Auto Recall: What are my obligations/responsibilities?

I got a notice in the mail that the little shit-car I bought for the wife has some outstanding recall work.

This is a brand that no longer has dealers in the US. The card has two other “service providers” (looks like former dealers, now carrying other brands), but both are hundreds of miles away. I called the number provided and talked to a rep, and she said there is an “authorized” shop locally. She says she’ll get it all hooked up.

She emails me a release that basically says, “We will provide the parts and technical support to SHOP X, but anything beyond that is between you and them” (not a direct quote, but that’s the gist of it. Couldn’t “cut and paste” from the document).

I emailed back that I don’t agree to that. She responds that the manufacture will pay SHOP X, and that… well, here is the actual email (with brand omitted and typos intact :rolleyes: ):

“This is an authorized shop with XXXX and they have agreement with us. XXXX pays them. They have done 1000 recalls for XXXX. You can now drive to the XXXX dealer on the notice. I( tried to help you go closer”

First of all, kudos on making an email snippy! Jolly Well Done! Second of all, why not put that language in the agreement you want me to sign? The part about XXXX paying for the repairs. Third, I don’t *have to *drive anywhere. I can toss this notice out and Have a Nice Day. Go Fuck Yourself!

So, my question is this: Am I obligated to have this stuff done to a used, 8 year old car? Can I tell them to Go Pound Sand? Or can I say, “Hey, you want the recall work done to presumably Cover Your Ass. Come pick it up and bring it back when you’re done.”? Four separate recall repairs are due on this shit-car, none of which seem too important to me.

Here is why I’m asking: I’ve never not been ripped off when taking a car to the shop. I’m afraid I’ll drag ass up there and get stuck with some kind of BS charges. I suppose I could avoid this by having the shop give me something in writing beforehand, but maybe this local place won’t do that (I guess I’ll call them later when they open and talk to them about this). And I don’t feel like driving hundreds of mile to the other places.

What does The Dope think?

Fuck these recall notices. If I ever got one, I’d throw it in the trash. It wouldn’t be my fault that a car dealer was so incompetent that they built the car incorrectly & had to issue a recall because of this. Fucking morons.

I agree there would also be a concern that I could take the car in & be ripped off. Plus, there is also no certainty that they would fix the problem - they could make it even worse!

I’ve been to many dishonest mechanics & don’t trust ANY of them. They can take their recall notices & stick them where the sun don’t shine.

In California you eventually won’t be able to register your car if you don’t get the recall done. I tried to blow off a recall and found out the hard way. Mine was an emissions recall, not a safety one, and I easily passed smog so I didn’t give a shit.

I tried being a big old tough guy and screamed, “fuck your recall” while slamming the paper in the trash but that didn’t work.

I’ve had a couple recall things done and have never been charged. I usually wait a while so the service dept has had time to practice on other vehicles before bringing mine in. I’m not really getting the animosity. I guess if Roy Batty wants to have a Takata airbag explode in his face, more power to him.


recalls are nearly always for safety issues. they come from the manufacturer, they’re paid for by the manufacturer, how can you get “ripped off” on a free repair? And they can’t initiate a recall repair unless they demonstrate to NHTSA that the repair ameliorates the defect.

in short, to quote a wise former Jedi, “Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong.”

Recalls are often for things you personally would want done: leaking fuel lines, bad airbags, failing safety belts, etc. If you ignore them, you’re taking a chance of your car catching fire, airbags not going off in accidents, etc. I imagine you could be liable if you didn’t do the recall and the resulting failure ended up causing an injury or damage. For example, if you ignore a recall about leaking fuel lines and then later your car catches fire and kills someone, you might get sued and they could look up if you had the recall performed. They could argue that this was a known liability which you ignored.

I agree that auto shops can be dicey to work with, but you should be covered here. You shouldn’t have to pay for anything. They may also point out other things which need service (brakes, oil change, etc), but you shouldn’t need to get it taken care of if you don’t want.

Are you obligated to get the repair done? You won’t be hunted down and ticketed. Does is look like a repair that would make it a safer car for your wife to drive?

The only car recall that I was involved in happened after the left passenger wheel and half the back axle had already fallen off and bounced across four lanes of traffic. They were still at the “no - that’s totally not the result of a defect” phase that always precedes a recall, so insurance paid for it. I like to think that Insurance Company had a nice talk with Manufacturer after the recall was announced.

Over the past ten years, I’ve had maybe ten or fifteen recall services done, virtually all during normal service appointments. Literally none of them have been a hassle in any way whatsoever.

The idea that you’re going to get screwed on this, based on my experience, is like someone giving you a coupon for a free box of cereal and you yelling, “How stupid do you think I am! Nice try, but I’m on to your little game!!11!”

Your insurance may be invalid if you do not have the recall repairs done.

I don’t understand the hostility, either. They arranged for you to get your recalls handled locally. You take it to the shop and tell them you ONLY want the recall items addressed, and nothing else. What’s the big deal?

In reading the OP, the only thing that stood-out for me is that they cover parts and “technical support”, whatever that is. What about labor? Typically, when we had recall work done there was no charge at all. Zero. I assumed parts and labor were covered. I would verify labor is covered, but that is the only thing that stood out.

Agree, tho, in principle, that the dealer service shops happily rape people all the time. This is why you get a written estimate up front, and be sure to tell them you want ONLY the recall items addressed.

This is the problem. They want me to sign something, up front, that omits any mention of who is paying for this work.

I called the shop. They seem legit and Yelp reviews are good. The guy says he’ll put something in writing up front that the manufacturer is on the hook.

Fwiw, I’ve never signed anything in relation to a recall except the standard bill for any work done on a car.

What’s the make of the car and the issue?

The complicating factor seems to be that, AFAIK, recall work is nearly always done by the service department of a dealer for that make of car (or, barring that, at least a dealer for a different make under the same company). And, yes, my experience on recalls is like that – but I’ve always been able to have the recall work done at a dealer.

The OP’s car no longer has dealers in the US, and so, the manufacturer is outsourcing recall work to other service providers.

I would have it done under those conditions. I’ve had recalls as minor as bulbs that burnt out way too soon to a 72 Pinto I had to have “gelded” so it wasn’t as prone to bursting into flames. Even with small stuff, a few hours of my time is worth not having any risk down the road when time and some gas is my only investment.

Can we bet? I say Suzuki and something tranny related.

Is it the clock in a Hyundai Santa Fe?

Ca’t be that - it’s not February 33rd.

Probably beats my guess of a Pontiac Fiero and something fire related.

OK, now that’s funny. :smiley:

Can’t be the OP’s problem though. Hyundai still has dealers in the U.S.

I’m guessing “Yugo”.

It cannot be a Yugo - I have not seen one of those on the road in years. If it is a Yugo, and still running, it belongs in a museum.


That’s a possibility, as would be Suzuki or Peugeot.