Overheating Brakes Receive NHTSA Scrutiny

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has opened an investigation of Haldex brake components following complaints from users about alleged overheating of the brakes which led to fires.

According to documents posted on NHTSA’s website, “ODI is aware of eleven (11) Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQs) that allege, without discernable warning to the driver, the failure of a Haldex brake chamber. Seven (7) of those cases involved thermal events causing extensive fire damage to the vehicle and, in some cases, the cargo too. In at least one of the fires, a fire investigation report identified a wheel end fire as the origin. Analysis of other failed units found Haldex brake chamber diaphragms punctured by the power spring.”

The problem is when the there is a failure within the Haldex Gold Seal GC3030LCW air brake chambers, air pressure can be lost which can cause the brakes to “drag,” and, thus, result in the overheating.

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The NHTSA report added, “ODI discussed the VOQs (Vehicle Owner Questionares) with the complainants. Through these discussions, ODI learned that multiple fleets were having issues with numerous vehicles. ODI further learned that Haldex agreed to replace brake chambers on some of the vehicles in these fleets.”

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The issue might extend to more than 500,000 heavy trucks, primarily Kenworth and Peterbilt vehicles, though NHTSA reported it would determine the exact vehicles in question and how often the problem occurs. The ODI Preliminary Evaluation (PE) covers model-year 2015-2020 trucks based on allegations of air loss resulting in vehicle fires. The investigation could lead to a recall if the situation warrants it.

According to Associated Press reports, “Messages were left Tuesday seeking comment from Haldex, which has its U.S. headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.”

The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed by clicking HERE.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.