Record year for vehicle recalls, some slow to make repairs - CBS46 News

Record year for vehicle recalls, some slow to make repairs

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2014 is turning into a record year for vehicle recalls.

General Motors alone recalled more than 14 million vehicles by July - more cars than it sold in the past five years.

Congress scolded GM for delays to repair its ignition switch problem.

Our investigative team found another auto manufacturer is also slow to make recall repairs.

"Been right here all my life, there's a lot of work involved," said Carey Bryans of the Bryans Land Co. farm.

Hard work, made easier with the Bryans' truck.

"There's not a day it's not used, and I depend on it," Bryans said.

Especially on the highway, hauling cattle from Florida to Tennessee. The Bryans' 2-year-old Dodge RAM pickup has a recall they've tried months to fix.

"I had them in the pen to bring home," Bryans explains. "The whole tie-rod just come loose and just failed and made the wheel, then no control over your steering."

The left tie rod is a part recalled by Chrysler eight months earlier. It's the same part the Bryans had tried again and again to get fixed.

"I just feel they should have addressed it, you know before this happened," Bryans said.

Our calls to Atlanta-area dealers found no parts, just waiting lists for potential repairs. Our undercover camera caught the Bryans' dealership admitting as much.

"It was just a Chrysler parts thing there wasn't anything we could do about it," explained the clerk.

Chrysler says they stopped supplying parts in February due to quality concerns. They say the parts are now being made to specifications and the recall has resumed, but dealers still say parts are hard to come by.

"I just feel if you got a recall it should be addressed when you're notified," Bryans said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, consumers are entitled to a remedy within a "reasonable time," but there's no definition for what's reasonable. There's also "no legal recourse" if you think it's taking too long. It's costing the Bryans.

"I'm having to pay someone else at this point to haul them and the trucking bill, when you got your own truck you can haul them for a lot less," Bryans said.

A class action lawsuit was filed in California for the truck's "death wobble," the term used for the unexpected loss of steering. According to the complaint, Chrysler was aware of the defect after releasing the 2008 model. The recall letters were not sent until last November - five years later. Bryans considers himself lucky, since the tie rod break didn't happen on the highway.

"Probably would have killed me and who else was in the road cause you wouldn't have had any control over the steering," Bryans said.

Our investigation uncovered this isn't the only vehicle where Chrysler's dragged its feet over a recall. Earlier this month regulators ordered Chrysler to explain delays in fixing Jeeps. A year after that recall, there's been no parts available to fix deadly fuel tank fires. Just last week, Chrysler agreed to accelerate that recall program.

More recall information:

If you think your vehicle may have a safety defect, reporting it to NHTSA is the first step.

If a recall is issued, manufacturers should pay for the repairs.

If you pay for a needed repair before a recall is initiated you may be entitled to reimbursement.

Chrysler says those looking for help with recall-fix repayments should contact, Chrysler Group Endeavors.

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