Brake Engineering Highlights Critical Defects in New Caliper Brands

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An independent study commissioned by Brake Engineering has highlighted critical safety concerns regarding the quality of brake calipers entering the aftermarket. The study found 29 defects across three new caliper brands, all of which failed to meet the standards and tolerances set by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The findings have prompted a call for increased scrutiny and quality assurance in the automotive industry.

Key Highlights

  • Three new caliper brands tested
  • 29 structural and mechanical defects detected
  • Use of lower-grade materials identified
  • Potential weakening and compromised braking performance

Brake Engineering‘s study involved a thorough evaluation of calipers sold in the independent automotive aftermarket. The analysis revealed significant deviations from OEM standards, including the use of inferior materials. Despite appearing aesthetically sound, these calipers exhibited porosities (holes) and oxides within their materials, along with partly inhomogeneous microstructures. Such defects pose a risk of weakening the units, potentially compromising braking performance under normal driving conditions.

The tests examined six specific areas of the calipers:

  • Machined radius finger (bridge)
  • Caster radius finger (bridge)
  • Caster radius finger (pot)
  • Machined radius (chamfer)
  • Radius at step of piston bore
  • Radius at bottom of piston bore

The study focused on three main aspects:

  1. Material Chemical Composition: Failure to conform to OE standards, severely weakening the casting during normal lifecycle operation.
  2. Structure and Mechanical Properties: Presence of porosities causing higher vibrations, increased noise levels, and inconsistent pedal response, leading to potential catastrophic brake failure.
  3. Rubber and Seal Quality: Inefficiencies that could result in cracks and component failure.

Brake calipers are safety-critical components of a vehicle’s braking system. Products that fail to meet original specifications can lead to severe and hazardous consequences. Brake Engineering warns of the risks associated with these substandard calipers.

Mark Hallam, Brake Engineering marketing manager, stated, “The results of the independent test are alarming for the aftermarket, especially following the trade’s successful MOT campaign to maintain safety standards. Calipers entering the market may appear fit for purpose. However, their performance has been found to be severely questionable with structures potentially leading to catastrophic failure.”

This independent study underscores the importance of maintaining high-quality standards for brake calipers to ensure the safety and reliability of vehicles on the road.

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The Brake Report
The Brake Report

The BRAKE Report is an online media platform dedicated to the automotive and commercial vehicle brake segments. Our mission is to provide the global brake community with the latest news & headlines from around the industry.