1999 GM Buick Regal - Rusted brake Lines - fewer than 31,000 miles

Posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2003 at 12:00am CDT by b3b688d0

Company: 1999 GM Buick Regal - Rusted brake Lines - fewer than 31,000 miles

Category: Other

# 24 for September 26, 2003

Complaints.com received the following on September 25, 2003:

From:

RE: 1999 GM Buick Regal - Rusted brake Lines - fewer than 31,000 miles

I wonder what Buick’s resurrected Harley Earl would think if he knew the brake lines on his Buick’s were rusting prematurely. I wonder what he would say about GM/Buick not even wanting to hear about it? My story – my wife’s 99 Buick Regal, with less than 31,000 miles, bought new 12/99, suddenly started to lose brake fluid during the first week of September. We could see no obvious leaks when we looked under the car but were disturbed by a very rusted rear brake line. Nevertheless, each time we test drove the car, a small amount of brake disappeared from the master cylinder reservoir. Realizing we had a major problem and the car was out of warranty since last December, I called GM Special Policy Adjustment Program on 9/3 and spoke with LS. They said normally for Special Adjustment consideration the car would have to be returned to the servicing dealer (Sun Auto – Buick/GMC, Moosic Pa. 21 miles from my house). But as this was a safety issue, it would be safer to take it to the closer Sun Auto dealer (Chevrolet – Clarks Summit) less than 6 miles away. LS recommended diagnosis only so repair requirements/costs could be determined for any possible Special Adjustment. Local Sun dealer called 9/4, above explained but when “diagnose only” requested I was politely told don’t come here because I didn’t buy the car there and they didn’t want to get involved in any “cross warranty” issues (despite the fact that I was willing to pay for their time). They suggested I have the car towed to Sun-Moosic, an option/expense I wanted to avoid being retired and on a fixed income. Instead, I took our Buick to a trusted local repair center. Within 10 minutes it was on a lift where we observed a rusted and leaking metal brake line near a junction block behind/under the rear of engine. Also observed was a severely rusted (but not leaking) brake line that connects to the left rear wheel and severely pitted, corroded and rusted rear brake rotors. The private garage replaced the rusted & leaking brake lines, rear rotors & brake pads for a total cost of $412.31. All replaced parts were given to me at my request. On 9/6 I fully documented what had transpired and submitted it to Buick’s online Customer Relations, and was assigned request # 1-137192830. I was told via Email that LS (whom I talked to previously) from Buick’s GM Special Policy Adjustment Program would follow up. On 9/11 I spoke with LS (at GM Special Policy Adjustment Program), explained what has transpired and I’m told only the Service Manager at the servicing dealer can approve any reimbursement outside of the warranty. LS would notify him of my claim. On 9/12 I called the Service Manager (who seemed very concerned due to the car’s low mileage) but he couldn’t do anything without the Area Service Manager’s approval. A few days later I received a voice mail saying the Area Service Manager wouldn’t get involved or approve of any reimbursement. Now here comes the incredible part. On 9/15 I called the Service Manager and said - OK, I take a $412 loss but I ask – don’t you guys want to examine these prematurely rusted brake lines and rotors to see if there is any potential safety issue that may cause an unexpected and sudden brake failure and they said NO! I then call Buick Customer Relations and they don’t want to talk to me (said I had an extensive file?) - I should talk to LS at the GM Special Policy Adjustment Program again. I call LS, nothing they can do, because they cannot override an Area Manager’s authority. I filed a report with NHTSA and opened a complaint on the BBB Auto Line. On 9/17 I receive a voice mail from MS in the Buick Business Resource Center saying my BBB complaint is not eligible for arbitration because of the “car’s age” (I guess they mean out of warranty). Buick does not return my subsequent calls. I confirmed with the BBB (9/25) that I have no recourse with them because the car is out of warranty. How convenient. A couple of observations: The body of the car is guaranteed against rust through for 6 years. You would think the metal brake lines would last as long, in fact you would think such a critical safety component was made of stainless steel or similar material to last the life of the car.

The rear rotors on my 2000 GMC truck also rusted but that was discovered while under warranty and the dealer (Sun Auto) replaced them without question.

We are not casual GM customers, I have owned many fine and dependable GM vehicles during the past 40 years and we continue to be a GM family. Recent family purchases include 4 new GM vehicles since 1998 and a used 1999 Buick LaSabre Limited. I surely don’t feel like I was treated as a loyal customer.

So GM fans, I would start checking the fluid in your master cylinder very frequently and have a qualified technician the check brakes lines periodically for rust and corrosion. Once the rust starts, it’s only a matter of time until you start to lose fluid or worse yet, have a sudden/unexpected brake failure. I believe GM/Buick needs to explain why critical braking components deteriorate so rapidly. But no one is listening in Buick; they won’t even examine the parts. I hope the ghost of Harley Earl is listening. Joseph Palumbo Clarks Summit, Pa.


