Recalls & Technical Service Bulletins

A safety recall is a manufacturer’s request for vehicle owners or lessees to bring a vehicle in for repairs, adjustments or replacement due to a known defect in the vehicle. A technical service bulletin is a recommended service repair issued by the manufacturer after an unexpected problem has occurred in several vehicles of the same make and model.

Auto manufacturers will often release vehicle safety recalls or technical service bulletins for certain vehicles to prevent harm to consumers and to reduce their liability. If you are dealing with a car that is experiencing a single or recurring problem, you can look for recalls or technical service bulletins on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation (ODI). On this site, you can also file safety complaints about your vehicle.

Recalls: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/
Technical Service Bulletins: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues
File a Safety Complaint: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues

Understanding the Difference Between a Safety Recall and a Technical Service Bulletin
The major difference between recalls and technical service bulletins is that recalls usually involve safety issues, whereas technical service bulletins are often not safety-contingent. Recalls are also usually made at the request of a governing body or consumer safety organization like the NHTSA, whereas the manufacturer typically issues technical service bulletins voluntarily.

Further, recall repair work is usually performed at no cost to the vehicle owner or lessee, no matter if the warranty is still valid or not. Technical service bulletins are not necessarily conducted for free or even discounted in price. Finally, dealers have to call owners/lessees of cars that are subject to safety recalls, but do not have to contact them for technical service bulletins.

What Makes a Car a “Lemon?”
A vehicle may be deemed a lemon if it has not been fixed after a reasonable number of repair attempts. While this may be during the first 18,000 miles or 18 months of ownership or lease, you may also have Lemon Law rights if you took your vehicle to a dealership for repair later during the warranty period. This is usually at least four attempts for the same problem, two attempts for a serious safety issue, or a combined 30 days or more of being out of service due to repairs.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t assume that you don’t have a legitimate case just because you don’t meet these conditions.

Lemons are manufactured in two different ways. The first is a design defect in which all cars of the same production period have the same problem(s). This often results in a recall or technical service bulletin being issued.

The second case involves manufacturing defects. In these instances, “Joe” on the vehicle assembly line has a bad day and doesn’t put the car together properly so you’re the only one (or part of a handful) who has the problem. Both types of cases are covered under Lemon Law in California.

Your dealership may tell you that your vehicle does not qualify under the Lemon Law because of a recall, but do not rely on their statements alone. Contact the Law Offices of Elizabeth Agmon Gayle to determine your rights under the California Lemon Law . Simply call TOLL FREE : 1-866-STOP-LEMONS (1-866-786-7536) for a FREE CONSULTATION .