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Vehicle Recalls

The recall system identifies defective automobiles that are already on the road, by notifying car owners about how to get them fixed. Generally, it includes defects that affect the car's safety, cause it to fall below federal safety standards, or both, and that are common to a group of the same kind of cars or equipment. The defect can be in performance, construction, components, or materials found in the car or in related equipment, such as child safety seats.

Many recalls result from the manufacturer's response to owner complaints. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), however, influences and orders many recalls. The NHTSA receives safety-related complaints through letters and its telephone toll-free hotline. (This hotline number is listed at the end of this chapter.) When the NHTSA registers enough complaints, NHTSA engineers perform an engineering analysis. Then the NHTSA engineers contact the automobile's manufacturer. The manufacturer must either remedy the defect or launch its own defect investigation. Ultimately, the NHTSA decides if a final defect determination and recall is proper.

The manufacturer must remedy the defect for free. This does not apply when the first buyer bought the car more than eight years earlier. In comparison, the standard for tires is three years. The manufacturer has the option of repairing the defect, replacing the car, or refunding the purchase price. If it refunds the money, the manufacturer may deduct a certain amount for depreciation (loss in value). The manufacturer reimburses the dealer who makes the repairs. If the manufacturer chooses to repair the defect, it must do so within a reasonable time. Otherwise the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or refund the purchase price.

To get a free lemon car check you will need a VIN number. Click here for VIN Number instructions. If you already have a VIN number then get your free lemon check now. Order a Carfax report online.

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