Italian brake giant Brembo says some foundries in developing countries are sending a deluge of poor-quality and potentially dangerous brake discs into Europe.
And car care firm Comma found half of 700 vehicles it tested had defective systems caused by contaminated or old brake fluid, with 29% so bad that drivers were risking their lives.
Andrea Taschini, Brembo’s aftermarket business unit director, said fleets should check with servicing and maintenance suppliers that mechanics are checking every new brake disc for defects and not assuming that they will be in good condition. Brembo tested more than 5,000 discs from major brands, including some bought in the UK, and found that 40% showed a serious defect.
A spokesman said the majority of brands did not make their own discs but bought them from local producers, often in developing countries such as China, India and Brazil. Technology and controls on foundries in such places can be minimal, leading to defects in the materials and machining of the discs.
Such problems can lead to reduced effectiveness under braking, and some discs could even collapse, Brembo said.
Brembo has its own foundries at locations around the world and does not buy in discs. It says a lack of European legislation surrounding the traceability of products makes it virtually impossible for consumers to find out where a particular disc was made.
The firm is lobbying for legislation that already exists in the United States but does not expect results until 2015.