12 Comments

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8edc9fcd, 2008-06-01, 02:24PM CDT

I own 1 1999 Chevy Silverado one by one ALL the brake lines have failed! First to go were the ones on the frame below the fire wall then the rear lines and now the line abobe the fuel tank. Truck has 80000 now. What a dissappointment and dangerous! Lines should have been corrosion resistant or stainless. You pay $600 for Anti Skid what good is that if the lines rust through?

3d7b718c, 2008-06-04, 08:54AM CDT

I have a 1998 buick regal with maybe 85k on it. I just lost my breaks the other day. As it turns out all the lines running on the bottom of the car are rusted and the fuel lines. This car has never sat in any kind of water. I was told by the mechanic this normally doesnt happen to a car until its about 20 years old. I would say there is a problem here.

759377cf, 2008-06-16, 12:18PM CDT

I have a 2003 GMC 2500 HD Diesel with only 55,000 miles, and experienced the same problem. Catastrophic break failure due to all the break lines rusting out! Had it towed to the nearest GMC dealer in Lakeland FL and they said it would cost $495 plus parts and tax. Not happy!

bbf536d6, 2009-10-14, 09:23AM CDT

I too am a loyal GM consumer. My 1999 Suburban K1500 experienced brake failure yesterday. I discovered alos the brake line along the frame from front to back is totally rusted from end to end and has failed. I also agree this is an item which should outlast the vehicle and not fail.

f69e0966, 2009-12-14, 06:53PM CST

i to own a 99 regal and recently brought it to the garage for a recall,got a call later that day saying one of the brake lines failed and they almost crashed into a toolbox,upon further inspection they said all the brake lines were pretty rusted and that all the lines should be replaced at a cost of over $1000 not happy at all with christmas weeks away.

654d1a75, 2010-03-05, 12:59PM CST

GM has a problem with rusting BRAKE LINES most likely made in CHINA.

I have also had a catastrophic problem with BRAKE FAILURE on my 2003 GMC Denali Sierra pick-up truck due to rusted BRAKE LINES on two occasions. The first in 2008 and the second in 2010. General Motors took American Stock Holders money and set up several component supplires in CHINA and then filed for bankrupsy only in the Unted States.

31f13de5, 2010-04-10, 12:51PM CDT

you people all are being ridiculous. your talking about 8 to 12 year old cars. metal rusts it is a natural occurance you would not want to pay the extra for stainless steel even if it could be used for brake lines, now they come through with coated brake lines so they dont rust. why has todays society become so unwilling to pay for repairs. you bought it you drive it you fix it, seems pretty simple to me. back in the day you were lucky to get 100k on a vehicle now they are going 200K plus miles and we still complain. I have been working in the automotive field for 20 plus years repaired lots of brake lines of lots of diffrent makes. quit complaining and be a responsible car owner nad get your cars fixed.

2bab061e, 2010-07-16, 08:10AM CDT

My husband and I have lived all over the US and he is a mechanic. All brake lines rust out if you drive in salty areas. If they salt the roads in your area or you live near salt water, such as Florida, they will rust out. We lived in Chicago and it was common to see Toyota and Honda vehicle brake lines rust out after the warranty. It's not just GM, it's the salt. Everyone should do their homework before they file unfairly posted complaints.

b00c9cdb, 2010-08-12, 11:18PM CDT

In my opinion no brake line should rust out in 4 years-ref.1999 buick regal,I dont care where you live in the U.S. or what make vehicle you prefer to drive.I am also a mechanic by trade and have seen many brake lines fail but only relative to the age and condition of the vehicle.Sounds like JUNK to me.

3cc0e9e4, 2010-09-09, 07:56PM CDT

My 1998 Buick LeSabre has rusted brake lines and it's costing me around $1000 to have them replaced. No rust anywhere else on the car! What's up with that? Safety issue and irresponsible not to deal with it when lives are at stake!!

c84c5331, 2011-10-08, 09:24PM CDT

I have a 1999 Buick LeSabre. The rusty brake lines don't bother me as much as the dangerous master cylinder reservoir. Apparently GM never equipped the car with one of the most basic safety features --a divided master cylinder reservoir that can still provide you with some breaking power in case such emergencies. Yes, my rear brake line suddenly ruptured and I ended up smashing the car through my garage because every last drop of fluid suddenly puked out onto the driveway completely depriving me of brakes. Yes, I realize rusted brake lines do happen, but for the love of God why isn't there a divider in my master cylinder reservoir? Is this even legal with the DOT? This is dangerous! I could have easily been killed or killed someone else because of this.

942f8dab, 2012-04-15, 08:04PM CDT

Actually not all cars have steel brake lines that rust. My Porsche cayenne has stainless steel lines and exhaust. 8 years driving in Michigan has not rusted anything. yes this was an expensive vehicle but manufactures can make anything last instead of just throw away vehicles. I am really dissapointed in my friends 2000 buick regal- theres almost nothing left under the car that dosen't need to be replaced because rust has eaten everything. Detroit manufacturers are based in michigan, where salt is used by the ton! they shoud have the knowledge by now to make things (especially safety related brake lines) be able to handle the salt.

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