Heavy Truck Recalls

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Recalls on heavy trucks can be costly for truck owners. Fleets must deal with downtime and usually require an employee to drive the tractor to a dealer repair shop and wait while the unit is repaired, assuming replacement parts are in stock. If the shop has no stock, the vehicle sits dormant until parts arrive.

Since recalls are often for possible safety issues, the truck is out of service until the repairs can be completed. Safety issues trump non-safety every time.

On August 30, 2021 Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced a recall of 105,183 trucks due to a steering issue that could lead to loss of steering. Owners will be notified by mail to be sent October 31, 2021. DTNA will inspect affected trucks and repair as necessary.

Why Recalls Happen

It’s important for truck owners and operators to understand that many possible recall situations are not realized at the time of building trucks. They only become issues after trucks have been on the road for varying times of operation. Things can loosen up or wear prematurely with time and cause issues that result in recalls.

Manufacturers are being proactive by announcing recalls and providing repairs that may otherwise be costly to owners. Without recalls the motoring public may be at risk of their safety, especially if a large truck has a serious safety failure while at speed.

Not every truck that is included in a recall will need repairs. In the DTNA recall mentioned above the company estimates that 1% of the vehicles notified will need repair. If accurate, the small sample of trucks needing repair will represent minor inconveniences for fleets. Little more than 1,000 trucks out of 105,183 is an easy pill to swallow for truck owners and operators.

Complicated Nature of New Trucks

Trucks are complex beasts nowadays, with multiple computer systems and all kinds of applications of new technology. So, it seems that the more complicated trucks become, the more recalls we are likely to experience.

The more recalls, the more opportunity for truck manufacturers to make engineering changes to catch up. That’s part of how progress is made in building trucks. We need recalls to correct potentially serious failures.

Why Aren’t Potential Problems Found at the Factory?

Why aren’t these recalls found before a new truck is delivered? Simply because when a truck goes into service it is loaded for the first time and must work hard to transport and deliver goods. Factory settings cannot replicate what a truck goes through on a loaded run on various highway and urban roads under severe temperatures and weather conditions and hilly or mountainous terrain.

Going into loaded service is where the torture test for trucks begins. And it’s likely that minor issues may surface during that time. But often, more serious issues don’t come to light until after the truck has performed for an unspecified term.

Don’t Ignore a Recall Notice

Recall notices must never be ignored or put off. That will put you at risk of greater downtime and increased costs. For example, towing and lost revenue are likely, and even injury or deaths may occur. 

Whenever you receive a recall letter on one of your trucks, get on the phone and get an appointment for inspection and repair by the dealer. Lives could be at stake. Nobody wants or needs to live with that on their mind and thinking If only we had listened to the recall notice.

It’s Really About Everyone’s Safety

If you’re a fleet owner or manager you want to ensure the safety of your other assets: your drivers. And if you’re an owner operator you want to arrive home safely to your family. Take the recall letter as serious business. Never place work ahead of safety.

This article was not published to single out Daimler Trucks North America. They are a great company and have safety as a priority. They are issuing this recall because it’s the right thing to do. The motoring public relies on truck builders to build safe trucks and to keep them working safely.

Thank you DTNA for your concern for our wellbeing.