Auto Recalls Keeping Dealers Busy

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By Stephanie Tyrpak
By Benjy Jeffords

MASSAC CO. -- Car dealer repair shops are keeping busy as mechanics deal with a spate of recalls.

Automakers have been issuing recalls on a regular basis in recent months. It's putting 2014 on pace to be a near-record year and puts pressure on dealers to fix the problems.
 
The service department at Frank Farmer Chevrolet in Metropolis is bustling this spring. They're working on normal repairs and a good number of recalls.
 
"Recalls are ongoing," said Dealer Principal John Stanton. "We're always having recalls, but we're having more than usual right now."
 
A projected 55 million cars and truck could be targeted for recall this year. It also impacts a lot of manufacturers. GM, Ford, Toyota, and many others are looking to fix a wide variety of problems.
 
Stanton says the most common issue lately has been changing out an ignition switch. The fix takes about an hour.
 
"Virtually it's the same switch," said Stanton. "Just the new one has more torque to it."
 
Dealers are paid by the automakers for any work on recalls, so it's a Frank Farmer Chevrolet is more than willing to take.
 
"It's basically good business for us and safety precautions for our customers," said Stanton. 
 
More than 2.5 million GM vehicles have been recalled nationwide because of the switch problem. So far, only 45,000 have been repaired.
 
"Part of the problem with some of the recalls is we don't have replacement parts yet," said Stanton. "So we do have a waiting list of people to get the recalls done."
     
The company plans to have all the switches out by October. Frank Farmer has been putting them in for customers as soon as those parts arrive.
 
"Most of them just call on the phone," said Stanton. "Just say you know what's the concern, what do I need to do? We haven't had anybody that's been alarmed."
 
Even with an above-average recall year, Stanton and major manufacturers haven't seen much impact on sales.
 
"General Motors sales were up 13% last month," said Stanton. "That's the best month they've had since August of 2008."
 
Stanton also attributes the increase in recalls at GM to their new CEO this year. He believes she's been pushing for them to be more proactive.
 
Most will be notified of a recall by mail. However, that can take a little while to arrive.
 
You can also check the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration database here.
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