Peterbilt has issued a recall for more than 1,600 semitrailers that mostly haul automobiles over fears that they have speeds programmed to travel as much as 10 miles per hour over the safe speed rating of their tires. The recall came about a year after an initial inquiry by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) into the specifications for auto-hauling semis in late 2014. The company, a part of Washington-based Paccar Inc., pledged in an NHTSA document to reprogram the affected vehicles to limit top speeds to match the tire speed rating. The vehicles are equipped with certain 65 mile-per-hour-rated Michelin tires and the company said some may have vehicle speeds programmed at more than 75 miles per hour. The company said:
In vehicles described above that are used in the auto hauler application, a premature tire failure may occur on the front or steer axle as a result of certain operating conditions (i.e. higher speeds, loads and road temperature).
Vehicles could crash as a result of the problem after a premature tire failure, according to the company. The trucks were produced between January 2008 and Oct. 12, according to the documents. Peterbilt provided information on the specifications last year and between February and March began to make changes at the plant to “manually limit maximum road speed” engine parameters. NHTSA confirmed the change in April and verified that Peterbilt trucks with tires that are rated below 75 miles per hour have sun visor decals to notify drivers. “Peterbilt safety committee met and determined that due to the propensity of car haulers to maximize front axle loading, a safety defect exists” for certain vehicles. The trucks recalled include certain years of Peterbilts 335, 337, 340, 348, 365, 386, 388, 389 and 567 vehicles. The trucks have Michelin 295/6 R22.5 XZA-2 Energy and XDA-2+Energy tires The company estimated that 100 percent of an estimated 1,652 vehicles are affected by the problem.
NHTSA investigated several truck crashes in late 2014 that involved semis with 2014 Michelin 295/60/R22.5 tires after they allegedly failed, though the crashes did not cause injuries or fatalities according to agency documents. The agency closed the investigation in early 2015, finding the failures were most likely caused by increased speed limits in several states. More than a dozen states allow trucks to travel faster than 75 miles per hour. During the investigation, Volvo recalled auto-hauler trucks that were capable of higher speeds than the 65 miles-per-hour limit rating for their tires, the agency said at the time.
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