Car troubles may mean you have a lemon or evidence for a recall, so here's how to find out

TAMPA, Fla. - When riding along with Kim Hotaling in her 2007 Dodge Nitro, there's really no need for a radio to drown out the silence.

Her horn blares without prompting, the doors lock and unlock, and every once in a while, the windshield wipers turn on.

"I thought my car was possessed," Hotaling said.

"That is what my demon car is doing."

The problems persisted until Hotaling brought the SUV into a Brandon service center. A mechanic told her she needed a new Totally Integrated Power Module or TIPM.

The repair will cost $750.

Hotaling researched the problem and discovered several blogs with complaints of similar problems, which she reported to the dealership. The manager, she says, informed her that her vehicle was no longer under warranty and they could do nothing to reduce the cost.

"It's not just me. A lot of people are having the same problem," Hotaling said.

"It's robbery."

Hotaling contacted ABC Action News about the issue, so we checked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Their website lists complaints and recalls for virtually every make and model on the market.

We found electrical complaints similar to Hotaling's listed almost every month. Still, NHTSA needs several complaints each month to pressure dealers to enact a recall.

Hotaling didn't even know to file a complaint with NHTSA. Now, she plans to do so.

"It's basically like a brain and they're having a problem with this brain," she said. "It's terrible. I'm upset about it."

In response to a request for an interview NHTSA sent ABC Action News the following links:

This section is for Vehicle Owners to look for information on their vehicles.

Here consumers can check for complaints, investigations and recalls on cars.

Here consumers can subscribe their cars to receive notification on future recalls.

Last but not least – link to the Agency process from complaints to an actual recall




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