My Car Has Been Recalled—Now What?

If you’ve received notification that your car may be affected by a recall, you may wonder what to do next. While the mailed notification will include information about contacting your dealership to obtain the replacement part, you will likely have several questions about the safety of your vehicle, how expensive the replacement parts will be, or how long the replacement will take. Let’s take a closer look at some common questions consumers have about the recall process, and what steps to take once you’ve received your notification.

Why Was My Car Recalled?

The first question you may have is why the recall was issued in the first place. Generally speaking, recalls are issued when a safety issue has been identified in particular makes and models that require replacement. For instance, defective steering systems, engines that may catch fire, backup cameras that do not function properly, or other threats to driver and passenger safety can all trigger a safety recall. Cosmetic issues, such as peeling paint, do not affect the safety of the vehicle, so they would not prompt a recall.

How Much Will the Repair Cost?

Under federal law, all safety recall repairs must be performed free of charge on vehicles that are less than 15 years old. It’s important to note that the “age” of the car is calculated based on the sale of the vehicle to its first owner, not on the date of manufacture. However, people with cars that are older than 15 years may still be eligible for a free safety recall repair. Before you assume you are out of luck, contact the manufacturer to see whether you can still obtain the repair free of charge.

How Long Will the Repair Process Take?

Going about your daily life without your vehicle can pose logistical challenges, so it’s helpful to know how long the safety recall repair process typically takes. When you receive your notification by mail, it may still be weeks until dealerships are prepared to provide the necessary repairs. Once all the components of the fix are available, the dealership often completes the actual repair very quickly. When you call to schedule a repair appointment, you should ask how long the process will take so you can adjust your schedule accordingly. In rare cases, there are problems with the recall repair, so you may need to bring your vehicle back in for an additional repair. If any major issues arise during the safety recall repair process, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled lemon law attorney for assistance. 


To learn more about your rights as a consumer under California lemon law, contact the dedicated Oakland attorneys at Lemon Law Partners, LLP by calling (510) 944-0336 to arrange a free case evaluation.

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