What to Do When Your SUV is Recalled

Published October 7, 2015 by Jayme Williams

The first thing you should not do is panic. While a recall notice can bring about a sense of doom that your SUV is going to self-destruct, the reality is that most recalls are based more on the remote possibility a part or system will fail than the fact it has actually failed and caused serious harm to anyone or anything. While there have been some major issues that have prompted recalls such as faulty ignition switches and airbags, the majority are typically small issues that can be addressed at your earliest convenience and do not mean you must stop driving your SUV. To follow are the steps you should take if your SUV is recalled.

Make sure it is for your particular SUV

Recall notices are issued based on year, make, and model, but in some cases they only apply to specific features or options your SUV may or may not have. For example, if you receive a recall notice for your four-wheel-drive system, but your SUV is front- or rear-wheel-drive, the recall does not apply to you. If there is a recall on a sunroof and your SUV does not have a sunroof, again, you can simply disregard the notice. The best advice is, if you are unsure if the recall applies to your particular SUV, call the number provided on the recall notice or simply call your local dealership.

Read the recall notice carefully

While your initial thought may be to panic, in most cases, there is absolutely nothing to be overly concerned about. Whether it is a part that needs to be replaced, a system that needs and adjustment or a simple upgrade to your SUVs computer system that needs to be done, unless otherwise stated, you can continue to drive your SUV as you normally would and have it addressed at your convenience. However, if the notice is a serious issue, as was the case for some of the latest major recalls, the notice will tell you if you need to take immediate action such as having your vehicle towed immediately to a dealership and stop driving it.

Follow the instructions on the recall

As recall notices are issued by the manufacturer, you will need to take your SUV to the nearest dealership to have the recall repairs done free of charge. Even if you purchased your SUV used from a dealership that does not sell the particular brand of SUV you own, you can still take it to the nearest dealership that does sell the brand for repairs. Unless advised by the manufacturer, do not take your SUV to your local repair shop or mechanic as they are typically not authorized to complete the repairs and most likely will charge you for them. If it is not a critical issue, do not be concerned if they do not schedule you in right away. You may also be put on a waiting list if the recall is for a particular part that needs to be replaced that the dealership may not have in stock.

Keep a record of the recall repair

Once you get your recall repairs complete on your SUV, be sure to keep documentation that the work was completed. Companies like Carfax and AutoCheck note recalls on the vehicle history report and if it is not updated, the report will show an open recall on your vehicle. While it may be only a small issue that has resulted in a recall, the vehicle history report only denotes that there is an open recall, which can make a potential buyer think twice. It is always a good idea to keep all documentation for any vehicle repairs and maintenance both for your records and to provide the next owner with proof the vehicle has been well maintained. While a recall notice on your SUV can be unnerving, it should never send you into a panic. In most cases, a small issue may never cause a problem, but it is always recommended that no matter how insignificant the issue seems, you get it taken care of. If you get a recall notice, always be sure to read it carefully, make sure it applies to your particular SUV and if you have questions, it is always a good idea to call an expert whether it is the manufacturer or your local dealership. Recall notices are sent out by manufacturers to ensure that their vehicles are safe and functioning the way they are supposed to. So if you happen to get a recall notice, do not panic, take the time to read it over, follow the instructions and if you have questions, do not be afraid to make a few phone calls.

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