By on November 20, 2017

Yesterday, young Mr. Posky brought us news that Honda has recalled a number of Odysseys for problems with their second-row seats. Now, reading into the details, it seems to be more of a user problem, rather than a design flaw. Nevertheless.

I’ve had my own share of recalls hurled in my direction, all of which were attended to with varying degrees of urgency. Our question for you: have any of your cars been recalled? How quickly did you bring them in?

The Takata debacle ensnared cars ranging from popular old Hondas to Audis to Ferraris and just about everything in between. Not everyone has been dutifully bringing their vehicle in for repair; according to Bloomberg, nearly two-thirds of American vehicles with Takata airbags are still not fixed. As of mid-September, they report, 20 million of the things are still out there, a full 64 percent of the 31.5 million recalled.

Of course, there’s more than an outside chance that a few of those which haven’t appeared for fixin’ have simply dropped off the automotive radar. After all, when Uncle Morley’s knacked ’01 Accord hit 400,000 miles and developed a rusty subframe, he simply gave it to his nephew for the derby. This is a fictional example. Yes. Purely fictional. Point is, someone’s probably counting that Accord in the Takata totals somewhere.

Other huge recalls include the ignition switch saga at General Motors and Toyota’s challenges with floormats. On a smaller scale, we see recalls such as the one for wayward minivan seats at Honda.

Have you had a recall card show up in your mailbox? Did you attend to it or did you pull an Uncle Morley? We recommend getting recalls attended to at the first opportunity. Whether the parts are correctly installed, though, that’s a different story.

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55 Comments on “QOTD: Ignoring That Recall?...”


  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    When the Takata recall first came out for my ’06 Mustang, I immediately scheduled an appointment and got it replaced. Two years down the road they issued a new recall – apparently they replaced the original airbag with another Takata while they were awaiting a quality vendor to make new airbags. This time it took me about three months to get it in.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      Same here. I took my 07 Mazda 6 in almost immediately after the first notice, but that too was a temp job. I didn’t take my car in for the permanent* fix until Mazda started bombarding my mailbox with recall notices.

      *Until the next recall…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I think the real question is this: What cars *haven’t* been recalled?

    Recalls are surely on the rise, due to compressed development schedules and the ever-present fears of legal liability.

    Both of my cars have been recalled (sometimes twice for the same thing), and several in the past. And I’ve also had other TSB work that should have qualified as a recall.

    I don’t ignore any recalls. You also have to consider the next owner.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The last recall I had was to replace a tire inflation sticker. Sure, let me get right on that, fellas.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I got the 23o6 recall in the mail in mid 2015. That was VW’s attempt at making the TDI scandal go away without admitting anything. No one really knew its purpose until after the scandal broke so I declined it every time my car went to the dealer. Now that service campaign no longer exists since I waited it out long enough. Yay for me I guess.

  • avatar
    arach

    I get flack for it, but unless I perceive the recall as life or death, I normally don’t do it.

    Ignition switch? heck no. You lose the nice keys and have to switch for the shoddy keys, and you shouldn’t die unless you put 1000 things on your keychain.

    heated Windshield Washer Recall? Heck no. I’ll take the risk of my car catching fire the 10 days a year that I actually use the things. 3 fires happened across hundreds of thousands of cars… Thats a calculated risk.

    Airbag sticker reword? Heck no. I don’t care what the airbag sticker says. I know not to put a backward facing carseat in the front seat.

    takata Airbag? Sure, I don’t want to die… but they didn’t have the parts when I tried to bring it in for the recall, so whats a man to do?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…unless I perceive the recall as life or death, I normally don’t do it”

      The NHTSA and the mfr of your vehicle *do* see it as life or death… but you know better?

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        When it’s something like a compliance sticker then yes, it’s no big deal. Takata airbag, fix it right away.

        In today’s world where nobody can take personal responsibility for anything, most recalls are to prevent a ambulance chaser from starting a frivolous lawsuit. I always look up and see what the recall or campaign is actually fixing. If it’s serious then I get it fixed. If it’s not that serious then I wait until the vehicle finds itself at the dealership for some other reason.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      I get a recall notice for the switch on my 2000 Impala. After contacting the dealer multiple times, I get no answer on what it is involved in the repair. I’ve seen stories that confirm the key swap, which doesn’t solve the biggest headache with the Impala, the PassKey II anti-theft system. It uses tin plated contacts that oxidize over time. It screws up with higher humidity and/or major temperature changes. I can the car to start after about a 10 minute delay, so I hesitate getting new keys that might make it worse.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Passkey deserves **WAY** more internet ire than it receives.

