GM has recalled basically every single car it has ever made over the past six months, going all the way back to its founding as the General Officers Corps of the Papal States Cymbal Works in 1542. That's 54 recalls totaling 25.7 million vehicles, for those keeping score. Except for these, which can encounter catastrophic brake failure.
Nearly 1.8 million Cadillac Escalades, GMC Sierras and Yukons, and Chevrolet Silverados, Suburbans, and Tahoes have been under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2010, according to the New York Times, and NHTSA has now received over 1,000 complaints from drivers after they lost control of their trucks:
"Hit brakes and a line blew. Almost hit car in front of me," the owner of a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado wrote in a complaint filed in June. "Like all G.M. trucks in snow country my brake lines rusted through along with my rear backing plates. I don't know how many people have to be killed from blown brake lines for them to do anything. I guess a lot since they held off 10 years on their current problem."
Yeah, it's that bad.
The dispute stems from the issue of brake line corrosion. After years of driving their vehicles, owners are reporting brake line failures from a systemic disintegration of their brake lines. The problem is exacerbated in snowy states, where the drivers encounter a lot of road salt.
NHTSA's been investigating whether or not this was a flaw baked into the product by GM. GM, on the other hand, is saying that it's a "routine maintenance issue," and that the tendency for these vehicles to turn into unstoppable deathtraps is one that should be resolved by the owner.
Okay, so maybe the term "unstoppable deathtraps" is a bit strong with no reports of actual deaths occurring, but again, over 1,000 complaints have come in, and at least 26 crashes have occurred because of brake failures. It seems to be just a matter of time before a rolling Suburban at 30 MPH takes someone out.
Nevertheless, GM says that the problem is not unique to their own vehicles, but rather endemic to the industry:
In a statement this year about the issue, the company said that rusted brake lines were an industrywide problem.
C'mon, this is totally not the thing another automaker would issue a recall for. Everyone else's cars experience catastrophic brake failure at around 80,000 miles, okay? You guys are just being way too harsh.
In contrast to G.M., Subaru last week said it was
in the United States, telling investigators it was worried that the brake lines "could perforate after exposure to seven or more winter seasons." The Japanese automaker took action without an investigation by federal regulators.
GM's official policy is not to comment on other automaker's recalls, according to a spokesman reached by the Times.
As this whole thing rolls on (heh), how much longer do you think until we see another 1.8 million recalled vehicles being added to the heap?