Chevrolet, GMC Brake Problems May Impact 6M Pickup Truck and SUV

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.

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  1. cynthia Reply

    This is a known fact that the vehicle does stalls when you turn a sharp corner especially in the mornigs when it is cold. I had to warm my truck up. It’s a 2000 chevy tahoe. I knew that I didn’t need a tuneup because I had just purchased the truck that fall. We could never find out what caused it, and then it stopped. Good thing I knew how to drive. But sometimes my truck stalls when I may a shrp turn, like something is wrong with the power steering.

  2. Rob Reply

    I stumbled upon this very dangerous information accidentally, and I am shocked that the news companys are not giving this even one tenth the spotlight that they are giving Toyota issues for such a number as 6 million. Is this truly govenment run media like in China now???

  3. Bruce Reply

    I own a 2001 1/2 ton Silverado. Love the truck – however, I do have a few “small” issues. #1 is a break issue. When pulling over on a road such that one side of the truck is on asphalt & the other side is on gravel, the break pedal goes to the floor, a pulsating/sort of grinding noise occurs, & there’s effectively no breaking what-so ever. By pumping the pedal I can get it to sort of grab. This doesn’t happen on either all gravel or all asphalt, just in conditions mentioned above. I’ve been under the impression that this is because of crappy ABS breaks that I would never have on a vehicle if I had a choice. #2 is much like the other steering issues described in other comments (eg, Cynthia) & the problem goes away after everything is warmed up. My mechanic has added some sort of conditioner before & the problem goes away for a while. Who’s building this stuff – China??!! GM, Please Read, Evaluate % Fix.

  4. denise Reply

    I have a 2004 sierra 2500hd with only 19,000 miles on it and the brakes intermittely give out on it…….its been to a dealer many times and they cant find a problem….the 1 800 number gives me the advice of keep driving it untill the service department can feel the problem……..WHAT IDIOTS DONT YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BRAKES GO TO THE FLOOR…..GOVERMENT SHOULD OF LET THIS COMPANY SINK!!!!!!!

  5. N Patterson Reply

    I have a 98 Silverado. The antilock brake light came on a few years ago and other than just slow stopping, there was no notice in the stopping. However, a few months ago, while driving the truck, my right brake line ruptured. I was able to stop the vehicle but at the time, I was towing my son on a tractor that had broke down. We replaced part of the line and everything seemed fine. Then, yesterday, while I was driving the truck, the brake line ruptured again in two other places that had not been replaced. I had already been disappointed with Chevy for my rear bumper rotting completely through and the tailgate also but I am very angry with Chevy for allowing people to drive a vehicle with a known danger (rusting brake lines) and not recalling them or even warning the owners of the issue. I have no faith in my Chevy truck now. What a waste.

  6. STEVE Reply

    I have a bad problem with my brakes. There are 2 lights on my dash that come on the one on the left is ( ABS) on the right side is (!) (P) . My machanic said I have plenty of pad left, Don’t know what to do.

  7. Yvonne Reply

    I own a 2003 Chevy Suburban. On October 2nd, I braked to make a right turn and there was a popping movement on the bakes. I was able to slow down but drove home at 20 miles per hour in order to be able to control the car. The stopping distance increased drastically and luckily I had only been driving 30 miles an hour when I braked or else I would have crashed into the curb. Upon further inspection, the brake line is completely corroded and is now leaking. How do I go about filing a complaint to the NTSB. Cheverolet needs to send letters out to the owners of these vehicles. Failure of this nature could lead to catastrophic consequences. I also want the auto company to pay for this repair. Thank you.

  8. Lori Reply

    I own a 2006 GMC 2500HD Duramax Diesel truck. It has 31,0000 miles. I recently backed out of my driveway and had no brakes. I then lost the power steering. I researched the event and discovered through the Diesel forum on line that the power steering controls the hydroboost (braking system). And this is not an uncommon event for these trucks. GMC has NEVER notified me of this problem. How can this be??? A heavy duty truck designed for towing. I just returned from a trip in Colorado and I towed my toy hauler. I want to know what is CAUSING the pumps to fail. Does anyone know???

  9. STEVEN Reply

    funny I own one of these POS 2001 GMC 3/4 ton SIerra series
    nitemare.. brake failure at 24k dealer fix (reluctantly) then at 36k again
    and at 48k total brake failure from corroded lines,ALL OF THEM!! (btw it had just passed NY inspection!) which led to an accident and 800 mile drive with no brakes and a ruined vacation.
    dealer quoted $3000 to fix.. ABS FAILURE, MASTER CYLINDER FAILURE, BRAKE LINE FAILURE.. 9000lb truck with no brakes=disaster
    GM says sucks to be you! thanks GM, and your “professional grade” JUNK!. they will not fix this issue, or RECALL, who do you have to run over to get action HUH?

