A lot of Chevrolet Silverado pickup owners have become very cautious drivers. The brakes take so long to stop the truck that consumers complain of nearly hitting the car in front or rolling into the intersection.
Nearly 1.3 million trucks could be recalled to fix the brake problem, pending a government defect investigation. General Motors has recalled thousands of trucks in Canada for a similar problem, saying road salt could corrode bearings, lead to false readings in a sensor and prematurely activate antilock brakes.
But so far the company says it has received too few complaints to take action in the U.S. Well, General Motors ought to start reading ConsumerAffairs.com.
"I have had my 2000 Silverado pickup in the shop three times for the brakes. The brake pedal goes right to the floor whenever it wants and I can't stop," said Chuck of Conestoga, NY.
"They keep telling me there is nothing wrong. Tonight when I came home, I almost hit my house. I have been lucky so far because I crawl up to stop signs and red lights waiting for the brakes to fail. You never know when they won't stop you."
"The truck is under warranty so I don't understand what the problem is. I would just like to have my brakes fixed so I don't kill myself or someone else," Chuck said.
Lawrence of Mountain Home, Arkansas, has the same problem.
"With 12,885 miles on my 2003 Silverado the brakes have had a soft pedal from day one. It goes to floor at times when making a hard stop. I rolled out into an intersection on a downhill road with the pedal on the floor more than once. I will not tow a boat with the truck," Lawrence said in his complaint to ConsumerAffairs.com.
"Two dealers say it's normal and can't find anything wrong. That is until the warranty runs out I bet. It's very unnerving. My wife will not drive it. There is too much pedal travel."
NHTSA says it is still in the "early stages" of its investigation, although the problem has existed for several years. While the federal government investigates whether a defect exists in antilock brakes on 1.3 million 1999-2002 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, the complaints continue rolling in.
NHTSA has received 120 complaints that included 22 crashes and four injuries. The ConsumerAffairs.com Silverado file is up to 146, although not all of those complaints deal exclusively with brakes.
NHTSA is operating on the assumption that the problem is linked to road salt and so its investigation is focusing on trucks in 20 states in the Northeast and the Midwest, stretching from Maine to Virginia in the East and to Minnesota in the Midwest, including Michigan.
But George in New Port Richey, Florida, might not agree with NHTSA's decision to limit its probe to cold-weather states.
"I bought A Chevy Silverado 2004 truck in January 2004. I have complained to the dealer about the poor brakes on the truck because they are very weak. This is the eighth Chevy truck I have owned and it has the worst brakes of all," George said. I am afraid to tow anything with this truck. I have trouble stopping with it empty in normal driving. I am afraid I will rear-end someone!"
More complaints are in our Automotive Section.