A motor vehicle is recalled when it or one of its parts could pose a serious threat to passengers and those around them.

Some recalls are voluntary efforts by a manufacturer or dealer, such as General Motors, while others are mandatory recalls imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency responsible for evaluating and improving America’s transportation safety.

A large number of vehicles are recalled in the United States every year.

While some of these recalls are minor or regulatory compliance issues that can be fixed with one trip to the dealer, others are serious problems that pose a threat to you and your passengers if they are not fixed. Unfortunately, many safety recalls are the result of a manufacturer’s insistence on saving money by using the cheapest parts possible.

Automotive defective parts that have triggered past and current recalls include:

  • Tires that may blow out or separate on the road
  • Faulty braking systems
  • Airbags that won’t deploy in an accident
  • Improperly attached seatbelts
  • Rupture-prone gas tanks
  • Defective steering wheels
  • Accelerators that may stick

General Motors needs nine million parts in order to repair millions of vehicles it has recalled since February 7 – just three months ago.

Drivers are getting frustrated. With ignition switches, power steering motors and other parts slowly arriving at dealers, drivers are facing wait times of weeks or months. They believe their vehicles are unsafe.

All recalls can present challenges for automakers and their customers. Most recalls include less than 50,000 vehicles and are typically completed in two or three months.

However, in the case of General Motors – eight simultaneous recalls covering 7 million vehicles is too much for any organization to handle – even one as big as General Motors. Think about all the parts that need to be manufactured. How about all the time and expense it takes GM to notify customers, ship the parts to dealers worldwide and train mechanics how to do the repairs?

According to General Motors, it will take six months to make and distribute all the parts for their largest recall ever: 2.6 million small cars (Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion mostly) with faulty ignition switches that the company links to 13 deaths.

It has been shown that the ignition switch can slip out of the ‘run’ position into ‘accessory’, shutting off the engine and disabling power-assisted steering and air bags.

As of recent, General Motors has put 45,000 customers in loaner vehicles – equal to 1.7 percent of the vehicles recalled for the ignition switches.

If your motor vehicle or one of its parts has been recalled, the manufacturer has a legal obligation to try its best to notify you and to fix the problem for free. Most recalls last as long as the life of the product, but for tires, consumers must have the free recall work done within 60 days of being notified of the problem.

If you have been in an accident due to a recalled automobile or auto part, you are entitled to hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, or wrongful death. To learn more about product liability law, and all the options available to you contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case.