Friday, February 1, 2013

Diesel Truck Filter Company Goes Under

Cleaire Inc., a Southern California-based company that had manufactured diesel particulate filters used in some drayage trucks hauling goods to and from seaports in California, Washington and elsewhere, has suddenly and quietly ceased operations, leaving those with its products in their trucks without warranty support.

Cleaire, which was headquartered in San Leandro and had manufacturing operations in San Diego, made no public announcement of its going out of business, but in a letter to Cleaire customers, the California Air Resources Board stated that the company ceased operations on Jan. 18, 2013.

The Air Board also says it’s working to help those affected by the situation, specifically fleets, dealers and parts suppliers, and that truck owners stuck without warranty support will be given exemptions from CARB’s mandatory diesel particulate filter retrofitting program for older, more polluting trucks.

“Vehicles that have the Cleaire devices already installed in a verified configuration will continue to meet applicable in-use fleet rule requirements,” the letter reads in part. “For Cleaire customers, ARB is working directly with Cleaire distributors, installers, and other authorized representatives to minimize impacts on warranty service and to ensure that fleets have compliance options if replacement parts are unavailable.”

Although no official reason has been given for the company’s failure, the quality of Cleaire’s products had been questioned in the past: a 3,500 acre brush fire in September 2011 was blamed by Washington state officials on flaming sparks from a Cleaire filter onboard a truck. The Monastery Fire, as it was called, caused $5.4 million in damage and resulted in the company recalling a specific model of diesel particulate filters.

Then, in October 2012, the company voluntarily recalled another type of filter after a three-acre brush fire caused by the model two months earlier.