BREAKING: NHTSA Blames Random Winter Brake Failures On Salt

U.S. investigators have spent years trying to figure out why the brakes on thousands of U.S.-made trucks and SUVs were failing without warning. Brake failures were behind at least 107 crashes last year and there is data illustrating that up to two million vehicles could be affected.

Finally, after four years of study, the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it has finally solved the mystery: Salt.

According to reports, the agency has “strongly” suggested that Americans “thoroughly wash the underside of their vehicles.” Investigators found unexpected brake failure could happen to anyone driving a 2008 and earlier vehicle in a cold-weather state.

In a 2011 NHTSA probe, the agency looked at GM trucks made in 1999-2003 following numerous reports that some of the U.S.’s largest passenger vehicles seemed unusually prone to sudden brake failure. Among the suspects: the Cadillac Escalade, the Chevy Suburban and the GMC Yukon.

Photo Courtesy of  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Photo Courtesy of THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Investigators responded by sending out surveys, pored over safety records, and inspected 71 randomly selected vehicles — but nothing found warranted a recall/

However. the probe did find that sudden brake line ruptures were not limited to a couple of million GM cars. Instead, they could be a danger to anyone behind the wheel of an older model truck or SUV in one the U.S.’s “salt states.”

“Salt and other chemicals can accumulate on road surfaces, can accumulate on your vehicle’s underbody, and could put you and your passengers in danger,” says a safety video issued Thursday by NHTSA.

The ‘incubation period’ identified by the report was only eight years. By that point, cars driven in “harsh conditions” would have built up enough corrosion to produce extremely dangerous and life-threating structural problems.

If you live in one of the “salt states” and own a vehicle that falls within the period, you could seriously be at risk. The best action to take at the moment would be to follow the Agency’s directions and thoroughly wash the underside of your vehicle. This should be done semiannually to prevent the spread of corrosion.

We will be updating this story as soon as we’ve received more information.

Special Thanks to the National Post and NHTSA

 

 

Taxi Driver Saves Self, Kills Two in Brake Failure Crash

Two people were killed and eleven were injured this past Saturday in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa following a gruesomely selfish brake failure crash.

News 24 reported that the driver had leapt from his seat to save himself as the vehicle slammed through a roadside barrier and ultimately plunged down an embankment, literally flinging passengers out of the vehicle as it rolled.

First responders and firefighters were said to have set up a rope rescue system at the top of the embankment to help medics carry the injured to waiting ambulances.

Currently, there is no additional information regarding the status of the injured or the criminal proceedings regarding the driver of the taxi.

The same type of taxi involved in the crash. Photo by Duncan Alfreds

 

 

RANT: DIY Painted Brake Calipers + Do’s and Don’ts or Painting Calipers

Nothing says “low class” more than painted brake calipers on a cheap car. It is unclear when this trend started, but I am sure that it starter when wheels started to cross the 17″ mark. Historically, brake calipers were black, silver or a gold Cadmium plating. The color of the brake caliper was dictated by the material.

Up until the early 1990s, all high performance vehicles from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche sported black or silver brake calipers. Some say it was the Ferrari 355 that started the trend with red powder coated Brembo calipers. After that, even the 1995 Pontiac Grand Am GT came with red brake calipers. Today, most people know if they see a Porsche with yellow brake calipers, they dished out $7,000 or more for the carbon ceramic brake package.

casio1007-1

A little over kill…

caliper_red_yellow_mockup

I’m Loving It! Not really, this is more distracting than a happy meal to a three year old.

DIY caliper painting took off in the 1990s when somebody decided to try high-temperature engine paint on their calipers. When the paint companies saw this they encouraged the trend by making caliper specific paint.

Here are a few tips if you are planning to paint your calipers

DO paint the caliper if it is a is a performance caliper with opposing pistons.

DON’T paint the caliper a bright color if it is single piston caliper mounted on a tiny rotor. Go with black, it will make your wheels look better. A brightly colored caliper can be a visual distraction and make the wheels look cheap.

DO remove the caliper from the vehicle or at least remove on caliper guide pin bolt and swing it up or down. Remove the hardware and pads so they are not covered in paint.

007

Nice job with the rattle clip!

DON’T paint the entire caliper on the car. Paint on some surfaces can cause the caliper to seize. Avoid any surfaces that come in contact with the pad.

DO replace the hardware after painting the caliper. Shiny abutment clips, shims and anti-rattle clips will add some extra bling.

DON’T paint the areas of the rotor/disc that make contact with the pads. Paint contains components that can contaminate the brake pad and change the friction levels. This contamination can stick around long after the rotors looks like it is nice and shiny.

DO  use the right products. Brake calipers can get hotter than the engine, so the right paint is critical. Some two-part epoxy paints the are applied with a brush work great and lasts a long time.

BAD BRAKES: Guess Why These Pads Failed Too Soon

 

This was posted on YouTube yesterday. It shows a soaked set of brake pads next to one rotor that looks normal and the other has a bronze color. The pads on the normal looking rotor look to be in decent shape. The other side with the discolored rotor has uneven wear. From the makings on the pads, it looks like the outer pad took most of the abuse while the inner pad has some tapered wear.

So what happened?

My best guess is that the caliper slides or guide pins or the pad seized in the bracket. This prevented the caliper from applying equal force on the pads. Eventually, the piston seal began to leak brake fluid.

Your guess? Leave it in the comments below.