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Brake Line Corrosion Problems in GM Trucks

What Owners Are Saying About GM Pickup Truck Brake Line Rust Issues


Tell Us What You Think

Owner complaints have triggered an evaluation of brake line corrosion problems in about 6-million GM trucks and SUVs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking for brake failure trends among six million vehicles from model years 1999-2003. Pickups affected are the Chevy Avalanche and Silverado, GMC Sierra and some of the automaker's heavy duty trucks. SUVs on the list are the Chevy Suburban, GMC Tahoe and GMC Yukon. About 100 owners have reported failure of corroded brake lines, resulting in either lengthy stopping distances or crashes.

What do you think about the (suspected) problem? Should we expect to deal with corrosion issues as a truck ages, especially when it's driven in states where salt and other chemicals are used to melt snow and ice? Or is 8-11 years too early to expect these problems, no matter where we live?

We don’t have enough specifics about the GM investigation to know if all of the rust-through points are the same. There could be other factors involved, like rubbing brackets or clamps, or places where dirt and salt get trapped too easily. We’ll have to wait and see where the investigation goes, but for now, tell us if your truck has experienced brake line corrosion.

2011 Update The NHTSA has upgraded the preliminary investigation. It's now an Engineering Analysis under the direction of the Office of Defects Investigation. (about the analysis)

What GM Truck Owners Are Saying

Al says: That's incredibly ridiculous. Here in NYS (and many other areas of the northeast albeit) Its more or less normal for an 8-10 year old car that has spent its entire life in salty mess our roads get coated with to need a brake line replaced, regardless of the manufacturer.

Starsky says: Never heard of brake line failure after 7 years in the Salt belt or ANYWHERE else for that matter… Dude, how many vehicles have you seen blow brake lines in the northeast? To say it's salt-caused only is ignorant. If every car had brake lines that only last 7-10 years in snowy salty areas, people would be dyeing daily due to old brake lines.

wmhjr says: I was an owner of an ‘00 Silverado – bought it brand new. Brake lines rotted out in 2 years. I had a catastrophic failure while pulling a trailer. I’ve owned tons of vehicles, and have never ever had rust such as what was on the ‘00 Silverado. I finally got rid of it last year and will never buy another GM due to them denying the problem from the start. This is NOT about brake lines on 10 yr old vehicles failing. These problems started immediately.

chasmosis says: I just saw this as my truck was sitting up at the shop with a leaking gas line. Under the driver's door on my truck, an ‘00 Silverado, there are 4 or 5 spring wrapped lines all running together outside the frame. They then jump inside the frame and go to a ABS module. One of the lines has a leak, they all gotta be replaced -- how you gonna get 1 out without braking others when they look that bad? My shop tells me the dealer told him they don't have pre-bent lines to replace the rusted ones so they’ll all have to be bent/made by hand… BIG $$$. When I saw this NHTSA investigation I told my shop to lock the keys in it… I’ll wait until the end of the investigation and hope for a recall.

Ken says: GM’s corrosion problem is worse than brake lines. I am currently in a lawsuit with GM over serious corrosion on my 2005 Silverado that extends throughout the undercarriage, including the frame, suspension, brakes etc. They claim that their warranty does not cover any corrosion caused by the environment (which is all corrosion). They also said that they wouldn’t cover it because it was caused by sea air, though that exclusion wasn’t added to the warranty until 2007. We deposed the GM engineer in Detroit who developed the corrosion specs for the undercarriage. He admitted that the corrosion protection is only designed to last one year, and that their vehicles are only designed for a 95th percentile customer in a 95th percentile environment. He also said that the corrosion would not have been covered regardless of where I purchased the truck, how I used it or how I maintained it. That applies to the undercarriage and the sheet metal body panels. Their corrosion warranty is a sham, and I believe that this problem may be widespread. I have already seen numerous instances of it on the blogs.

Gary says: I own a 2001 Silverado 2500 HD. All of my brake lines are rusted so bad that they need to be replaced. Why don't they just put stainless lines on when they build the truck -- they would last forever! And Yes, the whole underside of my truck is severely rusted and looks like it is a lot older than it really is.

George says: I own a 1999 GMC Sierra. Three years ago the fuel line ruptured due to severe corrosion. Yesterday, I experienced a catastrophic brake failure while heading to the shopping center. The brake line ruptured and the brake pedal went right to the floor. And yes, the underside of my truck could pass for that of a 50 year old frame. NHTSA investigation can’t come too soon -- everyone save your receipts!

Tom says: I have a 1999 Silverado 1500. Just had a brake line failure, all lines need replacing due to corrosion. Undercarriage is severely rusting. I special ordered it in '99 and can’t believe how bad it is. Vehicles 50 + yrs old have better looking frames.

Chris says: I am the owner of a 2002 2500HD and I am now in the process of replacing all the brake lines. After I had the truck (which I bought new in November, 2001) a year or so they had recalled the rear rotors for a corrosion issue so there was a problem back then on record somewhere. They did replace the rotors for free. My truck is a crew cab short bed but the only problem I am having is trying to get one-piece replacement lines.

Read hundreds more owner comments and tell us if you've experienced brake line corrosion. File a Complaint with the NHTSA

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