Sell your car today Dealers bid to buy your car!

Car recalls explained

June 21, 2022 by

Want to know what a car recall is and what its implications are? Look no further

Car recalls are a regular occurrence in the motor industry, they happen when either the manufacturer or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) find a potential issue with a vehicle.

This can range from intermittent electrical malfunctions and potentially faulty airbags to more serious issues like failed suspension components. The vast majority of recalls are preventative measures and are implemented to avoid any potential issues in the future.

In this article we go into the details of vehicle recalls and how they affect you.

Why can a car be recalled?

A recall comes about because either the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) or car manufacturer has found a potential issue or defect in a vehicle. There are two recall levels.

The first is a Safety Recall, and this is for issues that do not render the vehicle inoperable or too dangerous to drive. In most instances the owner will be able to continue using their vehicle while waiting for a booking to have it fixed.

Examples of common recalls on cars include airbag faults (Takata airbag issues have affected millions of cars over the years), malfunctioning driver assistance features, and potentially untightened or incorrectly fitted components.

The second type of action is called a Stop Drive Recall, and you can guess by its name that this is far more serious, and the vehicle should not be driven until the issue is rectified. Stop Drive recalls are rather uncommon, but are used when a vehicle is a danger to its owner or other road users. This can be due to a critical defect in the steering, engine or other drivetrain component, or if certain crucial safety devices are malfunctioning.

If an issue is not considered serious enough for a recall, the DVSA can also issue a Consumer/Garage Warning or an amendment to maintenance or servicing requirements. If a recall is required, then the vehicle will inspected then repaired if a fault is detected. In extreme cases the manufacturer may initiate a buy-back of the vehicle to remove it from use.

How do I know if my car has been recalled?

The most common way to find out if your car has been recalled is by receiving a recall notice letter from the manufacturer. Major recalls regularly make the news as well, so you may find out about them online before the manufacturer’s letter arrives.

If you suspect that your car was subject to a recall in the past you can check by going to the government’s website. All you need is the car’s registration number and it will show you any safety recalls that have not been carried out as well as the vehicle’s MOT history. You can also check the safety recall info on a vehicle before making a purchase by using its make, model and year of manufacture.

What should I do if my car is recalled?

Once you are aware of a recall, you should contact an official service centre and arrange for an appointment to have the issue rectified. There is no time limit on having the recall attended to so if you buy a used car that has outstanding recall work, you can still get it booked in and taken care of.

Even though you can wait to have the work done, it is advisable to have it done sooner than later. There is no charge for recalls and the manufacturer or authorised service department will take care of the work that needs to be carried out.

Does a recall affect the value of my car?

Recalls are a common occurrence across all makes and models of cars, and in most cases they do not affect their value. Isolated incidences where the recall pertains to severe reliability or safety issues may marginally affect vehicle values, but not having a recall issue rectified is more likely to lower a car’s value.

Do I have to pay for recall work?

No. With recalls being linked to safety related problems, typically due to manufacturing or design issues, the onus is on car makers to put matters right, so you won’t have to pay for any work that arises as a result of a recall.

Indeed, recalls can actually bring significant expense to manufacturers, with the largest campaigns costing them billions.

Buy your next car (and sell your old one) with carwow

Looking for a reliable new car? Then check out our latest offers with carwow.

A network of trusted dealers will come to you with their best offers. There’s no need to haggle or negotiate, and you can compare your offers in one place without having to leave your home.

If you’re thinking of selling your old car, you can do that through carwow, too. Again, our network of trusted dealers will come to you with their best offers for your vehicle — no haggling, no stress, and the price you’re offered is the price you’ll get. The dealership will make payment and collect your car.