Braking's automotive importance can't be understated, which is why recalls for brake-related defects always raise alarm. When automakers call back thousands of vehicles for essential updates or repairs, it always serves as an illustration of the importance of brake testing. If any of the responsible defects had been caught at the initial testing stages, the companies may have avoided the cost and reputation risk associated with problems discovered too late.
The following are three recent examples of brake-based recalls, gathered from a variety of corners within the automotive sector to show that these risks know no boundaries. Every part of a braking system must be subjected to rigorous examination, no matter the kind of vehicle or its intended role.
Mazda parking brake issue prompts mass action
The differences between standard and parking brakes mean that each type poses a unique risk. Issues with parking brakes won't emerge when drivers attempt to stop a moving car's momentum, but when they attempt to keep a parked car from rolling away. The danger in such a scenario is very real, despite the vehicles starting from a stationary position.
A recent Mazda recall was brought on by a possible parking brake failure, according to the Associated Press. The 2014-2015 Mazda 6 and the 2014-2016 Mazda 3 are the cars involved. The source noted that the issue, having to do with hand brakes, first surfaced in April 2015. The initial report came from Canada, and was followed by 13 incidents in the United States. Roll-aways were observed in the United Kingdom and Germany – fortunately, no injuries have yet been noted.
The AP reported that 307,000 cars, spread throughout the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and Saipan, are included in the recall effort. There was no confirmation of whether other territories will see similar efforts. According to the news provider, corrosion is responsible for the possible failures. Dealers inspect the rear brakes of cars to see if this has occurred – the part replaced depends on the answer.
"Though the means of repair are modern, the importance of the recall is high as ever."
Anti-lock software needs update in Germany
Contemporary brake systems blend hardware and software. According to Reuters, the latter system has led to a Volkswagen recall in Germany. The issue involves the anti-lock brakes and extends across a few of Volkswagen's sub-brands: VW, Audi and Skoda.
In total, 385,000 vehicles are due to go into dealers and receive a necessary security update – though the means of repair are modern, the importance of the recall is high as ever.
The news source noted that there are a few situations that potentially cause the control system behind the vehicles' anti-lock brakes to fail. Under-steering is one potential source of issues, over-steering another. A hard slam on the brakes may also lead to issues. Having properly updated software under the hood is an integral component of automotive safety today, alongside well-preserved brake hardware.
Potential leaks in motorcycles
The integrity of brakes on vehicles other than cars and trucks is similarly essential for overall road safety. Ultimate Motorcycling pointed to a recall of Moto Guzzi cycles, manufactured by Piaggio Group Americas.
These motorcycles are prone to issues with the fretting between brake components and the engine. The bike brake lines could end up leaking, which would damage the rider's braking ability, at least concerning the front wheel. The recall affects roughly 1,139 vehicles, coming from the V7 and V9 lines.
According to the news source, the issue first surfaced in Europe. Potentially due to customer intervention, the position of the front brake line was different than factory specifications, raising the risk of the leaking issue described above. It's important that the ABS hose not rub up against other components. Accordingly, the fix for the problem involves dealers securing the brake hose in place. If the hoses are found to already be damaged, dealers will replace them at the manufacturer's cost.
The wide world of brake risk
On two wheels, four or more, in the U.S., in Europe or anywhere in the world, brake risk is a pressing issue demanding immediate attention wherever and whenever it is discovered. There is a serious need for manufacturers to test their new products for risk beforehand, potentially avoiding the flaws that lead to recalls.
Check out Greening's offer of a complimentary brake testing consultation to learn about inspecting your products.