Test finds some aftermarket brake calipers are defective

An independent study has found some aftermarket brake calipers to be defective, bringing into question their quality and safety.

The test, commissioned by Brake Engineering, looked at six areas of the calipers including machined radius finger (bridge); caster radius finger (bridge); caster radius finger (pot); machined radius (chamfer); radius at step of piston bore and; radius at bottom of piston bore.

Three new brands of calipers were tested and all failed to meet standards and critical tolerances set by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), with all three found to have used lower-grade material.

In total, 29 structural and mechanical defects affecting the performance of calipers were detected.​

While aesthetically these calipers look “fine”, under closer testing all units were shown to have “porosities” (holes) and oxides in the material and all had partly inhomogeneous microstructures.

The study warned that this could result in weakening of the unit and compromise the braking performance.

Calipers, as part of a vehicle’s braking system, are safety critical products and therefore any products that fail to meet the original specification of the product could have severe and potential hazardous consequences, warns Brake Engineering.

Mark Hallam, Brake Engineering marketing manager, said: “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.”

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