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SA car recalls: 4 reasons why there are so many unsafe vehicles on our roads

2016-08-18 13:36

SAVING 'PRIVATE' CAR: The Motor Industry Workshop Association says supplying aftermarket mechanics with the correct parts/components and information will mitigate vehicle recalls. Image: AFP / Atta Kenare

Johannesburg - The number of vehicle recalls over the last decade has increased significantly.

Unfortunately, the number of vehicle owners bringing in their vehicles for the necessary repairs is nowhere near where it should be for the number of recalls, says Vishal Premlall, director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA).

Premlall said: "This means that there are potentially millions of dangerous vehicles on our roads."

Over the last few years several leading car brands have announced local or global recalls for critical aspects such as airbags, brakes, steering wheels, emissions and more. So why the shortfall on vehicle recall repairs?

Premlall says this can be attributed to several reasons some of which include dealerships not being able to track down drivers; parts in short supply; repairs restricted to dealers only and so on.

Premlall adds: "As it stands, customers out of warranty that don’t go back to dealerships, have no idea when a product recall takes place.”

1. Lack of communication

He points out however that the aftermarket workshop industry deals with many of these out of warranty vehicles and therefore could assist with reaching as many affected cars as possible.

READ: AA: 'Road safety is literally in your hands'

He adds: “The reality of the situation is that the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) do not make recall information available to the aftermarket workshops. The fact that customers don’t go back to franchised dealers after warranty does not mean that the responsibility for the product recall is rendered ineffective.” 

2. Right to repair

The Right to Repair Campaign is advocating that this information as well as the information needed to repair the vehicle is made available.

READ: Do you trust your mechanic in SA? More than 5000 say 'NO'

Premlall says: “Aftermarket workshops have the capabilities to service as wide a customer network as possible to ensure that affected cars are rectified to the exacting standard as envisaged in the product recall.”

Image: iStock

3. Parts and components

Referring to defective components and replacement parts, Premlall points out that a product recall is often triggered as a result of a defective component fitted by the OEM, often relating to poor procurement.

Premlall notes: “This means that a new component provider will need to be sourced which puts customers at a disadvantage as they have to wait for the part to be provided to the franchise dealer before it can be fitted. This wait is often a deterrent and a reason why many drivers just don’t get the problem fixed.

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"Once again this decision compromises the safety of the vehicle and other drivers on our roads. It appears that in many of the recall cases in South Africa and globally cost of parts has won in the quality versus cost debate.”  

“Consumers need to realise that parts issues are not isolated to used cars. There is also no truth in the generalisation that the aftermarket uses sub-standard parts. Recalls show that even new cars can be fitted with defective components.” 

4. The aftermarket issue

Premlall strongly believes that the answer to safer roads and more effective recalls lies in opening up the access to information to the aftermarket. 

He says: “We all want safer roads. Making all vehicles roadworthy needs to be the goal of all industry players. This can only be achieved if all players are given a fair and equal chance to service vehicles."

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