Often times, we post articles about cars or trucks that experienced brake failure and crashed into something or someone. When those crashes occur, the culprit is usually a delaminated rotor, clinging caliper or even brake line corrosion. Seldom do we ever hear about ABS failures, that physically lock up your wheels and prevent you from taking evasive action during an incident. Until today.
Renee Costanza was driving west bound with a passenger on Highway 60 in Florida when she noticed a woman standing in the middle of the lane. Costanza was traveling at a high rate of speed considering it was a highway, and promptly slammed on her brakes to avoid hitting the woman. To her unfortunate demise, Costanza’s wheels locked up, disallowing her to swerve out of woman’s way. She then struck the pedestrian and killed her on impact.
According to sources, the rate of impact was so fierce, that Constanza couldn’t even find the body following the crash. She had to wait for law enforcement to arrive who eventually did find the body.
First responders attempted to revive the woman but to no avail.
Drugs, alcohol and speed are not being considered as factors. The investigation is on-going.
Polk County, Florida
Customer Complaint: Noise and long stops while braking.
Condition: Friction material has delaminated from the backing plate. Partial delamination at the edges or complete delamination from backing plate. The build up of debris or surface corrosion at the join between
friction material and plate can mask a
delaminated edge, but any degradation of the bond will cause the NVH characteristics of the pad to change, usually resulting in noise.
• Corrosive Road De-Icing Brines: If the bonds between the friction material are weak, water, road salt and de-icing brines can work their way between the components. This can cause the friction material to separate from the backing plate as the rust penetrates the edges where the friction material meets the backing plate. The rust “jacks” the friction material and causes separation.
• Higher than normal stresses and heat: This is usually obvious on brake pads that undergo rapid heat/quench cycles. The rapid expansion and contraction of the plate can flex the plate in relation to the friction material and “break” the bond of the adhesive. Once the bond is broken, it allows the plate and friction material to resonate at different frequencies, creating noise, and typically this vibration and delamination process will continue.
Solution: Most cheap brake pads cut corners when it comes to the backing plates. It maybe a thinner gauge steel or misplaced holes that allow the pad to flex and fracture the friction material. It might also be the anti-corrosion paints or coatings needed to protect the against rust getting between the friction material and plate. Hey, you get what you pay for.
There are some premium backing plates on the market that come with premium pads. NUCAP’s NRS puts hundreds of small hooks on the plate that grab the friction material. This gets rid of the holes and the problems seen above. According to NUCAP, the hooks increase the shear strength and can prevent edge lift of the friction material. Not only can it increase overall safety, but it can decrease incidents of unwanted noise.
Every so often, we find the worst possible cases of brake rotor and pad delamination on Reddit. These posts are all submitted anonymously, and are usually derived from mechanics, shop owners or just plain DIYers.
This week, we have four select photos that absolutely scream brake failure. Some of them you’ll wonder how they even made it in to the shop!
1) This customer complained of brake noise. Photo by GearHeadLV
2) This next customer forgot the E-brake and didn’t notice.. Photo by LeoCreations
3) ”My brakes don’t seem to work as well as they used to” Photo by Aye-aye-ron_
4) The last customer bought his new car from an auction..this is what was ‘helping’ him stop. Photo by Reboticon
According to ConsumerAffairs, more and more complaints are piling regarding rusted brake lines on their GM trucks and yet nothing is being done.
Articles dating back to early June indicate this problem has been doing more than festering, its been spreading almost like wildfire. GM states the brake line corrosion issue is a problem ‘industry wide’ but owners think the contrary.
GM went as far as saying it’s up to truck owners to maintain their vehicles.
“Brake line wear on vehicles is a maintenance issue that affects the auto industry, not just General Motors,” GM spokesman Alan Adler said. “The trucks in question are long out of factory warranty and owners’ manuals urge customers to have their brake lines inspected. In fact, more than 20 states require brake line inspections at one- or two-year intervals or when stopped for a violation.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating reports of corrosion-related brake failure in 1999 through 2003 Silverado pickup trucks. NHTSA has received over 890 total consumer complaints about the problem, 761 of them from cold-weather states that use salt to clear ice from roadways.
For now, it doesn’t look like GM is doing anything about the issue. NHTSA has to first open up an investigation, find that the problems can be related to quality negligence by GM, and allow them 5 business days to issue a full recall. Any hesitation or in-execution of a recall can result in heavy fines.
Got a GM truck will corroded brake lines and fed up that GM won’t do anything about it? Write NHTSA and complain, maybe your complaint will be the one to trigger an investigation!
To file a safety complaint, click here.
Yes, unfortunately like everything else on this site, this story is true.
While on their way back from a fun day to celebrate her birthday at an amusement park, Sierra Treichler and her boyfriend Jonel Santana found themselves upside down in a rocky ditch. Their brakes failed and steering control went out, causing them to lose control and flip over an embankment.
Reports stated the front wheel hit a large rock on the embankment, causing the car to flip over on its roof into a drainage ditch known as a swail. The ditch was filled with large rock to control water runoff from the highway during heavy periods of rain.
“It was a sad end to a perfect day,” the young man said while standing with Sierra along the side of the road watching a tow truck from Tire Ranch removing the wrecked vehicle.
Emergency crews responded to the accident scene after receiving numerous pages, but luckily reported there were no serious injuries.