Yes, it can depend on the age of the vehicle. If your car is more than 10 years old on the date of the defect then noncompliance is determined. Under the law, the age of the vehicle is calculated from the date of sale to the first purchaser. However, if you receive notification of a defect on a vehicle older than 10 years, you should still get it fixed just at your own expenses in order to eliminate unnecessary safety risks.
Also, if the manufacturer challenges the agency’s final decision of a safety defect, there is no obligation for the manufacturer to remedy the defect while the case is in court. If you decide to have your vehicle remedied at your own expense while the case is pending and the court upholds the NHTSA’s final decision, you may be entitled to reimbursement. However, if the court ultimately rules the defect is not safety related, federal law does not require that the manufacturer reimburse you for the repair work.