Every year, car manufacturers recall around a million vehicles for safety checks or repairs, under the vehicle safety recall scheme. One in 13 cars on UK roads right now has had a safety recall issued but has not had the issue resolved.
In an interview with motoring magazine Auto Express, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) who, together with car manufacturers and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) oversee the recall scheme on behalf of the government, said they now want the MOT test to include a check for recalls, to encourage owners to act on recall notices sent out by manufacturers and make sure that owners are not driving vehicles with dangerous issues they don’t know about, unaware.
There were significant changes made to the MOT last year; with stricter emissions checks and new defect categories. Over one million UK cars have failed the revised MOT test because of a fault that categorised as ‘dangerous’ under the new rules introduced in May 2018. These more rigorous assessments judge these vehicles to pose an ‘immediate risk to road safety and/or a serious impact on the environment’. With around 2.39 million cars with outstanding safety recalls in the UK, this latest change could mean even more vehicles failing.
Safety recalls most often involve issues with airbags, brakes, fuel, steering, seatbelts, or an issue which causes the risk of fire. These defects are difficult to find during routine maintenance and can—as defined by the DVSA—involve ‘sudden and catastrophic failure’, with little or no warning to enable the driver to take preventative action.
Many drivers are unaware their car is subject to an outstanding safety recall because the manufacturer wasn’t able to contact them because of a change of registered keeper or because of a non-notification of a change of address. Locating the owners of second-hand vehicles is more difficult because it‘s almost impossible for car manufacturers to find the owners who use independent businesses for the servicing and maintenance of their cars instead of using franchised garages.
By law, dealers must check for outstanding recalls before the car leaves the forecourt, but, because no law exists to force owners to fix dangerous faults, if you buy from a private seller, it’s possible the owner ignored a past recall.
Ironing out the details
When interviewed by Auto Express, Neil Barlow, Head of MOT Policy and the MOT Service Manager at DVSA said the DVSA will work with the Department for Transport to decide how they can adjust the MOT system to cover outstanding future safety recalls.
“It would make logical sense where appropriate for the MOT to be aligned with the safety recalls system,” Mr Barlow said, adding, “work will need to take place to minimise the time between the repair being carried out and a database being updated.”
So, should drivers have concerns over facing possible instant MOT failures? Mr Barlow said owners needed ‘reasonable time’ to get any recall issues fixed and that the DVSA “has to also ensure that motorists have fair warning of newly added recalls,”, and that manufacturers ‘harmonise’ the way they record safety recalls “so that all vehicle types are covered”.
Auto Express also spoke to President of the AA, Edmund King who expressed:
“Generally, the recall system in the UK works quite well.”
“The MOT system should be used to flag up to owners recalls that haven’t been acted on, as advisory notifications,” he said and added that safety recalls “should only lead to an automatic fail if the recall fault is a major safety risk or has already been flagged up at a previous MOT.”
In Germany, recall checks are already part of their equivalent of the roadworthiness assessment and the car only fails the check if the registered keeper has not acted on the recall issue by the time the garage retests the vehicle.
How safe is your car?
If your car’s manufacturer recalls your vehicle for a safety reason, the manufacturer will send you a letter telling you why it’s being recalled and what you need to do next. You shouldn’t have to pay for any repairs or parts.
If you find a serious defect that affects the safety of your vehicle, one of its parts, or an accessory, report it straight away. You must give details of what happened and provide the vehicle registration; the make, model, and year of the vehicle; the current mileage, if the car has a manual or automatic gearbox, and whether engine uses petrol or diesel. Include any photos you have of the defect.
By law, you‘re responsible for making sure you keep your vehicle in a safe condition. If you don‘t get your vehicle inspected and fixed, you not only put yourself and others at serious risk, but you may invalidate any insurance claim you make. For driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition you could get a fine of up to £2,500, three points on your licence, or receive a driving ban.
In February 2018 the DVSA launched a vehicle recall checker where you can check to see if your car needs to go back to the manufacturer to resolve any issue. You only need to know the vehicle’s registration number.
Have you ever received a safety recall notice for your vehicle? Are you in favour of the proposed changes to the MOT? Let us know your views in the comments.
My VW EOS has a safety recall on it, starter motor solenoid. My car is FIX FREE, but if it goes into a VW dealer for the safety recall, what are the chances of them doing the emissions fix? So I took my car to a VW/Audi specialist and he said, just switch off the stop/start and the fire risk will be eliminated. As thousands of VAG owners know, fix done, car ruined!
