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Survey asks consumers: Why do you ignore vehicle recalls?

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Photo: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Ann Arbor, MI – Nearly 40 percent of consumers avoid vehicle safety recalls because they fear their dealership will recommend additional repairs, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Researchers surveyed 516 people about their concerns related to vehicle safety recalls, and asked for feedback on methods to help increase compliance. Worrying about possible additional repairs was the top concern reported (38 percent), followed by difficulty giving up vehicles for repairs (37 percent) and lengthy waits (36 percent).

About 51 million vehicles and 34 million pieces of vehicle-related equipment were recalled in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, which noted that 20 percent of vehicle owners ignore these recalls.

Bundling recalls with regularly scheduled maintenance is one way to boost participation, according to 52 percent of respondents, while 51 percent supported receiving incentives such as free oil changes or tanks of gas for complying with the recalls.

Other findings:

  • Although 81 percent of respondents said they would get a recall fixed if the nearest facility was less than 15 minutes away, that figure fell to 45 percent for facilities more than 30 minutes away.
  • 74 percent would get a recall fixed if the wait was one week or less, compared with 27 percent for waits exceeding six months.
  • About 60 percent of respondents believe states should make addressing recall fixes a prerequisite for renewing annual vehicle registration; 61 percent believe addressing recall fixes should be required before vehicle resale.

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