Buying a new car is often the safest bet for consumers who want a turn key no hassles car for a few years. With that new car comes manufacturers warranty and stupidly expensive and unnecessary dealership servicing. Most consumers put up with the poor treatment in exchange for the piece of mind surrounding warranty and the fact that they feel sure that the car they have will be repaired at no cost to them if something unforeseen randomly drops off the vehicle.
This, in a nut shell, is the truth but vehicle recalls fall into a slightly different category than manufactures warranty.
Firstly, a vehicle recall occurs when a manufacturer determines that a car has a softy related defect or does not comply with government safety standards. In most cases vehicles are imported to Australia internationally and thus these safety faults are often brought to the manufacturers attention by the governing bodies of other nations who either have stricter safety standards than ours or receive the vehicles sooner than us which in turn results in the problems arising earlier.
Once this happens manufactures issue recalls (globally if required), the result is Australian vehicles can be recalled for faults that have only been recorded as occurring in other nations.
Some common misconceptions surrounding recalls.
Some people believe that a recall only occurs once a certain number of deaths have occurred as a result of this defect. This is not the case, manufactures are often recalling vehicles for faults that have no fatalities affiliated with the defect.
In a similar vein some believe that a recall does not have to happen until a certain quota of lawsuits have happened against the manufacturers in relation to the fault, again this is false. For the best part, manufacturers do not want dangerous and unsafe vehicles on the street.
So what happens once the manufacturers are aware of such a fault? The manufacturers will isolate the vehicles affected, often by, dates the vehicle was made or by the origin of the faulty part. Owners of vehicles possibly effected are notified and the manufacturers are legally required to repair the fault with no additional cost to the consumer. (i.e. It is unlawful for manufacturers to request consumers pay for safety recalled repairs).
From there the owner of the vehicle books in to have the repairs carried out at the dealership.
Even if your vehicle is outside of its warranty period and safety recalls are required you can have these carried out at the dealership at no cost to you.
Do you have to get a safety recall done? It would be incredibly foolish of you not to do such a thing but currently there is nothing legally forcing you to get these recalls carried out. However by issuing the safety recall the manufacturers have removed liability from themselves should something happen. In the event of a serious collision resulting in legal investigations you could find yourself in a lot of trouble if you have knowingly ignored a safety recall notice.
Our advice: If you get notification of a recall get it sorted out as soon as possible. If you are unsure about your vehicle and if it has any safety recalls, the Australian government has a safety recall listing on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website.