By on January 2, 2018

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCA

Many years of competing in demolition derbies taught me many things, such as the value of not looking over my shoulder while reversing into someone at a high rate of speed and the importance of a good neck brace. I also learned that while one can substitute other liquids for transmission fluid, braking systems don’t play well with any pollutant that’s not designed to be in there.

Alfa Romeo has also discovered this fact, and is now recalling a total of 307 Giulia sedans and Stelvio crossovers from the 2018 model year for potentially contaminated brake fluid.

As detailed by the NHTSA, certain Giulias and Stelvios may contain brake fluid that was contaminated in the assembly plant with a non-compatible oil type. On November 23, two vehicles within the plant failed the dynamic Customer Product Audit quality test when they experienced a loss of clutch pressure. FCA says the entire yard was subsequently placed on hold as a safety measure.

Five days later, Alfa Romeo opened an investigation into the loss of clutch pedal pressure due to QC failure of those two subject vehicles. The same day, the boffins at Alfa donned white coats and conducted laboratory analysis on the vehicles that failed QC. This revealed contamination of the brake and clutch fluid with mineral oil. Further investigation found that a pallet containing those three fluids was used starting November 13th.

The next day, all vehicles were held at the assembly plant, with suspect vehicles tested for oil contamination. On December 5th, the plant created a system in which vehicles would be assembled using brake and clutch fluid from barrels they knew to be uncontaminated. Using date codes and a bit of math, Alfa determined 307 Giulias and Stelvios were built during the time frame in question.

What happens when brake fluid is polluted? Well, the brake system components contaminated with non-compatible oil may become damaged and braking performance may suffer. Vehicles with contaminated brake fluid may experience decreased braking performance when depressing the brake pedal. In certain cases, it can cause a system failure with little warning, leading to a vehicle crash.

Alfa Romeo will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the braking system, replacing it as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 8, 2018. Owners may contact Alfa Romeo customer service at 1-844-253-2872. Chrysler’s number for this recall is T84.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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18 Comments on “Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio Recalled for Brake Snafu...”

  • avatar

    “This revealed contamination of the brake and clutch fluid with mineral oil.”

    Okay, I just downloaded the owners manual for the 2018 Giulia, and went to Page 248, for the fluid specs. It says that the brake fluid used is DOT 4. DOT 4 is mineral oil. So what’s the problem? Even DOT 3 would be okay; it just has a lower boiling point.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    Wait, they found the problem, addressed it in the vehicles still in their possession, but are going make the new car owners wait until FEBRUARY to get their cars fixed!? Are they going to take the cars off the road and give the customers a loaner to drive until the cars are fixed? I mean we are talking about the braking system here.

    • 0 avatar

      Good call! This should be an immediate “STOP DRIVING THE CAR!!!” letter and free loaners for everyone who was brave enough to buy a first-year Alfa product. I mean, this is your core audience. Protect these people at all costs!

  • avatar

    Brakes are way over-rated in the art of mastering the demolition derby, in fact, they may be the main hindrance to winning.

  • avatar

    Some timely downshifting and slightly above average steering skills should mitigate any brake issues. Light traffic and level ground are also helpful.

    • 0 avatar

      You are correct.

      I say this as someone who foolishly undertook a 20 mile journey on the freeway with only minimal brakes left.

      At least it was night, generally uphill, and I had a stick shift.

      Place I took it to for a complete brake job complained that one of their guys nearly crashed into a creek because he couldn’t stop. Duh! I specifically said the brakes were shot.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I found the brakes to be wonky in the Stelvio I test drove a couple months ago.

    At one point, the car stopped abruptly with a shudder in the middle of an intersection even as I was trying to stop at a stop sign. The salesman told me the car has ‘electric brakes’. Besides many other factors, this was enough to make me walk away.

  • avatar

    I’ve been under the impression for some time that Fiat has little idea of six sigma quality standards, nor even the first principles of quality assurance. Chrysler does or did, but from what little one can glean about the way superior Italian engineering talent swanned about Auburn Hills correcting Chrysler engineers, even they have been turned for the worse. Purchasing practices also don’t help. The result is that FCA manages to handily win the Unreliability stakes year after year, while the upper management hasn’t the faintest clue what’s going on.

  • avatar

    It’s funny that whenever a recall happens there are “OMG this company sucks so bad” comments. Funny since every manufacturer has recalls. Honda, Toyota, BMW, Ford, GM….they all have massive recalls on a regular basis.

  • avatar

    Powdered Stelvio really sweetens up a cup of tea, and adds very few calories. Draining the brake fluid is highly recommended before making Stelvio powder.

  • avatar

    Lucky for the US Alfas don’t have clutches, then.

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