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New study proves that fire related recalls are serious business

Study proves that taking in your car after a recall for a fire related issue significantly reduces the chance of a problem. Also proves ignoring it can be costly.
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Fire related recalls are all the rage these days. Even the most highly respected automakers like Tesla, Porsche, Toyota and Honda have had recalls just this past month for issues that can cause the car to catch fire even if no crash occurs. With so many fire related recalls being announced so often it is easy to assume that they are not really that serious and are just being done out of an abundance of caution. A new study by the Highway Data Loss Institute (HDLI) proves that is a bad assumption.

HDLI is the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety’s (IIHS) sister group. IIHS is of course the US’ most famous car crash testing agency. HDLI is the part of the team that analyzes statistics to help better understand insurance and safety issues. HDLI took a look at claims by car owners from 2007 to 2012 who had a recall on their car related to a possible fire. They compared this group to a control group that did not have any fire related recalls. They first looked at the car group with the fire-recall before the recall was issued. In other words, before the issue could have been fixed. What they found was that the group with the fire related recall had a 23 percent higher claim frequency for non-crash related fires than did the control group. In other words, there was definite, real-life risk to those cars for actual fires. The recalls were important.

Interestingly, they also compared the two groups after the recall. At this point it is assumed that the car owner took their car in for repairs. Even with the chance to have the issue corrected this group still had a 12 percent higher chance of a car-fire related insurance claim! HDLI’s Vice President Matt Moore commented on this finding, saying “As one would hope, recalls mitigate the effect of fire-related defects. However, even after recalls are issued, these vehicles continue to have higher claim rates. This may be a result of people not following up after receiving a recall notice."

Although it may seem obvious that a recall with a possible fire involved would be taken seriously, we have found in our reporting that owners of the cars recalled often send us comments saying the issue is overblown and should not even be a recall.

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