Do you know if your vehicle has a recall notice or what Technical Service Bulletins (TSB’s) have been released for it? Chances are if you are the average driver you will have no idea unless your car or truck has a problem and you are in for service.
If your vehicle has a safety recall issued for it, that means that the Federal Government has told the manufacturer that they must provide a specific repair to a particular make and model that does not meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. These are recalls for for safety related issues only.
If your vehicle has a non safety recalled issued for it, that means that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to contact all vehicle owners by mail. Non-safety recalls never expire so the manufacturer is responsible for repairing, replacing ore repurchasing the defective vehicle, even if the car was bought used. Of course there is a loophole that the manufacturers have. That loophole states that they are not required to repair non safety defects for free if they are discovered more than eight years after the vehicle was produced. This loophole protects the manufacturers from having to repair old vehicles for which the technology did not exist at the time the vehicle was built. The flip side to this is that once a recall has been issued, it stays in effect forever.
A step down from a recall is a thing called a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB). A TSB is issued when a manufacturer knows of a specific problem or situation with a vehicle and they issue a repair guideline for that specific problem. A TSB is different from a recall because the consumer does not need to be notified of a TSB like they must be with a recall.
A TSB can also be issued to help in the diagnostic or repair of a specific situation of a vehicle. This is information that would be released to the dealer. This information would contain information about new diagnostic procedures, new or improved parts or service manual revisions and updates.
What most people don’t know is that TSB’s can be reimbursable but only if they are caught withing the period of the warranty of the vehicle. If your vehicle is out of warranty then there is no reimbursement given. What this means is that if you find a TSB on your vehicle, you need to find it during the limits of your warranty and the repair will be covered by your vehicles manufacturer. If you find out about the TSB after your warranty has expired, then it is your responsibility to pay for such a repair.
The manufacturer does not make it easy to find out about TSB’s. In fact if you do not ask your dealer, chances are you will never know about them, especially if your vehicle is out of warranty. Luckily there is a website that contains all the information that you need to check not only for recalls but also for TSB’s. The site it Safecar.gov .
Safecar.gov has information for just about every vehicle that is on the road today. It is a free site and gives you all the information you need for your research. Make sure that you check out your specific vehicle and see what recalls and TSB’s you may have missed. If you are within your warranty period then you should contact your dealership and make arrangements to have them repair your vehicle at no charge.