Safety of imported emergency brake cables called into question

Posted on 4 Feb 2015 by Tim Brown

The safety of Chinese-made emergency brake cables has been called into question after a US brake cable manufacturer said its tests showed the imported brake cables were defective.

Bruin Brake Cables has written to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claiming that foreign-made emergency (parking) brake cables consistently failed safety tests the company conducted conducted at its Fox Lake, Illinois.

According to Bruin Brake Cables close to nine out of 10 foreign-made emergency brake cables failed the same test Bruin Brake Cables conducts on its own cables.

“We test our brake cables,” said Rick Gelscheit, owner of Bruin Brake Cables. “We want to make sure we’re selling a quality product. At some point, it made sense to compare our cables to our competitors. We were stunned by the results.”

Mr Gelscheit used emergency brake cables he purchased at auto parts stores around the Illinois area to conduct the testing and he also allowed others to bring in other cables for tests. According to him, the results consistently confirmed his claims.

“On a personal level, I know that I’m competing with companies that don’t pay their workers comparably to what we pay ours,” he said. “That doesn’t seem fair to me but there isn’t much I can do about it unless I have our cables made in China or something. I don’t want to do that. I prefer to put Americans to work. But, at the very least, we should expect the Chinese to sell emergency brake cables that are safe.

“In that regard, the problem goes well beyond competition and fairness…. The roads aren’t as safe for any of us when people are driving around with ticking time bombs under their cars – emergency brake cables that will snap [in] the first emergency.”

Gelscheit said he has approached the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the problem but is yet to hear back with a response. The Manufacturer has also contacted the NHTSA to confirm if it is looking into the issue or if they have conducted any of its own tests on overseas-made emergency brake cables.