It can be frustrating, and in some cases frightening, to receive a recall notice on your vehicle that describes a problem but says that the necessary fix isn’t available yet or there aren’t enough new parts to repair all recalled vehicles. It’s one thing if it’s a minor problem or a compliance issue that poses no danger.
It’s another when it could potentially cause a crash or even cause your vehicle to catch fire or explode. A recent problem with exploding Chevy Bolts comes to mind.
Such notices where no fix is available have gone out to over two million people in this country this year, according to Consumer Reports. This typically occurs because manufacturers are required under federal law to notify consumers of safety defects as soon as possible – even if they’re still working on a way to fix the problem or the parts haven’t been made or shipped yet.
Ask for a loaner
So what are you supposed to do if you’re notified that the vehicle you drive every day has a serious safety issue that can’t yet be fixed? An official with the Center for Automotive Safety says that if it’s a safety issue that prevents you from driving the vehicle or limits how you can use it, you should ask for a loaner vehicle from a local dealer.
If they won’t accommodate you, you should go to the manufacturer and, if they won’t help, notify the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA). A dealer has more incentive to keep local consumers happy. However, manufacturers shouldn’t want to risk a serious injury or worse.
Ask the dealer to do a buy-back
This official says that if you’ve got a potentially dangerous recalled vehicle that still can’t be repaired after months of waiting, you may want to ask the dealer to repurchase it. He says, “It depends on the dealership; it depends on a lot of factors.” He adds, “If you don’t ask, you’re never going to get a chance for that to happen.”
California’s Lemon Law provides that if a serious warranty defect can’t be repaired after a “reasonable” number of tries, the manufacturer must replace it or refund the purchase price. If there is no way to repair it after some time (particularly if you haven’t been given a temporary replacement vehicle), it’s worthwhile to seek legal guidance to find out your options.