Total Recall: in terms of movies, one of Arnie’s best, but in terms of cars, something of an obsession in the non-motoring media.
To the outside world, a mass recall looks like the end of days for the manufacturer concerned when, in reality, the company is just doing its job, with a bit of proactive PR thrown in. I’m not fazed by recalls and even owned a car that was a decade old when it was recalled (it was a Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk2). I had to take it back to the VW dealer. No drama at all.
However, if you believe the newspapers, it has been a car-recall-maggedon, yet my recall encounter, a lifetime ago, is my only one. I’ve bought loads and loads of cars since, and none has exploded because I didn’t take it back to a main dealer for a ‘fix’. It’s simply because I wasn’t told to.
It has always been enough to go to the VOSA website (now gov.uk — enter ‘car recalls’ in the search box) and call up the recall history on your car. I give it a cursory glance sometimes but don’t get that stressed by a recall notice.
However, the whole recall thing has been made a tad easier now that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and Motor Codes have launched a new consumer-facing web portal (go to motorcodes.co.uk) that enables motorists to check if their vehicle is on a safety recall list. Not only that, but customers will also be directed to their nearest dealer, so that any necessary remedial work can be done.
The idea is that it’s a one-stop shop for car owners and buyers of used cars who want to check if the vehicle in question is subject to an outstanding safety recall that they, or a previous owner, may have missed.
That’s all good news, then, and just another thing we drivers can now check on our cars without leaving our homes or, at least, from the comfort of our smartphones. For example, the new service’s Vehicle Safety Recall search tool locks onto a car using its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), so you can also carry out a data check and look up the car’s MOT test history, too.
But back to recalls. The question is, does a poor recall record affect a used car’s prospects? I don’t think so. The all- new BMW Mini had a fair few recalls but they haven’t done the brand any harm. Then there are the Toyota and Nissan recalls, and they haven’t put off buyers.
For research purposes, I popped onto the Motor Codes website. It was easy enough to navigate, but none of my cars was listed. However, Volkswagens were, so I entered my daughter’s car’s VIN, but that drew a blank. To be honest, it was all a bit of an anti-climax.