Recalled cars can stay on the road for years

WASHINGTON – In the past month, more than one million cars in the United States have been recalled for various safety defects. Friday, General Motors recalled more than 200,000 Saturn SUVs. Saturday, Volkswagen announced a recall of more than 150,000 Tiguans.

But cars that have been recalled can remain on the road for years – and even continue rolling off the assembly line – due in part to limits on the power of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While the NHTSA can initiate an auto recall, automakers can challenge the recall in court – and that can delay action. While there are deadlines by which carmakers have to announce a recall, there isn’t necessary a deadline by which repairs must be made, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal looked at more than 200 recalls from the 10 largest auto makers in the United States, and found it took at least a year to “investigate, recall and start fixing the vehicles in 37 percent of NHTSA investigations,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Once a recall is announced, there is a number of reasons for slow repairs, according to the Journal. Those reasons may include manufacturing, organizing and distributing parts, training repair technicians and scheduling repairs with consumers. Even then, not all cars may get repaired, as it is up to the consumer to bring their car in for those repairs.

You can look up automotive and other recalls at, a website with recall data from the NHTSA, FDA, USDA, EPA and several other federal agencies.

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