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GM pushing back on proposed pickup and SUV brake recall [w/poll]

Tue, 08 Jul 2014 08:30:00 EST

Through the first six months of 2014, General Motors has recalled 29 million cars and trucks in 54 different actions. If your author's notoriously sketchy math is correct, that'd work out to one recall every 3.5 days (as of this writing). GM is actively fighting to make sure there isn't a 55th recall, though.

Safety critics, including perennial nemesis Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety, are calling on GM to recall a further six million pickup trucks and SUVs in northerly climes due to corroding brake lines caused by the use of road salt. There is a catch, here, though ­– the vehicles in question are over 10 years old, and include the 1999 to 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban and GMC Sierra, as well as the 2000 to 2003 Tahoe and Yukon (shown above).

GM issued the following statement on the matter, obtained by CNN Money:

"Brake line wear on vehicles is a maintenance issue that affects the auto industry, not just General Motors. The trucks in question are long out of factory warranty and owners' manuals urge customers to have their brake lines inspected the same way brake pads need replacement for wear. In fact, more than 20 states require brake line inspections at one- or two-year intervals or when stopped for a violation."

Playing Devil's Advocate, it seems GM has a point. Corroding brake lines are likely to give some indication before letting go, such as leaking brake fluid leaking beneath the vehicle. Ignoring this is no less responsible than ignoring a constant oil or coolant leak. Still, while the vehicles in question are, in some cases, approaching 15 years old, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating reports of GM brake problems since 2010. According to CNN Money, NHTSA has recorded 26 crashes and one injury due to brake-line failure.

Also going against GM is precedent – just last week, Subaru recalled 660,000 vehicles due to brake line corrosion, although in that particular case, the vehicles were considerably newer.

"This is not like other maintenance items like brake pads," Ditlow told CNN Money. "You don't go into a garage when you get your oil changed and say 'Check my brake lines.'"

What are your thoughts on this? Is this a simple maintenance issue that's on the heads of owners, or should GM be held responsible here? Register your opinion in our unofficial poll, and then head into Comments and duke it out over your position.

Should GM have to recall older vehicles over corroded brake lines?

By Brandon Turkus

See also: GM recalling 8.4M cars, 8.2M related to ignition problems, 2015 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra can tow up to 12,000 pounds, eBay Find of the Day: 1976 GMC Motorhome is a jolly green giant.