While there ARE some similarities between a technical service bulletin (TSB) and a recall, these are two different things actually. Nearly every single day, you can find news about some manufacturer conducting a safety recall of a specific model. Sometimes, the fixes are easy, while other times they take time. The reason behind this is that manufacturers often have to find adequate replacement materials to fix the problems.
It is hard to track vehicle defects instantly since, usually, they appear long after the purchase. Some really serious problems that a vehicle can ever have might include defective airbags or tires, or problematic ignition switches. Such defects might result in fatalities, and you might have already read or heard about them. If similar defects are present, the manufacturers announce safety recalls to fix the problematic vehicles. These fixes are nearly always free of charge to the owners.
As a matter of fact, the government imposes these recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandates the manufacturers to conduct a recall every time they find a defect. The problems that affect the safety of a vehicle become a subject of a recall.
However, a question arises regarding the level of seriousness of some vehicle problems. People sometimes confuse a safety-related problem with a widespread problem. Well, the truth is that not all widespread problems are safety-related. For example, paint might peel off in several vehicles. It is a problem, yet it does not have anything to do with the passengers’ or the driver’s safety. The so-called Technical Service Bulletin can help resolve minor problems like this. Such problems are also considered to be defects, but they do not make a car unsafe to drive. One more thing about such issues is that they usually occur after the manufacturer warranty expires. Thus, vehicle owners have to pay for the fixes since the manufacturers do not have any obligation to repair anything.
What you can do with the help of the NHTSA
Now, you know the difference between a Technical Service Bulletin and a safety recall. In addition, you to learn more about your vehicle, you can visit the NHTSA’s website to see if there are any recalls or TSBs for your vehicle. You just need to submit the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to get the results. Also, the good news is that you will not have to pay anything to look up information about your vehicle in the NHTSA’s database.