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.