Better Brakes Law: Guidance for manufacturers

In 2010, the Legislature passed a law to reduce the use of toxic material in vehicle brake pads and shoes by passing the Better Brakes Law. This law phases out the use of copper and other heavy metals by 2025.

Manufacturers can learn how to comply with this law, including how to:

  • Properly mark brake materials.
  • Submit a baseline report
  • Handle brake materials with copper.

Apply for the Original Equipment Service Contract exemption

Vehicle and brake friction material manufacturers can apply for the Original Equipment Service Contract (OESC) exemption. Manufacturers that claim this exemption must submit documentation to the industry-sponsored registrar “a description of the vehicle model and its year of manufacture for which the brake friction material is manufactured."

The registrar will be updated so that brake material manufacturers can populate the registry with brake friction material formulations claimed to be exempt under the OESC exemption for vehicle models 2014 and newer. Vehicle manufacturers will build their own database of vehicle models 2014 and newer that are OESC exempt.

How to mark brake friction material

Brakes sold in Washington must be marked according to SAE J866, an industry standard.

Brakes must be marked with the following information, in the following order (i.e. edge code):

  1. Manufacturer identifier.
  2. Friction formula identifier.
  3. Hot and cold coefficients of friction (not required in Washington).
  4. Optional batch code or other optional information.
  5. Environmental designator and year of manufacture.

Edge code appearance

Follow these guidelines to correctly mark your brakes:

  • Single line of text is preferred.
  • Markings should be clearly legible.
  • It is acceptable to place the markings under a clip or shim, provided it may be removed and replaced by hand without damaging the part, to read the markings underneath.

Brake markings must match what you report

Markings on your brake friction material must match what you report to us when certifying your product. You must report the:

  • Manufacturer identifier.
  • Friction formula identifier.

We will reject certification documents with edge codes that clearly do not comply with SAE J866 (such as "LW" or "9769.")

Mark brake packaging

Washington state also requires brake packaging be marked with a registered certification mark that is intended to certify compliance with the Better Brakes Rule.

Submit your baseline report

Manufacturers of brake friction material are required to submit baseline reports. You may not certify brakes for sale in Washington until you we receive a baseline report.

Frequently asked questions