While vehicle recalls are relatively common, it seems as though there has been an abundance of them within the past few months. From Honda to Ford to Toyota, owners have received notice from the respective automaker about some type of problem. Although a lot of the issues are insignificant, others pose a major risk to human life.

If you have received a letter in the mail from your vehicle’s maker advising of a recall, it is important to follow the instructions provided carefully. Keep in mind that some manufacturers release recall information via the news or on their website. For optimum safety and performance, it never hurts to research potential recalls on your vehicle every two to three months.

For your convenience, you can also visit the safercar.gov website or download the app on a mobile device to receive email notifications from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration about recalls on your specific vehicle. That way, you will never miss something as important as this.

The good news is that you have up to 10 years to have repairs associated with a recall made at no charge. The manufacturer bases that timeframe on the original date of purchase. One important note, if you receive information about a recall on tires, you only have 60 days to have the work completed.

Depending on the type of recall, you should not wait months or years to have a licensed technician make the repair. For example, both Lexus and Toyota recently recalled several models due to a potential risk of a faulty airbag exploding. In another case, a safety group is urging both Kia and Hyundai to recall almost three million vehicles over the risk of them catching fire. In those instances, you need to schedule an appointment with a dealership or service center immediately.

The discovery of problems comes from two primary sources. Either the manufacturer identifies an issue or consumers notify the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. If you find a safety-related problem or defect, it is both your right and responsibility to report it to the appropriate authorities. Not only does that keep you and your passengers safe, but other people driving the same vehicle as well.

If you find out about a recall and after taking your vehicle in for repair, the company tries to charge you, or if you have trouble finding a service center with the correct part, you should never just sit around and wait. Under the current law, any reputable mechanic shop must fix the problem free and within a reasonable amount of time. That company then receives reimbursement from the manufacturer as opposed to the vehicle owner.

If you run into a problem in having a recall fixed, you can always speak with an attorney. For this, make sure you select someone with experience and expertise in this area of the law. As a consumer, you have rights. There is no reason for you to struggle in having a recall problem taken care of by a trusted source. For any questions or issues, the best thing to do is seek legal advice.