        It’s one of the worst things GM has ever done.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          But do we recall what Passkey was a response to?

          The fact that prior to the Passkey system you could just crack open the steering column and connect a couple of wires – boom stolen GM vehicle. Likely the way my Cutlass was stolen.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Yes but Passkey was a way of fixing another issue in GM vehicles. Crack open the steering column, connect a couple of wires, and BOOM drive away.

          I’m fairly certain that was the procedure used to steal my Cutlass when I was living in Southfield. MI.

          • 0 avatar

            93 Deville, with PASSKEY as standard!

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Of course GM could f(*k up a one car funeral parade so…

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            Whaddayamean, connect a couple of wires???? You’ve been watching too many movies where they hot-wire cars this way.

            You just crack open the plastic steering column housing, allowing the lock cylinder to be removed. Then use screwdriver to pull up on the lever leading to the ignition switch, and drive the car away.

            No wiring required.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Cars used to have metal steering column housings to support the shifter and signal levers. The plastic housing on many cars today are still tough enough to make ‘cracking’ them very difficult without specialized tools. It was still easier to get to the wires below the housing and just jumper them than go to the work of destroying the column.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Gm sent $500 after i had the heated windiw washer fluid system removed.

      I felt like it was a fair trade.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I preffer the fluid, low resistance ignition key action of 2007 Saturn Sky. And it only has a house key and fob hanging from it. No reason to change it.

    • 0 avatar
      b534202

      There’s a fan relay recall on my Subaru (fan can stop leading to engine overheat). I just bought the new relay part and installed it myself, it is a much better use of my time then spending hours at the dealer.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    I had the recent recall on my ’16 Mazda 6 done within 2 weeks after receiving the letter in the mail. I always like to get them done and out of the way.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    It depends on the severity – one recall was for bolts that could work loose on the rear differential.
    “Consequence – If the rear differential loosens from its mounting position, the driveshaft may disconnect from the differential, resulting in a loss of propulsion and an increased risk of a crash.” No kidding! I took my car in ASAP for that one, and could actually hear and feel the results afterwards – less rear noise and vibration. I think I dodged a bullet on that one!

    I’m still sitting on one I’ve had for months – a passenger seat airbag sensor connector can become disconnected if you shove too much crap under the seat. Given that I keep my car clean, this is never an issue. However, it’s now been changed to “The electrical harness connector for the front passenger seat Occupant Classification System (OCS) may dislodge when the seat is moved.” That’s a different story…time to make an appointment.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    ’07 through ’11 Jeep Wrangler. Recall for wheel well lining rubbing on (and supposedly through) brake lines. Took it in within days of receiving the letter. A recall for the same models came through approximately one month after trading for a Renegade extending the underbody warranty to 15 years from date of purchase (for those still driving on stock suspension.)

  • avatar
    Boff

    If my car is in warranty I usually have it dealer serviced, so they just take care of them when I next bring the car in. I’ve never had a recall notice that smacked of urgency. If I got a recall notice when the warranty was up similarly I’d wait until it was time for regular maintenance. It’s no biggie…my schedule is flexible and visiting the dealer gives me an excuse to check out the latest iron and enjoy some free coffee.

  • avatar
    Urlik

    For my 08 VW R32 recall to replace the dsg mechtronic unit I waited until the 40K service was due so I got the service done for the cost of a new filter only since the recall required a fluid change.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I purchased a 93 Land Cruiser in 2011. I found a recall notice from 1996 in the glove box for O2 sensors that may fail prematurely. The truck had 240k miles at this point. I called for kicks and they actually did it. That would be the longest I guess.

  • avatar
    dchturbo

    I turned down a cool job with Honda basically going through and arriving at last known addresses for these Accords. It was a Wed through Sun job, which was the only reason I turned it down. Otherwise, getting paid well to just drive around and talk to people sounded awesome. Slight bit of “cold calling” to it, but no bad news to give.

    Bonus: my mother ANNNNDDDD my girlfriend’s mother thought I would be “taking cars away from people while they’re crying and their kids are wondering how Mommy was going to get around.” She had confused REPO with RECALL.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      That’s interesting. Certainly a step further than mail and phone calls. Shows due diligence. Some people just assume the letters are junk mail and toss them, and some people just plain don’t answer their phone anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        psychoboy

        Honda’s actually sending technicians to houses to do some inflator recalls.

