Do Car Recalls Expire? Here’s What You Should Know

When a manufacturer issues a recall for a car because of factory errors or faults, it fixes all affected vehicles for free.

But what happens if you only learn that they recalled your vehicle several years after the recall announcement? You may be worried that the dealer would charge you for the repair since the recall was announced a while ago.

This article will explore everything you know about car recall expiration.

Here’s the short answer to whether car recalls expire:

Car recalls don’t expire. That said, a car recall may become invalid if the automaker closes down or stops manufacturing the component with the problem. So if you find out about the recall years after they issued it, take your car to the nearest dealership to have it fixed.

Is There a Time Limit on Car Recalls?

Car recalls don’t have a time limit. However, users of affected vehicles are entitled to free repairs about 10-15 years after the vehicle’s purchase date. Most automakers only cover financial costs for tire repairs for about 60 days. Drivers who request a correction of the error over 15 years after the purchase date may have to pay the repair fee.

While a car recall is valid, the manufacturer is responsible for correcting the manufacturing error. The only condition where your manufacturer may not be obligated to fix a production error is if the carmaker is out of business. Also, your automaker does not have to correct a manufacturing issue if the company has stopped producing the problematic component in the car.

It’s best to take your vehicle to the dealer as soon as the manufacturer issues a recall for the vehicle. That way, you can enjoy the best repair service for the faulty part in your car at zero cost. Fixing your vehicle immediately after it is recalled may also help you avoid crashes and fire outbreaks.

How Long are Car Recalls Normally Good For?

Car recalls are normally good for the period in which the manufacturer of the vehicle stays in business. If the company that produces your vehicle closes down, you may have to find a specialist to fix the error.

A car recall may also lose its validity if the auto maker stops producing the faulty component in the vehicle.

Related: 5 Volkswagen Models With The Most Recalls (Check Before Buying!)

How Do I Know if the Recall Has Expired?

You can determine whether your car recall is invalid by checking if the automaker is still in operation. But the closure of a car company is not the only factor that determines its validity. If the brand has stopped making the component with the problem, the car recall may also become invalid.

You can easily tell whether a car company has closed down by searching for recent news articles about the organization. However, it might be a little difficult to determine whether the company is still making a particular component.

One fast way to determine if a car recall has expired is by contacting the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can call the agency’s hotline on 1 – 888 – 327 – 4326.

Also, you may reach out to the organization on their website ( The NHTSA’s website contains recall information for all vehicles sold within the United States since 1966.

Your automaker may also have an online recall portal that you can consult for data on your car recalls.

Do I Need to Send the Car Recall in if the Recall Has Expired?

You don’t need to send your car to the manufacturer if the recall is no longer valid. Instead, you can find a professional auto repairer and relay the full details of the recall to them.

The auto repairer will charge you for the service. Depending on the severity of the issue, the repair cost may be quite expensive. This is why it’s best to take your recalled car to a certified dealer as soon as the manufacturer announces the recall.

Do I have to Pay for the Repair If the Recall Has Expired?

If you take your recalled car to a dealer for fixing after the recall has become invalid, you will be charged for the service. That said, fixing recalls are often affordable. Drivers who only bring the recalled cars after the statute of limitation on the recall ends may also need to pay for the repair cost. The statute of limitations for a car recall usually lasts between 10 and 5 years after the first sale date.

If you want to avoid paying for a manufacturing error in your vehicle, it’s best to stay up-to-date on recall information about the car. The NHTSA website provides current recall information on every vehicle ever sold in the United States.

Related: 3 Ram Models With The Most Recalls (Read Before Buying!)

What Happens If I Don’t Get My Recalled Car Fixed?

If you don’t fix your recalled car, your car may crash or suffer an accident while you are driving it. Most manufacturing errors reduce the performance and safety of vehicles.

Instrument clusters, brake lights, turn signals, and other components which drivers often take for granted may malfunction due to installation issues. If these features fail while the car is in motion, it may endanger the life of the driver and occupants.

There are often several victims when a crash occurs. If you are established as the at-fault driver, you may have to pay a considerable amount of money to all the accident victims. Even when the crash is not your fault, you may still have to cover certain vehicle repair costs, excluding the amount your insurer offers you.

Some manufacturers advise users of recalled vehicles against driving the car before the company fixes the error. Premium car brands like Ford and BMW have often issued ‘do not drive’ warning alongside their recall notices. Drivers who don’t follow this warning may be risking their lives and those of their passengers.

The cost of correcting a manufacturing error is rarely expensive. So, you should be able to afford to repair your recalled vehicle even if you are living on a budget.

You may not need to fix a recalled car if you intend to scrap the car after seeing the recall. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid driving it until you can afford to correct the fault.

What If the Recall Repair Fails?

If the dealer doesn’t fix the manufacturing error in your recalled car correctly, the problem may occur again. Reach out to your car maker and report this issue immediately.

When the error occurs again, it might injure the driver and other passengers in the vehicle. Drivers who encounter this issue may request monetary compensation from the manufacturer.

What Should I do If I Have Repaired the Recalled Vehicle Before the Recall Announcement?

If you fix the manufacturing error in your car out of your pocket, you can contact the manufacturer for a refund of the repair costs.

Usually, automakers require such users to present an invoice that states the cost of fixing the error. The manufacturer will only reimburse drivers who can show proof that they corrected the issue.

Never forget to store and maintain all receipts of your car repairs.

Related: 5 Porsche Models With The Most Recalls (Check Before Buying!)

What Do I Do If a Dealer Refuses to Fix My Recalled Car?

Contact the manufacturer and issue a complaint.

When an automaker recalls a car, every certified dealer is obligated to repair the fault. If a dealer fails to fix the error as stated in the recall notice, you can reach out to your manufacturer and report the issue.

However, there are certain situations where a dealer is permitted to refuse to fix a manufacturing error. These situations are:

  • If the cost of fixing the recalled car is almost equal to the price of the vehicle
  • If the recall does not apply to cars in the dealer’s location
Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)