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Ford Truck Recall 2018: What to Do If a Manufacturer Recalls Your Car

Brandon Evans   |  September 26, 2018   |  

In September of 2018, American vehicle manufacturer Ford issued a recall notice for more than two million of their F-150 pickup trucks due to a defective seat belt issue. The Ford F-150 is the most popular pickup truck in America, and the recall affects model years 2015-2018 trucks produced between March 12, 2014 to August 23, 2018 in Dearborn, Michigan and trucks produced between August 20, 2014 and August 23, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Ford identified the reason for the recall as a defect in the front seat belts that could start fires under certain circumstances. The defect caused at least five vehicle fires, three of which totally destroyed the vehicles. The recall began after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated reports of the F-150 seat belts causing fires. Ford is offering customers who purchased affected vehicles free repairs at Ford dealers and service centers.

How to Handle Your Vehicle’s Recall

Recalls happen all the time for all types of products, but vehicle recalls typically indicate significant safety hazards that consumers should know about. Once you learn that a manufacturer has recalled your vehicle, there are a few steps you should take to protect yourself.

First, the manufacturer has a legal obligation to notify you of the recall. You should receive an official notice from the manufacturer describing the nature of the recall and your options for resolving the issue. This notice will typically point customers to the nearest service center or dealership to schedule a free repair of the defect. Some recall notices will require you to act relatively quickly after receiving the notice. For example, a tire defect recall will only allow you 60 days to obtain a repair or replacement through the recall.

Handling Difficulties With a Recall

Just because you received a recall notice for your vehicle does not mean you are in immediate danger, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore the notice either. Contact your local dealership or service center to schedule your repair. If your vehicle appears on the NHTSA’s recall list, the repair should be free. Unfortunately, some dealers and service providers may attempt to charge you for a repair. If this happens, a manager should be able to clear up the situation.

The NHTSA monitors vehicle recalls and checks on recalled products to ensure manufacturers properly address defective product recalls and perform acceptable repairs or replacements. If you notice any issues with your vehicle after having a repair completed, you may want to reach out to the NHTSA to find out if other vehicle owners have had similar issues or if there are additional remedies available to you.

What If a Vehicle Defect Injured Me?

If you fail to respond to a recall notice and sustain an injury from a known defect, you may limit your ability to claim compensation for the resulting damages. The manufacturer may argue that they provided you ample time and opportunity to have a repair completed but you failed to take advantage of this offer. A judge may decide that your injuries are partially your own fault because you didn’t take the recall notice seriously.

If you suffered injuries from a known defect in your vehicle and did not receive any notice about the problem or a recall, then you may be able to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer. In a product liability claim for a vehicle defect, you won’t need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent, only that your vehicle indeed has a defect and that defect caused your claimed damages.

Some vehicle defects lead to class-action lawsuits against the responsible manufacturers, and your vehicle defect issue may qualify you to join a class-action lawsuit already in progress. The recent Ford F-150 recall will cost the company about $140 million, but this is a much smaller figure than the company would likely face in civil liability if they did not handle the situation appropriately. If you are curious about your recent vehicle’s recall or suffered injuries from a defective vehicle, reach out to a reliable North Carolina product liability lawyer for more information.