What You Should Do If You Own A Volkswagen That Was Just Recalled

Recalls can take as long as years, but many automakers offer loaner vehicles while you wait.

If you are an owner of one of the nearly half a million diesel-power vehicles the Obama administration ordered Volkswagen to recall on Friday, do not panic. 

You may have heard that wait times for replacements or repairs in several recent car recalls have taken as long as years.

But there is something you can do right away: Ask your car dealership for a loaner vehicle.

As HuffPost reported in May, many automakers offer loaner vehicles, but they are not always forthcoming about their availability. As a result, many car owners never bother trying to get them, and may be risking their health and safety.

Of course, the recalled Volkswagen vehicles are not being pulled from the road because of the danger they pose to drivers directly. The Environmental Protection Agency has recalled them for having software that turned on an emissions control system when the cars were being inspected, but otherwise allowed the cars to emit 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide, a chemical linked to respiratory illnesses. (The EPA is now collaborating with the Department of Justice and the state of California on an investigation of wrongdoing that could result in criminal charges.)

But that does not diminish the urgency of getting a loaner vehicle. Rather than risking the safety of their drivers alone, these cars harm the health of the entire public.

Here are the models and years of the recalled diesel-power vehicles:

  • Volkswagen Jetta, 2009-15
  • Volkswagen Beetle, 2009-15
  • Volkswagen Golf, 2009-15
  • Volkswagen Passat, 2014-15
  • Audi A3, 2009-15