By: Maggie Laird, Business Services Team
Recalls are notifications of safety issues. Toyota is the newest manufacturer to befall this problem. They are not the first to have major recalls that affect thousands of people, but they are in the national spotlight. It really doesn’t matter what caused the problem or who is to blame. It is a safety issue and needs be addressed. Immediately! Today more of your fleets are affected as they have a bigger percentage of Toyota vehicles in their fleets as part of the “go green” initiatives. As fleet managers, we need to step up our knowledge of recalls and safety bulletins. We must become more proactive in handling the problem before tragedy occurs. Add a new task on your PM inspections and safety inspection that includes recall research. Ask your service writer/warranty coordinator/ or shop foreman to take a few minutes each day and check online for issues that may affect your fleet customers. Don’t wait to hear about the problem on the radio or the news.
The dealers/manufacturers are supposed to notify you. Do you know who gets the notice in your agency? Here is a website that you can also use. There are subscription services that can automatically notify you. You can use the internet to search for recalls as well. Check out www.Recalls.gov. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation provides recall information including vehicle and equipment campaigns from 1966 to present. The campaigns include motor vehicle products which experienced a safety-related defect or did not comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards.
When you are analyzing your PM services, look for trends in the type of repairs that you are finding by year/make/model. You may find a problem that the manufacturer needs to be made aware of. Share your findings with other fleet managers; see if they are seeing the same issue. The manufacturers may not recognize the magnitude of the problem if they wait to hear from individuals. Together your voice can be heard. Note the problem so that you can report the problem. You are the first line of defense.
With Toyota’s safety problem a reality, be sure to have a plan to handle each vehicle in the recall. Rent or lease temporary replacement vehicles. Work with Toyota to cover the cost of the rental. One additional note, include temporary rental vehicles as part of your contracts in the future.
The FleetPros Blog is written and moderated by the Business Manager with contributions from the membership and Business Services Team.