The lines that NHTSA looked at carry brake fluid throughout the brake system and play the primary role in the hydraulic functionality of the brakes. Fluid in the lines is responsible for applying pressure to the mechanical brake parts that stop the vehicle. Lines compromised by rust and corrosion eventually leak and result in loss of pressure greatly increasing stopping distances. If this condition is not addressed all the fluid is lost resulting in no brakes.
NHTSA offered consumers in the "Salt Belt" (a list of 20 states & DC where deicing preparations are applied to roadways) suggestions to "protect against brake pipe corrosion in older vehicles". They are: 1.) Periodically remove from the undercarriage of your vehicle road salt that leads to corrosion
2.) Monitor your brake system and the undercarriage components
3.) Replace the entire brake pipe assembly at any sign of scaling or flaking
The agency also describes what to do if you experience a brake failure while driving. These instructions can be viewed at NHTSA Brake Corrosion Press Release.
Comment -As covered in the last blog post and reinforced here by NHTSA, there is no substitution for a trained eye periodically looking over your vehicle.
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