Could your car be putting you and your family in danger? A defect hidden in the inner workings of your car's engine, brakes, or steering column could be lurking undetected until it causes an accident. Or, there could be design problems with the body of your vehicle that also put you at unnecessary risk of injuries due to rollovers or similar issues.
The odds are high, however, that you wouldn't know it if there's a recall on your vehicle due to safety concerns. Here's what every vehicle owner in the United States needs to know about recalls.
Recalls Due to Defective Part and Design Flaws Happen Constantly
Auto recalls occur all the time. For example, Subaru and Toyota just issued a massive recall that affects over 400,000 vehicles manufactured between 2012 and 2013 due to an issue with a valve spring in the engine. Cars in the recall have been known to suddenly stall, which puts their occupants at the mercy of the reflexes of other drivers if they hope to avoid an accident.
In 2017 alone, there were more than 30 million recalls affecting automotive vehicles of all kinds, and that was an improvement over the previous year, which saw 53 million recall alerts.
The Owners of Older Vehicles Aren't Getting the Message
Unfortunately, the older your vehicle, the less likely you are to find out that there's a recall affecting you. There were only about 17.6 million automotive vehicles actually sold in 2017, which means that the majority of recalls that year involved vehicles sold in prior years.
Officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently met with the heads of the automotive industry to discuss the problem of low completion rates involving recalls and older vehicles.
Recalls of brand new cars tend to get the most consumer attention, probably because they're the most well-publicized. Around 80% of cars under 3 years of age will eventually wind up in a shop for corrections when there's a recall. However, if your car is just 6 years old or older, the likelihood that you'll miss a recall shoots up to nearly 50%!
Proactive Steps Are Necessary to Prevent Injuries
Most vehicle owners assume that they'll receive a notice if their vehicle is under a recall. However, it's easy to overlook a notice, which is often sent on a postcard through the mail. Many consumers throw away recall notices thinking they are simply junk mail.
In other cases, consumers buy their cars used and don't realize that the car was never submitted to inspection after a recall. They mistakenly assume that the dealership would check before reselling a car. That seldom happens. To protect yourself, check your car's VIN number against the online database maintained by the NHTSA at safercar.gov. A yearly check could save your life.
Unnecessary injuries due to defective designs in vehicles can change your life in an instant and leave you with lasting problems that affect your ability to function normally or work. If you've been in an accident because of a car's defect (whether it was your car that was defective or not), talk to a car accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. Companies like Palmetto Injury Lawyers can help you.