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Cummins recalls 500,000 trucks over faulty part

This recall is the largest voluntary truck emissions recall to date, according to EPA.

Cummins Inc. will voluntarily recall roughly 500,000 model year 2010-2015 medium- and heavy-duty trucks, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Tuesday.

The recall will replace a faulty emissions control systems component that causes excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), according to the EPA. This recall is the largest voluntary truck emissions recall to date. The problem Cummins is acting to correct is the result of a defective part — not a defeat device, like the software illegally used by Volkswagen to pass U.S. emission tests.

“Today’s recall is a great example of how government and industry work together to protect health and the environment," said EPA Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum. “This is the way it’s supposed to work. Our follow-up testing seeks to make sure that pollution controls work throughout an engine’s useful life. And, if they don’t, then companies step up to set things right.”

A spokesman for Cummins said the recall was “in the best interests of our customer and the environment,” according to Reuters. The recall will be rolled out in two phases, starting with heavy-duty trucks this month and medium-duty trucks in March

The trucks being recalled are equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems designed to control NOx emissions. NOx is a potent air pollutant that contributes to smog and fine particle formation in the atmosphere. The SCR catalysts that will be replaced through the recall were found to be less durable than is required, degrading within a few years instead of controlling NOx pollution for the regulatory full useful life of the vehicle. The recall will replace these SCR system components. The full useful life of medium-duty vehicles is 185,000 miles or ten years (whichever is first), and the full useful life of heavy-duty vehicles is 435,000 miles or ten years.

Medium- and heavy-duty categories include vehicles ranging from larger pickup trucks to vocational vehicles to big rigs. An earlier recall, already underway, involved about 232,000 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks, bringing the total number of affected vehicles to about 770,000.

The problem was discovered through government oversight programs that test vehicles for compliance with emissions standards throughout their useful life. Both EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) run emission testing programs to check emissions from typical, privately-owned vehicles in customer service. Initial testing identified high NOx emissions from certain trucks equipped with Cummins engines. EPA and CARB shared results with Cummins, which agreed to conduct the voluntary recall after the company’s own follow-up testing confirmed that deteriorating components within the SCR system were causing emissions to exceed Federal and California pollution standards.

Cummins will recall the remaining affected vehicles in two phases. The company will contact owners with instructions about how and when to get their truck repaired. Owners should contact Cummins for further details about the affected products and recall schedule.

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