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What is a Car Recall or Technical Service Bulletins?

Published Jan 24th 2007, 4:53pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Woman_reading_newspapaer "Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 533,000 Tundra pickups and Sequoia sport utility vehicles built in Princeton, Ind."      

The recall is due to steering problems that might have led to 11 accidents and six injuries, according to the company. Vehicles affected include some 2004 to 2006 model-year Tundras and some 2004 to 2007 model-year Sequoias. It doesn't include the 2007 Tundras being built in San Antonio. "

Do you pick up the newspaper and read about recalls by auto manufactures and wonder...what am I supposed to do?

Here are some pointers on what these notices mean and how respond:

Recalls -- Automobile   manufacturers issue Official Safety Recall Notices to inform vehicle owners of   car defects that have come to the manufacturer’s attention.

Go here to search for recall notices by make and model:
Search for Recalls or visit

Technical Service   Bulletins (TSBs) are issued by vehicle manufacturers to help automotive technicians diagnose and repair problems reported by consumers and repair shops.  Over 6,000 bulletins are issued by car manufacturers every year. A Service Bulletin, also know as a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB), is an advisory issued by the manufacturer to help automotive technicians diagnose and repair problems reported by consumers and dealership service departments.  TSBs contain up-to-date factory fixes for difficult to diagnose problems such as rough idles, intermittent stalls, hard starts, and all kinds of “shakes”, “rattles” and “clunks” that can sometimes drive you nuts. 

Woman_compalint Complaints -- You can lodge a complaint about your car with NHTSA.  If the agency receives similar reports from a number of people, this frequently indicates that a safety-related defect may exist which warrants investigation.   

Use NHTSA’s form only to report a problem.  If you prefer, call the DOT Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236) and a NHTSA representative will record your report. Your report will be entered into NHTSA's vehicle owner's complaint database and used with other reports to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists.

If a safety-related defect exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment, the manufacturer must fix it at no cost to the owner. Your report is the first step in the process.  Government engineers analyze the problem. If warranted, the manufacturer is asked to conduct a recall. If the manufacturer does not initiate a recall, the government can order the manufacturer to do a recall.

Investigations --   After reviewing consumer complaints, if the Trend and Analysis Division of The   National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that the available   information indicates that a safety-related trend or catastrophic failure is   developing, the appropriate investigative division is notified.  If the data developed indicates that a safety-related defect exists, a Recall Request Letter may be sent to the manufacturer. 

 The Staff at Ask

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