UPDATE: Quarter of recalled Volvos not accounted for

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, March 23, 2016

UPDATE #2: 11 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 25, 2016 – As of press time, 13,761 affected Volvo trucks have either been fixed or taken out of service, according to Volvo spokesperson John Mies. That accounts for approximately 74 percent of recalled trucks. It is unclear how many of those vehicles have been fixed versus taken out of service.

UPDATE #1: 11 a.m. CDT, Thursday, March 24, 2016 – Volvo Trucks North America spokesperson John Mies confirmed to Land Line that the company will reimburse customers for “reasonable towing and/or rental expenses.” 

Any drivers wanting to make a claim must submit it in writing to Volvo Group North America LLC, Attn: Steering Shaft Recall, 7900 National Service Road, Greensboro, N.C. 27409. Make sure the affected vehicle’s VIN is included as well as supporting documents justifying the amount being requested. An itemized breakdown of each expense must be included.

 Repairs to affected trucks can only be done by someone authorized by Volvo Trucks. To find the nearest shop, drivers should call Volvo’s customer support line at 877-800-4945. 

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has published a fact sheet regarding the recall. Complete with images of the steering shaft in question, the fact sheet explains which Volvo trucks will be placed out of service. Click here for the CVSA fact sheet.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2016 – As truckers work to get their Volvo trucks repaired after the auto manufacturer recalled nearly 20,000 trucks for a serious steering defect, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Wednesday, March 23, that the recalled trucks will be placed out-of-service until the necessary repairs have been made.

In an “urgent inspection bulletin” issued on March 18, FMCSA indicated the truckers driving an affected vehicle might be considered in violation of FMCSA safety regulation 49 C.F.R. §396.7, which prohibits operation of a vehicle in a condition likely to cause an accident or a breakdown. Motor carriers that violate applicable regulations may face enforcement action including, but not limited to, civil penalties and a finding that the defect constitutes an out-of-service condition.

FMCSA followed up the alert on Wednesday with a notice that will post to the Federal Register on Friday, March 25, with the out-of-service directive official that date.

“Today’s notice formalizes that determination and clarifies that FMCSA and its state partners under the MCSAP program will place a vehicle out-of-service if the necessary repair or replacement has not been made, based on the identified out-of-service defect under 49 CFR 393.209(c), which requires that a steering column to be securely fastened.”

Investigators and state partners will conduct a Level IV inspection on any affected vehicle that has not been repaired. Level IV inspections are not included in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System and will not affect a carrier’s SMS score.

Click here to read the full notice.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents, the recall affects 2016-2017 VNL, VNX and VNM trucks. Some trucks may be missing a roll pin on the steering shafts, potentially disconnecting the lower steering shaft from the junction block. Additionally, the bolt connecting the upper steering shaft to the lower steering shaft may not have been properly tightened.

Volvo and FMCSA are strongly recommending that owners refrain from driving affected vehicles until the final remedy is available.

Volvo is working to secure rental vehicles for drivers. According to an FMCSA recall alert, Volvo will also cover towing where needed. A temporary solution allowing drivers to operate their trucks was made available the week of March 14.

Owners can call Volvo at 877-800-4945 and choose option No. 1. Volvo’s recall numbers for this campaign are RVXX1602 and RVXX1603. This recall supersedes safety recall 15V-786.

(Editor’s note: Check back for further updates on the recall.)

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