Your Rights & Responsibilities in a Car Recall


Sep 29th, 2020

Your Rights & Responsibilities in a Car Recall

Whenever there's a fault in a car model or a car part that's so widespread, manufacturers may choose to do a recall. A faulty car part poses a danger to the affected car and other road users. Australia is no stranger to such recalls. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, the country has seen its fair share of recalls issued by automakers like Toyota and Isuzu.

As a responsible car owner, you should know your rights when a car manufacturer issues a recall. Since the recall isn't your fault, you can expect some entitlements and protection. Still, it's not all about what you can get. Remember: rights come with responsibilities. So, as someone who owns and drives an affected vehicle, there are a few things that you must do as well.

Let's take a quick look at your rights and responsibilities as the owner of a recalled car. If all affected car owners do their part, everyone can continue driving on Aussie roads safely without facing any unnecessary risks posed by faulty car parts.

How Do I Know If There’s A Recall on My Car? 

Simply put, you have a right to know if your car is affected by a recall.      

In the case of a recall, the car’s manufacturer should notify all affected buyers. Bear in mind that there isn’t a fixed way to do this. So, they’ll probably try to get in touch with you on the phone, by email, or through a letter, depending on your contact details registered with them when you purchased the car.

However, this process isn't fool-proof. As car owners, we may change our contact details over the years. In such case, we'd usually update our contact details with our bank, phone network, or doctor's office, but nobody updates it with where they bought their car!

Also, you may have purchased your car second-hand or through a dealer. If that’s the case, then your contact details may slip through the cracks, with no way for the manufacturer to contact you directly.

Usually, if there’s a recall that’s significant enough, the manufacturer and other public bodies may try to generate awareness in the media. So, they’ll notify you indirectly through newspapers, online, or even on TV.

You have a responsibility to keep yourself informed.        

If you hear a recall for vehicles of a specific brand or faulty car parts that might be in your car, don't ignore it. It is your responsibility to follow up on that. You don't have to wait for someone to contact you directly, as you can check on it yourself. It doesn't take much effort. You could simply go to the manufacturer's website or do a simple Google search to determine if your car is affected. If your vehicle isn't affected by the recall, then you have no worries. Whatever the case may be, your responsibility is to keep yourself informed on the matter. Ignoring it would be putting yourself, your car, and other people to risk unnecessarily.

Assuming you find out that your car is indeed affected by a recall, you have a responsibility to respond to that recall.

How Do I Deal with a Recall On My Car?

If your car is affected by a recall, contact the manufacturer or look for information on their website. In some cases, you can drive in to have your vehicle inspected and have the faulty parts replaced. Depending on how widespread the recall is, you may have to make an appointment. Still, it all starts with reaching out to the manufacturer to find out what to do next.

Typically, these repairs won’t cost you anything, since you’re not at fault. Still, the repairs themselves may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on a few different factors. 

Firstly, it depends on whether or not the necessary spare parts are in stock. Also, it depends on the schedule of the shops or dealerships doing the repairs. If the recall affects many people, you may have to wait quite a bit before they can replace the faulty parts in your car.

While they have the responsibility to replace the faulty parts as soon as possible, your responsibility in this matter would be to make sure that you take the car in for that repair whenever you’ve set the appointment.

What Happens If I Ignore or Delay Responding to the Car Recall?

Some car owners might procrastinate on responding to the car recall, or they may ignore it completely. Doing that puts the car, yourself, and other road users in harm's way. You may also receive some penalties for not answering the recall.

Firstly, there’s a chance that you may void your car insurance coverage. In a way, you’re deliberately putting your car in danger by ignoring the recall, and insurance companies are not too keen on that.

Second, the local government might decide to enforce the recall. For example, a local government may ask that you show proof that you've responded to the recall before renewing your car's registration. Assuming you didn't fulfill your responsibility of getting your vehicle fixed, you may also be barred from renewing its registration completely.

So, please remember that even though a car recall may be an inconvenience to you, it's still necessary. All of us have a responsibility to keep our cars in good running order to keep our passengers safe and protect other people on the road. Get timely info about recalls in the future by keeping an eye on’s blog.

By Ray Hasbollah