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NHTSA: Take care of brake lines on old trucks

John Lloyd/Flickr

Vehicles don't last forever, and old vehicles need extra maintenance.

That's the take-home message from a four-year investigation into brake-line failures on very old GM trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation focused on complaints of brake failures in GM trucks built between 1999 and 2003.

The agency concluded a defect was not involved.  Rather, the problem was usually due to years and years of corrosive road salt, eating away at the underside of the trucks.

NHTSA also says the problem doesn't affect just GM trucks. It can happen to any old truck.

The agency has closed the investigation and issued a consumer safety warning, urging owners of old trucks to thoroughly wash the undercarriage after the winter, keep an eye out for rust, and have brake lines inspected.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.