In a typical year more than 1 million cars are affected by a recall, with over 150 recalls issued. Since the start of 2014, this is how many recalls have been issued by the key car makers in the UK:
A vehicle recall is a campaign actioned by a manufacturer to recall a vehicle to be repaired for safety reasons, as part of the DVSA safety recall scheme.
The recalls we check for are always safety related but don’t assume your car is suddenly a rolling death trap. Most cars recalled are being checked in case there’s a problem – not because there definitely is one.
There’s no legal obligation for you to act, but if you were to be involved in a crash because of mechanical failure some tough questions might be asked, not least of all by the police and your insurance company.
Some recalls affect just a handful of cars; single figures in some cases. Others affect tens of thousands of cars (or even more). The biggest will affect multiple models within a manufacturer’s range, often because of the same faulty component being used across all of these ranges. It might be a weak steering rack, faulty fuse box design or problematic shock absorbers – or any number of other components.
Not always. Some manufacturers will issue a TSB instead of a full recall.
If a fault is relatively minor a car maker might issue dealers with a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) instead of issuing a recall. TSBs aren’t made public so it allows cars to be fixed when the car goes in for servicing, without making things official. There’s no way of knowing what TSBs have been issued by a car maker or which are applicable to your car, but if you have your car serviced outside the official dealer network these minor issues won’t get fixed.
Recalls are normally issued because of either a design or manufacturing fault. In the case of the former a component might need to be redesigned (to be stronger for example) so any example of the car could be subject to a problem. But where the fault is one of manufacturing, it may be that a machine in the factory hadn’t been set correctly for a few days, so only cars made on those days are affected. A typical issue here will be nuts or bolts not being tightened up correctly.
Not at all, because it’s unlikely that any potential buyer would even think about whether or not your car has been recalled. But if they do ask, just say that it’s been fixed so there’s no problem. Remember, most parts replaced in a recall campaign are effectively service items; they’re not structural.
Cars are complex machines made up of thousands of parts. Any one of those parts could fail which is why recalls have been issued for problems such as: