2013 set a new record for the number of recalls of automobiles, as automakers became more cautious and proactive. For the year that just ended, 632 different recalls were announced in the United States, covering over 22 million vehicles.
This information was recently announced by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. This was up from 2012 when 16.4 million vehicles were recalled in just over 580 safety campaigns.
For the second year in a row, Toyota led automakers in the number of recalls. Just over 5 million Toyotas were called back in for free fixes. Toyota was fined for not recalling vehicles fast enough, which may have contributed to the large number of recalls.
Chrysler Group had the second largest number of recalls in the U.S. followed by Honda, Hyundai/Kia, then Ford.
The first recall of an automobile was in 1966. Since then, over 450 million vehicles have been recalled. In 2010, over 20 million vehicles were recalled, which is roughly 5 million more than were produced. This followed 2009 when over 15 million vehicles were recalled.
The large number of auto recalls has led to what I call recall apathy. Unfortunately, people just don’t take recalls as seriously as they once did. Dealers do not always perform recalls on used cars for sale, in spite of the fact they are paid to do so by the auto manufacturers.
Car Fax reported that in 2011, 2.7 million vehicles were offered for sale that had open, or un-repaired recalls. That tells me that even a lot of car dealers are not checking for recalls, and they get paid well to perform the repairs and have the resources at their fingertips to check to see if a car needs recall repairs performed.
If you needed further proof of the American people showing symptoms of this new disease I have dubbed recall apathy, consider this: one of the largest recalls ever issued by a car company involved 17.5 million Fords spanning 12 model years. The issue involved a Texas Instruments-produced part that causes a fluid leak in the cruise control system. There have been over 550 reported fires and over 1500 complaints. I have personally talked to many people whose vehicles burned to the ground. The scary part is the vehicles ignite with nobody around, for no apparent reason, without so much as the ignition being on. I have talked to two people whose vehicles caught on fire in their garage, leading to the loss of their homes.
This particular recall has been widely publicized. The dealers have done all they can to get people in to a dealership to get the repairs made at no charge. Yet with all that, as of last year, it is estimated that only about 50% of the affected vehicles have been repaired, in spite of the fact that this could be a life and death situation. There are millions of vehicles still out there which could ignite.
If you are not sure whether your car may have an unfixed recall, get your Vehicle ID number and call your closest dealer, they can tell you quickly if there are any open recalls. Most recalls are simple and easy and always done at no charge. Some recalls, left unfixed, can be the difference between life and death and should not be ignored.
-Jerry Reynolds, The Car Pro