Used Cars

Used Cars: Is it Worth Buying a Recall Vehicle?

By Daisy Emah-Emah Updated: 07/26/2022 Posted: 07/22/2021


You might be wondering if it is worth buying a recall vehicle? A recall is issued when a manufacturer, dealer, or government detects an issue that threatens the safety of a vehicle.


A manufacturer initiates a recall when there is a problem with a certain vehicle model. Also initiated when an issue that could affect the operation of a car is detected. 


Vehicle manufacturers in most countries are obligated to inform traffic safety organizations about their recalls. This procedure avoids getting caught up in legal issues and incurring heavy fines and penalties. Most recalls involve problems such as accidents, defective vehicles, emission violations, faulty airbags, faulty brakes, etc. 


Stop-drive recalls are not driven until they are fixed. This means that the owner has to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Unrepaired recalls are usually unsuccessful recalls.


Types of Vehicle Recall

They are different types of vehicle recall; voluntary recall, safety-related mandatory recall, and  Technical service bulletins.


Voluntary Recall happens when a manufacturer recalls a vehicle for an issue that can affect the safety of the vehicle. The manufacturer issues the recall in order to limit his liability and avoid a legal mandatory recall from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHSTA). Repairs made under the voluntary recall is finance by the manufacturer.


Mandatory Recall is when a vehicle has a safety-related issue determined by the NHTSA. Generally serious and legally, repairs is finance for by the manufacturer. You can search for recall on your vehicle using the VIN on the NHSTA website.  It is advisable for vehicle owners to check for recalls at least twice a year.


Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) takes place when a known defect exists in a certain vehicle or related vehicles. A TSB can also be used to notify dealerships of procedure changes. parts that have been improved or modified maintenance manual revisions, and other updates. The bulletin holds information on the recommended repairs for the issues related to the vehicle.

Repairs done in TSB are within the vehicle’s warranty otherwise, the customer pays for repairs.

The NHSTA site allows you to search for TSBs by vehicle make, model, year, and VIN. Also, allows you to request research to order TSB – but fees are charged and it may take weeks to get TSB by email.


Further Reading

  1. 5 Sites you Need to Check Before Buying a Used Car 
  2. What Should I Check For When Buying a Car
  3. Everything You Need to Know about Buying Used Cars
  4. How to Get the Best Vehicle History Report on Auction Cars for Sale 

Buying a Used Recall Vehicle

Buying a recall car may be a scary thought but also the problem was identified and can be fixed. Most of the time, manufacturers will provide free repairs for safety recalls.


You’ll be notified via email or a priority letter of your vehicle recall. These letters will contain a detailed explanation of the issue and provide you with a reason for the action.


Even if you were not notified about a recall campaign, you can still check the status of your vehicle through a VIN check. With a report, you can see if the car was recalled.

It is advisable to run a VIN search to check for any or all open recalls. It is also advisable to register your vehicles with the manufacturer to receive up-to-date information about recalls. 

You can also search for open recalls with these steps:

  • Use of Customers Report Recall Database and
  • Check the vehicle manufacturer’s websites for up-to-date information about your vehicle
  • Run a VIN search


When considering buying a used car, it is advisable to search the NHSTA website to check if the defect has been repaired in the past 15 years. The time, the age of the vehicle, or the numerous owners it has had, does not affect the repairs made.


You can relax while making your purchase even if it is a recall vehicle. We have an inventory of 150k plus vehicles with clean titles and other titles at Auto Auction Mall


You can rest better knowing that you can request to run a simple VIN check for a small fee. You can also request a Physical Vehicle inspection on your next purchase – this costs more but is more accurate. 


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