Sometimes all is not what it seems when consumers get safety notifications in the mail.
It’s a broad topic and perhaps one of the most important ones in regards to owning a vehicle… warranties and recalls. It seems that consumers are often faced with a threat of a void warranty when it comes to servicing their vehicle. Is it a scare tactic used to retain consumers, or is it valid in justifying that a vehicle’s warranty will be void without proper service?
Diving deeper into the subject it becomes obvious that vehicles require servicing in order to perform properly. In addition to service work, there are factory recalls that are mandatory to ensure vehicle safety.
As vehicle owners, we all receive letters in the mail that inform us of missed services, or of discounts on high mileage services we’re entitled to if we bring our vehicle to the dealer where it was purchased. With the abundance of these coupons we also receive the dreaded envelope marked “IMPORTANT SAFETY RECALL NOTICE.” This is relating to a part or module on the vehicle that is simply operating at far less than satisfactory standards or is deemed a safety concern.
As the years pass, it seems that not only has the price of vehicles risen, but so has the number of bulletins and factory recalls. It is that the manufacturers have started using less reliable parts, or is the advancement in vehicles surpassing the ability of certain parts to perform properly?
Arguably, these recalls are part of an overall customer retention strategy. Think about it. On receiving the recall, the OEM suggests an authorized dealer perform the recall work and replace the part, module or perform the update required.
By doing so, the OEM and its authorized dealer have the consumer’s foot in the door. The factory recall is performed and the consumer is then called to pick up the vehicle. Step two, upon retaining the keys the customer receives the zero’d invoice for work performed as well as the estimate for repairs that has come with a complimentary vehicle check and report card during the recall replacement.
Step three is the part that is often confusing. With the recall performed, is the customer supposed to feel safer now that the vehicle no longer has a part or module that is deemed a safety concern, or perhaps even less safe after being handed repair estimates that can exceed $1000?
Perhaps some individuals even feel threatened that without performing the suggested maintenance there is fear of a voided warranty as explained in the booklet of papers backing the proposed repairs. For others that prefer their individual service providers and local automotive shops, it may almost seem like a trust concern that their technician is incompetent of properly maintaining their vehicle.
At this point it becomes hard to decipher who and what to believe anymore when it comes to vehicle service and maintenance. Perhaps the biggest piece of advice I can provide is to question why and how a vehicle requires certain repairs.
When it comes to shop customers, my advice is always to avoid being pressured into repairs or maintenance that your vehicle may not require. Lastly, at all costs get a second opinion. If you feel betrayed by your preferred service centre, take your vehicle there and get the shop to review the dealership quotes. You might be surprised.