Most of us address recalls as “just a recall, not warranty.” In tech meetings, we do have to address all factory payments.

I love the meetings when they are about the beloved subject of warranty. There are usually only three types of responses when we are discussing warranty requirements. There are some discussions where everyone sits with their arms crossed not saying a word, just waiting for me to shut up. Or someone wants to argue the fact and get all flustered about the requirements when they are just trying to fix the car. I also see the compliant crew that really do want to follow the rules.

No matter which group they are in, most of the shop feel that recalls don’t always need to follow the rules because it is a recall and not warranty. The real fact is that ANYTHING that is being paid by the manufacturer has to adhere to the policies and procedure manual or updates.

Not only do recalls have to adhere to the manufacturer's policies, but they also have to be able to stand up to federal requirements. Think about this: If a safety recall ends in an accident, you will have to produce paperwork to show that your dealership met all the requirements to repair that vehicle. If you cannot show that you did the job properly, then your dealership is to blame for the accident.


Here is a checklist below for you to share with both technicians and advisors that is valid for all recalls.

  •        Advisors, make sure the recall is open and that you put the correct recall number in the customer write-up.


  •        Always accurately time punch, this means to be on the clock when you are on that job. Clock out after you have finished and parked the vehicle or when you begin another job.


  •        Enter the mileage after you have completed your test drive.


  •        Do not use this statement “completed recall.”  You must enter comments as to the repair you made.  Example: “update control module software to version 123 per recall 987.”

All steps must be followed, no shortcuts, and put comments as to the steps taken in your story to document the repair was done accurately. All parts listed in the recall that needs to be replaced, really need to be replaced and charged out on the job.  Just because you don’t think it needs that gasket, could void the recall and put you and your dealership in jeopardy.

Serial numbers need to be in the story, not scribbled on the RO or just a sticker attached. Any misc items need to be charged to the job. If the recall states a loaner car can be used make sure the VIN for the loaner is in the comment section.

Remember, in the end, paperwork wins! If you don’t say it, they can’t pay it.

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