If You Have a Problem with a Recall Repair
In the vast majority of cases, dealers perform safety-related recall repairs promptly and correctly. However, from time to time, problems do occur. We can categorize these problems broadly as an inability to have the recall work done or to have it done without charge.
When you receive a letter from the manufacturer of your vehicle notifying you that your car has been recalled, you should contact your dealer's service department to arrange for the recall repair. If you then have problems in obtaining the free recall repair, you can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) immediately as explained below under Step 3. However, it is usually quicker to attempt to resolve the problem using Steps 1 or 2.
Step 1: Contact the Dealer Service Manager
The first step is to contact the dealer service manager. You should explain the situation to the manager, identifying the work required as part of a safety recall. If you have the manufacturer's notification letter on the safety recall, it will help explain your concern.
In the vast majority of cases, this will resolve any problems. However, if you do not feel the service manager has answered your concerns completely, then you should contact the manufacturer, Step 2.
Step 2: Contact the Manufacturer
To contact the manufacturer, call the telephone number (usually toll-free) that is provided in the letter sent to you notifying you of the recall. You can also find the telephone number for the manufacturer's local representative or toll free customer service number in the back of the vehicle owner's manual. Once again, you must describe the problem you are having and usually the following information:
- The make, model, and model year of your vehicle and the vehicle identification number (VIN);
- Briefly describe the recall and the problem you are having;
- Identify your dealer and what steps you have taken with the dealer to resolve the matter.
The manufacturer will look into the matter and should be able to resolve your concern within a few days.
If you believe that you are unable to have the recall work completed without charge, then please contact NHTSA, Step 3. You should also contact the NHTSA if you believe that the recall work has not corrected the safety defect.
Step 3: Contact the NHTSA
You can write to the NHTSA, call them toll-free, or connect with them over the Internet. The NHTSA's address and toll-free telephone number are provided in every recall notification letter. You can write to the NHTSA at: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20590. The NHTSA's toll-free telephone number is 888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236). To contact the NHTSA over the Internet, simply go to their interactive web site at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/ and complete the questionnaire.