CarMD has developed this section to keep you informed on what you can do as a consumer to ensure that you are driving a healthy and safe vehicle. Several of these tips come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Car Care Council, and from our own team of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certified technicians.
it because I was looking at
buying my daughter a
used car for graduation.
~ John S. New York
Most consumers are not aware that there may be a safety recall for their vehicle. At CarMD, we provide you free access to this information
and even include it every time you run a vehicle diagnostic report.
There are two types of vehicle recalls – emissions and safety. In many instances, vehicle recall repairs can be completed at no charge to the customer.
|EMISSIONS RECALL||SAFETY RECALL|
|Vehicle manufacturers are required to design and build their vehicles to meet emissions standards. Under the Clean Air Act, if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines that a substantial number of vehicles in a class or category do not meet emissions standards, it can require the manufacturer to recall and fix the affected vehicles to make sure they are not polluting the environment.
The manufacturer usually conducts emissions-related recalls and remedies voluntarily, although the EPA has the authority to order a manufacturer to recall and fix non-complying vehicles. These emissions-related recalls may or may not be paid for by the manufacturer.
|The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act gives the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to issue vehicle safety standards and to require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects or do not meet Federal safety standards.
Manufacturers voluntarily initiate many of these recalls, while others are either influenced by NHTSA investigations or via the courts. If a safety defect is discovered, the manufacturer must notify NHTSA, as well as vehicle or equipment owners, dealers, and distributors. The manufacturer is then required to remedy the problem at no charge to the owner.
There is an age limitation for getting safety recall repairs done, though. To be eligible for a free remedy, your vehicle cannot be more than 10 years old on the date the defect or noncompliance is determined. Under the law, the age of the vehicle is calculated from the date of sale to the first purchaser.
Want To See Your Vehicle's Safety Recalls?
Simply sign in to your current CarMD account. Safety Recalls are listed under the STAYING HEALTHY tab whenever you run a test report.
What are Vehicle Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)?
A technical service bulletin (TSB) is an advisory issued by an automotive manufacturer to its dealership service departments detailing a fix for a known concern or difficult repair. The bulletin is for informational purposes only. It is not a recall.
If a problem addressed in a TSB is particularly widespread, the manufacturer may decide to send out an "Owner Notification" letter, but they are under no obligation to make the repair or notify customers. If your vehicle is still under warranty; however, you can usually get the related repairs covered.
A majority of TSBs are released during the first year that a vehicle is offered or the year following a redesign in order to address areas that might have been overlooked in the car's design process.
TSB content varies in severity from hard-to-start engines to inoperable windows or even something as simple as how to install a license plate holder. TSBs often (but not always) deal with a recurring problem and include instructions for the repair, parts needed, the warranty status and the labor charge.
They can be particularly helpful if your "sick" car or truck has an intermittent or persistent problem. If you have tried to have a problem repaired numerous times, you may wish to take a related TSB to your mechanic and ask how to proceed, or reference the included part numbers if you are a do-it-yourselfer planning to make the repair yourself. Most reputable repair shops and dealerships appreciate an informed customer.
It's a particularly good idea to see if your vehicle has any TSBs while it is still under warranty. CarMD customers and members can see if their vehicle has had any TSBs issued. This information is listed under the STAYING HEALTHY tab on your vehicle's report.
TSB articles can be purchased individually at $2.99 each or you can buy a CarMD® Premium Vehicle Health Membership, which allows you to view all TSBs for your registered vehicles. Click here for more information.
Tips To Keep Your Vehicle Running Healthy
If you are like most consumers, your car is the second largest investment next to your home. Caring for it properly will deliver the performance, value and enjoyment you demand for you and your family. It also makes financial sense to perform routine maintenance to prevent any unforeseen breakdown or costly repair. Here are things you should inspect on a regular basis:
- Tires – check for correct tire pressure and tire wear. You can usually find this information in your vehicle's service manual, or on the vehicle information label found on the driver's side door jamb. If you are unable to locate this, you can always get this information from your local dealership. Also, don't forget to check your spare tire as well.
- Fluids – check to see that your fluids are filled properly. Look at the oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, steering fluid, coolant, and washer fluid. It's important to follow your manufacturer's recommended service intervals on when to drain and change these fluids. This is normally based on mileage, driving habits, and even climate. Your vehicle service manual or your dealership can provide you this information.
- Brakes – have your brakes routinely inspected by a trained professional to ensure that pads and rotors are in good condition. Also watch for any sounds or drifting (car pulls to one side) when braking.
- Lights – inspect all lights on your vehicle to ensure they are working properly – headlamps, tail lights, turn signals, and fog lights (if equipped).
- Wipers - windshield wipers are usually easy to neglect. However, it is extremely dangerous to drive on a raining or snowy day without functioning windshield wipers. Some auto parts stores will even change them for you for free.
- Dashboard Lights – make sure that no warning lights are on. If your Check Engine light is on, simply plug in your CarMD to identify the problem and the most likely fix to the problem. To understand what the other lights mean, simply click here to download the CarMD® Guide To Dashboard Warning Lights.