What to Do If the Vehicle You’re Leasing Is Recalled

Massive automotive recalls have become very newsworthy in recent years, particularly the scary case involving faulty airbags manufactured by Japanese auto parts giant Takata, which affected millions of Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, and Chrysler vehicles. It should be noted that Takata went through a similar situation in 1995, when it was determined that more than eight million cars in North America had to be recalled after drivers and passengers were unable to unbuckle their seat belts.

Massive recalls don’t just affect drivers who own their vehicles. A recall can also affect you if you lease a car. Orange County lessees need to know what to expect if their leased vehicle is recalled.

Pay Attention to the Lease Agreement

The prospect of a major safety recall should prompt drivers to carefully review their lease contracts. While automakers are required to provide safe vehicles, it is important to determine how the lease agreement will handle recall situations. In the case involving Takata airbags, Honda decided to provide drivers with rental vehicles until their cars could be serviced, and this was a decision made in the middle of a class-action lawsuit against the automaker. Some drivers of Volkswagen leased models were initially told they could either park their cars or turn them in before the term of their contracts, which would have come at a financial loss. Breaking the lease may be an option when the contract stipulates that the leasing company must provide a safe vehicle at all times.

Identify the Owner of the Vehicle

Dealerships do not usually own the cars they lease. In many cases, the automakers decide how many models they will make available for leasing, which means they retain ownership of the vehicle. In other cases, a financing entity affiliated with the automaker is the actual owner of the vehicle. Determination of ownership is important because communication of recall notices is initially made to the manufacturer for further dissemination to drivers.

Follow Safety Recall Instructions

Whenever a recall notice deals with the safety of drivers and passengers, automakers are responsible for managing the resolution process. This is when the business relationships between manufacturers, leasing companies, and dealers pay off. The cost of making repairs to resolve safety recalls will ultimately be absorbed by manufacturers. However, drivers are responsible for following instructions and taking their vehicles to designated shops.

Take Insurance into Consideration

In some safety recall situations, auto insurance companies become involved. For this reason, drivers should pay close attention to any communications from their insurers regarding their vehicles. Even though it is always imperative for drivers to keep their policies in effect, this is even more important when a car is under safety recall notice. If the recall is related to technical or mechanical issues that result in the car malfunctioning, a comprehensive policy may allow drivers to leave their cars in the shop and get a free rental from the insurance company.

If you’re interested in leasing a vehicle, make sure you connect with a trusted auto broker. Orange Countyresidents can rely on Below Invoice to find the perfect luxury vehicle to lease. Call 949-630-0303 to schedule an appointment.

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