A recent survey by Stericycle Expert Solutions shows that even though most people in the US claim to act on automotive recall notices, numbers collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) don’t support these claims.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

car repair, mechanicMore than 1,100 Americans were surveyed, with 87 percent of respondents saying they act on automotive recalls all or most of the time. Yet, when the NHTSA tracked this information through Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), they found that just 61 percent of recalled vehicles get repaired. Recall notices are typically sent out multiple times for a single recall over the course of 18 months.

“The results suggest a discrepancy between the good intentions of automobile owners and what they actually do when they receive a recall notice,” said Wayne Mitchell, Stericycle's Director of Automotive Solutions.

Other Findings

One surprising thing this survey discovered is that automotive issues aren't very high on people’s priority list when it comes to recalls. Overall, respondents said they were most concerned with recalls for food and drugs. Just 21 percent ranked auto recalls as a top priority.

Also revealed was the fact that traditional outreach methods may be failing when it comes to recalls. Only 46 percent of respondents stated they'd gotten between one and four auto recall notices, while 37 percent claim to have never received any.

“This is another example where communication techniques come into play,” said Mitchell. “A multichannel approach – including emails, text messages, and outbound calls – has been proven to raise repair rates, and it may be even more beneficial among millennials.”

Findings also revealed that recall compliance is generational. Of people ages 55 and over, 91 percent say they respond to recalls, while only 78 percent of people ages 18 to 34 are likely to comply. In fact, millennials are the least compliant across all product segments of all the age groups when it comes to recalls. Like other Americans, this age group ranks food and pharmaceutical recalls as the most important, but rank last when it comes to acting on them. They also rank last in acting on automotive recalls.

“It's a trend that needs to be reversed because millennials are now the largest living American generation and will drive the greatest percentage of product purchases in the near future,” said Michael Good, Vice President of Marketing and Sales Operations at Stericycle. “This research shows that product recalls are as much a communications challenge as they are a logistical one. The lesson for both regulatory bodies and product manufacturers is to make recall compliance easier and more relevant to this generation.”

The survey found that a key driver of recall non-compliance was personal relevance. About 70 percent of respondents said they base their judgment of recall notices on their personal feelings of risk, and 26 percent believe these notices aren't serious, but are simply sent due to a legal obligation.

The Bottom Line

If you've received a recall notice for your vehicle, it’s important to address it. Some issues, such as faulty ignition switches and airbag igniters, have gained more notoriety than others, but all recalls are sent due to safety issues. When you take your vehicle to an authorized dealer for recall services, repairs are typically made free of charge.

If recurring issues or a missed recall notice has caused a need for another vehicle, but bad credit is in your way, Auto Credit Express wants to help. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers who have the lending resources available to help people in all kinds of credit situations. Our service can connect you to one of them in your local area. Simply fill out our no-obligation online auto loan request form to get started today!