Motorcheck.ie Director and co-founder, Shane Teskey today called for a change to the way vehicles are "recalled" for urgent repairs by their manufacturer.
Motorcheck.ie has identified gaps in the current methodology which could lead to thousands of cars operating on Irish roads without notification of urgent repairs called for by the manufacturer.
Mr. Teskey has called for the establishment of one central database where each manufacturer would record details of past, current and future recall campaigns. A similar system operated by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency in the UK (VOSA) carries details in excess of 5 thousand separate recalls, many of which could have been relevant for Irish drivers.
"The present system which relies mostly on written correspondence from the manufacturer to the registered owner is flawed and liable to leave thousands of affected car owners uninformed about the urgent repairs required" he said.
European legislation requires that vehicle recalls are administered by the most competent authority in the state. In Ireland this duty falls to the Department of Transport that manages the National Vehicle and Driver File.
When a ‘Recall Campaign’ is deemed necessary, the Department provides the manufacturer with the recorded names and addresses for the present registered owners who are subsequently informed by writing of the remedial action required.
There are many reasons why this important information may never reach the current keeper.
- The owners current address may be different to that recorded on the government database
- The registered owner may not be the actual user of the car
- Title to the vehicle may have recently changed hands and the change of ownership not yet been processed
- The vehicle may have been privately imported and subsequently overlooked by the local distributor carrying out the recall
Usually, details of a recall campaign are communicated in writing to the registered owner and direct to the local franchised dealer tasked with carrying out the repair on behalf of the manufacturer. This way, important repairs are often carried out along with the normal servicing. However, In the current economic climate many consumers choose to have their cars serviced by non-franchise operators who may not have access to the manufacturers diagnostic equipment or internal communications. If the mechanic working on the vehicle doesn’t have the information, the repair could go undetected and cause serious trouble further down the line.
"The recent publicity surrounding recalls currently in operation with Toyota, Honda and Peugeot have drawn attention to a problematic area that requires immediate attention" says Teskey. "At Motorcheck we take matters of road safety and vehicle maintenance very seriously. Rather than wait for government to draft legislation on this we have decided to release our own National Recall Database. Adopting 'best practice' from the UK it will be hosted online at www.motorcheck.ie/blog/recalls and be completely free to use for both industry operators and concerned members of the public".