If you own a car, there’s a good chance it will eventually be subject to a recall. But do car recalls have to be done at the dealership?
Yes, if you want to have the recall repair fixed for free, it has be performed at the dealership. If the recall fix is performed at an independent mechanic, you will be responsible for 100% of the repair costs.
There’s no doubt that independent mechanics often offer great service for routine car repairs and maintenance. But when it comes time to fix a recall, the dealership is more qualified with their expertise in servicing these types of issues.
In fact, the car dealership more than likely has already serviced dozens of cars for the exact same recall repair.
The car dealership sounds like a no-brainer when it comes to recalls, right? Let’s dive into this subject more shall we!
Can The Dealership Charge Me For A Recall Repair?
No, the dealership should not charge you for a recall fix. But it all depends on how old the vehicle is. Federal law requires all safety recall repairs to be provided free of charge on cars that are 15 years old or newer.
However, if your car is more than 15 years old the dealership may charge you for the fix. But don’t give up hope, you might still be eligible for a safety recall repair free of charge.
Call the vehicle manufacturer directly and let them know your situation.
Can The Dealership Deny Fixing A Recall Repair?
Yes, even though federal laws require car manufacturers to make safety recall repairs, a dealership might refuse the repair.
For example, if the vehicle has a salvaged or flood title, the dealership could refuse the repair due to liability reasons.
The concern for the dealership is, if there is ever a crash later, the dealership might be held responsible.
If you own a vehicle with a salvage or flood title and become aware of a recall, it’s best to reach out to the manufacturer of the car for guidance.
They should be able to direct you to a dealership that is willing to make recall repairs to a salvage or flood titled vehicle.
How Long Does It Take The Dealership To Fix a Recalled Car?
The process of getting your car recall fixed can take anywhere from hours to days, depending on the severity and type. Some repairs can even be performed at home through an over-the-air software update.
However, there have been cases when the parts to fix the vehicle aren’t readily available.
Such was the case for the now famous Takata airbag recall of 2011. There was 65-70 million defective Takata airbag inflators recalled by a total of 19 automakers.
In fact, it took the manufacturer ten years to meet the demand for airbag inflators! The NHTSA at the time even called it “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.”
Simply put, the Takata airbag inflator recall was massive, and not your typical car recall. However, if the recalled car part isn’t available, the auto manufacturer will send out notification letters to all affected when replacement parts might be available.
Will I Get a Loaner Car?
In the event that you need a loaner car, most dealerships will provide one without even asking. In fact, many auto manufacturers have policies enabling them to loan out vehicles for days or weeks until repairs can be made.
However, there is no law requiring car manufacturers to provide a loaner vehicle for recall repairs. Each auto manufacturer has its own policies on how they handle loaner vehicles, which can make things often difficult for consumers.
If you’re in need of a loaner car while your recall repair is being completed, it’s best to ask the dealership if they can assist.
Should I Be Concerned My Car Was Recalled?
Not at all, in fact if your car was recalled it means the manufacturer is taking the necessary steps to fix a potential safety issue. In fact, every year millions of vehicles are recalled for problems ranging from software issues, brake problems and defective EV batteries.
The car industry has long been considered one of the most monitored industries in existence, and this is reflected by how many recalls there are each year.
It’s important to note that not all recalls are created equal. Some are more directly related to safety, such as airbags, braking and steering components.
While others can be more of a nuisance, such as leaky sunroofs or detached spoiler from the rear of a vehicles’ exterior trunk.
If however you received a “do not drive” notice as part of the recall notification, this means the vehicle is not safe to drive at all.
It’s best to park it and have the vehicle towed to the nearest dealership. These types of recalls are rare, but if you receive one of them it’s best to park your car and take the advice seriously.
If you’re dealing with a recall on your vehicle, and you find yourself asking do car recalls have to be done at the dealership, hopefully this post has answered all your questions.
The fact remains, the dealership is more than equipped to handle the repair, and you won’t have to pay for the fix either.
Plus, if you need a loaner car while your car is in for service, the dealership can help you out with that too.
Sure, independent mechanics are a great option for routine car repairs. But when it comes to recalls, the dealership is the go-to option.
By taking your car to the dealership for recall work, you can be sure that the job will be done right and that all of the necessary parts will be replaced or repaired per the recall instructions.
Check for open recalls on your vehicle by using our Car Recall Lookup tool.
Last Updated on February 23, 2023
Loves anything with a motor and wheels.
Christopher is an internet technology expert and mechanical engineer. When he’s not at the local autocross event, he can often be found working on one of his cars. He loves nothing more than taking something apart and putting it back together again. Email me direct, or learn more about us