When A Recall Goes Regional

By: The Auto Guy Email
By: The Auto Guy Email

We've all heard of recalls when a vehicle manufacturer repairs a safety defect at no charge to the owner. That’s obviously a great way to keep vehicles safe on the road, but what if you had a recall on vehicles in Nebraska and Iowa that were not covered? It does happen and it’s called a regional recall.

Before we get into how a regional recall works, let’s look at how and why vehicles get recalled in the first place.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a governmental organization that does things such as crash testing and working with automakers to ensure that vehicles meet safety guidelines.

NHTSA also receives complaints from motorists who have safety concerns about their vehicle. When NHTSA has multiple reports of potential safety defects on a certain type of vehicle, it will investigate. If the results of that investigation indicate that a serious safety concern exists or if the manufacturer has already identified the same problem, the automakers will usually voluntarily recall the vehicle and repair the problem at no cost to the consumer.

When a recall is issued, most times it covers vehicles nationwide. No matter where you live, you will receive a notice in the mail, make an appointment with the dealer and take it in and get it fixed at no cost to you. But in some cases, the automaker issues a regional recall and depending on what state you are in, you might get left out.

Regional recalls are issued by automakers when a safety problem is caused by something that only happens in certain parts of the country. Like a heat-related recall that’s issued because a certain part fails in the extreme heat of a state such as Arizona. The logic being used on a regional recall is that a part is failing due to conditions in one state might not be failing in a different state with different conditions.

Here is where Nebraska and Iowa come into the mix on regional recalls. The automakers have certain states that they consider to be in the “snow belt” where a lot of salt is put down on the road. All of that salt could lead to corrosion-type problems such as suspension parts breaking or fuel lines leaking and the fix can sometimes be very expensive if you are not included in the regional recall.

And guess what? Iowa is considered a “snow belt” state and Nebraska isn’t. But if you live in Nebraska, even though you are not technically one of the “snow belt” states like Iowa is, you can certainly make the argument that your vehicle should be covered by the regional recall as well. If you are in that situation, talk to your dealer to see if they can do anything to get your vehicle covered in the recall as well. Even if the dealer rejects your request, you can always take it one step further by contacting the automaker’s consumer hotline and ask for their assistance with your recall issue. Good luck!


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