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Why a car recall isn’t all bad news

By Andy Enright, 19 May 2017 Car Advice

Why a car recall isn’t all bad news

The rate of car recalls is at an all-time high. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that manufacturers are building less reliable cars

A recall letter is usually something you don’t want to receive. You’ll usually need to schedule a trip to the dealer, have an argument over getting a courtesy car and then pick up your car, whereupon you’ll invariably notice no difference in the way it drives. What’s more, if he data from recall handling specialists Stericycle ExpertSolutions is to be believed, recall rates are at an all-time high.

So what’s going on? Are manufacturers building flaky cars once again? Not a bit of it. These recalls are, despite the superficial hassle factor, good news for you. In effect, they’re evidence that the system of checks and balances put on car makers is working, that manufacturers can no longer get away with letting safety issues slide as they one did.

Takata sign

Skewing the figures quite significantly is the residual effects of the Takata airbag issue, where the Japanese manufacturer has supplied airbags that – in rare instances – can deploy sending shards of metal at the unfortunate occupant. This one will rumble on for a good while yet as the car manufacturers replace the old Takata bags.

In Europe, 122 recalls were issued in the first three months of 2017, with forty initiated by German manufactures, 29 from French car makers, 14 from the UK, 12 from China and eight from the US.

Mechanic and customer


Here in Australia, we’ve had 70 recalls so far this year. The two countries most associate with building reliable cars – Japan and Germany – lead the way with 20 and 17 recalls respectively. After that it’s the UK, is 11 recalls all accounted for by Jaguar Land Rover, another company with quality on the uptick.

So, it’s certainly not bad news if your car is recalled. Never ignore the notice, as this can have knock on effects not only in terms of safety but also on the validity of your warranty.

And remember, the best manufacturers take recalls the most seriously.