Understanding Why the Number of Auto Safety Recall Campaigns is Rising

A man in a suit appears frustrated while looking at an open car hood, suggesting car trouble.

Making the decision to purchase or lease a vehicle is a considerable one. You want to make sure that the car or truck you select will perform well and keep you and your passengers safe out there on the road. Although most new and gently used vehicles are free of defects, mistakes made during the manufacturing or assembly process can increase the risk of vehicle malfunction or recurring issues. In some cases, these defects can lead to transmission problems, engine issues, or other threats to your safety. When an automaker or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) becomes aware of a defect in a particular make and model, it will announce an auto safety recall campaign informing impacted customers of the issue and urging them to take their car or truck to the dealership for the recommended recall repair. Over the years, auto recall campaigns have occurred fairly steadily. In recent years, however, industry experts have noticed a significant increase in the number of automobile recalls; these days, it seems as if a new recall campaign is announced every week. If you are struggling with a defective vehicle and you need help obtaining the recall repair, replacement vehicle, or refund owed to you under California lemon law, you can discuss your options with a knowledgeable and experienced Berkeley lemon law attorney. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the factors that may be contributing to a rising number of auto safety recall campaigns nationwide.

A Concerning Trend in Defective Vehicles

Whenever a defect is identified in a particular make and model, the automaker or the NHTSA will notify the customers affected by the issue and provide a remedy at no additional cost to the consumer. However, the number of auto safety recall campaigns has risen considerably in recent years. According to a recent ABC News analysis, “The average number of car recalls each year jumped 46 percent over a 10-year period ending in 2022 when compared with the average over the preceding ten years.” Before 2016, the United States had not exceeded 1,000 auto recalls in any year dating back to 2002. However, between 2016 and 2022, the United States averaged more than 1,000 vehicle recalls every year, which roughly translates to approximately 27 recalls per day. This alarming rise in defective vehicles has industry experts wondering what factors are propelling the trend. Below are just a few of the factors that may be contributing to the rise in the number of vehicle safety recalls in recent years.

More Complex Features Mean More Potential Defects

Technological advancements in the automaking industry have evolved at a rapid pace. As vehicles become more complex, especially in their electronic components, there are more elements that have the potential to malfunction. For example, Tesla’s self-driving capabilities, while impressive and exciting for drivers, have presented a wide range of issues in recent years. In December of 2023, Tesla announced a recall of over two million vehicles of various models because of Autopilot safety issues. Tesla has already issued a significant number of safety recalls related to its Autopilot feature, as well as recalls involving defective airbags and warning lights. According to Tom McParland, operator of vehicle-buying service Automatch Consulting, “As you add more components to vehicles, as vehicles get more tech-heavy, you’re going to have more failure points.” Essentially, more complicated vehicle capabilities simply open the door to more potential failures. From this vantage point, it should not be a surprise to see an uptick in the number of safety recall campaigns arising from more complex vehicles.

Enhanced Vehicle Inspections

Some industry experts urge consumers to view the rise of recall campaigns as a sign that inspections and regulations are working well. Whenever an auto safety recall arises, this means that the regulatory system is doing its job to identify issues and notify customers. Moreover, it’s essential to recognize that the recall campaigns vary widely in severity—some defects concern minor problems that can be easily corrected, while others pose a more significant safety risk and should be resolved as soon as possible. If the recall notice you receive urges you to avoid driving the vehicle until you obtain the necessary repair, it’s important to adhere to this warning if you can. However, if you are experiencing a significant delay in securing the recall repair or if the dealership keeps telling you that the replacement part is not yet available, discuss your options with a trusted and experienced Berkeley Lemon Law attorney.

Recognizing Your Lemon Law Rights in California

California has some of the most robust and comprehensive legal protections in the country to protect consumers from companies and retailers acting in bad faith. The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act allows those who find themselves with a lemon vehicle on their hands to pursue legal remedies. If you purchase a new or used vehicle that is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, you have the right to seek a refund or replacement vehicle if the vehicle sold or leased to you qualifies as a lemon. A valid lemon law claim must involve a vehicle that suffers from a recurring defect impairing its use, value, or safety. You must be able to show that you have made a “reasonable number” of attempts to repair the vehicle that have proven unsuccessful. For the most part, a “reasonable number” of repair attempts roughly translates to two or more unsuccessful attempts. However, since every case differs slightly, it’s important to enlist the guidance of a seasoned and friendly Berkeley lemon law attorney who can help you identify the most strategic path forward. Together, you and your lawyer can hold the manufacturer responsible for allowing you to purchase or lease a defective and unsafe vehicle.

If you think you have a lemon on your hands, you may be entitled to recover a vehicle replacement or refund. Reach out to Lemon Law Partners, LLP, today at (510) 944-0336 to schedule a free case evaluation with a dedicated and friendly Berkeley lemon law attorney.

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