Our attorneys seek justice for injury victims in the San Diego and Riverside areas.

Protecting Yourself from Recalls When Used Car Shopping in California

| Apr 18, 2016 | Firm News

In 2014, General Motors issued more than forty product recalls for various parts used in its vehicles. One notable example is the February 7th recall of more than 800,000 small cars because of concerns about their defective ignition switches, which could shut off the car’s engine while it’s in motion and cause life-threatening accidents. Close to 25 million vehicles in the United States have been affected by General Motors’ recalls this year, part of the more than 37 million total cars affected by recalls in the United States.

With statistics like these, shopping for a car can be scary. You would never intentionally put yourself or your family in danger by buying a vehicle that’s been found to be unsafe, but how can you know for sure that the car, truck, or van you’re considering buying hasn’t had one or more of its parts recalled due to safety concerns? Parts and products are recalled every year. If you are considering buying a used vehicle, you are going to have to put some research into your car search.

Know How to Look for Recall Information About Your Vehicle

The information you need to make a sound decision about purchasing a used car can be found here. This website, which is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, contains data about every vehicle safety recall since 1966.

When an automobile manufacturer discovers a safety defect in one of itscars , it is required by law to report this defect to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which then monitors the corrective process the manufacturer takes to ensure that all its customers and dealers are aware of the defect and remedy the problem. This law is known as the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

Speak to the Seller Before You Make a Car Purchase

The individual who is selling the car you are considering buying should be able to answer all of your questions about the car. This includes questions about any recalls that have affected it and whether or not its recalled parts have been replaced.

Ask for a record of all the repairs and modifications that have been done to the car since it was purchased new. If the seller cannot provide this information, you can seek a Vehicle History Report, also known as a VIN check. This report includes a car’s entire life story, including any accidents it was involved with, any flood damaged it’s suffered, and odometer records. This last point is crucial when purchasing a used car– never buy a vehicle with an altered odometer.

If any part on the car you are considering buying has been recalled, check the vehicle’s records to see that it was replaced. This simple check can save you hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars in repairs and potentially prevent an injury or death resulting from a car accident.

Automobile Warranty Laws in California

In California, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as the California Lemon Law, requires all merchants who issue express warranties with their products to either maintain service and repair facilities within the state or authorize independent repair shops to work on their products and maintain them to the standards outlined in the warranties. If the manufacturer or an authorized repair company cannot repair a car to the standards outlined in the warranty after multiple attempts, the manufacturer is required to either replace the vehicle or refund the buyer.

Secret warranties are illegal in California. Secret warranties are offers made by automobile manufacturers to repair or replace defective parts that are not publicized to customers. These are also known as “silent recalls” and are done to save money on repairs and prevent bad press about the manufacturer. Silent recalls put automobile owners in danger by knowingly letting them operate unsafe vehicles.

Contact an Experienced San Diego Car Accident Lawyer

Contact Martinez & Schill LLP to learn more about the recall process and how you need to proceed if your car has been recalled. If you have been injured in a car accident because of a defective part in your vehicle, contact one of the experienced San Diego personal injury attorneys at our firm to learn more about your rights and legal options. Call us in San Diego at 619-512-5995 or Riverside at 951-200-4630 for your consultation. Your safety is our top concern.