When you purchase a vehicle, you expect it to run smoothly. Unfortunately, even new cars and trucks may come with a defect that puts you, your passengers, and others on the road at risk of crash or injury. When consumers report these issues, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the vehicle’s manufacturer will investigate potential defects and, if necessary, issue a recall. In most cases, recalls necessitate the repair or replacement of a defective part (at no cost to the customer). Sometimes, the manufacturer may offer a refund for the defective vehicle. Whether you are struggling with a persistent problem with your car or you simply want to know more about the recall process, this post will explore the ins and outs of auto safety recalls and what steps you can take should you encounter an issue.
Automakers With the Most Safety Recalls
Recalls occur for all automakers, but some companies are more prone to issuing a safety recall than others. In particular, three companies share the bulk of auto safety recalls: General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler.
General Motors Recalls
Topping the list is General Motors, which issued 671 separate recalls between January 2000 and July 2022 alone. In 2014, the company issued a recall involving a faulty ignition system that would turn off for no reason. This safety issue affected more than five million General Motors vehicles, including the Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Alero, Oldsmobile Intrigue, Pontiac Grand Am, and Pontiac Grand Prix.
Ford Motor Company
Between 2000 and 2022, Ford Motor Company experienced 635 recalls. The most impactful recall occurred in September 2005, which involved a potential fire ignited by a faulty speed control deactivation switch. Over 4.5 million Ford vehicles were recalled for this issue, including the 1994-1996 Ford Bronco, 1997-2002 Ford Expedition, 1994-2002 Ford F-150, 1994-1999 Ford F-250, 2002 Lincoln Blackwood, and 1998-2002 Lincoln Navigator.
Chrysler has received and issued several recalls over the years. However, the safety recall launched in May 2018 remains the most significant. Nearly five million Chrysler vehicles were recalled due to malfunctioning cruise control that failed to disengage. This issue impacted numerous models, such as the Dodge Ram, Dodge Journey, Dodge Charger, Dodge Durance, Jeep Cherokee, and more.
Most Common Issues Triggering Auto Safety Recalls
The majority of auto safety recalls involve a simple part replacement. However, there are some recalls that require more extensive and advanced repairs. In 2022 alone, the top reason for a factory recall stems from an equipment failure (29 percent of all recalls). Following this issue are malfunctions involving the electrical system (20 percent), power train (8 percent), steering system (7 percent), vehicle structure (6 percent), brakes (5 percent), airbags (5 percent), tires (4 percent), exterior lighting (4 percent), and seats (4 percent). If the NHTSA or the manufacturer announces a recall pertaining to any of these safety concerns, they will notify consumers and urge them to take their vehicle to the dealership for the recommended repairs.
Auto Recall Trends in 2022
Now that we are at the halfway point of 2022, the NHTSA has released the four motor companies that led the way in the most significant number of recalls issued this year. Ford Motor Company tops the list, with multiple recalls involving faulty airbags, bushing, engine oil leakage, and braking system issues. Models impacted by these recalls include certain 2020-2022 Ford Escape and 2021-2022 Bronco Sport vehicles, as well as certain F-150, 2022 Maverick, Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 models. Mercedes-Benz has also experienced a large volume of recalls, mainly due to potential brake booster corrosion. This issue impacts over 292,000 vehicles, including 2006-2021 ML-Class, GL-Class, and R-Class vehicles. Daimler Trucks and Forest River have also been affected by several recalls.
What Consumers Can Do
There are several steps consumers can take to stay informed about the latest recalls. First, if you experience a recurring issue with your vehicle, you should file a report with the NHTSA. When you file a complaint with the NHTSA, the information will be entered into the larger database and may initiate a further investigation if other customers report the same issue. However, it’s important to recognize that you may only report problems that pertain to safety, such as components or malfunctions that hinder your driving. You can also visit the NHTSA website to enter your 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) into the database, where you’ll be able to check about any recalls affecting this make and model.
When Complications Arise
While the majority of auto recalls involve a brief trip to the dealership for a replacement part, issues may arise at any point. If you are struggling with a persistent safety issue and the manufacturer has not responded to your concerns, contact a trusted lemon law attorney to discuss your options. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be eligible to receive a replacement vehicle or a refund. Reach out to a knowledgeable Berkeley attorney today to learn more.
Call Lemon Law Partners, LLP, today at (510) 944-0336 to arrange a free case evaluation with a dedicated Berkeley attorney.