Automotive Industry Alerted to Inferior Brake Calipers Following Independent Study

The automotive industry is being urged to scrutinise the quality and safety of brake calipers entering the aftermarket, following an independent study by Brake Engineering. This investigation has unveiled significant deficiencies in new caliper brands, raising concerns about potential safety risks.

Brake Engineering, a leading braking specialist, commissioned an independent company to assess the quality and performance of calipers being sold in the independent automotive aftermarket. The study tested three new brands of calipers, all of which failed to meet the stringent standards and critical tolerances set by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Alarmingly, all three brands utilised lower-grade materials, compromising their structural integrity.

The comprehensive evaluation uncovered 29 structural and mechanical defects across the tested calipers. Despite appearing aesthetically sound, detailed analysis revealed significant flaws, including porosities (holes) and oxides within the material, along with partially inhomogeneous microstructures. Such defects could weaken the units and potentially compromise braking performance under normal driving conditions.

The test encompassed six critical areas of the calipers: Machined radius finger (bridge), caster radius finger (bridge), caster radius finger (pot), machined radius (chamfer), radius at the step of the piston bore, and radius at the bottom of the piston bore. The analysis focused on three main aspects:

Material Chemical Composition: The calipers' failure to conform to OE standards during normal lifecycle operation could severely weaken the casting.

Structure and Mechanical Properties: Porosities can lead to higher vibrations, increased noise levels, and inconsistent pedal feel, potentially resulting in catastrophic brake failure.

Rubber and Seal Quality: Inefficiencies in this area could cause cracks and component failure.

Brake calipers are critical to vehicle safety, and any product that fails to meet the original specifications can pose severe and hazardous consequences. Brake Engineering emphasised this point, with marketing manager Mark Hallam stating, "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 study serves as a stark reminder to the industry to rigorously evaluate aftermarket parts to ensure they meet safety and performance standards, thereby protecting drivers and passengers from potential dangers on the road.

Automotive Industry Alerted to Inferior Brake Calipers Following Independent Study
June 18, 2024

Brake Engineering, a leading braking specialist, commissioned an independent company to assess the quality and performance of calipers being sold in the independent automotive aftermarket. The study tested three new brands of calipers, all of which failed to meet the stringent standards and critical tolerances set by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Alarmingly, all three brands utilised lower-grade materials, compromising their structural integrity.

The comprehensive evaluation uncovered 29 structural and mechanical defects across the tested calipers. Despite appearing aesthetically sound, detailed analysis revealed significant flaws, including porosities (holes) and oxides within the material, along with partially inhomogeneous microstructures. Such defects could weaken the units and potentially compromise braking performance under normal driving conditions.

The test encompassed six critical areas of the calipers: Machined radius finger (bridge), caster radius finger (bridge), caster radius finger (pot), machined radius (chamfer), radius at the step of the piston bore, and radius at the bottom of the piston bore. The analysis focused on three main aspects:

Material Chemical Composition: The calipers' failure to conform to OE standards during normal lifecycle operation could severely weaken the casting.

Structure and Mechanical Properties: Porosities can lead to higher vibrations, increased noise levels, and inconsistent pedal feel, potentially resulting in catastrophic brake failure.

Rubber and Seal Quality: Inefficiencies in this area could cause cracks and component failure.

Brake calipers are critical to vehicle safety, and any product that fails to meet the original specifications can pose severe and hazardous consequences. Brake Engineering emphasised this point, with marketing manager Mark Hallam stating, "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 study serves as a stark reminder to the industry to rigorously evaluate aftermarket parts to ensure they meet safety and performance standards, thereby protecting drivers and passengers from potential dangers on the road.

Understanding the Risks of Inferior Brake Calipers in the Aftermarket

What prompted the independent study on brake calipers?

The study was commissioned by Brake Engineering to evaluate the quality and performance of new caliper brands entering the independent automotive aftermarket.

How many caliper brands were tested in the study?

Three new brands of calipers were tested in the independent study.

Did the tested calipers meet the standards set by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)?

No, all three brands of calipers failed to meet the standards and critical tolerances set by OEMs.

What types of defects were found in the tested calipers?

The study detected 29 structural and mechanical defects, including porosities (holes) and oxides in the material, as well as partially inhomogeneous microstructures.

Why are these defects in calipers concerning?

These defects can weaken the calipers, potentially compromising braking performance and leading to catastrophic brake failure under normal driving conditions.

What areas of the calipers were tested in the study?

The test focused on six areas: Machined radius finger (bridge), caster radius finger (bridge), caster radius finger (pot), machined radius (chamfer), radius at the step of the piston bore, and radius at the bottom of the piston bore.

What were the main focus areas of the caliper tests?

The tests focused on material chemical composition, structure and mechanical properties, and rubber and seal quality.

How can porosities in calipers affect their performance?

Porosities can cause higher vibrations, increased noise levels, and inconsistent pedal feel, which can lead to catastrophic brake failure.

What did the study reveal about the rubber and seal quality of the tested calipers?

Inefficiencies in the rubber and seal quality could lead to cracks and component failure.

Why is it crucial for calipers to meet original specifications?

Calipers are safety-critical products, and any deviation from the original specifications can pose severe and hazardous consequences for vehicle safety.

What did Brake Engineering's marketing manager, Mark Hallam, say about the study's findings?

Mark Hallam 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."

What should the automotive industry take away from this study?

The industry should rigorously evaluate aftermarket parts to ensure they meet safety and performance standards, protecting drivers and passengers from potential dangers on the road.

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