  10. Jim Reply

    My neighbor’s rear brake line failed violebtly yesterday with unmanageable braking. It looks like the failure is above the rail on the driver’s side. he said it was bad1

  11. R.T.Page Reply

    I drive a 2006 silverado 2500 with 47,000 miles which I purchased new. 2 weeks ago my starter had to be changed $665.00 job plus towing. And now my brake petal went to the floor when I tried to stop. Took it to a repair shop and my master cylinder has to be changed,while changing the cylinder the brake lines are falling apart and the mechanic is now in the process of changing all the lines because there all rusted out. Is this the best I can get out of a $36,000 truck. And when I had 1500 miles on it they had to bebuild the front gear box and change the complete rear axle because of a grinding noise they could ‘nt find. Also they had to change the fly wheel because it cracked. Where the hell are they getting these parts from.

  12. Don Reply

    2000 silverado 4X4 automatic, Brake problems since new, this truck has less than 20,000 miles, Have replaced all calipers, pads and rotors. original rotors rusted and corroded with deep pits. the original rotors were made in india, only recall I had was for tailgate supports which were fine when replaced by dealer. Yesterday got in truck and went to back out driveway very steep released the parking brake and truck shot down in reverse and no brakes whatsoever. Been driving for 45 years and never experienced a complete loss of brakes in any vehicle like this and have driven large trucks, drill rigs and vehicles of all types. I am going to get this thing fixed one more time and trade it for a toyota with brakes. No wonder GM went belly up and the NHTSA needs to recall thes trucks and get them off the road they are death traps.

  13. Kenneth Reply

    Bought new, Have a 2006 GMC 3/4 ton Serria 4×4, my problem is the brake system, dynamic brake, I simply have no pedal.
    Installed (new) Have receipts from Napa) 4 rotors and pads, new left front caliper and Left front bearing, new master cyclinder, replaced the dust shield (R) rear, will do the (L) side as time permits, (rust is a no no with this system, Bled the system, and checked and pressurized the lines, just to be sure, ABS was given me issues at 9 mi per hour with or without the brakes on the left front. Its like something from the pedal assy broke.
    Kenneth J Kinney

  14. Warren Reply

    I have a 2001 Serria C3 all wheel drive with 78000 miles, spend nearly all of it’s life in a garage when not used, hasn’t been exposed to the salty roads. On 9/3/2012 the brakes failed, not even a soft pedal. Cause: RUSTED BRAKE LINES at a bracket under the drives side. Total Failure.
    Anyone know of a recall for this problem?

    Warren Ryan

  15. Andy Reply

    I have a 2000 GMC Sierra and I(my son actually) recently had complete, catastropic brake failure. All brake lines failed at the same time! in the same place. Where the lines come out of the ABS box and cross over the frame rail. It looked like a water sprinkler. I don’t know how my son never crashed this truck. From what I see/read there is a major problem with the material these lines are made from. Went to get parts and the guy who sold the new line to me had the same problem with his 03 and he had his small child with him and had to veer into oncoming traffic in order to avoid rearending someone. He ended up ditching it in order to stop.Thank god no one got hurt! I can’t believe GM/Chev know of this problem and haven’t done anything about it!

  16. Rick Reply

    2500 1 ton silverado == rusted tranny line on friday, rusted brake line on Sunday — 5 ton truck with no brakes — 24,000 miles

  17. richard Reply

    i have owned many gm vehicles, chevy and gmc and have had continuing problems with the rotting brake lines and gas lines on all of the vehicles. The latest was this week on our yukon xl denali. rotted brake line near the gas tank located on top of the frame rail. The remaining lines are all in very bad shape. Does gm have any recall or reimbursement for these issues? I currently have four vehicles on the road which are all gm products, all of the lines look the same, highly corroded. I have driven through a red light at an intersection due to brake failure(blown out steel line) Although I would like to buy american made, this ongoing issue has given me a different view on what my next purchase will be. I STRONGLY DIS AGREE WITH THE IDEA THAT ROAD SALT HAS CAUSED ANY OF THESE ISSUES.

