automobile recallsToo often the word recall produces feelings of dread and anxiety. If you are the driver of a vehicle that has been recalled due to safety issues, the procedure to have it repaired is simple. Here is what you need to know to make your car safe again.

First off, don’t panic. Today’s vehicles are safer than ever. Your car won’t blow up tomorrow and you’ll have time to get it in for the needed repairs. Usually recalls aren’t for imminent dangers as the parts being recalled are statistically unlikely to break and kill you. If the recall is truly dangerous, you’ll be advised to stop driving your car immediately, but these occasions are truly rare. When the defective parts are really bad, such as in the case of faulty ignition switches made by General Motors, you may even be offered a loaner car while you wait for your vehicle to be fixed.

Generally, you’ll receive a recall notice in the mail from the manufacturer advising you through paragraphs of required legal language that describes the defect, the risk or hazard posed by the problem along with injuries that can occur and potential warning signs. The official notice will also detail how the manufacturer plant to fix the problem and instruct you what you should do next.

One thing that you should not do is to take your vehicle to your local repair shop because your trusted mechanic will not have the specified parts to complete the repair. The repair must be performed at a dealer’s service department. You will need to show the dealer the recall letter, even though the staff will already be aware of the problem. Do not pay for the repairs. If you are charged, call the number provided in the recall letter or even the NHTSA at 1-888-327-3236.

If you don’t get a recall notice or aren’t sure if your vehicle is part of a recall, don’t worry as you can check whether it is on a recall list by visiting the NHTSA website where you input your vehicle’s VIN number to see if it is on a recall list. You can also check the list when purchasing a pre-owned car.

Even if you are not the original owner, you still quality to get your vehicle repaired. The statue of limitations for all no-charge recalls is eight years from the original sale date of the vehicle. After that time, you may be required to pay to get the defect repaired.