2018 Alfa Romeos Face Recalls over Brake Fluid Contamination


Auburn Hills, Michigan – Jan. 16, 2018 – Chrysler Fiat America recently announced a recall of more than 300 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia sedans, citing concerns over contaminated brake fluid that could degrade over time, according to a filing made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Specifically, the brake fluid in these vehicles may have come into contact with a type of oil that is not compatible with it, which could cause it to degrade over time and reduce braking performance. That, in turn, could lead to an increased risk of accident or injury.

All 307 of the Giulia sedans in the recall are expected to carry this defect, and were produced from Nov. 14 to Nov. 23, 2017.

The Defect

The brake fluid in affected vehicles were limited to the 10-day period in question, before and after which point the contaminated barrels of oil were not present in the factory where the vehicles were put together.

When the brake system is affected by the contaminated fluid, its components will likely be damaged and lead to a decline in overall performance of the vehicle’s braking capabilities. There would be no way for drivers to determine that this was happening, and could therefore result in a crash before the problem could be addressed, unless there was a brake failure during operation. In that case, a warning light in the dashboard would come on to alert the driver about the issue. However, the recall report called this warning “limited.”

Timeline of Events

Two vehicles being tested as part of a Customer Product Audit failed a routine examination on Nov. 23 when they suffered a loss of clutch pressure. This prompted a small population of vehicles to be put on hold. On Nov. 28, Alfa Romeo officially opened an investigation into the issue, and conducted further lab analysis on the vehicles that failed the audits. This analysis found the contamination of the brake and clutch fluid that led to the recall, and determined through internal records that they had both been manufactured at a time when a pallet of brake and clutch fluid, as well as oil, had been used starting Nov. 13. The next day, all vehicles at the plant were held and tested for oil contamination.

Alfa Romeo was able to create a bypass to only use uncontaminated barrels in further production starting Dec. 5.

Then, on Dec. 13, FCA Italy finally decided to issue the formal safety recall.

The Solution

FCA is encouraging owners to get their vehicles’ brake systems inspected and replaced as necessary, as part of the recall. It will fully reimburse owners who incurred any associated costs with repairing the issues.

Consequently, the automaker asks that owners send original receipts or other proof of payment to confirm the cost of the expense.

Fiat Chrysler will notify owners and dealers about the recall starting on or around Feb. 8, 2018.

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