  18. Brian Reply

    I have a 2006 yukon and have recently been told all the brake lines will need to be replaced due to excessive rusting. does any one else have this problem and does gm have to cover it

  19. charles Reply

    my 2003 chevy silverado pickup brake lines rotted out repaired twice

  20. Bill Reply

    I have a 2003 silverado with 120k miles. I live in a northern state with salt on the roads. Front brake line blew out yesterday. Thank god this happened in my own driveway. This is a very common issue with american made trucks. I am a certified tech and work on volkswagens every day for the last 10 years. I have never replaced a brake or fuel line due to corrosion. I do not want to hear that it is caused by salt. crappy cheap materials were used for a vital safety system on these vehicles. If Ralph Nader really cared about safety he would have addressed this serious problem long ago.

  21. Tom Reply

    The left front brake line blew out (rusted through) on my 99 Suburban two years ago while pulling a twin axle U-Haul trailer. I Immediately stopped at an auto parts store and replaced the line on the spot (roadside repair). Last year I had the other side front brake replaced by the shop doing the annual inspection. I just today purchased a fuel line replacement (OEM) kit due to fuel lines just about rusted through. I replaced the engine and transmission two years ago because I was pulling a 27 foot camper/trailer around the country. I’m not about to replace my otherwise rust free Suburban, but this reminds me of the old Neil Young Album. “Rust Never Sleeps”

  22. David Reply

    I had wreck in my 2004 Chevy silverado due to complete brake line failure due to corroded brake line and I\’m now being sewed over the wreck because i hit a jeep that was turning i tried my best to avoid the wreck but had no were to go i would of never drove the truck if i had known there was a problem like this it just has new brakes put on it about 6 months before and mechanic didn\’t notice the problem either i live in tn were There isn\’t much snow so i have no idea why the brake lines were in such bad shape other than they were very poor quality lines you would think they would not put poor quality lines on something as important as the brakes what are they waiting on some one to get killed before they atleast send out a warning out recall

  23. Tim Reply

    I recently had complete brake failure (10/15/2013)due to corroded brake lines on a 2002 Silverado HD i purchased new in Nov 2001
    I was on an interstate and without warning when trying to slow down for heavy traffic the pedal went to the floor, I hit the rear of another vehicle and he had injuries, I am sure their will be a lawsuit against me
    This is complete nonsense that GM will not deal with this issue as a recall. So right now I\\\\\\\’am finding out it will cost between $1200 to $2000 to replace them since all the lines are corroded so bad I have no guarantee it will not happen again if i only replace the line that failed. So what should I do? what does GM think ? I refuse to only replace the failed line and then sell the truck to a person that could be seriously injured or some one else for that matter. Well maybe I will consult counsel also to get something done to correct this problem

  24. Maria Reply

    We have a 2005 Duramax Diesel Truck. In Jan of 2013 my
    husband was on an interstate highway and the brakes failed and
    he had no steering. Thankfully, he was able to get the truck off of
    the highway without getting hit. They said it was the Serpentine Belt.
    Well, it happened again today. Once again, very lucky he was
    not in an accident. We just had the truck towed to the dealer.
    Getting very disgusted with this. No warning lights. Nothing.

  25. Jackie Reply

    I bought a 2003 Chevy Silverado that had braking issues on going. After a serious highway collision where I rear ended another vehicle GM continued to deny any issues with the brakes. On several occasions the brakes went to the floor and the truck entered a crosswalk or another road way. GM continued to deny a problem. I went to a mediator and GM agreed there were issues with the ABS and they replaced the brakes.
    My accident cost me money, my vehicle and many years of anxiety. I still panic on the highway wondering if the brakes will malfunction on our new truck. GM stated that perhaps I didn’t have sufficient ft. pound pressure to engage the brakes. If so there needs to be a warning label on these trucks. My accident was in 2005.

  26. Mike Reply

    I own a 2002 GMC Sierra Denali p/u with quadrasteer. Replaced the front brake lines after 5 years and 60,000 miles, rear brake lines a few months ago, then the front brake lines AGAIN today. Total cost since new for just brake related problems,,,,, OVER $7,000!!! The way they evaded discussions and responsibility on this subject is shameful. I have purchase just about every brand of GM over the past 50 years…but this experience has wore me out. Ford or Chrysler, here I come!

  27. Brett Reply

    I have a 2003 Chevy Tahoe and yesterday as I approached a traffic light in town, the brake pedal went to the floor. There was no warning before of any problem and I was unaware of this apparently “common” issue. Thank goodness I was only traveling about 25 mph and by using the parking brake, got the truck stopped just inches from the car in front of me. Had this happend exiting a freeway ramp or something, I fear the outcome would be very bad. It’s shameful that GM knows of a problem they created to save a few bucks, that now has the potential to cost peoples lives in a crash and they are doing their best to hide it. I have filed a complaint with NHTSA and urge everyone affected to do so!

