SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A record-breaking number of car recalls, not enough parts, and concerns there are not enough mechanics to carry out the repairs right away. Some of these recall issues have killed people.
Every time Laura Byers backs out of her driveway she’s afraid, she’s putting her life at risk.
“I have the stress of wondering if somebody’s going to hit me and blow this airbag in my face,” said Laura.
Laura says the dealership told her it does not have the parts to replace her Takata airbag in her Mazda R-X 8.
MaryJane Beronilla is also waiting for parts for her Ford Fiesta.
“They can’t give me a date,” said MaryJane.
Her Fiesta was recalled over a latch issue that could cause the door to fly open while driving full speed down the road.
“I feel unsafe and dangerous, but what can I do. I need my car to get around,” she said.
2014 was a record-breaking year for recalls, 64 million vehicles in the U.S. alone with safety defects, some with potential to kill. Moreover, each one of those 64 million vehicles needs to funnel their way through 16-thousand dealerships nationwide for repairs.
Consumer advocate Rosemary Shahan says sure, there are backordered parts but says even when parts are available there are not enough people to make the repairs.
“This is a huge problem for consumers, who can’t get their cars fixed,” she said.
Rosemary is afraid of seeing more news stories related to recalls, like the death of 25-year old Brittany Alfaron from New York. Brittany’s family believes she only died because she could not get in for a repair on her Chevy Cobalt, recalled over a defective ignition switch.
Rosemary says car manufacturers are not doing enough to avoid these types of tragedies.
“Either fix the car, provide a loaner or buy the car back,” and says “I wouldn’t take no for an answer,” said Rosemary.
People often confuse manufacturers and dealerships, thinking they are the same. Representing California car dealers Monica Baumann agrees manufacturers who cannot supply parts to fix your recall should supply you a loaner car.
“It’s very frustrating for consumers, and quite frankly frustrating for dealers,” said Monica.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledges parts supply and the availability of repair technicians are both factors in delayed recall repairs.
However, car dealerships nationally say they are not aware of any credible suggestion that there is a shortage of service technicians or available appointments.
We reached out to manufacturers asking what consumers should do if they feel unsafe and cannot get a recall repair right away.
The Auto Alliance which represents 12-manufacturers’ answered, “He or she should request a loaner from the dealer, who will work with the manufacturer.” “Loaners are given on a case by case basis.”
Drivers hope their recall repairs or loaner cars come before they experience the issue that had their vehicles recalled in the first place.
“I’m just taking chances,” said MaryJane.
“I feel like they’re kind of playing chicken, what’s going to come first the fix or the crash,” said Laura.
According to the federal government, 70 percent of recalls usually get fixed within 18 months.
One problem dealerships point out is there are more and more recalls happening with no fix in place or parts at the time of the recall.
However, the feds say manufacturers must make repairs within a reasonable time frame.
If you have a recall that is not repaired in a reasonable amount of time, complain through safercar.gov.