Keeping your car in good working condition is an effective way to maintain its value, performance and overall condition. Occasionally, though, automobile manufacturers issue safety recalls for their vehicles. In fact, Nissan recently recalled roughly 400,000 cars and SUVs because leaking brake fluid may cause them to burst into flames.

Because you are busy, you may think about either delaying repairs or ignoring a recall notice altogether. Doing so may be a mistake. After all, if your vehicle’s recall is due to a safety concern, you may be putting yourself and others in jeopardy.

Why safety recalls happen 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that safety recalls are important in two situations. Specifically, if your vehicle fails to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, it is likely to be the subject of a recall. These standards include minimum requirements for a vehicle’s brakes, tires, lights and other components that are necessary for safe operation.

A recall may also happen if a particular vehicle has a known safety defect. Under federal law, a recall is appropriate if a defective component presents an unreasonable risk and exists in a group of vehicles. The recent recall from Nissan falls into this category.

When to respond to a recall notice 

Typically, vehicle manufacturers mail notices to owners with covered vehicles. If you receive a notice, you can schedule a repair at no cost. Of course, if you purchased a used car, you may or may not receive the mailing. Fortunately, you can check recalls proactively for yourself. The NHTSA maintains a website that lists outstanding recall notices for the vehicles you own.

As a diligent motorist, you must keep the vehicle you drive in good working order. If you fail to do so, you may inadvertently cause an accident. While there are a variety of ways to maintain your car, truck or SUV, you should always respond promptly to recall notices.