        Honda sets up a schedule, sends a bunch of inflators to the local dealership, and the techs snag them and hit the road. They bring back the replaced inflator and all the information, and the dealership builds the warranty claims.

        Other than the fact that the techs brought back almost half of the inflators they took (I guess that means they were unable to do about half the jobs they intended to do), it seems like a good idea.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I would hope that, if it’s a safety thing, one would take it in and get the work done–especially if it’s a family vehicle.

    I guess it also depends on where the car is in it’s life cycle. I’m sure a car’s last owner who’s in the process of running it into the ground couldn’t care less about seat latches if they’re using it to haul scrap. That said, why anyone wouldn’t take advantage of free work at the dealership is beyond me. At the very least, you get a free car wash and popcorn while you wait.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    First recall I ever dealt with was on my 1997 Ford Escort – needed to inspect and then install a shield for one of the airbag sensors because they realized that it was in an area where it could get too much water, snow, ice, salty slush on it and get corroded. Since I was living in NM I didn’t treat it as a big deal but did get addressed a few months after the notice when the timing belt was being done.

    My Highlander had recalls for reprogramming for the brake to override the throttle after the “unintended acceleration” debacle and to replace part of the wiring harness in the steering column because it apparently interfered with proper airbag operation. I was told however I didn’t need to worry unless the airbag light came on and stayed on. I delayed those two recalls for over a year until my drivers side sun visor failed and I got it replaced under a special Toyota warranty extension (JUST FOR THE SUN VISORS)

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Recalls should be attended to as soon as possible. Yes, most recalls get launched before parts are available, it’s a legal requirement to notify customers asap. As soon as they are available, schedule an appointment to bring it in. It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to notify the customer. It’s the customer’s responsibility to bring it in, hopefully before a related failure happens. If a failure happens and there is collateral damage because a customer willfully ignored a recall notice, they could be at least partially responsible for repairs. It’s happened.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Always comply with recalls. Why take the chance? I don’t want to find out at the wrong time that the manufacturer and gummint’ were right and I was wrong.

  • avatar
    mankyman

    I have an open recall on the steering wheel for my Crown Vic. I haven’t gotten it done because every time I think about it and schedule an appointment at the dealership they make it sound like I’ll have to leave the car there for a day. Oh, and they’ll probably come up with 10,000 things they want to repair.
    So hopefully the steering will continue to work.

  • avatar
    LTDwedge

    Recieved a recall notice for an ignition switch campaign on my used 02 Saturn Vue. I did recognize that ANY ignition key would operate the switch and was seriously considering scheduling the car for the recall. Then a lightpole jumped out unexpectedly & totalled the Vue. End of switch replacement fantasies. Best vehicle I ever owned for 3 months. Sad.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’ve got 2 recall post cards sitting around right now. Both for the same thing, the 03-05 Panther Lighting control module. I should see about getting it done on my CVPI since winter is here and it will see a lot of night driving. The Marauder on the other hand is put away for the winter so I’ll get around to it next spring.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The Honda Seat thing is a design defect, no two ways about it, if a device is designed to latch the seat in and it can look like it is latched when it is not that is a design defect plain and simple. These are Honda drivers not mechanical engineers so it is likely they won’t have the skills and knowledge to tell whether it is properly latched, lacking the instructions that they need to yank and crank on it to verify that it is latched.

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    Yes, the wife’s 2011 Sonata twice: engine check, brake issue, door handles, seat belts, undercoating. I don’t remember exactly what was up with the brakes, but I got a free flush out of the deal.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Most recalls I’ve experienced take months to get done because parts take so long to become available.

    My sister has been waiting nearly a year for parts to exist on a Saab recall. I’m guessing they will never materialize.

    • 0 avatar

      Who owns the recall responsibilities on Saabs now?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The recall letter had a GM phone number but at least in our part of Florida the GM dealers don’t want anything to do with Saab. They’ve been neuralized from existence.

        The Cadillac dealer (she tried two Chevy ones too) sent my sister to the local Saab/Volvo independent guy that likely works primarily on 900s and bricks. He confirmed that he is the person to talk to for the notice, but he either isn’t interested in doing recall work or isn’t sure how to do the ordering because there are still no parts.

  • avatar
    volvo

    2009 V6 AWD RAV4 (Great vehicle by the way)

    For the 3 recalls I asked myself can the dealer make things worse by damaging trim pieces? I keep the vehicle looking like new even at 8 years.

