What is a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin)?

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You probably know what a USB is, but have you ever heard of a TSB?

“TSB” stands for “Technical Service Bulletin”. After a new vehicle has been introduced and driven in the real world by actual consumers, certain design flaws or weaknesses that weren’t discovered during the design and engineering process are revealed. When this happens, automakers send out TSBs. Although they’re generally released when a vehicle is in its first model year, TSBs can be issued at any time as issues are discovered.

While these can be used to alert consumers, their main purpose is to let auto technicians know about problems to watch for. TSBs can be issued for a variety of flaws, including loud noises while the vehicle is turning or a power door that doesn’t close properly.

TSBs vs. Recalls

One important distinction about TSBs is that they’re not the same as a recall. Recalls are made when it’s discovered that a vehicle has some sort of defect that produces illegal emissions or could injure drivers and their passengers. With a recall, the manufacturer has to pay for the safety-related defect to be repaired, usually at a dealership.

When a TSB is issued, however, it’s essentially an acknowledgment that the vehicle’s manufacturer has noticed a pattern of something not working the way it should on a particular model. In a TSB, manufacturers will also suggest the proper way to repair these known issues. The cost for a repair listed in a TSB will usually only be covered by the manufacturer if the car is still under warranty.

If a problem with a vehicle is particularly widespread, the manufacturer may also send out an “Owner Notification” letter. When this happens, they generally have a good idea of the VIN numbers that are affected by the defects. Owner notifications will have time and mileage restrictions, and in some cases, these may extend beyond the warranty period. If your car isn’t covered by a warranty anymore, but a TSB has been issued for it, you can bring your vehicle to any service facility to have the problem repaired.

How to Find Out if Your Car Has a TSB

You can find out whether your car has had a TSB issued for free by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute’s Safety Issues & Recalls page. There, you can look up general safety issues and recalls by entering your car’s year, make, and model or searching your VIN. Or, feel free to ask your service advisor about any TSBs that may have been issued for your vehicle.

Although the issue that led to the release of a TSB may not pose any safety risks, it’s still a good idea to have it repaired, especially if your car is still under warranty. If you wait, it could affect the functionality of your vehicle, or lead to a more expensive repair. TSBs guide our technicians on the best repair procedure to get everything in your car working as it should.

At EuroCar Service, we’re committed to maintaining your car’s performance, safety, and fuel economy. We specialize in all European makes, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Fiat, Mini-Cooper, Smart Car, Volvo, Volkswagen, Jaguar, and Saab. To find out if a TSB has been issued for your vehicle, or schedule an appointment, call us today at 206-527-8828 or contact us online.