New Emissions Technologies Come With Their Share of Headaches

Staff | September 28, 2010

J.D. Power and Associates' 2006 Heavy-Duty Truck Engine/Transmission Study released Oct. 5, 2006, indicates that the average number of reported engine problems has increased to 74 PP100 (engine problems per 100 vehicles) — up from 46 PP100 in 2005. The study is based on the responses of 2,529 primary maintainers of two-year-old Class-8 trucks.

"In the 2005 study, there was a greater mix of manufacturers using old- and new-technology engines, so we're just now starting to see the overall impact of the emissions regulations [which brought about exhaust-gas-recirculation, ACERT, and other engine technologies in 2004 and 2005]," said Brian Etchells, senior research manager in the commercial vehicle group at J.D. Power and Associates. "Whenever a new technology is employed, it takes a while to work the bugs out. As time goes on and engines are better equipped and designed to follow the emissions standards, the number of problems should gradually decline."

The study also finds that among the four drivers of engine satisfaction, customers are least satisfied with the cost of ownership, particularly in the areas of routine engine maintenance costs and fuel efficiency. Reported fuel consumption for heavy-duty engines has declined to 5.72 mpg in 2006 — down from 5.91 mpg in 2005 and 6.04 mpg in 2004.