The high number of recalls (a record high) prompted auto safety to move to the front of Canadian drivers’ minds.
Even still, auto recalls are often alarming and if your vehicle is recalled, you may be unsure what actions to take. We address how auto recalls work, what you should do if your vehicle is recalled, and how to report a problem if you notice one yourself.
How Recalls Work
Complaints about vehicles may come in from a number of sources, including the general public, the police, lawyers, government departments, etc. Complaints are screened by Transport Canada, which will notify the vehicle manufacturer to make sure it is aware and carries out the necessary investigations to confirm the defect.
If the defect is confirmed, further vehicle inspection and testing is carried out and a public recall is published giving details about the recall. If your vehicle is affected, don’t automatically assume the worst. The issue could be as minor as a label that’s supposed to be bilingual, but is only in one language, for example. Call your car dealer and make an appointment to have the vehicle corrected. The repair is almost always free of charge, but in the rare case, extra costs may apply.
How You’ll Be Notified
The requirement is that the vehicle manufacturer sends the notice to each car owner. However, if you’re the second owner of a vehicle, or you have a different address, you may not receive one.
Recall notices are posted on the Government of Canada website in four product categories: consumer products, food products, health products, and vehicles and children’s car seats. Look online if you want to confirm whether or not your vehicle is affected. If it is, follow these steps:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions that are explained in the notice.
- If instructions aren’t included in the notice, or if you have more questions, contact the manufacturer. You can do this via phone or visit their website.
- Refrain from driving your vehicle if the notice states it is unsafe to do so.
- Stay informed with real-time recalls of vehicles by downloading Transport Canada’s Recalls and Safety Alerts mobile app.
Be Proactive About Recall Notices
If you suspect your vehicle is unsafe to be driven for any reason, don’t wait for a confirmation of a recall – take matters into your own hands as soon as possible and find out. There are a few ways you can do so. Transport Canada urges drivers to:
- Check the online Road Safety Recalls Database to see if your vehicle or tires are subject to a recall
- Visit your auto manufacturer’s website to check the recall status of your vehicle using its vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Register your child car seats with the manufacturer to receive recall information directly
- Register your tires with the manufacturer to receive recall information directly
When you’re proactive about your vehicle’s safety, you make the road safer for other passengers, and not to mention, your own.
Report A Problem
If you believe a safety-related defect may be affecting your vehicle, tires or child car seat, report the problem to Transport Canada’s Defect Investigations and Recalls Division by filling in an on-line Defect Complaint Form. Your complaint will be documented and an investigation will be launched, if warranted.
If you’re buying a new vehicle and decide you want to go with a used one, check online to see if any recalls apply to it. To find out if repairs have been carried out, contact an authorized dealer!