Unless you have experienced a recall first hand, most of us are not aware of how the process works. In this article, I will explain the basics based on my understanding of the recall process.

Recalls are usually issued from manufacturers and/or governments and can cover just about every product on the market. This article will focus on motor vehicle and RV recalls.

The Recall Process

The recall process can start from any number of sources, such as accident statistics, dealer service departments, testing by organizations like “Consumer Report,” or “Motor Trend,” consumer complaints, or even the manufacturers themselves during routine after assembly road tests, or quite often from their long-term testing.

A defect can be anything from a software glitch found in a car, or truck’s computer, to a motorhome that catches on fire while driving down the highway. Normally, when a glitch happens, it is usually reported to the manufacturer, Consumer Affairs Canada, or Transport Canada. Unless, of course, it is something major like the motorhome fire, or an accident, in which case Transport Canada could be involved in the investigation from the start.

Once the glitch has been reported, an investigation is normally started to determine if the problem is an isolated case, or if it could possibly affect multiple vehicles.

If, after the investigation, it turns out that the problem could occur in multiple vehicles, the manufacturer will advise owners of the problem by mail and request them to bring their vehicles to a dealer to be inspected and if necessary, repaired.

This works fine if the vehicle is still owned by the original purchaser. However, if the vehicle has been sold, traded in at a used car lot, or at a dealer other than the vehicle’s original manufacturer, the new owner will probably not be in a position to receive notification. The new owner can get around this problem by registering the vehicle with the manufacturer by a letter, online, or through a local dealer.

Manufacturers will also notify Transport Canada of the defect and provide them with the information and type of repairs, or solution, needed to correct the problem. Transport Canada then assigns a recall number and a list is prepared and sent out to sources that have requested to be kept informed. Transport Canada also publishes a list regularly on their website.

Usually the news media is one of the first to get the information and if the recall is large enough, or serious enough, they will broadcast it during their news reports.

Recall information can also be found on the manufacturer’s websites, through local dealers, automotive websites, or through media sources such as the Explorer RV Club website.

That’s where I come into the picture. Transport Canada sends me a copy of their recall list once, or twice, a month depending on the time of year and the amount of recall information they receive from the manufacturers. The list normally includes all types of vehicles from cars and trucks to motorcycles, ATVs, buses, fire trucks, commercial trailers, RVs, child safety seats, tires and basically anything that could possibly fall under the “transport umbrella”.

I read through the list and pull out the recall information that is important for RVers. These will be the brands of cars usually seen on the road, not including the odd Aston Martin, Ferrari or Lamborghini (yes, even the exotics appear on the list occasionally) and trucks that would normally be used for towing travel and fifth wheel trailers. The RVs include travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, all types of motorhomes and the occasional bus conversion.

Where to Find Recall Information

My list is shared on the Explorer RV Club’s website and in their monthly newsletter.

The following is a contact list of places where recall information can be found. In all cases, you will be required to enter your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) from your purchase agreement or located on the left corner of your dash and windshield.

To stay up-to-date on the latest RV related recalls, subscribe to the Explorer RV Club newsletter!

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