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On Sunday, March 10 at 2 a.m., most clocks will ‘spring forward’ causing a majority of Americans to lose an hour of sleep. Losing that one precious hour of sleep is the downside of daylight saving time. But, on the bright side, we gain an extra hour of sunlight in the evening. This extra hour of evening sunlight allows us to make better use of daylight during the summer months. In addition, thanks to our smartphones, Americans have largely moved away from traditional alarm clocks, meaning we spend less time changing clocks manually. So, what can you do with all this extra time and daylight? We suggest using the day as your annual reminder to check for recalls on your vehicle.
Maximizing our time for our day-to-day tasks means we tend to forget out of the ordinary duties such as checking for recalls on our vehicles. However, checking your vehicle’s recall status plays an important role in keeping you, your loved ones and others on the road safe. With summer on the horizon, daylight saving time is the perfect time to get your vehicle prepared for some of the year’s busiest travel days.
What is a safety-related defect?
A safety defect is generally defined as a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or a vehicle’s equipment that:
- Poses a risk to motor vehicle safety, and
- May exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacture.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over 33.5 million vehicles were affected by recalls in 2018 in the United States. It is scary to think that only 75 percent of recalled vehicles in a given year are ever fixed. This means a high number of drivers, their passengers, and others sharing the road are at risk of potentially dangerous situations. While recalls may seem like a minor inconvenience, they are crucial to ensuring the safety of you and others on the road.
Steps to take towards a safer vehicle
A manufacturer issues a recall when it or the NHTSA determines that a vehicle or vehicle equipment creates an unreasonable safety risk. Another reason they may issue a recall is a failure to meet federal minimum safety standards.
In the best-case scenario, if your vehicle has an open safety recall you will receive a recall notice in the mail explaining the defect. The notice will have details such as the defect the cause of the defect, instructions for repair and dealerships in your area that will perform the work. However, things may not always go this smooth.
Although manufacturers are required to notify you of a vehicle safety recall and fix it for free, there are instances in which there is a delay in notification to consumers. For example, if a vehicle has had multiple owners, there may be a delay in reaching the current owner. You can take charge by taking the first step in ensuring there is not a recall on your vehicle during daylight saving time.
Locate your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – A VIN is a unique, 17-character code that identifies each vehicle. The VIN can be found on a label inside your driver’s side doorjamb or you can also find it stamped under the glass where the windshield meets the dashboard. If you are away from your vehicle, you may be able to find your vehicle’s VIN on your car insurance documents or registration.
Search with your VIN online – You may type in your VIN at https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls to search for any open recalls affecting your vehicle. If there is an open recall on your vehicle, you will be advised what steps to take next. It is also wise to sign up for e-mail recall alerts at https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/nhtsa/subscriptions.
Don’t stop there. Aside from the awareness of recalls on your vehicle, check for recalls on tires and car seats as well.
Take action – As consumers, we need to do our part by participating fully in recalls. Far too many of us ignore recalls because we are not experiencing effects of the defect, or because we’re too busy. However, ignoring a recall is a mistake comparable to ignoring a fire alarm because you can’t smell smoke. It is critical that you get your vehicle repaired immediately if there is an open recall on it. You do not need to worry about expenses as the vehicle’s manufacturer is required to fix the recall for free.
Auto companies often recall defective parts after receiving reports of defects and crashes. If you believe there is a safety problem with your vehicle, tires or car seat but cannot find an open recall, report the problem. Your complaint will help identify safety defects that just might protect other consumers from potential injuries. If you happen to correct the issue that you reported, save the receipt. If a recall is later issued for that same item, you may be able to be eligible for a refund.
The Carlson Law Firm can help
Not all motor vehicle car collisions are the result of driver negligence. In fact, many are the result of defective vehicles or defective auto parts. The problem is, the relationship between vehicle defects and injuries isn’t always clear. Hiring an experienced Product Liability Attorney is crucial in determining the precise cause of a collision through an immediate and thorough investigation.
If you suspect an auto or auto parts defect caused you or a loved one’s injuries, don’t let another moment pass without an experienced, aggressive Defective Auto Products advocate on your side. When victims suffer injuries caused by an auto company’s carelessness or unreasonable cost-saving decisions, victims have the right to hold that company legally liable. The Carlson Law Firm has a team of Product Liability Attorneys that will ensure you are in the best possible position for long-term relief and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation. We care, we can help.