Mitsubishi recalls vehicles with defective brakes

Cypress, Calif. – Feb. 14, 2018 – Mitsubishi Motors North America has recalled more than 170,000 vehicles possibly equipped with corrosion-prone and improperly installed brake components, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The safety campaign affects 2014-2016 Mitsubishi Outlander sport utility vehicles produced between April 12, 2013, and Feb. 2, 2016, as well as 2013-2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SUVs manufactured between July 20, 2012, and July 8, 2016. The Japanese automaker suspects all of the models referenced in the action contain the defective components.

The Defect

Affected vehicles could contain parking brake shafts and rear brake caliber boots that are not properly water-sealed. As a result, moisture could penetrate both of these fixtures and cause extensive corrosion damage. Additionally, these models feature defective automatic brake pad adjusters. Together, these parts greatly inhibit braking functionality and therefore pose a serious threat to occupants. However, Mitsubishi has not received reports connecting the defective components to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

In October 2014, Mitsubishi received a field report from a dealer in the U.K. outlining an instance of rear brake disintegration. The automaker launched an investigation and in October 2014 came to the conclusion that corrosion had caused the parking brake shaft to stick. Engineers took this data and began developing a production solution, which debuted in January 2016. At this point, assembly crews began coating all parking brake components in an anticorrosion covering. Mitsubishi launched an extended field monitoring program to measure the effectiveness of the coated components.

As this situation unfolded, Mitsubishi dealt with another developing safety issue centered on brake assemblies. In February 2015, the company received a field report from the Japanese market that referenced nonworking automatic brake pad adjusters. Mitsubishi engineers investigated the issue for more than one year but could not pinpoint a root cause. They did, however, find that one of the washers installed on one of the problematic brake calibers was scratched. Investigators began working with operations to develop a technical solution that would prevent scratching while also moving forward with their root cause analysis.

In October 2016, Mitsubishi introduced new washers made of stronger material that were impervious to scratching. The investigation moved forward.

Nearly one year later in September 2017, compliance officials at the company discovered that its brake caliber supplier, Akebono Brake Industry, had performed ineffective post-production inspections. This resulted in the release of defective calibers that did not meet predetermined production specifications. These unfit features, combined with the scratched washers, affected the performance of brake the pad automatic adjusters, which in turn led to decreases in braking performance due to increased pad wear.

On Jan. 19, 2018, quality assurance personnel met and decided that a voluntary safety recall aimed at addressing both braking issues was necessary.

The Solution

Mitsubishi intends to direct dealers to inspect and, if necessary, replace the rear brake calibers and parking brake boots on affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. The car company plans to notify dealers Feb. 9 and reach out to owners via first-class mail March 27.

Owners in need of more immediate assistance can connect with Mitsubishi customer service staff at (888) 648-7820. Callers should use the internal recall reference code SR-18-002. Owners can also speak with the NHTSA using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesMitsubishi recalls vehicles with defective brakes