Many assume that government agencies like National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) test cars and determines that the vehicle is unsafe and needs a recall. The NHTSA certainly performs this job when it does safety tests, but there are several steps to issuing a recall.
1. Many recalls start with the owners filing a complaint with NHTSA. They go to the administration’s website, send a letter or call on the phone to file a complaint using a Vehicle Owner’s Questionaire (VOQ). This complaint could say anything.
· An example would be the truck’s engine overheats on the highway when it rains.
2. All complaints are posted at www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. If the administration receives similar complaints from others about the same product, there could be a safety-related defect.
3. Once enough complaints come in, the administration opens an investigation in the interest of public safety. The NHTSA has four sub-steps for an investigation.
· They screen the complaints
· They analyze the petitions and post their reason if they deny the petition in the Federal Register.
· Or they investigate the alleged defect. The administration then notified the manufacturer with a recommendation that they did not find a safety-related defect.
4. The NHTSA or the manufacturer (who may do a recall on their own) initiates the recall when it announces that the product does not meet safety standards. The manufacturer is then instructed by the administration to fix the problem, replace the faulty parts, or replace the vehicle.