Nalley BMW of Decatur Authorized Center

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Vehicle Recall Information

What is a safety recall and when is it necessary?

A safety recall happens when the manufacturer or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that part of a vehicle is defective and the defect can affect the vehicle's safety.  Generally, a safety recall will be issued for specific vehicle models or specific parts that are common among many different vehicles.  When this happens, the manufacturer notifies its authorized dealers and the owners who have registered the vehicle so the owner can take the vehicle to an authorized dealer for repair.


What is NHTSA?

NHTSA is the federal agency that oversees vehicle safety standards.  Its mission is to reduce vehicle-related crashes and prevent injuries.  NHTSA enforces regulations relating to vehicle performance and investigates safety defects. 


What does a safety recall mean to me?


If your vehicle or part of its equipment is subject to a safety recall, it means the manufacturer or NHTSA has decided that a possible defect in your vehicle is a concern and they want to make sure it never causes a safety issue.  You can learn more about safety recalls by visiting NHTSA's website at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/safetyrecalls/safetyrecallprocess.cfm   


How do I find out if the vehicle I am interested in buying is subject to a safety recall?

If you are shopping on our website, and see a vehicle that interests you, there will be a link on the page where you see the vehicle titled "NHTSA VIN look-up."  If you click on that, it will take you to the NHTSA safercar.gov database where you can see if that vehicle has any safety recalls.  You can also visit the NHTSA website yourself at https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/.

NHTSA's website allows users to enter any vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)-the specific code that identifies each individual automobile-into its system to pull up a report that will show whether that vehicle is subject to any safety recalls.  The website also provides general information on safety recalls based on a vehicle's year, make, and model.

In addition to using the NHTSA website, a free CarFax report will be provided to you before you purchase the vehicle so you can review the vehicle's history, including whether there are any safety recalls reported by CarFax. 

Please note that we are not affiliated with and do not control the NHTSA website or CarFax and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information they report.  The accuracy of the information available through CarFax and NHTSA is subject to a number of factors, including but not limited to whether information reported by a manufacturer is up to date.


Do You Fix Open Safety Recalls

If a vehicle is offered for sale as "certified," it is our intention to repair any open safety recalls that we have identified before you take it home although that may not always be possible depending on the nature of the recall, the availability of parts, etc.  Regardless of whether a vehicle is "certified" or not, you will have the opportunity to review a CarFax report prior to sale, which provides information about the vehicle's history, including safety recalls reported by CarFax.

Please note that safety recall information comes from the manufacturers, and sometimes there is a delay between the time the manufacturers issue a safety recall and the time that information becomes available on databases like those run by NHTSA and CarFax.  There may also be a delay in the ability to repair certain open safety recalls for various reasons,  including the non-availability of parts.  We do not and cannot guarantee that every vehicle sold, whether certified or not, will be recall-free.


How will I find out if my vehicle is subject to a safety recall after I purchase it?

Manufacturers must notify by first-class mail all registered owners and purchasers of vehicles subject to a safety recall and provide an explanation of the safety recall's risk to safety.  In the safety recall notice, the manufacturer will explain to the owner any potential safety hazards posed by the defect.  The notice will also tell you what to do about it.  Because manufacturers get the names of vehicle owners from state registration offices, you must maintain your state registration information to be sure to receive notice of a safety recall.  If you move, be sure to update your address. We also recommend that you register your vehicle with the manufacturer as soon as you purchase it.  When you do so, you will receive important information on your vehicle directly from the manufacturer.  Most manufacturers also have VIN-specific look-up functions on their sites. In addition, you can subscribe to email safety recall notifications from NHTSA at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/subscriptions/index.cfm   These notifications will not be specific to your individual vehicle but will provide information for vehicles of the year and make you select when you sign up.  If you subscribe, you will receive an email if there is a safety recall for the criteria you select. 


If I find out my vehicle is subject to a safety recall after I buy it, how do I get it fixed?

If your vehicle is subject to a safety recall, take it to a manufacturer-authorized repair facility.  They are required to fix the problem at no cost to you.