Car owner confusion with so many recalls


ORLANDO, Fla. – With nearly 40 million car recalls so far this year, car manufacturers have already recalled more vehicles in 2014 than any other year in history.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, General Motors made up about two-thirds of the recalls, having 2.6 million just in March due to faulty ignition switches that led to 13 deaths.

Many of the recalls, however, are not necessarily the car companies' fault. For example, BMW, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota recalled roughly 1.1 million vehicles due to faulty air bags, which were all made by a Japanese supplier: Takata Corporation.

Tracy New, an instructor at Universal Technical Institute, and a former dealership technician, said she believes that the recent recalls over the past months are not such a bad thing.

"I think we get wrapped up in the term recall as negative. It's not negative, it's a positive thing," New said. "It means that the manufacturer is helping you out; they're taking care of you and helping out for your safety and security and the reliability of your product. It's really a good thing."

As he teaches future technicians, he urges car owners to go to the dealership when their cars are recalled because they know what to fix and exactly how it needs to be fixed.

But Joshua Donlan, a Toyota Prius and Camry owner, said he thinks the recalls are due to the increase in technology that car companies are trying to put in new vehicles.

"The more technologically advanced it is and the more bells and whistles, the more likely things will go wrong somewhere along the way," said Donlan.

Between both of his Toyota cars, he has received 10 recall notices -- eight for the Prius and two for the Camry.

"When I get a recall it says 'Hey, we want to go check this out.' Clearly I'm going to pay attention to that," he said.

Kevin Blakewell, with the American Automobile Association, had something to say to car owners who are getting recall notices.

"Don't try to read it and analyze and say, 'That doesn't sound like that big of a problem,' or 'Oh, I won't worry about it.' Take it into the dealership and have it taken care of. It doesn't cost you anything," Blakewell said.

Donlan, who has taken both cars in for the recalls, said it was an easy fix and worth it in the long run.

"It's a couple hours out of a day to make sure my family is safe when we're driving around. That's the most important thing," he said.

Unsure if your vehicle is under a recall? 

Safercar.gov offers not only vehicle recall information, but also complaints and defects, crash test ratings, and car seat help.