Classic Car Restoration and Asbestos Exposure

Whether as a hobby or a source of income, classic car restoration is a project that requires significant time and resources. Enthusiasts approach these ventures with excitement and anticipation but might not realize the danger they face when handling classic car parts. Unfortunately, countless accessories were manufactured taking advantage of the heat-resistant properties of the mineral asbestos.

Asbestos fibers were a component in creating heat-resistant products. The most common types of vehicle parts that could contain asbestos in a classic car include:

  • Brake pads
  • Clutches
  • Gaskets
  • Hood liners
  • Transmission plates
  • Insulation

Additionally, various engine parts in older vehicles took advantage of the heat-resistant and fire-resistant nature of asbestos. Mechanics or those restoring a car manufactured before 1987 should assume these vehicle components as well as cloth, tape and padding will likely be contaminated with asbestos.  Replacement brake pads and some replacement clutches still contain asbestos even today.

Unfortunately, as those components deteriorated over time, the asbestos fibers can be inhaled or ingested causing significant health problems. Exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other devastating conditions. These conditions can be difficult to diagnose as they share numerous symptoms with other less catastrophic diseases.

Even though there might have only been a minimal duration, asbestos exposure can lead to a wide range of symptoms including a persistent cough, chest tightness, fever and shortness of breath. The condition can worsen, leading individuals to struggle with increasing symptom severity and significant lung damage. It is crucial that the manufacturers of these dangerous products are held accountable for their actions and the deadly conditions that can arise after exposure.