Federal safety regulators have launched an investigation into reported brake problems that could affect as many as 6 million model year 1999 through 2003 GMC and Chevrolet pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUV).
The investigation, launched on March 30, was announced late last week in a preliminary investigation report (pdf) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The report says that it’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 110 owner complaints regarding the trucks, which are all made by General Motors. There have been at least three automobile accidents that may have been related to the potential GM brake problems, according to the ODI preliminary report.
Included in the investigation are the Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Silverado and Chevrolet Suburban trucks, as well as the GMC Sierra, GMC Tahoe and GMC Yukon. According to ODI, the complaints from drivers include reports that they lost braking effectiveness after brake lines ruptured due to corrosion. ODI investigator Chris Lash noted in his report that 37 of the complaints were confirmed by a dealer inspection.
The inspection was announced just weeks after GM issued a recall for 1.3 million Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac vehicles sold in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The recall was issued after the NHTSA received more than 1,000 reports of power steering failing in the vehicles, resulting in at least 14 crashes.
That GM recall affects the 2005-2010 model year Chevrolet Cobalt, the 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, the 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit, and the 2005-2006 G4. The Pursuit is sold in Canada and the G4 is sold in Mexico. GM said it has been investigating the problem since 2009, and determined that in rare cases, the power steering motor on the vehicles can die and cause difficulty steering at speeds under 15 m.p.h.