Date Published: 2023/11/06

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Taking care of unsafe vehicles: Does your vehicle have a recall?

Close-cropped photo of a service technician checking under the hood of a vehicle.

Transport Canada estimates one in five of the 33.3 million vehicles, that’s 6.6 million vehicles, registered in Canada have been recalled for safety defects but have not been fixed! There are millions of unsafe vehicles on the road that could cause accidents, injuries or deaths. If you are driving a vehicle with a recalled part and get into an accident before it's fixed, you could face serious insurance coverage and liability implications. 

In this article, we'll explain:

  • what vehicle recalls are,
  • your responsibility for dealing with a recalled part on your vehicle,
  • how to find out if your vehicle has a notice for recall on a part,
  • and how to get it fixed.

What are vehicle recalls, and why are they important?

A vehicle recall occurs when a manufacturer determines that a vehicle or one of its parts has a safety defect or does not comply with safety standards. A defect can affect the performance, operation or safety of the vehicle or its occupants. A recall notice is issued with instructions on how to get the defect repaired or replaced.

Following up on a vehicle recall is essential because it ensures the vehicle is safe to drive. Getting an unsafe vehicle fixed quickly will also help to protect your insurance coverage. Driving a vehicle with a recalled part can have severe implications on your insurance if you get into an accident before it's repaired. Your insurance company may deny your claim or reduce your coverage if you fail to comply with the recall notice, potentially leaving you liable for the damages and injuries.

How do I find out if my vehicle has a notice for recall on a part?

When a vehicle or part is recalled, the manufacturer or dealership will contact the vehicle's purchaser directly to inform them. Typically, the initial purchaser will receive written notice by mail. However not every owner finds out about recalls, especially in the case of used vehicles. 

It is ultimately your responsibility to pay attention to recall notices that may impact your vehicle, especially if you purchased it second-hand. Ensure your manufacturer is aware of any change in your mailing address. Check Transport Canada's Motor Vehicle Recalls Database for the latest recall information or subscribe to their web feed. You can search by vehicle make, model and year. You can also view the list of active recalls and defect investigations

If you recently purchased a used vehicle, contact the manufacturer or authorized dealership to register it with them. Ensure they have your contact information so they can notify you if there is a safety issue with your vehicle in the future.

How do I get unsafe vehicles fixed?

The good news is that repairs for recalled parts are almost always covered by the manufacturer. The manufacturer is responsible for producing a safe product, which includes fixing defects within a reasonable time frame at no cost to the vehicle owners.

If you receive a recall notice or find out about a recalled part impacting your vehicle, take action as soon as possible:

  • Contact your vehicle manufacturer or dealership to confirm if your vehicle is affected by a recall and to schedule an appointment for repair. You can find their contact information on Transport Canada's website or your recall notice if you received one.
  • Follow any interim instructions the manufacturer provides while you wait for your appointment.
  • Bring your recall letter with you when you go for the repair. The letter will have the details of the defect, the risk it poses and the corrective action required.

Top vehicles most likely to have a recall

When shopping for a vehicle, you may want to consider how many recalls have been issued. iSeeCars, a U.S. research firm, compared various datapoints to determine the Top 10 Models Most Likely to be Recalled.

  1. Tesla Model Y
  2. Porsche Panamera
  3. Tesla Model 3
  4. Tesla Model X
  5. Tesla Model S
  6. Lincoln Aviator
  7. Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
  8. Volkswagen Atlas
  9. Ram 1500
  10. Ram 1500 Classic

Although this list doesn’t look positive for Tesla, the study noted that most of these recalls were to do with electronics and can be addressed with a computer update, not requiring a visit to a service centre.

Let’s not forget the Top 10 Models Least Likely to be Recalled.

  1. MINI Convertible
  2. Lexus NX 300h
  3. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
  4. Mercedes-Benz CLA
  5. Lexus RX 450h
  6. Nissan 370Z
  7. Hyundai Elantra GT
  8. Mercedes-Benz GLA
  9. Mercedes-Benz GLC
  10. Lexus IS 300

Driving an unsafe vehicle with a recalled part can have severe consequences for your insurance and safety. Don't take any chances and check frequently to find out if your vehicle has a notice for recall on a part. If you receive a recall notice or suspect that your vehicle has a defect, contact your manufacturer or dealership as soon as possible to get it repaired. 

If you're a current Orbit policyholder and have any questions about your insurance coverage, call 877-976-7248 to review your policy or learn more about your coverage options.

If you're shopping for car insurance and would like to request a quote, reach out to an Orbit insurance broker at 877-976-7248.

  1. Canadian Underwriter
  2. iSeeCars