There are tens of millions of vehicles on the road with open safety recalls.
Vehicle recalls – issued whenever a safety defect is found that could put the driver and or passengers at risk – are not a new issue, but they are often overlooked. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) declared March 8 – 12 Vehicle Safety Recalls Week. Too many drivers don’t know that they have an open recall, that recall repairs are free, or that they’re taking an unnecessary risk by not getting recalls fixed immediately.
One familiar example is the Takata airbag recall, which has affected tens of millions of vehicles of all different makes and models, including ours. When vehicles with these recalled airbags are exposed to heat and humidity over time, the airbags can transform from life-saving devices to life-threatening ones – in a crash, they could explode and cause injury or death. These defective airbags have resulted in the deaths of at least 27 people worldwide and 18 in the United States, and over 400 reported injuries. This is entirely avoidable with a free repair.
There is a big question that vehicle owners should ask themselves: how can you make sure that your vehicle isn’t affected, and if it is, how can you get your recall fixed?
And there’s a question for the independent repair facilities (IRFs) and others in the auto care industry: what can you do to better protect your customers?
Good news: there is a free and easy way to check for recalls. You can go to CheckToProtect.org and enter the 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) and find out in moments.
Even after Vehicle Safety Recalls Week, I urge you to let your customers know about this website or take a moment to check yourself when you’re working on their car or truck.
But you may be able to go a step further for your customers.
For example, we have developed the FCA US Airbag Recall Sublet Program to allow IRFs and automobile auction houses to partner with their local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers to help repair Takata airbag recalls in our vehicles. Participating IRFs can request parts from nearby dealerships and will be reimbursed by FCA for labor costs. Any IRF interested in partnering with a dealer is being asked to contact their local FCA dealership Parts and/or Service Manager and express their interest in the FCA US Airbag Recall Sublet Program partnership. Other OEMs have launched or are working to launch similar programs.
You care about your customers and their families and work every day to keep their vehicles running smoothly and safely. Let’s work together to make sure no one is taking an unnecessary risk of driving a car with open safety recalls.
Chris Freeman is from the vehicle safety and regulatory compliance office at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.