Quality parts produced at home, like brake pads, offer numerous benefits.
When we order parts, we pick up the phone or order the parts online from our parts supplier like it’s second nature. And, I wonder how many of us have thought, when we do this, about whether those parts we’re ordering are manufactured here in Canada and whether they come from a reputable manufacturer.
A big question we should be asking ourselves when it comes to items such as brake pads is not only are they quality items, but do they contain asbestos and sometimes other toxic materials including copper, lead and mercury.
The safety and health hazards regarding asbestos have been well documented for years. There has been a major push to lobby government in banning asbestos in brake pads that are sold in Canada, yet according to Rick Jamieson, President & CEO of Guelph, Ontario-based ABS Friction, this remains an ongoing issue.
We are still seeing brake pads imported to Canada from overseas that contain asbestos and often, those parts find their way into the supply chain and end up in the hands of service repair shops. Technicians who are servicing brake components, may be working on a vehicle and not even aware that the brake dust on the rims and in the wheel-wells contains asbestos and is impacting their health.
Prolonged exposure to these elements can cause serious health issues including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Both professional technicians and do-it-yourself enthusiasts need to be aware that the brake pads being replaced on the vehicle may also contain asbestos.
Recently, I was fortunate to have our AARO board members visit ABS Friction and tour the facility. Rick Jamieson has frequently and repeatedly sounded the alarm regarding the dangers of using asbestos in brake pads. He says that ABS Friction’s formulas never contain asbestos, though the toxic material is still found in aftermarket brake pads sourced overseas and imported into Canada.
One of the biggest issues facing the industry regarding asbestos in brake pads, concerns the fact that uninformed consumers frequently ask for the cheapest parts and cheapest repairs without understanding the difference in purchasing low priced overseas versus better quality, made in Canada items. There’s an old saying, you always get what you pay for, and while one part might be cheaper up front, it can cost you a lot more in the long run, such as brake failure and vehicle collisions resulting from poor product quality and performance. When it comes to brakes neither consumers nor service providers can afford to cut corners!
That’s why it’s the responsibility of our entire industry to not only provide the best service we can, but also to inform and educate.
If consumers are more educated about quality parts along with the benefits they offer that are backed up by quality manufacturing and R&D resources, they are more likely to make an informed decision. This means that in the long run their vehicles are safer, that service providers have the opportunity to build long-term retention and technicians are also able to do their job safer and more efficiently.
And when it comes to critical safety components like brakes, this is especially important!
So, the next time, you or your technicians are performing a brake service, make sure that you take the time to educate the customer why going with the cheapest option is far from the best. By using quality products made here in Canada do not only promote their safety and your long-term business opportunity but you’re also supporting our economy.