Ferrari Recalls Practically Every Car Built Since 2005

  • For how much Ferraris cost, you’d expect there to not be issues like this.

Even people who don’t care at all about cars know what the deal with a Ferrari is. The Italian luxury cars cost a lot, look fancy, and go fast.

But Ferrari’s reputation for quality Italian engineering just took a hit. You see, the company has made a bit of an oopsie.

When your car reaches average top speeds upward of 200 mph, you need good brakes to come to a stop. And the issue with Ferrari’s brakes is that they might stop working altogether.

You can probably imagine why that might be a problem.

According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the brake issues could affect a staggering number of Ferrari models. Some of the impacted cars were made all the way back in 2005.

As a result, Ferrari has recalled a total of 23,555 cars. In essence, that’s nearly every vehicle the Italian car maker has manufactured in the last 17 years.

So, yeah. It’s a bit of an oopsie.

Pictured: A woman desperately tries to stop her Ferrari from rolling off in a parking lot after a brake failure.


Trouble Under the Hood

But what causes the braking problems in these supposed top-shelf sports cars? Let’s dive under the hood and find out.

According to the NHTSA report, Ferrari has identified a fault in its cars’ brake fluid reservoir cap. In case you’re not a gearhead, that’s the container that houses your car’s brake fluid.

The stuff is pretty important. As you press on the brake pedal, pressure changes in the brake lines cause the fluid to press down on your car’s brake pads, which squeeze down on the brake rotors attached to your tires. As a result, your car slows down.

But in the Ferraris, the brake fluid cap may not vent properly, according to the NHTSA. As a result, a vacuum can form in the reservoir.

With a vacuum in the system, brake fluid can start leaking out. Consequently, the brakes become less effective — if they work at all.

“Upon total loss of brake fluid, the vehicle would lose braking capability, which may result in injury or death to vehicle occupants,” the NHTSA warns.

As a silver lining, the problem doesn’t seem to be particularly prevalent. NHTSA and Ferrari estimate that only 1% of the 23,555 recalled cars actually have the faulty fluid cap.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell whether or not any certain vehicle suffers from the problem. If you happen to be a Ferrari owner, you really don’t want to risk it.

The problem is easy to fix, though. Once you take your car to a dealer, Ferrari will give you a new, non-defective fluid cap and recalibrate the car’s software to give an earlier warning if fluid levels start falling.

A Submersible Ferrari

It’s a good thing Ferrari is now fixing the issue to keep drivers safe. But they haven’t exactly been prompt about it.

We couldn’t find out whether or not Ferrari has been aware of this 17-year-old problem. But what we do know is that it took a class-action lawsuit to get the recall to happen.

The lawsuit was prompted by an unfortunate experience of one Jeffrey Rose. His fancy Italian ride ended up in a pond because of faulty brakes, reported The Brake Report.

On June 4, 2021, Rose was running errands when his 2020 Ferrari 488 GTB flashed a warning message about low brake fluid. The warning encouraged him to drive his car very slowly to the nearest dealer.

Rose’s home was closer, though, so he decided to go there. Slowly and carefully, he meandered to his house at 10 mph.

But when the hit the brakes to park the car in his driveway, nothing happened. The Ferrari kept rolling forward, no matter how much Rose pumped the pedal.

Finally, he had no choice but to unbuckle himself and leap out the door. He did it just before the car slipped into a 20-foot-deep pond behind his house — and sunk.

Rose’s insurance company deemed the car totaled. He replaced his ride with another Ferrari, this time a 2018 GTB 488.

A month later, that car’s brakes failed completely as well. As a result, Rose and other Ferrari drivers struggling with brake issues filed the lawsuit.

Not the First Violation

This isn’t the first time Ferrari has gotten into trouble with NHTSA over car safety issues. In 2014, the company got slapped with a fine for failing to deliver early warning reports to the agency for three years.

It was a hefty fine, too. Ferrari had to pay $3.5 million after it admitted to violating reporting laws.

Federal U.S. law requires large automakers to submit quarterly early warning reports that identify potential and real safety issues — like the brake fluid reservoir cap. Until 2011, Ferrari (which is an affiliate of Chrysler) qualified as a small manufacturer and didn’t need to submit the reports.

But then Fiat bought Chrysler, together with Ferrari. All of a sudden, Ferrari was required to file the reports — but never did until the fine.

Is it possible that they could’ve identified the fluid cap problems already in 2011? We don’t know, but this doesn’t really paint a great picture of a manufacturer of supposed luxury cars.

In case you own a Ferrari (or any other car), drive safe. And get your brakes checked.