Car buyers warned to check for recall work

Car buyers warned to check for recall work

More than six million vehicles have been recalled in the UK over the last five years – but many buyers aren’t checking if important work has been carried out ahead of buying a secondhand vehicle.

That’s the warning from car history check provider HPI, who says used car buyers could be left out of pocket and even driving a dangerous vehicle if they don’t check for recall work.

Recalls take place when a manufacturer discovers a potential fault (often safety related) and writes to the owners of affected vehicles, asking them to return their car to their local dealer. Remedial work is then carried out free of charge.

Recalls are increasingly common, with manufacturers including Toyota, Honda, Vauxhall, BMW and Fiat all issuing them since 2011. The number of vehicle recalls rose to a total of 39 in 2014/15 – a 30% increase from the 30 recalled in 2013/14.

HPI’s consumer director Fernando Garcia said: “The problem of recalls just doesn’t seem to be going away. What the high figures demonstrate is just how commonplace recalls are now.”


If your dealer writes to you telling you a potential fault has been discovered with your car, surely you’ll let them fix it for you free of charge?

I always thought it’d be a pretty obvious move. But recently I was chatting to an elderly owner of a Toyota Yaris. He was telling me how happy he was with his car – it never needed anything more than servicing.

His only complaint was his pesky dealer, who kept sending letters saying a potential fault had been discovered and asking him to take his Yaris back to them for remedial work. This, in this chap’s view, was a scam. They just wanted to get him into the dealer to be tempted by new models.

In truth, these recalls could be a variety of fairly important issues – from seats that move under braking to steering column brackets that break. If I were the chap I was speaking to – or whoever he ends up selling his car to – I’d want to know the work had been done.

Andrew Brady

Manufacturers are now more likely to issue a recall after identifying potential faults, says HPI, after General Motors was hit by scandal in the US last year. Many criticised the firm for failing to promptly recall cars with a potentially faulty ignition switch.

Garcia added: “As seen with GM Motors, where 2.6 million cars were recalled, it can often take an issue of this scale to bring the topic to the public’s attention. Thankfully, the automotive industry is very efficient at repairing faults.”

The firm has added recall information to its car history check available to used car buyers. Along with information about whether a car has been written off in a crash or is subject to finance, they’ll also be able to see if a recall has been issued.

Web editor at Drives a 1983 Austin Metro. Tweet me @MR_AndrewBrady.

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