Aero Industries has recalled approximately 746 Conestoga XP trailer tarps. Affected tarps could have a rivet failure, causing the rear aerodynamic device (RAD) to fail, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.
Affected tarps include those manufactured from Oct. 15, 2014, to Jan. 19, 2016. According to NHTSA, “the issue is the weakening or failure of the rivets holding the RAD to the rear bow of the Conestoga curtain that appears to be caused by damage to or misuse of the product.”
There have been 44 reports of rivets being sheared off the hinges. In one case, the entire RAD fell off the rear bow. If enough rivets fail, the curtain clamp will be weakened. When all rivets fail, the RAD can fall off the Conestoga.
NHTSA cannot quite pinpoint the exact cause of the defect. The agency has three theories:
Damage caused by an accident or misuse;
Driver error that causes the back of the trailer to hit a dock or other structure; or
Fatigued rivets due to improper operation of the Conestoga. Possible use of the RAD as a handle rather than the handle on the rear bow, causing greater pressure on the rivets.
Aero Industries will issue a repair kit to replace certain rivets with higher strength bolts and nuts for affected tarps. Recall letters are slated to be released between now and Sept. 30. Owners can call Aero at 800-535-7563.