Humans are natural-born procrastinators. We put off things we know we need to do, whether that be starting a diet or workout program, calling our parents, making plans with friends and, yes, getting our cars serviced.
Considering this easy ability to put off to tomorrow what we can do today, this particular metric shouldn't surprise anyone – of all the cars that are recalled, only about 75 percent of owners actually report to dealers for repairs. That might not be a huge deal when we're talking about a recall of a few hundred cars, but with General Motors recalling 16 million vehicles in the first half of 2014, 25 percent is a big deal.
Overall, it's estimated that there are up to 36 million cars on US roads with open recalls, according to Carfax's Christopher Bosso. "That's all the recalls that don't get fixed year after year, that compound year after year," Basso told The Detroit News.
In reality, though, it's not always down to the procrastination of busy owners. All too often, recalls aren't completed because cars are sold or owners move and don't receive a recall notification.
Then there's the problem of the notifications themselves. As they only arrive via traditional mail, consumers find them easy to ignore. Other methods that have begun to develop include notification of recalls via social media, postcards and direct phone calls. One analyst suggests going even further to entice customers into reporting in for warranty work.
"If they really want to do something with customer satisfaction and recall penetration, they should do something special for people," Consumer Reports' Jake Fisher told The News. Fisher recommends offers of free service or oil changes, or perhaps a small gas card in addition to more modern means of notifying customers of recalled vehicles.
What steps do you think automakers should be taking to notify owners of pending repairs? Let us know in Comments.