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Vehicle Recalls explained.

New Delhi, May 27 -- Nissan Motors last week said it is recalling 22,188 Micra and Sunny cars in India to replace faulty brake master. This is not the first instance that a car maker has announced a recall of its vehicles. It is a global practice that car makers follow when they find a fault in a spare that needs replacement.

In India there isn't a mandatory recall policy in place. All the recalls till date have been voluntary. Almost every other country in the world has a recall policy that demands manufacturers to fix potential problems in the interest of public safety, and if they fail to do so can incur a penalty.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has been working on a 'voluntary recall policy' for over two years now. The policy outline asks for manufacturers to voluntarily rectify safety defects arising from malfunctioning steering and brake systems, unintended fuel leakages, cracked or broken wheels and faulty wiring. The policy also states that the manufacturers shouldn't only cover cars within the warranty period, but all cars manufactured with the faulty parts.

However the policy does not ask for a regulatory body that tests the vehicles and can give recommendations to manufacturers for recalls.

What is a recall?

When auto companies get wind of some part or component failing or breaking of which there are several instances, they determine whether the part was faulty and if found to be so, they issue a notice asking customers to go to their closest service centres and get them replaced.

Does a car/bike getting recalled mean it's a poor quality product?

Major manufacturers in recent times have recalled vehicles. Vehicles from the best of manufacturers undergo rigorous testing prior to their launch. Here vehicles are subjected to years of use in short periods of time. Most faults are ironed out, but a few cases do arise when faulty parts get through. However in most cases only minor components are called in for recall.

Should you be worried if your vehicle is recalled?

The probability of your vehicle suffering from catastrophic failure is very less. The recalls mostly involve smaller components and are done mostly as a precautionary measure to avoid failure.

Recently Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Nissan recalled over 3.4 million vehicles worldwide due to the faulty airbags fitted to their cars which may catch fire and risk injury to the user. This is a very rare case where a major component needs replacing.

The simple rule of thumb for auto manufactures to avert disaster due to faulty parts is; the more important the part, the stricter the quality assurance checks get. Therefore in most cases recall involve changing minor parts like hoses or wiper blades.

Should you pay for recall work?

Absolutely not. All recall work is done for free and if your local dealer demands payment for any work related to the recall, you should report it to the company.

Sometimes secondary parts which aren't faulty may need to be changed in order to change the faulty part and a recall may not cover it. But in most cases the manufacturers swallow the extra expenses in order to keep the customer satisfied.

Will a recall affect your vehicles resale value?

Again, a recall will not affect your vehicles resale value, however if the recalled parts aren't changed it may be a slight problem if you attract the keen eyed buyer. In a country like India where resale value is driven by the success of the car and the mileage on the odometer, very few buyers go through service history.

Do manufacturers mind recalls?

Looking at the recent past, manufacturers don't seem to be too worried about their brand name being damaged because of vehicle recalls. However they are always keeping an eye out for instances which can hurt their image, like vehicle failure resulting in an accident, injury or death.

To users recalls shouldn't be anything more than a little inconvenience. It shouldn't put you off your motor, instead it should convey the manufacturers willingness to put your safety and quality ahead of everything else.

In India the term recall is seen as almost derogatory when it comes to vehicle quality standards. Unfortunately some manufacturers choose to avoid recalling products at the cost of safety because it may bring a bad name to the brand.

Despite not having a recall policy in India, manufacturers slowly have begun the process of recalls. Famous instances where companies have recalled their models are:

Tata Nano: Tata recalled 1.45 lakh Nanos produced in 2011 as vehicle owners complained of troubles with the starter motors. The fault was rectified with the Nano V2 launched in 2012, the starter motor duly adapted from the newer car and replaced on all older cars free of cost by the company.

Toyota Etios: Toyota recalled 40,000 units of its Etios to replace faulty fuel filter hoses. The change was done free of charge for customers.

Nissan Micra and Sunny: Nissan recalled around 22,188 units of its Micra hatchback and Sunny sedan because they were fitted with faulty brake master cylinders.

Toyota Corolla Altis: Toyota has recalled 1000 units of the diesel variant of its Altis after finding a fault with the left side drive shaft. The company has said the procedure will take between one to two and a half hours to complete and the owners need not pay anything.

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Publication:Wheels Unplugged
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:May 27, 2013
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