    The only one I hesitated on was the epoxy on rear control arm bolts. I live in an area with no salt and never had the suspect threaded parts worked on so very low risk for failure. I had it done after they agreed to include a 4 wheel alignment as part of the job. But now if I ever need to have the rear aligned it becomes pretty expensive since the control arms are no longer adjustable and need to be removed and replaced with new ones.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Just had the airbag replaced in my Scion, I’d rather not drive around with a ticking bomb in front of my face. I’d been wanting to check out the dealer’s new showroom, and they gave the car a badly needed washing while it was there, so double-win for me.

    Didn’t bother with the ignition switch in my Pontiac. The chances of failure were pretty slim, and if you didn’t have a ton of crap on your keyring, almost nil.

  • avatar
    TDIandThen....

    Got a couple of recalls for my Golf – including the failed emissions fix of 2014 or so. Had my intercooler replaced under a TSB for a known issue – though the dealer wasn’t aware.

    The one that delights me is the Takata airbag recall, which arrived about a year ago for my tdi. They said they’d be in touch but never have, on the assumption that I’m bringing my car in for the Great Trade. Like most owners I love my TDI, so I’m driving around with a .001 chance of random death by grenade to the face…while killing kittens and old people with my exhaust. My trade in should happen in December.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    My 2001 Audi TT was recalled to add a rear spoiler, to increase stability at speeds over 135. I never had it done, as the spoiler marred the appearance of the rear of the car (in my mind one of the car’s best features), and it was not like I was going to be driving it above 135 (though I did take it up to 130 once).

  • avatar

    Had my Takata recall done already on my M35. An important one, so I set up the recall as soon as I got the notice.

    The Infiniti dealer (Kings Infiniti for the record) was less than cautious about damaging the inside b-pillar cover with a screwdriver or something, and leaving the stone colored leather with oil all over the passenger seat, and returning it to me with a nonfunctional glove box light.

    Not impressed.

  • avatar
    DJM

    @ Corey. Did you resolve it? There’d be hell to pay if it was my vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      I did, but there were a couple of issues:

      1) Pickup was on a Friday, and I couldn’t see the oil until I was on the road home. They used a cover for the driver’s seat, but not the passengers (Where they did the work on the airbag.

      As it was a Friday I called them before close, and they said they only did oil changes on Saturday, so to have anyone look at it I’d have to come back in on Monday. I didn’t want to let the oil soak on there for that long, so I spent an hour cleaning it up myself.

      2) On Monday I brought the car in and spoke with the service manager, showed him the scratch and the glove box light, and told him about the oil. He said “okay” to the oil and did not apologize. Then he looked at me questioningly about the b-pillar scratch, like I was making it up. The scratch to the plastic was so new it still had little fringy pieces hanging off it. I said “that was NOT there before, and nobody even uses that side of the car on any regular basis.”

      3) So I have to make another appointment on the day the interior guy is there (so this is now trip three). Drop it off for the day, and he uses a heat gun on it and smooths it out perfectly. They also fixed the glove box light, which I suspect they forgot to hook up again after replacing the airbag.

      It was several hours of annoyance and three trips to get the airbag fixed. They billed the glove box issue and the b-pillar fix to Infiniti under the recall, per the invoice.

      When I went to pick it up after the interior fix, it was blocked in on both sides by other cars, and someone had to move the car on the driver’s side so I could open my door. They didn’t know where the keys were for a couple of minutes, as well.

      I was offered nothing in return for the filth left in my car.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        That sounds about right.

        This sort of repair experience is also why the “Who cares about reliability on your BMW/Alfa/Jeep/TVR? It is under warranty anyways!” comments ring hollow.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I have three cars that currently need the airbag recall done. Two Infinitis and a BMW. The BMW I’m not worried about – the dealer has never left a mark on the car.

    The two Infinitis, I am scared to death to bring in. Both are in nearly perfect condition with the exception of damage Infiniti did while replacing the FX dash under warranty. They damaged the A-pillars, the radio control panel, and the top speaker grills. My other infinity, they damaged the door card when replacing the power window motor under warranty.

    My other Infiniti also has a custom stereo that will need to be removed before they can get to the dash. There are many components carefully mounted to the inside of the center dash support – which comes out with the dash cover. The BCM or ECU that normally resides in the kick panel was also relocated into the dash (behind the airbag) to make more room in the passenger kick panel. The last time this stuff was taken apart was probably 10 years ago, so I am also envisioning broken clips, etc.

