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Valley driver learns car doesn't qualify for free recall fix

Ford Recall
Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 06, 2022

If your vehicle has a recall for a safety issue and it's no more than 15 years old, dealers are supposed to fix it free of charge.

That's according to federal law.

When Ryan Wade's 2012 Ford Fusion started having power steering problems, he searched online.

Ryan found there were two recalls, one for power steering and one for an airbag inflator, so he took his car to a dealership.

The airbag inflator was fixed, no problem, but when it came to the power steering, Ryan was told, "they would not do the power steering because it had exceeded the time that you could get it done."

Ryan said the dealership tried several times to get a free fix approved through Ford, but when it didn't go through, Ryan said he was quoted more than $2,000 for the repair.

Ryan's vehicle was less than 15 years old, so he didn't expect he'd need to pay.

The Let Joe Know Team reached out to the dealership and was told in an email "all special coverages have to go to Ford through their special coverages/approval process."

We contacted Ford directly about why Ryan's car needed special coverage.

A spokesperson wrote, "recall service completed by the previous owner."

Unbeknownst to Ryan, before he owned the vehicle, a dealership had reprogrammed the power steering.

Ford let us know, that the extended warranty for Ryan's vehicle which allowed for a one-time replacement of the steering gear had expired.

So, even though the diagnostic run for Ryan's current problem shows recall codes, he'll have to pay out of pocket.

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration suggests searching your vehicle's VIN number twice a year.

That way, you may learn of a recall before you've experienced issues.

The NHSTA has a search tool right on its website for drivers.

"They can see whether or not their vehicles are actually under recall, and what the status of that recall is, sometimes it will come up and say, recall issued part not available. And other times they might say that it's not there, then the remedy has been already done," said Stephen Ridella, Director of the Office of Defects Investigation.

Ridella says recall completion rates are typically in the 60 - 70% range.

The agency is looking at better ways to connect with drivers to help raise recall completions.

If you have a recall question or issue, the NHSTA's Vehicle Safety Hotline can be reached at 888-327-4236.