Coronavirus In Collision With Drivers – Life Saving Question All Aussie Drivers Must Ask

Chris Daglis

Update: Gumtree’s response to the views expressed in this article. 

Gumtree is a community marketplace that connects buyers and sellers. We have strict Terms of Use that each user needs to accept before listing on Gumtree. This includes a Posting Policy where we take the law as our guidance: whatever is prohibited to offer for sale offline, is also prohibited on Gumtree. Within this we have a policy that prohibits users from posting ads for recalled items, banned products or products that do not meet the mandatory product safety standards (including reference to www.productsafety.gov.au).

We rely on our users’ feedback to keep the site friendly, safe and relevant for everyone. Gumtree will remove any reported ads which breach the policies and strongly encourages users to report concerning or suspicious ads using the ‘report ad’ button on each listing, or by contacting Customer Service via the 24/7 live chat.

Original story

The impact of Coronavirus is leaving very few areas of everyday life untouched – from our supermarkets, sporting events, schools and air travel. But with the recent revelations of manufacturing plant shut downs and shortage of car parts imported from China, aside from our ability to repair and maintain our vehicles, there is a more sinister consequence.

Demand for Recycled Original Equipment (ROE) vehicle parts will grow rapidly. As a result of faulty manufacture, some of these parts may be under active recall. With this increased demand comes the heightened risk of a dangerous and potentially fatal recalled part, being fitted to our cars.

A bit like a recall in the food industry or any piece of safety equipment such as child safety seats, car parts demand by law, that a recall system is in place. But with high profile failings such as Takata Airbags and the recent embarrassment for Mercedes failing to recall, the recall system appears to be flawed and does not always protect drivers. The public need to understand how to safeguard themselves.

Chris Daglis, Australian and International leader in the automotive parts industry and leading independent advisor to major Australian and International insurers on alternative parts’ strategies, says Aussies need to be aware of this increased risk and know how to protect themselves. He explains that the single most important question every Aussie driver should be asking right now of their mechanic, insurer or seller of parts is;

“Do you know if this car part is safe and not the subject of a recall, and can this part be traced to my vehicle should it be recalled in the future?”

“It’s not something many of us would give a second thought to – you have been in a collision, or your car is due routine repairs and maintenance and we pass our vehicle over, into the hands of our local mechanic or insurer. Once our car is returned, repaired and ready to drive, how many of us would question where the parts had been sourced and if they were safe? How would we know if one such part, was in fact a dangerous part on the recall register? And how would we know if it were to be recalled in the future; could the part be traced to us and our vehicle?” asks Daglis.

Traditionally Recycled Original Equipment parts for collision repair make up approximately 5% of all parts used, however with the unprecedented demand following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, experts are already seeing the effects and are expecting to see demand rise dramatically, possibly beyond 20%;

· Australia currently uses over ~5% of such parts, New Zealand a whopping ~40%, the USA ~11% and the UK ~2%

· Manufacturers recalled 29.3 million vehicles in 2018, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data (NHTSA)

· Between 2014 and 2016, the total number of vehicles affected by recalls spiked – reaching 50.5 million in 2016

· There are in excess of 1.5 million insurance claims each year in Australia with parts making up circa 50% of a vehicles’ repair cost

· Over a million vehicles are repaired due to road accidents every year with more going to mechanics for routine repairs

The impact of Coronavirus on Aussie car drivers is somewhat alarming; we must know if a part that has been added to our vehicle is from a licensed automotive recycler and more importantly, that they have a lawful and robust recall process in place. And that recall process must go beyond the time it is added to our car; it needs to go for the life of the car and the time we own it. If this information does not reach either the owner or the mechanic that fitted the part, there is zero traceability.

And this applies no matter where it was sourced and by whom it was fitted, including the online marketplace.

“The recalls process is often overlooked by online sellers such as Grays Online and Gumtree, not to mention the Facebook online marketplace. It took me a short time to find over 70 unsafe, recalled Takata airbags available for sale in the online marketplaces. If I kept looking, I am sure that I would have found hundreds more. Online sellers must know if the items being placed online for sale are subject to an active recall, and they must have a recall process in place as part of their business process. Regardless of whether you are taking your vehicle to a mechanic, your insurer is fixing it, or you are a car enthusiast purchasing your own parts, knowing this one question could save your life,” explains Daglis.

“It is critical for mechanics, collision repairers, insurers and any on-seller of parts, to have a recall checking capability so that they can alert their customer to a safety problem on their vehicle. Sometimes these recalls are critical; they are death traps – in the Takata airbag scenario, we are talking about some airbags being in vehicles that are now 24 years old, yet they were only recalled 3 months ago. The product safety website offers the automotive industry a static database that they can check against for recalls, or they can use the ‘All Auto Recalls’ system which is dynamic, live and offers the Auto Alert function – this will alert the mechanic if any of the vehicles they have entered into the system, have a recall against them at any time in the future. Remember, a vehicle may be clear today, but recalled at some time in the future,” explains Daglis.

The automotive recycling industry will play an increasingly important role in the parts supply chain moving forward. The Recycled Original Equipment part, supplied by the professional auto recycler that manages recalls effectively, is critical to the long-term sustainability of the auto repair and insurance industry.

The Coronavirus is presenting multiple issues and raising concerns for many, however in the case of the automotive industry, driver safety is of equal concern and now is the time to raise awareness of the increased risks surrounding recalled parts and arm the public with the information they need to stay safe on the road.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).