As I don’t own a VW I don’t understand this.
Iain, The answer is simple, don’t buy a VAG diesel s/h, 09 -15.
Don’t buy VAG at all, unreliable bags of s**t
They are all the same now, living on past reputation most are, all use cheap as possible parts made in cheap factories and quite possibly used across many different brands, in the old day VW parts where stamped VWG on the parts almost all now aren’t VWG is on the box or bag now so clearly coming from a “general” factory which produces parts for many brands.
Bit like the Tiny computers if you remember them, Expensive outside S#*t inside, just like most modern day cars.
Well we had a recall for our Honda CRV 2011. After the second letter and having contacted the main dealer 3 times they stated the parts were unavailable due to the worldwide demand for the airbag moduel causing the airbag to go off at random. Not happy driving a vehicle knowing this and that my insurance could be void or being fined or sent to prison. It had 2 sevices and mots at the garage.
“In February 2018 the DVSA launched a vehicle recall checker where you can check to see if your car needs to go back to the manufacturer to resolve any issue. You only need to know the vehicle’s registration number.”
This is pretty good.
My 08 CRV was recalled in a letter dated 31st May 2016 for the drivers airbag inflator may be over pressurised. A further letter was received dated 15th August 2016 stating the passengers airbag inflator may also have a similar problem. I phoned Honda customer relations and was informed that there had been 60 incidents——but none in Europe. The problem was caused by “high humidity” and had affected vehicles in USA and Malaysia. In the UK 200,000 vehicles were affected. November 2016 letter stated the issue was that in some vehicles the driver and passenger air bag inflator could produce excessive internal pressure if the air bag deploys in an impact. The increased pressure may cause the inflator to rupture possibly causing an injury to vehicle occupants. No action was to be taken by vehicle owner in response to this letter as Honda was in the process of acquiring sufficient volumes of replacement parts to ensure they could replace the airbag inflator on all affected vehicles as quickly as possible. I had to wait until May 2017 for the next communication which stated that in the event of an impact the inflator part of the air bag may ignite, in such a manner , that it creates excessive internal pressure. As a result the metal inflator casing may rupture causing fragments to be propelled into the vehicle compartment. This may result in serious injury to vehicle occupants. Finally replaced 26th June 2017 well over a year later. Poor performance HONDA. Lets hope the DVLA/MOT departments have the power to influence speedier repairs. You wouldn’t expect a safety feature of modern vehicles would cause injury.
I followed the DVSA vehicle recall checker link in the article and find I have an outstanding recall according to DVSA. I have only had one recall from Honda; the Honda CR-V Air Bag problem. I had the problem rectified in April 2017!! Went on Honda website and find that there are no outstanding recalls. Either Honda have not told DVSA or DVSA have not updated their records. I have contacted DVSA for their comments.
Recommend that you check yours!
This, spookily, developed since my original post. The day after I posted the above, yes, the day after, I received a letter from Honda saying that there is a recall for airbag problems on Honda CR-Vs. This was for the passenger airbag and I think that the previous one was the driver’s airbag. The Honda website still says there are no outstanding recalls in my car.
I contacted Honda who conform that is a new issue and the reason that it is not on their website yet is because it was a preliminary letter and the recall does not go live until 30th January. Of course this raises the issue that does the DVSA website already show a recall for this new problem or have they not cleared the previous, rectified, problem. If it is the new problem why has DVSA flagged it and Honda don’t yet? I have asked Honda for an explanation.
Honda got back to me and said that as it was only a preliminary advice and the recall does not go live until 31st January the DVSA should not have been advised at this stage and they have reversed the recall on the DVSA website. I have checked and the DVSA now show I have no recalls outstanding.
A great initiative. I’ve previously had a vehicle recall to resolve a potential spontaneous fire risk. At the time I had a young family. What better reason for a ‘mop up’ system integrated into the MOT process.
Adding this to the MOT test seems like a good idea – but should only be a fail for serious problems.
It seems like the maker should do their recall as normal, then for non responders, would it not make sense for the DVLA to be involved in helping find out the current status and where-abouts of the ‘missing’ vehicles?
I am sure the DVLA would be delighted in having another income revenue. They should have the BEST database of all vehicles and owner details, all in one place.
Making it a part of the MOT would not find any cars stored ‘off road’ or scrapped.
