At Warranty Direct we know a car can be a big, financial investment. That is why we started the Reliability Index in 2005 to give consumers insight into some of the best performing models and manufacturers. However, even the most reliable manufacturers can sometimes discover faults with certain vehicles.
Earlier this year, the DVSA revealed 2.2 million models were affected by recalls involving faulty airbags, fire risks and steering failures, but just 47.7 % went back for repairs. This suggests there could be potentially dangerous models still operating on UK roads.
Whilst these figures do seem worrying – how concerned should consumers really be and what can we do to ensure we comply with car recall procedures?
So, what exactly is a car recall?
Even after a car model has launched, manufacturers make continual tweaks to new releases. If a problem is identified, a recall could be issued if it’s serious enough. Recalls can also be triggered by customers experiencing issues caused by a car defect. These include problems such as brake or airbag faults, which compromise safety – but they can be for less worrying concerns like faulty sunroofs.Recalls are issued by ‘service measures,’ which means work is carried out when a customer next brings their car in for a routine service. Alternatively, if a manufacturer recognises a fault posing safety risks, the brand will attempt to contact owners of every affected vehicle to arrange repairs.
Recalls are issued by ‘service measures,’ which means work is carried out when a customer next brings their car in for a routine service. Alternatively, if a manufacturer recognises a fault posing safety risks, the brand will attempt to contact owners of every affected vehicle to arrange repairs.
Do I have to pay if my car is recalled?
You should never be asked to pay if your car is affected by an active safety recall. These are put in place by manufacturers and if your car is confirmed as affected, the workshop carrying out the repair will be paid directly by the brand.
However, if problems are found during the recall process, like an unrelated item suffering wear and tear, additional chargeable work may be reported.
If your vehicle is outside a manufacturer warranty it’s always a good idea to purchase a used car warranty, to help safeguard you against such additional costs.
Will my car lose value if I don’t observe a recall?
Quite possibly – yes. More importantly, ignoring safety recalls could be dangerous, particularly if concerning fire risks and problems with brakes, steering or air bags. Vauxhall had to issue a second recall for its Zafira family car’s electrical components earlier this year after fires due to the first fix proved ineffective.
It’s essential any recall work is completed. Aside from possible safety implications, a missed recall could reduce a car’s value, make it harder to sell or even invalidate your warranty and insurance.
How worried should I be?
You don’t necessarily need to be unnerved if you read a dramatic media headline about your car – recalls are often precautionary. Only in very rare cases are owners instructed not to drive their cars until recall work has been completed.
The majority of manufacturers say investigations are triggered when just a single digit number of cases of specific faults appear. Whilst this often results in recalling many cars for precautionary fixes, this means not all vehicles will necessarily be faulty.
These actions also show manufacturers are taking all precautions to protect customers – which should help reduce concerns, as the majority of issues are not life-threateningly serious and if they were, your manufacturer would be certain to make you aware immediately. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and if unsure, you should get in touch with your vehicle manufacturer with any questions as soon as possible.
How can I find out whether a recall notice has been issued on my car?
A manufacturer must notify the DVSA of a recall and complete the below actions:
- Write to every registered keeper notifying them of defects
- Spell out the fix required and consequences if the problem isn’t remedied
- Tell the owner how to proceed after receiving the notification
You can also see if your vehicle is on a manufacturer’s recall list by checking its website or by searching DVSA’s online records.
It’s vital to notify the DVSA if you’ve bought or sold a second-hand vehicle, as if your contact details aren’t up-to-date you won’t receive this important information. The next steps for owners are usually as simple as contacting your local franchised dealer and arranging a free repair or replacement parts.
Warranty Direct offers warranties for most cars and vans up to 12 years of age along with motorbikes up to 10 years of age. Policies include cover for Wear & Tear*, failure caused by non-insured parts and failures discovered during routine Service and MOTs.
* – Covered from day 1 on renewals or continuing a manufacturer’s policy. Otherwise a 90-day exclusion period applies.
Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by Warranty Direct Limited. Warranty Direct Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075