Regulations surrounding vehicle modifications were a hot topic at this year's Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar.Transport Canada has the right to audit companies regularly or issue hefty fines if veh...
Regulations surrounding vehicle modifications were a hot topic at this year’s Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar.
Transport Canada has the right to audit companies regularly or issue hefty fines if vehicles that were built after Feb. 13, 2003 don’t appease a guideline set out by a new regulation surrounding vehicle modifications.
The new rule addresses vehicles built in multiple stages and applies to everyone involved in the vehicle manufacturing process; the OEM, dealer, distributor, importers and the end user.
The rule also states a vehicle has to meet certain requirements before deemed safe for the roads.
The new regulation has raised a lot of questions in the industry, said seminar panelist Dave Ongaro, manager of technical field support for Mack Trucks.
“It was not intended to make anyone fearful about the changes that have to be made,” he said.
“The industry has done a good job to reinforce what was already there to create safer roads.”
Ongaro said it is a myth that OEMs oversee the modifications done on the truck after it leaves the manufacturers plant. In some cases, the OEM is the last to find out the field changes have been made, he said. That’s why OEM warranties do not cover field modifications, he said.
“An OEM warranty only covers factory workmanship and material, so it is important that you figure out who’s workmanship and material it is,” Ongaro said.
When a dealer or end user gets an incomplete vehicle from a manufacturer, it is clearly labeled that way. That’s why the vehicle must be relabeled whenever it is modified, Ongaro said.
Manufacturers are required to label the vehicle and include the National Safety Mark as well, which provides the added assurance that the vehicle is a complete vehicle.
“A truck chassis has littleor no vocation use without equipment attached to it, which is why we need to modify the truck,” said Ed Tschirhart, of C-Max, also the director of technical programs for the Canadian Transportation Equipment Association (CTEA).
There are things that can be done, to ensure the validity of the completeness of the truck, Tschirhart said.
Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) analyses must be kept for five years, but keeping them for 15 is a good idea, Tschirhart suggested. He also suggested taking lots of pictures of the truck immediately upon purchase. And copies of all documents, especially the warranty, should be kept for the entire life of the truck, he said.
Another important consideration is to become a big part of your truck purchasing process, Ongaro said.
“Work with your dealer to build the truck you need, and be sure to have a clear understanding of the warranty and what has gone on with the truck after it left the manufacturer,” he advises. “And make sure you know who is doing what to your truck and that they are qualified to do so.”
Al Tucker, executive director of CTEA, said his organization offers services that can also assist in tracing a truck back through its life. “The association has played an important role in the marketplace – a communication role,” Tucker said.
The CTEA offers technical support, a job file for the industry, training initiatives and services such as quarterly newsletters, and the annual technical conference, he said.
“We offer many tools to help in the quest for compliance,” Tucker said. “One of our important objectives is to get the industry sharing information, even between competitors, it’s important to get all the players together and getting that information flowing.”
The CTEA also has a labeling program that will augment the label regulations and provide information or background on what type of labels are required.
“Labels are your paper trail, it is a federal law to have the truck labeled, but it will also make your life easier,” Tucker said.