Difference Between a TSB and a Recall

What’s the Difference Between a TSB and a Recall?

Do you know Difference Between a TSB and a Recall and that when you take your automobile into a service center for routine maintenance or repairs, the technician that’s working on your car will typically look to see if there are any recalls or technical service bulletins (TSB) that are currently in effect for your specific make and model. While manufacturers and dealerships communicate this information to drivers as best they can, you may have missed something when it was first released. It’s important that you’re aware there’s a problem, and it should be fixed as soon as possible.

While they sound similar, there are a number of differences between recalls and technical service bulletins. It’s important that you understand what both of them are so you can deal with them appropriately.

What is a Vehicle Recall?

A recall refers to a safety-related repair that is mandatory for you to have fixed. The repair is generally done by a dealership that is certified on behalf of the manufacturer. The work is done at no cost to you, and necessary parts are provided by the manufacturer.

There have been many car recalls over the years, some of which are more serious than others. One of the more recent recalls that was announced included Toyota, Lexus, Pontiac and Scion. Over five million vehicles were recalled between the years of 2009 and 2011 due to acceleration issues. Other recalls can involve air bag problems, fire hazards and problems with your seatbelts just to name a few.

How is a Recall Issued?

A safety problem is usually discovered after a few people with the same type of vehicle experience the same issue that results in injury or death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as the Department of Transportation will launch an investigation regarding what happened. If they determine that there is an ongoing problem with a specific make and model of automobile, they can stop production or sale of that vehicle temporarily. A solution must be discovered, and that solution must be put into action by way of bringing vehicles in to be serviced. This service can be as simple as a part adjustment, or new parts may be needed. An update to the vehicle’s computer may be needed as well.

What is a Technical Service Bulletin?

A TSB utilizes online technology to communicate a problem to vehicle owners. If there is a large number of drivers that are experiencing the same issue, the automaker will come up with some sort of procedure to rectify the situation. If the issue isn’t related to safety, this is when a recall will be avoided and a TSB will be put into place instead. While a TSB can’t diagnose a problem for you without having a technician look at your vehicle, it can provide potential steps that can be taken to fix a problem.

Who Covers the Cost of a TSB?

A TSB is a voluntary repair in comparison to a recall, which must be addressed in a timely manner. Because of this, there can be a couple of different ways that you will cover the cost of a TSB. Your warranty coverage may be applied to the repair, depending on the issue. The manufacturer of your vehicle could decide to provide a temporary warranty for the issue, lasting a specific duration of time. The automaker would pay for the repairs in this scenario. If you’re outside of the warranty period, you could be responsible for the cost of any parts that are needed and the labor.

Difference Between a TSB and a Recall

How Can I Find Out More About a Potential TSB or Recall on My Vehicle?

There are a few different ways that you can research your specific make and model of vehicle to see if there are any recalls or TSBs out there. The easiest method you can use is calling your trusted service department to ask a technician. They’ll use your VIN to research a potential recall. Researching a TSB can take a little bit more time since there isn’t a central database for that information. It’s generally available online through a forum or manufacturer website. The NHTSA may also have it included on their website.

A lot of vehicle manufacturers have opted to provide owner’s manuals, car recalls and TSBs by way of their website for a paperless approach to sharing information about their lineup. The internet has made it possible to share a greater amount of knowledge with drivers. You can search the internet for current TSBs or recalls for your vehicle. You can contact your nearest dealership for assistance with addressing the issue. It’s important that you don’t put off making an appointment for a vehicle that has a known problem. While you may think that your vehicle is perfectly fine, safety isn’t something that you want to take a chance with.

When Purchasing A Vehicle

Always remember to have a VINsmart report run on the vehicle before making any vehicle purchase.  A VINsmart report runs a complete history on the vehicle including whether it has ever been reported as stolen, has been involved in a major accident, or has been listed as a totaled vehicle.

VINsmart reports will also give you a history of registration and mileage at registration.  It reports any significant incidents related to the vehicle, such as being involved in a fire or flood.

When you are going to purchase a used vehicle, the best way to ensure you are making a good purchase is to know the vehicle’s complete history.


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