The Vehicle Recall Process

When a vehicle recall is issued by the manufacturer people usually focus on what needs to be fixed on the vehicle and they forget to ask about the process. Once a recall has been issued, the manufacturer sends a letter to the affected customers. This letter has the red SAFETY RECALL NOTICE in the bold, red letters to make it stand out from your regular mail. It’s important to note that these recall letters are customer and vehicle identification number (VIN) specific.

If you have received one of these recall letters, please take your vehicle to your local certified dealership and have them complete the recall repairs as soon as possible.
If you have received one of these recall letters, please take your vehicle to your local certified dealership and have them complete the recall repairs as soon as possible.


Upon receipt of the letter, the customer should take their vehicle to their local, certified, dealership for repairs. Once the vehicle has been inspected, the service department will determine what parts are necessary to complete the recall repairs and then place a parts order.

Once the dealership receives the parts order, the service team will call the customer and make an appointment for the repairs to be made. At this point, it is important to remember to bring your car back to the service department. You would be surprised at how many people bring their vehicle in for service, order the parts for the repair and then never bring their vehicle back in for the actual repair. We try extremely hard to get all of our recall repair customers back to the service department to have their repair completed, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the customer to bring their vehicle back.

Depending on the type of recall, it could take as little as two hours or it could be as long as a day or two to complete the repair. Some recalls are quick and easy fixes for a skilled technician, but others are more in depth and require more attention.

Our Certified Service department works hard to complete recall repairs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Often the longest part of the recall repair process is waiting for the correct parts to come in. This General Motors graphic shows you exactly what the process is for the ignition switch recall, the largest of all of the current recalls.


ignition recall graphic

Now, we know what you are thinking.

“Didn’t they just say that a lot of people don’t come back for the parts they have ordered? So, why can’t you use those parts on my vehicle?”

The short answer is, we could but we don’t. The long answer is when we place an order for parts, that order is VIN specific and is still someone else’s parts order. If we used those parts on a different vehicle and that customer comes back the next day, we wouldn’t have their parts available for their repair. Also, the type of parts needed for the repair might be different from one VIN to the next. We’ve found that the best practice is to order each VIN its own parts package.


I didn’t get a letter in the mail. How do I know if my vehicle has a recall?

If you know your vehicle’s VIN, you can type it in to this form on our website. If you don’t have your VIN memorized, you can find it on your state vehicle registration, vehicle insurance, on the driver’s side dashboard at the bottom of the windshield. Your VIN is the unique identification for your vehicle and contains 17 alphanumeric characters Your VIN will not include the letter “i” or the letter “o”, but may include the number “1” or the number “0”.

The most important thing to remember is that recalls are safety issues that need immediate attention by a certified technician. Here at Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet, our Service Department runs a search on each vehicle VIN that comes through the service drive. Whether you just dropped in for a quick oil change or you need major transmission work, our Service Advisors will let you know if your vehicle needs any recall repairs.

We would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to all of our customers who have been affected by the recall process. It’s always a little nerve wracking when your vehicle needs work, especially repairs that you weren’t expecting. Thank you again for your continued patience while we work through this process together.

If you have any questions about the recall process or questions about your specific vehicle, please give our Service Department a call at (972) 223-7611. Our Service Advisors are standing by and will be happy to answer any questions that you might have. For more information about vehicle recalls and other safety information, please visit these websites.

3 Common Maintenance Mistakes

Our Certified Technicians  provide quality service at a reasonable price.
Our Certified Technicians provide quality service at a reasonable price.

Our vehicles do more for us than help run errands, move across the state, and shuttle the little league team to and from practices. They get us from point A to point B safely and don’t ask for too much in return. One thing your vehicle won’t directly ask you for, but still needs, is routine maintenance. Maintenance is an important piece of the vehicle ownership experience and should be taken seriously. Driver’s can lure themselves into a false sense of security when they make these simple maintenance mistakes. Don’t let your vehicle down! Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you!


  1. Skipping an Alignment

    Changing your tires is a great way to keep your vehicle running safely and efficiently, but if you skip the alignment process altogether it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. A while back we did a short post on why you need an alignment, but to sum it up, it protects your tires from wearing out unevenly.

  2. Avoiding an Oil Change

    Oil changes are an important part of vehicle maintenance and keep your engine running in top shape. You vehicle’s engine breaks down oil as it is circulated and eventually the oil will stop providing the right amount of lubrication for your engine, causing your engine to wear out faster. Even though oil technology has made several advances in recent years, it’s still a best practice to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular oil changes.

  3. Skimping on a Quality Battery

    Replacing a dead battery on your vehicle is the least fun part to shop for in the parts department, but it is an important piece of equipment. With many of the vehicle’s gadgets running off the battery, it’s more important than ever to be sure that your battery is up to the task. An inexpensive battery may seem like a quick and easy fix at the time, but it could end up leading to costly repairs to the electrical system down the road.

Our Service department would be happy to take care of any of these maintenance requests for you. We have Certified Technicians that love to provide quality service at a reasonable price. Take a look at our Service Specials and give us a call (972) 223-7611. Our ALL-PRO team is ready to serve you!

What Does This Light Mean?

One of the most popular phone calls that the service department handles usually references a light that has illuminated on the dashboard. Join us on Wednesdays as we cover the basic, and not so basic, lights on your dashboard, what they mean and what to do about them!

If you have been following us from the beginning, you know that we already covered the dreaded Tire Pressure light in this previous post, but stick around because today we are going to talk about the Brake System Warning Light.

Brake System Warning Light
Brake System Warning Light

The Brake System Warning Light looks like this image, an exclamation point inside of a circle with brackets around it. Like on the Tire Pressure light, the exclamation point is there to get your attention, so if you see this light, your brakes need your immediate attention.



Another type of Brake Warning Light
Another type of Brake Warning Light 




It can ALSO look like THIS image, an exclamation point inside of a circle with brackets around it AND the word BRAKE above or to the right of the symbol. Once again, this is meant to get your attention, please do not ignore these symbols.

That sounds a little dramatic, but your brakes aren’t a part of your vehicle that you want to ignore for too long! Our service manager, Nick Gajdica, explains:

“Most of the time people see this light and it ends up being a simple cause and an easy fix, like your vehicle is low on brake fluid. Sometimes though, customers will see this light and we find out that one of the hydraulic circuits has stopped working. Either way, seeing this light is definitely a reason to call your service advisor.”

This light can illuminate on your dashboard for a few reasons.

  • Your brake fluid is low and needs to be replenished. Your brake fluid is located in the master cylinder and is monitored by a sensor, when the brake fluid drops below an acceptable level, it will trigger the Brake Warning System Light.
  • The parking brake is on and needs to be released. If you have already disabled the parking brake, and you are STILL seeing the light and hear a chime, you have a deeper brake problem that should be looked over at your local certified service department.
  • One of the brake circuits has stopped working properly.Your vehicle’s brake system has two hydraulic circuits and for normal braking operation, both circuits need to be in working order. However, if one circuit were to suddenly STOP working, the remaining circuit would still work to stop the vehicle.

The owner’s manual, from a Chevy Silverado, suggests the following:

“Warning: The brake system might not be working properly if the brake system warning light is on. Driving with the brake system warning light can lead to a crash. If the light is still on after the vehicle has been pulled off the road and carefully stopped, have the vehicle towed for service.”

 Like we said, brake problems are no joke and can lead to serious injury if not taken care of right away. If you or someone you love is experiencing problems with their brakes, no matter what make or model, please give them the number to our Certified Service Department here at Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet. The direct line to our Service Department is (805) 807-8752.