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E&MU: Fleets' Methods for Managing Truck Recalls

5/21/2012 11:00:00 AM
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Easy Access to Notifications, In-House Repairs Can Decrease Downtime

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By Mindy Long, Contributing Writer

This story appears in the May/June 2012 issue of Equipment Maintenance Update, a supplement to the May 14 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Some motor carrier executives have said the sometimes maddening process of addressing truck recalls is eased by ready access to notifications about potential problems and the ability of some fleets to handle the work in-house.

In just the past nine months, P.A.M. Transportation Services, Tontitown, Ark., has received notices of recalls and campaigns on issues ranging from exhaust gas recirculation systems and heater cores to electronic control modules, said Gerald Mead, the carrier’s vice president of maintenance. P.A.M. Transportation ranks No. 62 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

“When you’re in the process of buying new equipment, sooner or later you’re going to have some sort of recall or campaign,� Mead said.

And recalls can affect everything from electronics to mechanical equipment, fleets said — in short, almost all of the components on a truck.

Both Scott Perry, vice president of vehicle supply management for Ryder System Inc., and Todd England, executive vice president for C.R. England Inc., told Equipment Maintenance Update they’ve also seen the number of recalls increase in recent years.

“There are campaigns that may be as simple as an electronic recalibration related to the emissions or the fuel economy. Others would be component reliability where they’ve identified an accelerated failure rate of a specific component,� Perry said. Ryder System, Miami, ranks No. 12 on the for-hire TT 100.

England, who said increases in onboard technology have added to the recalls, also said, “I don’t think manufacturers have become lackadaisical in testing products, but sometimes I wonder if there are unforeseen things come into play� that would cause a recall. C.R. England, Salt Lake City, ranks No. 21 on the for-hire TT 100.

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