Magazine says millions ignoring recall notices

Even potentially catastrophic issues with airbags and fires are ignored

Published: April 15, 2017, 2:15 AM
Updated: April 18, 2017, 8:42 PM

Car Crash - Side Impact

A recent investigation by UK motoring magazine Auto Express has concluded that millions of motorists are putting themselves and other road users at risks by not heeding recall notices.

The magazine discovered that many car owners are ignoring recall notices, even for potentially catastrophic issues such as faulty airbags, engine fire risks, steering failures and compromised braking, and despite the fact the repairs would be performed free of charge for vehicle owners.

The editors believe the notices go unnoticed because the vehicles initially don’t show signs of failure, but owners are often unaware (or apathetic) that the problems could manifest themselves literally in an instant that could turn the driving situation deadly.

The research by the magazine was compiled from UK government figures, which showed that 2.2 million models were named in recalls but just 47.7% attended a dealership to have the issues addressed and repaired. For example, the massive Takata airbag recall has resulted in millions of vehicles being recalled (affecting just about every automaker in the industry), yet BMW has reportedly addressed just 1.5% of its recalled vehicles, and Toyota (one of the hardest hit manufacturers) has fixed just 25% of its recalled units.

“It’s scandalous that so many dangerous cars are driving around with faults which could be fixed for free at a dealer,” said John McIlroy, deputy editor of Auto Express. “Owners are either unaware because records aren’t up to date or they just don’t think it’s worth their time to get it fixed.”

It’s lead the magazine to call for mandatory checks to identify vehicles under notice and force compliance, pointing to a 69.7% compliance rate for a Vauxhall recall that had been grouped into the UK’s annual Ministry of Transport test.

“Vauxhall’s work with the (UK’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) to get the recall checked at the MoT test has been proven to be effective, so should become compulsory for all makers to make sure cars don’t slip through the net,” added McIlroy. “A car should not be deemed roadworthy by a tester if it has an outstanding recall logged. This would very quickly purge British roads of these dangerous cars.”