The US government's shutdown may have an adverse effect on vehicle recalls and safety testing, according to a report from AOL Autos. Complaints can still be submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but nothing will actually be done about any of these submissions or any ongoing investigations until the agency's funding returns, NHTSA said in a statement.

The Department of Transportation has furloughed 333 of its 597 employees in the automotive realm – some 3,000 aviation safety inspectors and 52 percent of the Federal Railroad Administration have also been furloughed – which means the agency is operating on a skeleton crew of sorts.

So, what does this mean for new-car buyers? Not much, at least initially. Speaking with AOL Autos, Clarence Ditlow, Executive Director of the Center For Auto Safety, says that a long-term government shutdown could "significantly endanger consumer safety" as automakers may be reticent to conduct major recall actions. Further, customers who purchase vehicles that aren't safety tested in a timely manner "won't get their money back" if they are later found to be poor safety performers, says Ditlow.

Here's hoping for a timely funding resolution...

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