You check a cars M O T history on the DVLA en site as well as if taxed and has a current M O T
Being able to check if a vehicle has been recalled for a problem by the manufacturer is great. But at the end of the day, the MoT test is still open the examiners interpretation of the checklist for the various categories checked when the MoT is carried out. One tester can deem something that results in a failure, while another tester does not .
There is too much emphasis on gaining an MOT certificate these days as proof of a car’s safety. And too little on drivers being responsible for their own daily safety checks themselves. That is the law!
The MOT certificate even states it only indicates a vehicles condition AT THE TIME OF THE TEST. I know of someone who ‘kerbed’ a tyre as they were leaving the MOT test station with an MOT certificate valid for one year on the seat beside them. Of course, his vehicle was actually very dangerous from the moment it left the test station.
I would also like a campaign to stop insurance companies insisting their insurance is only valid if the vehicle has a valid MOT certificate. Of course, that is the law (just as having a valid road fund licence is) but it should be irrelevant to an insurance company. What is VERY important to an insurance company is that the driver knows his vehicle is in a safe, roadworthy condition EVERY DAY. And we know that a valid MOT certificate is irrelevant in this respect.
Sorry to disagree slightly, but we aren’t all mot inspectors
Agree totally, we get customers coming in with absolutely no idea about thier cars, and some of them can not even put air in tyres so how would that person know the roadworthy condition of their car.
How many times do you look at your tyres visually check to see if they are flat and tread depth but what about the inside sidewall would you lie on your back every morning to check each tyre? frayed H/Brake cables again would you be crawling under the car to check them everyday.
Sadly most people these days do not even know where to top up their oil.
No gloves tut tut
especially latex ones……. oh so not health & safety these days.
Toughening the mot. Don’t make me laugh. Only last year, this stupid government allowed classic cars over a certain age to be mot exempt, even though something like 80% of classic car enthusiasts were against it.
Every year they will get tougher as they are going to want all the petrol/diesel cars off the road by 2040 which is a mere 21 years away so it makes sense to add recall to MOT’s, when you think about the older your car gets the less chance it will ever see its own dealership again so the recalls will build up, you will then end up having to take it, its not the recalls but more the pressure of the added on work they will want to do to it, so you would actually want to get rid.
Look at it from another perspective, local to any of you how many used car lots do you have in your area, look at the cars on the pitch and how many there are, some how the government has to get us into buying them, but they have already sacked the diesel market you can now buy a very good spec diesel for a very good price but they need us out of our older cars, toughen up MOT and that will do nicely, come 2040 the government are not going to be responsible for car lots going bust and people losing lively hoods, houses assets etc and they are certainly not going to buy up the petrol/diesel stock left over on these pitches, personally I think we have about 10 years before they really turn the screws on us to move us out of combustion and into electric and I think you will then see some real changes to MOTs.
Most of us will not step out of our petrol/diesel cars with ease, they will need to force us. recall on MOTs is a good way to tighten the noose on combustion engines starting from the oldest and then just working up.
I hate to think what that guy with the clean hands (but a dirty face!) is doing to the brake backplate with that large ring-spanner…
adjusting the dubre firkin valve, that activates the foo foo valve that makes the world go around, its a big nut.
Sounds like a good idea.
I see they’ve now brought the engine management light into it, what rubbish so this means a car with the management light on is not roadworthy?
This is the government’s way of try to get older cars scrapped so we can all get in debt by borrowing thousands of pounds to buy a new car, aren’t we hit in the pocket enough..
I have received letter regarding a recall and I contacted the local garage as per suggested in letter but upon contacting the garage They were totally unreasonable regarding day and time period to rectify the recalled fault, recall letter states 1 hours work whilst local recommended garage states a whole day which would put me needing a round trip of 20 miles by taxi.
I agree with Edmund King to a degree. Some recalls are more serious than others. It is true to say that if the recall concerns fuel systems, brakes, controls and electrical systems, then it is in the owners interest because these are potential safety issues. However, I refused a software update recall on my VW because it wasn’t beneficial to the vehicle, in fact it was quite the opposite. Recalls are important in the main, but my recall was more of a political exercise to keep people happy.
Adding missed recalls as an “advisory” to an MOT seems like a good idea to me
This is a good idea,however should the dvla not inform drivers when the v5 is updated?
To Ian Buckley the VAG nox emissions campaign is not a safety recall and is not obligatory here in the UK. like other EU countries. A VW retailer will not carry out the fix without your authorisation The only reason drivers were wrote to was so customers who wanted the fix were official notified and so drivers did not feel left out compared to other countries around the world so your rationale is totally not valid