7 On Your Side: How to check for open recalls on vehicles and get them repaired or get reimbursed

Nina Pineda Image
Friday, February 23, 2024
How to check for open recalls on vehicles and get them repaired
Nina Pineda has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Last year there were 894 vehicle safety recalls potentially affecting almost 35 million vehicles on American roadways.

But many drivers have no idea they are driving a car with an open recall and do not bring their car in for repairs -- which can range from simple system updates to dangerous safety defects.

It's critical to check on the recalls because many people don't check their mail or move and may miss the recall mailing from the manufacturers.

Recently an urgent "do not drive" warning was issued for tens of thousands of vehicle owners. This is part of a broader recall of Takata airbags, which impacts millions of vehicles.

The newest warning covers certain Toyota Corolla Matrix hatchbacks and Pontiac VIBES from the 2003 and 2004 model years, as well as the RAV4 small SUV from 2004 and 2005.

The airbags can explode and send shrapnel flying. Owners need to park them and get them towed to the dealer -- many may not have seen the warning and are entitled to a free fix.

Many repairs are minor and you can get reimbursed if you paid for a repair that was part of the recall.

It was over a year ago that Dottie Croner took her truck to her dealer when she got a dashboard warning something was up. The mechanics found the problem with a leaky valve, replaced a part and charged her $430 for the repair.

Later that year in the summer, Croner got a recall notice in the mail for her 2019 Traverse.

The notice reads clearly said if you have already paid for repairs for the condition....please complete the reimbursement form and present to your dealer with all the required documents.

"I already had it fixed, let me go get my money back because they said take the letter with the receipt to the dealer to get my money," Croner said.

That was back in August. However, Croner lost her sister in September, then got busy with her precious grandkids.

After the holidays following several attempts at her refund, 7 On Your Side contacted her Tri-State area dealer.

The GM explained they had submitted her paperwork several times but got denied and said they had kept their customer updated. But after our call on a Friday night, the dealer cut the check himself out-of pocket the very next morning.

It's easy and free to check on a recall -- you can go to Carfax or to NHTSA's website. Punch in your license plate number or your VIN number and all of the recalls will come up.

Sign up for alerts and if there is an open recall, print it out and bring it to a dealer if you've already had the repair.

ALSO READ | What to know about travel warnings for popular destinations

Nina Pineda has the story.



Do you have an issue with a company that you haven't been able to resolve? If so, 7 On Your Side wants to help you!

Fill out the form below or email your questions, issues, or story ideas by filling out the form below or by emailing 7OnYourSideNina@abc.com. All emails MUST INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND CELLPHONE NUMBER. Without a phone number, 7 On Your Side will not be able to respond.