Ann Arbor, Michigan – An aftermarket component manufacturer has filed a petition with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), asking for adoption of a first-ever Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for brake rotors.
The petition was requested by Affinia Group Inc., which designs, manufacturers and distributes aftermarket components. Earlier this month, Affinia settled false advertising lawsuits it filed against two competitors when the parties agreed to enter into mutual consent judgments which prevents them from advertising that their rotors meet or exceed original equipment performance standards, unless they possess scientifically reliable and objectively verifiable engineering tests.
The new standard that Affinia seeks from NHTSA would require all rotors sold in the United States to meet minimum performance standards for structural strength and crack resistance under rigorous laboratory testing. No such mandatory standard exists in the U.S. today. Also for the first time, the proposed rule would also require that rotors be stamped with identifying markings, including a DOT (Department of Transportation) symbol representing the manufacturer’s certification that the part meets the new standard.
“This is what we call a ‘life and limb’ issue,” said Terry McCormack, president and CEO of Affinia Group. “There are no components more integral to motorist protection than brake rotors. American drivers have a right to expect such critical links in the safety chain to perform when it counts.”
Affinia said that until recently, manufacturers of replacement brake parts consistently designed and build their products to match the design specifications, and to meet or exceed the performance and durability of the original equipment (OE) parts that they were meant to replace. Within the last year and a half, a number of companies have been importing and distributing aftermarket brake rotors that are lighter, thinner and cheaper than their OE counterparts. Affinia said it has also identified numerous instances in which importers or distributors of these rotors have falsely asserted in advertising or on their Internet sites that the rotors meet OE specifications and performance levels, and that customers or technicians have no way of knowing that such assertions are not accurate.