    So essentially, I will need to spend many hours of work to get it to the point that they can take it apart and likely do damage to the car. I am 100% certain that they will not do a proper job, and in their mind – who cares on cars that have 170K miles on them. I’ve already had nightmares of them cracking the dash and me trying to convince them that they need to replace it at no, or minimal charge. I’ll need to be medicated while they do the work.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    Had you asked me 30 days ago,I would have said that I wasn’t ignoring them but had given up waiting for parts.

    Roughly a year ago, I got recall letters for both of the cars here (BMW 135i convertible w/ sport packge, Audi Q7).

    The BMW was for Takata. I called the local dealer/service center immediately. They told me (truthfully, I discovered), that recalls and parts were going to be done based on priority. So, the older vehicles and the ones registered in the south (high humidity) would be done first. I was told that I would get a letter when parts were available. Letter came in April. I called. Already through their monthly allotment of parts. Call on the first Monday of next month. Nope, already booked their monthly allotment…. I called again in June. Same deal.

    A VERY long, frustrating conversation with their service manager followed, where I was told that they can do 20 recalls a month, per BMW USA, which is essentially one per week day. I don’t know if that was true or not, but he said that I have to schedule firs thing in the morning on that first Monday of the month, because there’s a LOT of people who need it done. I let it go for a while because I just didn’t want to deal with them.

    In October, got a letter addressed to me from their new service manager, with my VIN and address, and a real signature. He knows I need a recall done, he’s reaching out to all owners who do to try and get them done ASAP, since they represent a potentially life threatening safety issue, blah, blah, blah…..please call his direct line.

    I did. Night and day from his predecessor. He said I could come in at my convenience. I told him Nov. 12 was my next day off. Went down there, got a 4-series hardtop convertible for the loaner (instead of the usual base spec 2 or 3 series), and a free wash, and an interior and exterior detail, which was new. Also, the service area was fully staffed with advisors (which was a change, they used to have just 2 or 3) and they did the work (including the wash and detail) in about 3 hours, a VAST improvement. I dunno what happened, but I suspect the slow recall pace cost someone their job. They are still expensive, but at least I know if I NEED to use them, they won’t have the car for 2 or 3 days like before.

    The Audi recall was for a fuel pump flange. It MIGHT crack, which would cause a leak which could lead to a fire. Same thing, call Audi (which I had never done here since I moved here and its out of warranty), was told that part weren’t available yet. Wait for a letter.

    Never got a letter. Called Audi in July. Parts were just rolling out to dealers, “we will call you when we get them”. After the dumpster fire of dealing with BMW (right across the street, I might add), I was a pain in their ass every month. Parts didn’t roll in until Nov 2. I got a call first thing in the morning of the 3rd, asking me when I’d like it done. I originally decided on this past Saturday the 18th. But of course, I started smelling gas in my garage around the 9th. Called Audi. “Don’t drive it, you likely have a leak”. Had it towed, and yep, the damn thing had cracked….and the electrical connection or wiring related to the pump was apparently damaged because of the leak.

    So, as of the 13th, I have the recall done, plus a free fuel pump and related electrical wiring free of charge, since the damage was recall related.

    This is the first unscheduled issue that I would consider major (unplanned out of service time/not routine maintenance) that I have had on it. And I was worried about insane costs, which is what I always read about Audis. But it worked out this time in my favor.

    Now, I’m reading that the BMW has another recall and I’m leaning on my wife to PLEASE stop being a brand loyalist and get something else. Also, I may just take it to an indie shop and try to get reimbursed later. But they may not be able to get the part any sooner…..

    http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/RecallLetter.ashx?vin=WBANU53518C115387&recallNumber=17V-683

  • avatar
    Bill

    I ignored the ignition switch recall on my old ’98 Malibu. All they were going to do was put inserts in my key to center the keyring. I only have my house key and car key, and I had already replaced the ignition switch about a year before that with an aftermarket one to fix an electrical problem so I didn’t see the point of wasting time to go to the dealer. Plus I would have to deal with the annoyance of them doing a “complimentary inspection” and trying to upsell me stuff while I was there.

  • avatar
    Justice_Gustine

    Totaled 06 Monte Carlo went to the crusher with about 7 postcards for the ignition switch recall in the glovebox.

    Wonder if they could not get the title transfer without getting the recall done, it’s coming to that, eh?

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