Understanding Recalls

by Christina Pronger on July 30, 2014

There is a scary word in the automotive industry that nobody seems to like to talk about: recalls. The headlines are even intimidating, for instance, “GM’s ignition switch recall affects nearly 2.6 million vehicles.

Car Tire Splashing Through Water

The fact is a recall may not be that scary. Although a vehicle may be recalled, it does not mean your vehicle is affected, nor does it have to be replaced.

A recall occurs when Transport Canada or the manufacturer identifies safety-related issues with a vehicle, deeming it unsafe to drive. The issue is often in violation of federal safety standards. Transport Canada reiterates this on their website, stating “An important part of Transport Canada’s responsibilities is the enforcement of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which includes investigating suspected safety-related manufacturing defects.”

Car Breakdown

When a driver encounters a problem with their vehicle they are encouraged to launch a complaint to Transport Canada’s Defect Investigations and Recalls Division. If the Defect Investigations and Recalls Division sees a growing number of complaints, they will investigate the problem more closely.

When an investigation is launched on a specific vehicle, the vehicle goes through an undisclosed process of discernment. One aspect that is known about the investigation is that the issue is traced back to a specific model produced at a certain plant, within a certain timeframe. Therefore, if there was a recall issued on 2014 Ford Escape’s heated seats for exceeding the temperature stated and potentially causing harm, not all Ford Escapes with heated seats would necessarily be affected.

Cartoon Mechanic Dressed in Blue with tire and wrenchIf your vehicle is affected the vehicle manufacturer will send you a letter to notify you. This letter will explain the issue, as well as highlight the risks and what to look for. The letter will also explain what the manufacturer intends to do about the problem in order to remedy the situation. Generally the recommendation is given to repair the vehicle as soon as possible, with an outline of how long the repair will take, plus instructions on how to proceed. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you receive a recall letter, contact your local dealership and book a repair. If your car is on the national recall list, you will be able to have the problem fixed free of charge.

Another way to find out if your vehicle is listed under the recall list is to type your vehicle identification number (VIN) into the manufacturer’s website. For example, if you recently purchased a vehicle from Ford Canada, you could go here to find out if your vehicle has been issued a recall.

There are governed rules and regulations surrounding vehicle recalls, but Transport Canada recommends that vehicle owners protect themselves by taking the following precautions if you suspect your vehicle is at risk:

  1. Check the Road Safety Recalls Database to see if your vehicle, child car seat or tires could be subject to a recall. This database is updated regularly.

  2. Go to the manufacturer’s website to see if you can check the recall status of your vehicle using its VIN.

  3. Also register car seats and tires, with the manufacturer to receive recall information directly.

Although there are many other governing rules surrounding recalls, this is a good basic knowledge to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road. For more information, visit Transport Canada.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jannat September 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

Hello I realy like this post thank you very much for sharing us.

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Derek Kubik July 31, 2014 at 11:04 pm

My car recently had a recall, I still need to take it in and get it repaired :s (I think this is its third recall). Interesting and lots of great info!

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Keith Rollans July 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm

I think my parents van might have been recalled. I hadn’t really started driving yet so I didn’t really pay attention to that kind of thing. Handy information to know though!

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Christina July 31, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Great info. Learning about this makes it less scary.

Reply

Kate Post July 31, 2014 at 1:42 pm

My friend once got thousands and thousands of dollars from Ford due to a recall AND an upgrade to the latest year model

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