Understanding the Difference Between Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins


Sometimes certain automobiles manufacturers launch vehicles with certain defects, which become apparent over a period of time. While sometimes the fixes are easy, there are times when the problem is not easy to fix and may risk the safety of the driver and passengers. An automobile manufacturer either recalls the vehicle or sends across a technical service bulletin (TSB), depending on the problem and its fix. When purchasing a used car, it is important to be aware of performed car recalls to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive and is value for money. Continuing the discussion, the post highlights the difference between recalls and technical service bulletins, which in turn will help you make an informed purchasing decision when buying a used car.

Mandatory and Voluntary Recalls

Mandatory recall takes place when there are safety related defects as determined by the (NHTSA) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Whereas, voluntary recalls are issued by the manufacturer voluntarily for defects that could pose the risk of safety. Repairs made under these recalls are paid by the manufacturer. When purchasing a used vehicle, it is recommended to look up VIN number to ensure whether or not the defects have been repaired in the past 10-15 years. Irrespective of the number of owners of a particular vehicle, the repair under recalls can be made, irrespective of the car’s warrant status.

Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)

TSB is issued by the manufacturers when there is a problem found in a number of cars but doesn’t have a fixed solution. Through TSB manufacturer notifies the authorized dealers and mechanics about diagnostic procedures changes, modified or improved parts among other automobile updates. The major difference between a recall and a TSB is that recalls regarding safety issues are made on the behest of the NHTSA and the repair work is done for free. When a manufacturer issues a TSB, dealers are under no obligation to perform the repair and also the repairs are not paid for by the manufacturer. TSB, however, saves mechanic’s troubleshooting time, and help standardize the repair process of the vehicle.

The Way Forward

When purchasing a used car or a salvage one, it is advisable to run a vehicle recall search by using a VIN lookup in order to ensure whether there are any outstanding recalls. In addition, you can also find out if a vehicle has any liens or outstanding fines with a license plate search. It can help you avoid potential legal troubles down the road. If the car is acting up after purchasing, you can look up for the TSBs. TSB also helps in identifying the problems similar cars have had in the past, which you should keep in mind when going for a test drive. To find a current, exact, and fast history of the vehicle you are about to purchase, click here. For any further questions, feel free to call at +1 (844) 268 – 5991.

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