Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

UK Vehicle recyclers could be selling potentially dangerous vehicle parts

UK Vehicle recyclers could unknowingly be selling potentially dangerous vehicle parts that should have been repaired or replaced by the vehicle manufacturer under a vehicle recall programme

Over the last few years there have been more vehicles recalled globally than in the entire history of the motor vehicle.
In the UK, vehicle recalls are for safety related issues, owners are contacted by the vehicle manufacturer to tell them why the vehicle is being recalled, what they need to do and who they should contact about the recall; the vast majority of recalls have been completed satisfactorily, but there are some vehicles that have not been captured by the recall notice and are therefore un-repaired and potentially unsafe.

In a few cases these vehicles may have arrived at an auto recycler’s premises and may well be stripped for parts, and any parts that are subject to a recall should be removed from use and destroyed - in some cases there may be a case for the vehicle manufacturers to pay the vehicle recyclers for the recalled parts they remove from these vehicles.

All automotive recyclers need to be clear and unequivocal about this situation - IF there is any possibility that the part they are selling could be subject to a recall notice then there are two options.
  • Make certain the vehicle in question has been checked under the recall notice and confirm that the part being sold is of merchantable standard
  • If the part is still subject to a recall then DO NOT sell the part, but return it to the local franchised dealer along with details of the vehicle it came from.
Vehicle manufacturers need to make all vehicle recall data, including relevant part numbers available to the vehicle recycling community, in a format that can be easily used by yard management systems; vehicle recyclers will then be made aware of the recall information and can physically check each part against the manufacturers data, confirm if the part is saleable, and if not, can remove the part and return it to the vehicle manufacturers via the local franchised dealer. 

There can be no other alternative to this, the consequences of selling a defective part could be enormous for any business, especially if the defect results in a fatal accident.

Vehicle manufacturers also need to recognise that professional automotive recyclers are an important part of this process, and reflect that by refunding them for the time and effort they have taken to check and remove the part subject to a recall, and to cover for their loss of revenue because they are unable to sell that part onwards.
Current situation
After speaking to providers of Yard Management Systems and automotive recyclers there are very few checks in place to determine if any parts sold are subject top a recall notice.
One recycler did advise that if they receive notification of a recall from a vehicle manufacturer for any vehicle they have in their possession the relevant parts are removed from sale.
Yard Management System providers have no process built in to check for recalls on any vehicle or part.

So how should the ideal process work in a vehicle recycling yard?

Upon Receipt of the vehicle
  • Vehicle details entered into yard management system:
  • The YMS links directly with the recalls database, cross references the vehicle registration and VIN number  and advises on any active recalls and the parts involved, including the appropriate part numbers.
  • In reality, yard staff will have to manually check recall databases
  • The yard can then place an embargo on any recalled parts, and either scrap them, or remove that part(s) and check them to confirm if the part is safe or not.
  • If the part is safe, then it can be sold as an approved green recycled part
  • If the part is found to be unsafe, then it should either be scrapped, or removed, quarantined,  and transferred to the local franchised dealer. The vehicle manufacturer should then be informed so they can update their own records.
  • The vehicle recycler should receive a refund from the vehicle manufacturer for all recalled parts returned to the franchised dealer.
Every time the vehicle moves into another area (for example, moved from storage to dismantling, or storage to auction) another recall database check would be completed to cover for any changes in recall data - including new recalls (this would be automatic or manual as dictated by the system in place).

As every part is sold a further recall check is completed to make certain that no parts being sold are under a recall notice. (this would be automatic or manual as dictated by the system in place).
Examples of potential recalled parts found for sale
The Driver & Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) operate a full database of all vehicle recalls, data includes the vehicle manufacturer, model, build year, VIN’s and description of the issue. Through this two safety related parts were highlighted and potential examples of these parts were found to be on sale at high profile recyclers or recycled parts sales platforms.

Example 1 
Passenger airbag for a 2002-2004 Honda Jazz.
DVSA data shows an active recall for Passenger airbags on Honda Accord, Accord Tourer, CR-V, Civic, Jazz and Stream covering vehicles built between Jan 2003 and Dec 2003. This airbag COULD be one of these defective units!

Example 2
Steering rack for a 2014-2018 Mercedes C-Class 
Build dates and build code that correspond to a recall from Mercedes for a defect on the steering rack motor - the motor can be clearly seen in the image - Again, this part COULD be subject to a recall notice.

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