Car Recalls: Do They Really Matter?

CarHeadlight-5706437-loDid you know that 22 MILLION cars were recalled last year in the United States? That’s according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. If you think that’s a lot, guess how many cars have been recalled in 2014 already—and remember, it’s only April—13 million.

Here’s a rundown of this year’s recalls by company:

  • Ford: 434,000 vehicles
  • General Motors: 4.8 million vehicles
  • Toyota: 6.4 million vehicles
  • Nissan: 1 million vehicles
  • Volkswagen: 160,351 vehicles
  • Honda: 900,000 vehicles
  • Tesla: 29,000 wall charger units
  • BMW: 232,000 vehicles

Now, we’ve all heard about General Motors’ recall about the ignition switch, which seems to be turning into a serious problem for the “new” company and its new CEO. But it does bring up the serious question about safety—we trust car companies to make cars that are dependable, durable and, above all, safe to drive. Whether or not there are airbags or other extra safety measures, we should still have the expectation that the car itself isn’t going to present a danger to our person.

Other companies’ recalls aren’t quite so serious, like Volkswagen’s, for example. Its recall is for a low-beam headlight defect, which hasn’t resulted in any reported injuries or deaths. Toyota’s, on the other hand, is related to five different safety issues, from fire risks with engine starters to spiral cable damage which can cause the air bag to fail.

A study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) shows that fire-related car recalls do correspond to higher insurance losses, but that risk decreases after owners are notified about the need for vehicle repairs. But that’s because most of the owners get the repairs done, it’s assumed.

“As one would hope, recalls mitigate the effect of fire-related defects,” says HLDI Vice President Matt Moore. “However, even after recalls are issued, these vehicles continue to have higher claim rates. This may be a result of people not following up after receiving a recall notice.”

Getting a notice saying that your car may burst into flames without warning and that you should take it to the dealership to get fixed seems to be a good motivator for vehicle owners. Car fires rarely happen unless there’s a car crash, so these car defects are really the only reason your car may go up in flames.

“This study shows that recalls are issued for a reason and they are effective at reducing risk,” Moore says. “When you get a recall notice, don’t put off the repairs.”

All of the companies listed above have websites dedicated to their recalls, so please check them out if you have one of their models. Make sure to look at the model and year so as not to miss you vehicle on the list, and check back regularly if your year is next to the one recalled.

Any further questions about how a recall can affect your insurance? Give one of our expert agents a call. We’ll answer all of your questions and give you peace of mind. Call now: 714-838-1911.


© Jasonjung | Dreamstime Stock Photos &Stock Free Images

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