• Feb 28, 2011



General Motors
and Chrysler have informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that cars sold to rental companies aren't getting repairs done on recall for months at a time. NHTSA then started monitoring three million units from the two manufacturers in rental fleets to see how long they went unrepaired.

One month after a recall, NHTSA says that between 10 and 30 percent of cars had been repaired. By 90 days, the average was just 30 percent. According to the administration, it takes a year or more for rental companies to get more than 50 percent of their cars repaired.

According to The Detroit News, there aren't any laws on the books that say a rental company has to get a car repaired before it rents it to a customer. What's more, hundreds of recall notices go out a year, and rental cars move around a lot, making it difficult to nail them down for repairs.

According to Bob Barton, president of the American Car Rental Association, most companies place a hold on models that have been recalled, preventing them from being rented until repairs are made. The hitch, according to Barton, is that it can take months for the company to realize a recall has been issued.

NHTSA says its investigation is ongoing, and the administration noted a statement that dealerships aren't allowed to sell a recalled vehicle until repairs have been made. That said, NHTSA also doesn't have the authority to legally require that customers – including rental companies – have recall repairs made.

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Hertz Rent-a-Car]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, Sebring should be recalled and never called back again....
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is it possible to have a more depressing lineup than the one in those pictures right there?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Having them repaired takes them out of circulation, which drives down profit, is anyone surprised by there actions? They flip them in two to three years either way.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You said it best. Worst part is some of these rental companies are right down the street if not next door to the cars manufacturers dealership.

        I'm not one for government regulation for business's but maybe they should mandate for rental agencies that within 60 days of a announced recall the cars within their fleet must be seen and handled by a local dealership for said recall. Then toss in a hefty fine PER CAR say a thousand dollars perhaps? Oh and its daily to why not? So if a rental company decides to have a car ignore the recall for 30 days after the initial 60 days thats 30 grand for Uncle Sam. One way to close a budget gap.. and hmm why not have the cash go to the Highway funding.
        • 3 Years Ago
        So... how many people have actually been injured in a rental car as a result of a car that was not repaired after a recall?

        This is like that back-up camera regulation. What does it matter? The problem isn't the car, it's the operator.

        I say instead of airbags they install spikes that fly out of the wheel when you get into a wreck. The brake pedal should also fly up and kick you in your crotch if you run a red light. Seatbelts should be a noose that chokes you if you send a text message.

        People would pay more attention that way.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Knowing rental companies, it's the renter that will get scewed by either not opting for insurance (so the renter pays repair bills not knowing there was a recall) or taking the insurance and the rental company somehow finding a way to benefit from collecting the insurance since the renter paid the premium.
        • 3 Years Ago
        just wait to someone gets hurt from a vehicle breaking down because it didnt get the recall service.

        THEN, after the rental car company takes it on the chin and up the wazoo, policy might change
      • 3 Years Ago
      There was quite a discussion on The Truth About Cars about this. It got very heated as the discussion turned into something of a fight between car rental businesspeople and other people complaining about not just recalls but removing airbags and ESC and other safety equipment.

      I think whether a rental company recalls a car should depend on the severity of the recall, and some people in the TTAC discussion said just that. If it's child safety tethers? Maybe a company should just tell the renter about the condition and tell them, y'know, not to put child seats into the car. If the brakes could fail or a fire could engulf the car in flames? Well, I think they should react immediately. If a car dealership can't sell a recalled vehicle, a car rental company certainly shouldn't be able to rent out a vehicle that could potentially maim or kill a customer.

      Like I said on TTAC, my judgment is clouded a bit. My mother bought a 2007 Escape without realizing that it didn't have side curtain airbags. I noted in the thread that we probably wouldn't have bought it had we known this, and I of course got a fair bit of criticism from the rental guys (and others) essentially saying that both myself and my mother were negligent and irresponsible for buying a car without knowing about its specific safety features (or lack thereof) and typical TTAC poster class envy evil socialists anti-free-market blah blah blah.

      What I'm trying to get at though is that individuals usually don't buy vehicles with exactly what they want on them, and certainly don't know recalls for their rental. Is that right to the customer? I don't really think so.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The hitch, according to Barton, is that it can take months for the company to realize a recall has been issued."

      You're lying sir. If that were the case, the repair percentage after a month would be 0 rather than 10-30%.
        • 3 Years Ago
        There's a huge semantic difference between "can take" and "does take" when it comes to testing the validity of a statement.