Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed an investigation of GM trucks and SUVs from model years 1999 to 2003. At least 2,702 owners of those vehicles complained about brake-line corrosion, and a total of 88 collisions had been linked to the problem, as well as 20 injuries.
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In the end, NHTSA couldn't identify an underlying flaw that might've caused the failures. Instead, the agency put the blame on de-icing salts used in northern states and launched a safety campaign (see above) to encourage motorists in those areas to have their brake-lines checked.
Now, GM has announced a recall of the 2004-2007 Cadillac CTS-V for a similar problem. According to NHTSA documents, "some of these vehicles have a condition in which the front brake hose fitting at the caliper may corrode due to snow or water, containing road salt or other contaminants, entering and being retained in the hose sleeve. If the fitting corrodes significantly, the brake hose may develop a leak".
Should that happen, braking distance could increase. The effect would usually be slow, but in the rare instance of a brake hose rupture, it could be fairly dramatic. It goes without saying that increasing braking distance boosts the risk of an accident.
If there's a problem with the brake hose, owners will likely notice a warning light on the dashboard and a "Check Brake Fluid" message in the CTS-V's Driver Information Center. Owners may also notice spotting on the ground where the vehicle is parked.
The recall affects Cadillac CTS-V models built between September 6, 2003, and June 11, 2007 that were originally sold are are currently registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or the District of Columbia.
It's worth noting that GM had previously recalled the 2003-2007 Cadillac CTS for the same problem. This announcement expands that recall to include the CTS-V.
GM says that it will mail recall notices to owners, though it hasn't provided NHTSA with a date by which they'll be sent. After receiving those notices, owners can take their vehicles to a Cadillac dealer, who will replace both front brake hose assemblies at no charge.
If you own one of these vehicles and have further questions, you're encouraged to contact Cadillac customer service at 800-458-8006 and ask about recall #15149. Alternately, you can call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V225000.