This is a guest post from Cameron Sloane, who writes about Technical Service Bulletins issued by your car manufacturers in this article, enjoy the article.
What is a TSB?
Technical service bulletins (TSBs) are repair instructions that car manufacturers release when there is a recurring problem with a vehicle. TSBs often identify issues that were overlooked when a car was made, and they are typically released the year after it goes on the market or the year after it has been redesigned.
TSBs are used to address a broad range of problems – from mechanical to cosmetic – and are intended for use by dealership service departments. Because TSBs provide standardized repair procedures, they save mechanics time when troubleshooting and fixing problems. For consumers, this can mean a car will spend less time in the shop and receive better quality repairs.
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How are service bulletins different from recalls?
Service bulletins are often confused with recalls. Unlike a recall, a technical service bulletin does not address a safety or emissions issue. Manufacturers are not required to inform owners when they release a TSB; however, if an issue is widespread, the manufacturer may opt to notify customers.
A TSB also differs from a recall because, unless your vehicle is under warranty, the dealership will usually charge you for the repair. Even if your warranty is still valid, the dealership won’t make the repair for free unless a mechanic verifies your car is affected by the issue addressed in the TSB.
Has a technical service bulletin been issued for my vehicle?
To find out whether any service bulletins have been released for your vehicle, you can search the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) database; however, only summaries of technical service bulletins are free to consumers. If you are having a persistent problem with your vehicle that you believe is addressed in a TSB, you may want to consider purchasing the full report from the NHTSA or elsewhere.
In addition to giving you a better understanding of the issue, having the full TSB can help support your argument if a dealership does not agree there is a problem. Even if you aren’t experiencing any issues, it’s good to be aware of problems you could face in the future.
Taking care of repairs while your vehicle is under warranty will help save you money on maintenance. You can also reduce your ownership costs by getting a full-coverage car insurance policy that offers discounts for safe driving. If an unanticipated car problem leaves you in need of a tow, having car insurance with 24/7 roadside assistance will help you get your vehicle to a repair facility safely.
SB’s Thoughts: Honest confession, I didn’t hear about TSB’s before I read this post, this article is an eye opener for me. Earlier I faced a situation when a neighborhood repair shop failed to detect exact cause of an engine noise. Frustratingly, the dealer was also not able to fix. After agonizing couple of month, a mechanic finally fixed that.
Till date I am grateful to my colleague who referred me to that mechanic. Had I known about TSBs, I guess it would have not been that much tough to fix the noise on my Hyundai.
One advice for my readers, do bring your car for all required services on time and keep the receipts/records of all of them. The records of timely maintenance make your point strong that the car problem is not caused by your negligence.
Readers, hope you have enjoyed this article, have you used a TSB before for your car need? Share with us what you think about TSB.
Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter says
I too haven’t heard of these until I read this post. I will have to see if the exist where I live. I must say, I do have trustworthy mechanic I have been going to you for many years who has never let me down.
Actually it should exists every where. Its actually issued by the car manufacturer to help car owners and dealers.
Sean @ EconomicallyHumble.com says
Hm, I never knew about TBSs. I do have a trustworthy mechanic so I’ll bring it up with him. thanks for the education!
Welcome, it was an education for me as well.