Your car may have problems you don’t even know about

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — While you may not think there’s a problem with your car, there’s a good chance your car may be in need of repairs.

We found safety recalls and technical service bulletins indicating issues with every car we looked at. Including our own.

My wife’s 2013 Nissan Sentra has four recalls and 14 service bulletins.

If you don’t act, these known problems could end up costing you money.

Paul Schlesinger is the service manager at Marcotte Ford. We asked him what the difference is between a bulletin and recall.

He replied, “A safety recall is a concern with the vehicle that’s affecting the safety of the vehicle and it’s mandated by the government for the auto-manufacturer to repair that you bring your vehicle in and it’s repaired at no charge to the customer.”

The manufacturer will fix safety recalls free of charge at any time.

Schlesinger said, “A service bulletin may be a problem with your heater system or its affecting the performance of the vehicle but not the safety of the vehicle it could be a problem that develops later on when the car is out of warranty and the bulletin helps the technician repair the vehicle.”

If your car is out of warranty, it’s a problem you could have to pay for.

Schlesinger said just because there’s a service bulletin on your car, it doesn’t always mean your car has a problem. It depends on when your car was built in the production cycle.

You can find some of these bulletins can be found on the National Highway Transportation and Safety website, safercar.gov; but dealerships have their own list.  They don’t always sync up.

So we asked, do dealerships get some extra information that we may not see on the government’s website?

“Yes, the government’s website is just a little slower updating than the dealership’s information. I did find a bulletin applied to the truck I drive and it wasn’t on the safer car website; they’re not all on there,” said Schlesinger.

If you are having a problem with your car, check the government website to see if anything matches. Even it’s out of warranty doing that could save you money. Then bring it to a dealership or garage to get that problem checked out.

Schlesinger does recommend proactively checking online for recalls.

To find out if your car is impacted by these recalls or service bulletins, you may need to put in your VIN number to narrow it down. But if you are experiencing a problem and find a service bulletin, you could be able to save some money on the diagnostics. These bulletins are a set of instructions developed by the car manufacturers to help the technicians repair the vehicle.

Want to look up the status of your motor vehicle? We’ve provided some links:

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