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How can I find out if my vehicle is subject to a recall?

Did you hear about the Takata airbag recall? Is your car or truck affected by this recall? How do you find out? 

Some recalls come after vehicle owners or their passengers suffer serious or fatal injuries. If you receive information regarding a recall on your vehicle, understanding the urgency could affect what you do next.

What is a technical service bulletin?

More than likely, unless you look for it, you may not be aware of a technical service bulletin issued on your vehicle. TSBs are most often used when automakers do not necessarily feel safety is an issue. When you take your vehicle in for service, dealership technicians can exchange the necessary parts for free if your vehicle still has a warranty. Without a warranty, you would need to pay for the repairs.

Even if the defect does not quite risk your safety, you may still want to consider getting the issue taken care of as quickly as possible.

What is a voluntary recall?

When automakers discover a defect that could affect your safety, they may issue a voluntary recall. For the most part, this is a preemptive step before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration steps in and forces a vehicle manufacturer to recall a vehicle or vehicles. Manufacturers often issue these recalls in order to limit or avoid any liability should the defect result in accidents and injuries.

If you receive notice of this type of recall, you should take it seriously. You needn't worry about cost since these types of repairs are always cost-free to you.

What is a mandatory recall?

When little to no doubt exists that a defect could jeopardize your safety, the NHTSA issues a mandatory recall. This is the most serious category of recall, and you should not ignore one if you receive notice of it. The automaker pays for the repairs, and the sooner you can get in for them, the better. Going back to the example of the Takata airbag recalls, they were mandatory.

The risk to your life from a defect warranting a mandatory recall is very real. More than likely, someone already paid the ultimate price because of it. Others may have suffered serious injuries.

What happens if an accident happens?

If an auto defect causes you or a loved one to suffer serious injuries, the auto manufacturer and others in the purchasing chain may be responsible.

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