All Investigations » Investigation PE10010

  Defect Investigation of Brake Line Corrosion Failure

Investigation of Brake Line Corrosion Failure

Subject: Brake line corrosion failure
Components covered:
  • Service brakes, hydraulic
  • Brake hoses, lines/piping, and fittings
Investigations Summary: This investigation was opened on Mar. 30, 2010. It was closed on Jan. 5, 2011. The office of defects investigation (odi) received defect petition dp10-003 on March 2, 2010, requesting the investigation of model year (my) 2003 Chevrolet silverado 2500hd 4wd pickup trucks for corrosion failures of the vehicle brake lines. Dp10-003 was granted and on March 30, 2010, preliminary evaluation pe10-010 was opened on more than six million model year 1999 through 2003 light trucks and sport utility vehicles manufactured and sold by general motors corporation (gm). On July 2, 2010, odi received gm's response to an information request, which included gm's assessment of the frequency and safety consequences of the alleged defect. Gm stated that:(1) the brake system of the subject vehicles is split front/rear and should a brake pipe suddenly fail for any reason, the affected vehicle would be capable of stopping with the pressure supplied by the remaining circuit; (2) the subject vehicles were designed to meet the hydraulic circuit partial failure requirements of federal motor vehicle safety standards 105 and 135, light vehicle brake systems; and (3) should a brake fluid leak occur for any reason, the brake system malfunction indicator lamp (mil) would illuminate and warn the driver before the brake fluid level was low enough to cause a loss of line pressure. Odi's and gm's analysis indicates that 85 percent of the complaints occurred on vehicles used primarily in states that use salt on the roads during winter months (connecticut, delaware, district of columbia, illinois, indiana, iowa, maine, maryland, massachusetts, michigan, minnesota, missouri, new hampshire, new jersey, new york, ohio, pennsylvania, rhode island, vermont, west virginia and wisconsin). Overall the complaint rates per 100,000 vehicles for salt belt states is 43. 0 and non-salt belt is 3. 0. In approximately 25 percent of the complaints the brake pipe failure occurred suddenly, with no warning (I. E. , no mil, brake fluid loss warning), and resulted in extended stopping distances. In 30 of these the increase in stopping distance that resulted was a factor in the crash and in 10 others the vehicle was intentionally steered off the road or into another lane of travel in order to avoid a crash. This investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis (ea11-001) for subject vehicles sold or currently registered in salt belt states to further assess the scope, frequency and safety risks associated with sudden failures of corroded brake pipes that can result in decreased brake effectiveness. Odi will continue to gather information on subject vehicles outside the salt belt as well.
Vehicles Affected by this investigation:
  • 1999 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2000 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2001 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 1999 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2000 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2001 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2002 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2003 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 1999 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2000 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2001 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2002 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2003 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 1999 GMC Sierra
  • 2000 GMC Sierra
  • 2001 GMC Sierra
  • 2002 GMC Sierra
  • 2003 GMC Sierra
  • 1999 GMC Tahoe
  • 2000 GMC Tahoe
  • 2001 GMC Tahoe
  • 2002 GMC Tahoe
  • 2003 GMC Tahoe
  • 1999 GMC Yukon
  • 2000 GMC Yukon
  • 2001 GMC Yukon
  • 2002 GMC Yukon
  • 2003 GMC Yukon

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