car with a pending recall, it's important to disclose this information to potential buyers.

At the end of the day, it's important to prioritize safety and make sure that any necessary repairs related to a recall are completed in a timely manner.

💡 Related articles

Check in advance to avoid costly hidden surprises.

View CARFAX sample