I forgot to completely release the parking brakes on my car and drove with them for a little while. When I got out of the car to refuel by standing next to the rear wheels, a strong foul odor like the burning smell of tires could be smelled that even other people noticed it.

My question is that would this smell and foul odor expose you to higher doses of asbestos fibers(if the brake pads contain it) just by overheating the brake pads and inhaling some of the smell?

EDIT: Actually, I chose the nickname of "Stefan" and proceeded to sign up rather being a guest, now I can't access that "Stefan" account.

@pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Thank you for the answer. My car is built around 2003, but it's a cheapo custom made car with low quality parts (from china?). I just have it for some reasons. But what do you mean by this " Even if they do contain asbestos, there isn't much to worry about as the fibers, for the most part, will remain outside of the vehicle."? Do you mean that asbestos will come off into the outside space when someone overheats them (by riding with parking brakes)?


You don't mention what the year of the vehicle you're talking about, but for the most part, asbestos has not been used in brake shoes/pads since ~1995. Here's an article in the LA Times from 1991 which talked about it:

Under federal law, asbestos brake production is supposed to stop in 1993 and auto manufacturers are supposed to stop using it in new cars by 1995. By 1997, all asbestos brake linings are supposed to be off store shelves and out of new cars.

As long as the vehicle you're talking about is after this point, you really shouldn't need to worry about asbestos as you're suggesting. Even if they do contain asbestos, there isn't much to worry about as the fibers, for the most part, will remain outside of the vehicle.

If you're talking about an older car, the main time you need to worry about asbestos exposure is when you're changing out the pads/shoes. During this time you should wear, at a minimum, a dust mask just to keep the junk from filtering into your lungs. Also ensure you are either wearing nitrile (or equivalent disposable) type gloves. This isn't to protect your hands, but rather so you don't transfer from your hands to your nose (yah, it always itches when you get your hands dirty!), which could cause you to inhale the asbestos. Throw the gloves away when done.

  • A side effect of the changeover (at least in the UK) was that asbestos pads wore down and needed regular replacement. On the other hand non-asbestos pads wear down the brake rotors faster than the pads - though the replacement interval for the rotors is a lot longer than it used to be for the pads.
    – alephzero
    Nov 3 '18 at 18:26

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