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What to do if your car gets recalled

Modern cars are built with mechanical and electrical systems – any part of which could fail. The Australian Government regulates the manufacture, importation and first supply to the market of road vehicles in order to ensure an acceptable level of safety. If a safety or non-compliance issue is found in a vehicle, manufacturers are responsible to fix these, and that means that they will recall the vehicle.

Obviously, recalls are expensive for the manufacturer of the vehicle, therefore it stands to reason that, should your vehicle be subject to a recall, the issue is real and could pose a threat to your safety. Regardless of the irritation that an owner of a vehicles subject to a recall might feel, it is therefore very important to follow the request of the manufacturer with regards to the recall – from a safety perspective as well as in order to keep your warranty valid.

The number of recalls issued by manufacturers of motor vehicles is rising, probably in line with the complexity of modern engines and electrical systems. Not all recalls are for major fixes – vehicles are recalled for smaller-scale fixes all the time. Smaller issues are sometimes addressed when you take your vehicle in for a service.  

At the other end of the scale, it has happened that the manufacturer has issued a “do not drive” instruction – such as was issued with Porsche for its 911 GT3 model that started catching fire. Don’t take chances – follow the instructions in the recall notification and get the issue sorted out a quickly as possible.

You will not have to carry the cost of fixing any issue subject to a vehicle recall. As mentioned above, the vast majority of recalls are for minor technical issues that may involve a small part and about 30 minutes to repair.

The manufacturer will normally contact you by mail to advise of a recall. If you are not the first owner of the vehicle, or you do not receive the mail for some reason, you can go to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website and look up your vehicle.