  28. susan Reply

    I have a gmc sierra p/u (l989) runs great – have replaced most everything but the grill & body parts – brake light blinking on and off – brakes work ok – ?? as to what is wrong with it – had tire change about a month ago & mechanic checked brakes while tires were off – so is this a defect or just that it needs a hydraulic pump (master cylinder) or something else – had new brake and gas lines a year ago – runs great, & does farm work ie dump runs & pulling a trailer just fine & no body rot

  29. jerry Reply

    my 2002 gmc truck sierra. break line rotted out in two places in rear. almost lose it. there are no replacement parts, had have it made cost of $80.00 parts $150.00 labor.

  30. Debra Reply

    I have a 2004 GMC Yukon Xl brakes went out thank god we were not hurt. Lines rotted out. Same exact thing happened. To my husbands Chevy truck. Safety issue for sure.

  31. conrad Reply

    i have a 2003 chevy silverado 3/4ton and my abs light and the parking brake light come on and my truck has all new rotars calipers and master cylinder..and my brakes still want to lock up driving down the road…i have no clue what going brake shoes all the way around it cost my almost $1000 and still no change…..

  32. Rick Reply

    Hi. I own a 3500 gmc Sierra.2005.mason dump 10,000 pounds was towing a 4000 lb trailer w/electric brakes..and a small mini excavator on the trailer 8,000lb..had my 8 yr old with me and as we went down a very steep mountain rd lost not just the front but the rear brakes as well…pushed e brake and mind as well have dragged my feet..the only thing that saved us was the electric brakes on the new trailer.I don’t drive this in the winter nor do i plow snow.GM wanted nothing to do with this problem I filed a complaint to some bs safety board never heard another thing again…GM STEP UP AND FIX YOUR PROBLEM!!!!…
    Then as stupid as I am I had also purchased a 2006 gmc 2500hd duramax…SHOCKER!!!!…SAME BS!!!!

  33. Bob Reply

    I have a 2004 Silverado 1500 and had a complete loss of brakes. Brake line broke near the ABS module under cab as many others mentioned. All the brake lines need replacing, they are flaking with rust. General Motors has stated many times this brake line corrosion is not a safety issue as there will be limited braking if one brake line breaks. This is not a correct statement from GM. It seems that the redundant braking system on these vehicle is NOT WORKING. I know 3 people that had a brake line break and lost all braking force on theses vehicles. I can accept the brake lines rusting out, but the non redundant braking issue is the real issue here. I did my part and reported this to the NHTSA and Transport Canada and had many discussions with General Motors and Transport Canada about the redundant braking not working. General Motors is handling this issue very irresponsibly and unfortunately there will be many more failures of these braking systems. If you own one of these 1999-2007 Sierra/Silverado vehicles even in the southern (salt free) areas get these brake lines checked and the flex hoses on the front wheels, as I doubt your braking system will work even if a flex line breaks. These flex hoses will crack and leak eventually in any climate. I live in the north where vehicles rust, but these brake lines are rusting sooner than any I ever saw in our climate. Replacing the brake lines is a partial fix to these vehicles, the non redundant baking system is also a safety issue that needs addressing. Is the master cylinder, proportioning valve, or the ABS module causing the redundancy failure?? Before I put my truck back on the road this brake redundancy issue will need to be resolved, as I want a braking system that works properly if I ever have another line break. I wrote this article for your safety, if one were to read General Motors response that this is “Not a Safety Issue” one may not bother having their brake lines inspected or put these repair off because they trusted what they read from GM. Well there are 1000’s of complaints from these vehicle owners that they had a complete braking system failure due to a brake line breaking. When my brake line failed I was stopping at a cross walk for pedestrian to cross the road, I got slowed down to about 10 MPH and the brake pedal went right to the floor, tried pumping the bakes nothing, went through the cross walk steering to the other side of the road to avoid the pedestrians. (This is how fast this brake failure can occur) This vehicle is GM dealer maintained, in for service two weeks before the brake failure, and had the annual provincial safety inspection done by the GM dealer as well. Obviously the GM dealer was not looking out for rusty brake lines, they don’t rust over night. GM you got a big problem, act responsibly.

  34. Wes Reply

    Have a 2000 gmc pickup I lost one brake line ,then lost the whole brakeing system.. Called gm they said no recalls can’t help you. Every brake line had to be replaced. Will never own a made in USA truck again.

  35. Diana Reply

    2002 Chevy 1t, 4×4, has 50k miles, keeps blowing brake lines. Two blew today in driveway.

  36. Chuck Reply

    The cheep steel they used is crap! Have them all replaced NOW!

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