Silent Recalls

Physician's Money Digest, September30 2003, Volume 10, Issue 18

By law, if a defect in your car is safety-related, the automaker must tell youabout the problem and fix it free ofcharge. Ditto for defects that are relatedto emissions. Any problems not relatedto safety or emissions fall into agray area, often called "silent recalls."For most of these cases, automakersissue a temporary services bulletin(TSB) to dealers. The TSB may includean authorization for the dealer to fix theglitch for free or at a reduced cost, butonly if the customer asks. Getting alook at TSBs is virtually impossible fora layperson, so your best defense is agood relationship with your dealer'sservice department, which will oftengive preferred customers a heads-up onsilent recalls.