Tuesday

Recalls Are Big Headaches for Consumers, but Big Money for Dealers

While engineers continue to crow about cars that are "better designed" than ever, the recalls just keep mounting. It seems like GM is announcing a recall every couple of days.

It's a big headache to consumers. Since 1990, The Detroit Big 3 have recalled about a third of a billion cars and that's a lot of repair work.

In that same time frame, Japanese car makers have recalled just about 100 million and German brands have recalled only about 15 million. If you look at that alone, it appears the Germans build a better car.

But US car dealers aren't getting rich off the German recalls. The Big 3 dealers are though.

We don't want to sound like we are picking on GM, but industry experts predict that GM alone will spend $2 billion just to fix the roughly 16 million cars it has recalled so far this year.

When it comes to making money, GM dealers are smiling all the way to the bank and so are other dealers doing recall work. And the suppliers who build the replacement parts? They are smiling too, of course. It's big business, fixing things that should have been built right in the first place.

According to Automotive News in October 2013, about a third of all recalls have to do with one of only four car systems - the fuel system, the brakes, airbags and seat belts. When you add the power train, it totals almost half of all recalls.

And Monday, June 16, GM added another 3.16 million cars to its totals so far this year. Got a GM car? Don't be surprised if you get a friendly letter from GM in your mail soon too.

If you get a recall, get your car into the dealer right away. If they don't have the parts yet, then ask the service manager if your car is safe to drive. Anything but an unequivocal "yes" should be taken as a big NO. If so, then tell them you want a free loaner car to use until they get it fixed. If you still don't like the answer, then ask to talk to the dealership manager. Then the owner. Then ask for the factory phone number you can call.


The moral is simple. The squeaky wheel still gets the grease, so keep complaining. And make notes of what each person says to you, date and time. This is where Murphy's Law applies.

As sure as you do it, it'll all work out and you won't need it. And as sure as you don't, you will end up wishing you did. And when push comes to shove, let us do the shoving for you.

Burdge Law Office
Getting rid of lemons. It's what we do.