If you have a problem vehicle and need to take it to the dealer for repair, educate yourself beforehand by going online to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) website. Knowing that there is a trend of consumer complaints for the same problem that you are having with your vehicle, or that there is a known problem with your particular year, make, and model of vehicle, can help make your repair visit to the dealer more effective.
Find You Car or Truck on the NHTSA Website
To find complaints, recalls, service bulletins, or defect investigations for your year, make, and model of vehicle, go online to the NHTSA website, www.NHTSA.gov, and click on the “Search for Recalls” tab. Then enter the year, make, and model of your vehicle. It’s that easy!
Search for Complaints, Recalls, Service Bulletins, and Defect Investigations
Once you have enter the year, make, and model of your vehicle, and clicked submit, a tab across the top of the screen will list four items for your vehicle, in the following order: Recalls, Investigations, Complaints, and Service Bulletins. Each of the four tabs will list a number next to them, identifying the total number of recalls, defect investigations, complaints, and service bulletins for your year, make, and model of vehicle. Simply click on a tab to read each specific entry. Often times, there will also be documents associated with the events, such as recalls, which you can view. Search through the recalls, defect investigations, complaints, and service bulletins, and print out anything that you think may be related to the problem that you are having with your problem vehicle.
Sign Up For Email Notifications of New Recalls
You may also want to sign up for email notifications or alerts, so that you know when new recalls are issued. You can do this from the main page listing your vehicle’s recalls, defect investigations, complaints, and service bulletins by clicking on the link “Sign-Up for Email Alerts” to the left. You can get alerts for all makes and models of vehicles, or just your particular year, make and model of vehicle. This email notification will warn you when new recalls are issued.
Make Your Own Complaint on the NHTSA Website
To make your own complaint on the NHTSA website, go to www.NHTSA.gov and click on the "File a Complaint" tab. You will be asked to enter the year, make, and model of your vehicle, and the vehicle's Vin number, to describe the problems you are having with the vehicle, and to enter your name and address. The information that you provide will be entered into the NHTSA consumer complaint database. Your complaint, with the personal identifiers removed, will be listed on the NHTSA database online with other consumer complaints for the same year, make and model of vehicle. It is important to report the problems that you are having with your vehicle to NHTSA, because these consumer complaints help NHTSA and motor vehicle manufacturers to determine if a safety recall is warranted, and also provide other motorists with valuable information about potential safety problems currently under review.
Take You Vehicle to the Dealer for Repair
Now that you are armed with recall, defect investigation, complaint, and service bulletin information for your year, make, and model of vehicle, and have all relevant recalls, defect investigations, complaints, and service bulletins printed out, take them to the dealer with you when you drop your vehicle off for repair. Make sure that they note the information on the repair order and that they list all of the complaints that you present the vehicle for, and list them accurately. If they don’t, then refuse to sign the repair invoice. Chances are that when you do that, they will revise the repair invoice to accurately describe the problems that you are having with the vehicle.
If the Manufacturer Fails to Live Up to Its Warranty, Contact a Lemon Law Attorney
If the manufacturer fails to live up to its warranty to you by failing to repair the vehicle within a reasonable number of tries or a reasonable amount of time, contact a Lemon Law attorney in your state. To find a consumer law attorney in your state, you can go to www.USLemonLawyers.com. But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in court before your rights expire.
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