Heavy trucks, also known as Class 8 vehicles, carry huge loads down the highways every day – making sure these trucks are safe is hugely important, and systems such as brakes must be absolutely secure. Constant use is sure to grind machinery down, meaning these parts must be exceptionally tough to survive a truck's whole operational lives.
Trucks.com reported that Volvo recently recalled more than 6,000 of its vehicles due to brake issues, a call that the trucks' owners must be sure to heed for the sake of their drivers and other motorists alike. The process of notifying owners has already begun, with truck dealers already contacted. Notification should reach every owner of an affected truck by Feb. 17.
Volvo issues recall
According to the news source, Volvo has found a problem with the electronic air dryer in VNL and VNM heavy trucks with model years between 2013 and 2017. The dryer system's software is where the problem resides.
In some cases, the software can permit condensation into the truck's air, leading oil and water to enter the brakes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association specified that such contaminated brakes raise the risk of collision. There are 6,127 of the relevant trucks on the road at present.
"It's now up to fleets and owner-operators to get their vehicles serviced."
Fortunately, the problem has been caught early – Trucks.com specified that there have not been any reported crashes or motorist injuries connected with the potentially defective brakes. It's now up to fleets and owner-operators to get their vehicles serviced and receive the relevant software update.
Volvo's track record
In heartening news that could affect the recent recall, a separate Trucks.com report specified that Volvo Trucks North America successfully recalled almost 16,000 trucks that could have had a steering defect.
The process of recalling vehicles is not normally completed on such a rapid schedule, rendering Volvo's feat impressive and boding well for its ability to get the 6,000 trucks with potential braking defects off the road.
According to Trucks.com, the completed recall was a joint venture between three parties: Volvo, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which does not typically involve itself in individual recall situations.
The groups used modern means to speak to the public, including social media posts. Furthermore, they got airtime on satellite radio broadcasts, in the hope that drivers themselves would hear and respond to the message. Clearly, the agencies' chosen tactics worked.
"Trailers present their own issues."
Tractors and trailers
Beyond Volvo's recall, the Class 8 truck market contains complex challenges from a brake perspective. For instance, fleets and owner-operators don't just have to think about the brakes on their tractors – trailers present their own issues.
Bulk Transporter recently spotlighted a Bendix spring braking valve issue that has triggered a voluntary safety recall. In rare cases, the affected units can develop internal leaks that may affect performance. The parts in question are present in both trailers made by various OEMs and ones that have received aftermarket changes.
The many factors affecting the trucking sector – from the sheer scale of the vehicles involved to the number of them on the road to the pressure fleets feel to keep their liability low – point to an industry with complicated hardware needs.
The crux of the matter is simple, however: Tractors and trailers alike both need reliable brakes that will hold up over hundreds of thousands of miles. The most recent recalls are a chance for manufacturers to ensure this is the case, and it's important for fleets and owner-operators to respond in a timely manner, as in the steering issue example described above.
For a free consultation with Greening Associates regarding brake testing and safety, click here – it's far better to catch potential problems before parts are in use than to realize later.