Vehicle recalls

Wednesday 25th March 2020

What happens if my car is recalled?

Car recalls are more common than you may realise – around a million vehicles each year are recalled in the UK. Often, when we hear that a vehicle is being recalled because of a safety concern, it can cause alarm. However, this is not always necessarily something to worry about – learn exactly what a car recall car is, what happens if your car is recalled and all about compensation for vehicle recall from our detailed guide.

What is a recall on a car?

A car recall is when the manufacturer of a vehicle determines that a car model, or multiple models, has a safety-related defect. The manufacturer would then issue a nationwide recall so this safety defect can be fixed or replaced. The defect could be related to any component of the vehicle such as the car’s design or a software bug, but essentially, if your car has been recalled, it means the defect could compromise safety. Your vehicle may also be recalled if it does not comply with the DVSA’s safety standards.

Typically, if your vehicle is recalled, you will receive notice of this in a letter. This letter will highlight:

  • Why your vehicle is being recalled
  • What your next steps should be
  • Who you need to contact regarding this recall check

According to, you will not usually have to pay for any repairs or parts under a safety vehicle recall.

So, what happens if your car is recalled?

If a model of car is being recalled by the manufacturer, the registered owner of any affected vehicles will be contacted, using the details provided by the DVSA. The manufacturer will explain via letter, email or telephone what the issue is and what repair work will need to happen. In extreme cases, you may be asked not to drive your vehicle until it has been properly examined.

On your letter, you will be advised to get in touch with the contact provided to book an appointment for your car to have its recall check. This will likely be the nearest manufacturer dealer, and you shouldn’t be charged for having this fault fixed. If the repair work to your vehicle is likely to take a long time, you should be provided with a courtesy car.

It’s important to note that most recalls on cars are precautionary – and merely anticipate a problem that could occur, so there is no reason to panic that your car is inoperable. Of course, ensuring the repair work is completed as soon as possible is important and, by law, you are responsible for ensuring your car is in a roadworthy condition. Ignoring a car recall check could lead to problems, such as invalidating car insurance claims and reducing the car’s value. There is also the chance that a recall issue could turn into a major fault if left unchecked.

Can I receive compensation for vehicle recalls?

Although manufacturers are obliged to pay for any faults and repair work conducted during a car recall check, there is no obligation for them to provide compensation for inconvenience. However, if you feel like you require compensation, you’ll be directed to contact the customer services department of your manufacturer. Compensation for vehicle recall is rare, but in extreme circumstances where car reputation is tarnished or your individual case of your vehicle requires a different approach, it can be given. It’s often decided on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any more questions related to car recall checks, please visit for further information. Alternatively, for any motoring queries, get in touch with a member of our specialist team here at Formula One Autocentres.

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