Goodridge (USA) Inc.,
Torrance, CA 90501
Dear Mr. Byrne:
This responds to your letter requesting an interpretation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 106; Brake hoses. According to your letter, you plan to sell a brake hose assembly for hydraulic brake systems that you refer to as "Stainless Steel Braided Brakelines." You then asked several questions about selling your product in this country.
By way of background information, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administers Federal requirements for the manufacture and sale of new motor vehicles and certain items of motor vehicle equipment, including brake hose assemblies. Congress has established a "self-certification" process under which each manufacturer is responsible for certifying that its products meet all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs). This process requires each manufacturer to determine that its products meet all applicable requirements. NHTSA tests vehicles and equipment sold to consumers for compliance with the FMVSS's and investigates defects relating to motor vehicle safety. If a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a noncompliance or safety-related defect exists, the manufacturer must notify purchasers of its product and remedy the problem free of charge. A manufacturer of a noncomplying product is also subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each noncomplying item it produces. I have enclosed an information sheet that highlights the responsibilities you must meet as a manufacturer of motor vehicle equipment.
Standard No. 106 applies to new motor vehicles and to brake hoses, brake hose end fittings, and brake hose assemblies. The standard specifies labeling and performance requirements for these products to reduce the likelihood of brake system failure from ruptures in the brake hose or brake hose assembly. New brake hoses, end fittings, and assemblies must meet these requirements to be sold in or imported into this country. If the items do not comply, the manufacturer is subject to the civil penalties and the recall responsibilities mentioned above.
You first asked NHTSA to "confirm" that an independent laboratory certification is valid for the United States. As explained above, NHTSA does not approve manufacturers' products or conduct pre-sale testing of their products. In the United States, the individual manufacturer must certify that its product complies with all applicable FMVSS's.
You then asked NHTSA to confirm that such a brake hose assembly can be used with an adapter into the master cylinder or caliper. Your brake hose assembly can be used at any place in a motor vehicle, provided that in installing it, a vehicle manufacturer, distributor, dealer or repair business does not knowingly make inoperative, in whole or in part, a vehicle or item of equipment which is in compliance with any applicable safety standard. Specifically, inclusion of your brake hose assembly could not modify a hydraulic brake system subject to FMVSS No. 105, Hydraulic Brake Systems, to the extent that it no longer complies with the standard.
Your next question asked whether there are any special marking requirements for brake hose assemblies manufactured for sale in the United States. Section S5.2.4 sets forth labeling requirements for brake hose assemblies.
Section S5.2.4 states that
Each hydraulic brake hose assembly, except those sold as part of a motor vehicle, shall be labeled by means of a band around the brake hose assembly as specified in this paragraph or at the option of the manufacturer, by means of labeling as specified in S126.96.36.199. The band may at the manufacturer's option be attached so as to move freely along the length of the assembly, as long as it is retained by the end fittings. The band shall be etched, embossed, or stamped in block capital letters, numerals or symbols at least one-eighth of an inch high, with the following information:
(a) The symbol DOT constituting certification by the hose assembler that the hose assembly conforms to all applicable motor vehicle safety standards.
(b) A designation that identifies the manufacturer of the hose assembly which shall be filed in writing with: Office of Vehicle Safety Standards, Crash Avoidance Division, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington DC 20590. The designation may consist of block capital letters, numerals or a symbol.
In addition, section S188.8.131.52 provides as an option that at least one end fitting be etched, stamped or embossed with a designation at least one-sixteenth of an inch high that identifies the manufacturer of the hose assembly.
I have also enclosed copies of two procedural requirements you must satisfy in order to sell your products in this country. The first requirement is NHTSA's regulation for manufacturer identification (49 CFR Part 566). This regulation requires a manufacturer of equipment to which an FMVSS applies (e.g., brake hoses) to submit its name, address, and a brief description of the items of equipment it manufacturers to NHTSA within 30 days after it first imports its products into the United States. The second requirement is NHTSA's regulation for designations of agents (49 CFR Part 551, Procedural Rules, Subpart D). The regulation requires all manufacturers headquartered outside of the United States to designate a permanent resident of the United States as the manufacturer's agent for service of all process, notices, orders and decisions. This designation should be mailed to me at the following address: Chief Counsel, Room 5219, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, D.C., 20590. The designation must include the following information:
1. A certification that the designation of agent is valid in form and binding on the manufacturer under the laws, corporate-by-laws, or other requirements governing the making of the designation at the time and place where it is made;
2. The full legal name, principal place of business and mailing address of the manufacturer;
3. Marks, trade names, or other designations of origin of any of the manufacturer's products which do not bear its name;
4. A statement that the designation shall remain in effect until withdrawn or replaced by the manufacturer;
5. A declaration of acceptance duly signed by the agency appointed, which may be an individual, a firm or a United States corporation; and,
6. The full legal name and address of the designated agent.
7. In addition, the designation must be signed by a person with authority to appoint the agent. The signer's name and title should be clearly indicated beneath his or her signature.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact Mr. Marvin Shaw of this office at (202) 366-2992.
Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel
Enclosure ref:106 d:12/12/95
The standard defines a "brake hose assembly" as a "brake hose, with or without armor, equipped with end fittings for use in a brake system..."