Asbestos in vehicles and machinery

The ability of asbestos to insulate and prevent heat transfer meant the automotive and heavy machinery industries heavily used asbestos in parts such as:

  • brake pads and linings
  • clutches
  • valve rings
  • valve stem packing
  • fuse boxes
  • seals and gaskets
  • hoodliners.

Australia banned the use of asbestos in vehicle and machinery parts on 31 December 2003, however, the ban did not apply to parts already installed before that date. Imported vehicles that were not manufactured for the Australian market may also have parts containing asbestos. The Product Safety Australia website has product recall information for vehicles and vehicle parts that contain asbestos.

The risk of exposure is low during the use of the vehicles with parts containing asbestos, but is greatly increased during mechanical work on affected vehicles.

Replacing parts containing asbestos

If your vehicle has parts containing asbestos, asbestos free parts must be used when they are replaced. If you know your vehicle has parts containing asbestos, tell your mechanic so they can take the necessary precautions when working on your vehicle.

WorkSafe Victoria has published an information sheet to help people in the automotive repair industry avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos dust.

Importing vehicles and parts

If youre importing vehicles or vehicle parts, it is your responsibility to make sure they are asbestos free.

Australian Border Force has a zero tolerance approach to enforcing Australia’s asbestos ban and has issued the following information for importers of motor vehicles and parts.