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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
117,935 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Chevrolet Suburban brakes problems

brakes problem

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2004 Chevrolet Suburban Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Dec 022013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 44,500 miles


The brake line under the driver's door ruptured and caused a complete brake failure. All the brake lines are severely rusted, compromised, and all must be replaced. Fortunately the failure happened in parking lot and my son was able to get the car home without having an accident but that was merely fortuitous. There is absolutely no reason that permanent brake lines should fail. The truck is used very infrequently and is well maintained. Had I or a member of my family been driving on the interstate someone most likely would have been severely injured or killed. I am 60 years old and have owned cars since I was 17 and I have never experienced a brake hard line rupture. With the non-corrosive metals available for brake tubing it is inexcusable from a safety perspective. The government needs to take action against GM to prevent clearly foreseeable injuries and deaths.

- Monrovia, MD, USA

problem #18

Nov 152013


  • 165,000 miles
I was driving at low speed when I pressed my foot on the brake and it went completely to the floor. Looked under the vehicle and the brakeline had rusted through the line.

- Dunkirk , MD, USA

problem #17

Nov 072013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
Severe brake line corrosion under vehicle.

- Farmington, MN, USA

problem #16

Oct 262013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 109,115 miles


I live near frederick, Maryland and today I drove my 2004 Suburban down to the cul de sac at the end of our street going around 20mph, but when I pressed the brakes, I felt them go almost to the floor, so I pumped/pressed them again twice and each time they then went fully to the floor but the truck was not stopping. I managed to put the vehicle in neutral and press the emergency brake to get the vehicle stopped with the front tires just 3 feet from my neighbors lawn. I then got out and looked under the vehicle and there was brake fluid everywhere along with a trail of it about 30-40 feet up the street from where I first pressed the brakes. I towed the truck back to my driveway and looked underneath and can see that all of the steel brake lines are heavily rusted along the frame below the drivers door area. I could see that one of the lines clearly ruptured and sprayed brake fluid everywhere. I started looking on the internet and see the same symptom/problems are already listed as under investigation for 1999-2003 Chevy trucks under NHTSA action number : PE10010. Mine is a 2004 model year but it may have been built in late 2003. In any case, I was extremely lucky that it happened in my neighborhood at 20mph and not on the highway or while towing. Clearly GM has a problem and these trucks that needs to be recalled as this problem could kill people very easily!

- Jefferson, MD, USA

problem #15

Oct 172013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 84,600 miles
Brakes failed while driving....noticed slight brake pedal loss, then total failure within minutes...mechanic said that the brake lines failed because they were corroded and would all have to be replaced..thank you for looking into this and all other brake line failures of any GMC made vehicles.

- Bogart, GA, USA

problem #14

Oct 242013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
I turned on my engine with my kids in the car and put the SUV in reverse. The car immediately started to move even with my front on the brake while putting it in reverse and I tried to press the brake and it went straight down to the floor. I put the car back in park and this stopped the vehicle. Had I been on the road I would have crashed. There was no warning about brake fluid being low and the car had been driven the night before at 8:30 pm. My husband looked near the driver side rear tire and saw the brake line dripping all the brake fluid out on the driveway all rusted. Why wasn't this made with stainless steel? this is a car for families which means more than likely it will have a child in the car when it is being driven. This needs to be recalled and fixed.

- Stamford , CT, USA

problem #13

Sep 232013


  • 119,000 miles


Complete brake failure without any warning. Another brake line completely corroded ad inoperable. Had same issue on another brake line 6-months earlier. No replacement parts available to connect to remaining lies. The vehicle had been running errands picking up and dropping off children when failure occurred.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #12

Jan 032013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
2 separate incidents of brake failure with corroded brake lines of 2004 Chevy Suburban with under 100K miles. First was in January 2013, complete lose of brakes while driving in parking lot. Taken to repair shop and needed complete replacement of corroded front brake lines, calipers etc. At the time, we had the rear brake lines inspected and repair shop stated they seamed ok. Second incident happened on August 24, 2013. Traveling on I-495 in Massachusetts (while pulling a boat trailer) and applied brakes to slow for traffic ahead and brake pedal immediately went soft and almost completely to the floor and then brake warning light came on. I had to swerve into breakdown lane to avoid slowed traffic ahead as only front brakes were working.(along with trailer brakes) and car could not slow enough to stop. After nearly casing a major accident, was able to get off the exit and drive to nearest sears repair shop (1/4 mile down the road). After brake inspection, completely corroded back brake lines and calipers needed to be replaced.

- Clinton, CT, USA

problem #11

Aug 122013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 70,850 miles
My 16 year old daughter was behind the wheel; in line at drive-through. The brake pedal went to the floor and the brake light came on in the dash board as the vehicle began drifting forward. The message center in the dash displayed "service brake system." Luckily she was able to maneuver into a parking space without incident. The brake lines have failed - rusted through. It is unconscionable to produce a vehicle that sells for over $45,000 that won't even last 10 years...especially when such a failure is likely to have catastophic consequences. We were very lucky that no one was seriously hurt due to this premature failure.

- Youngstown, OH, USA

problem #10

Jan 172013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The contact was driving approximately 45 mph and depressed the brake pedal but the brakes would not respond. The contact applied excessive pressure to the brake pedal before the vehicle responded. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing where the mechanic advised that the hydro boost would have to be replaced because brake fluid and power steering fluid was leaking from the vehicle. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 05V043000 (service brakes, hydraulic) but was advised by the manufacturer that the VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 138,000.

- Springhill, TN, USA

problem #9

Jan 132013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 42,100 miles


The brakes on my 2004 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 failed during an attempted stop. The pedal traveled all the way to the floor. Subsequent testing of the brakes revealed that there was at least one brake fluid leak from lines leaving the master cylinder which was spraying brake fluid onto the engine causing smoking. The vehicle was towed to a Chevrolet dealership for repair and I was told that the brake lines had corroded through causing loss of brake fluid and loss of braking capability. It was stated by the dealership that this corrosion was due to road conditions where salt is used on the roads for winter driving. The vehicle had approximately 42,000 miles on it when the brake failure occurred. The cost of the repair was approximately $2,500. The vehicle has never been used for snow plowing or spreading road salt.

- Phoenixville, PA, USA

problem #8

Nov 202012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
During stop and go traffic, the brakes were applied suddenly and the pedal went to the floor. The "service brake system" warning message came on as well as the brake "idiot" light.

- Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

problem #7

Nov 022012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph and depressing the brakes, the pedal went straight to the floor board. The contact immediately put his emergency brakes on to avoid a crash. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer or an independent mechanic. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileage was approximately 106,000...updated 03/18/13 the consumer stated the vehicle was inspected by a dealer before and after the incident. The vehicle was repaired. The consumer has pictures and old parts. Updated 04/02/2013

- Glen View, IL, USA

problem #6

Aug 102012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
While vehicle was stationary at idle I noted excessive brake pedal travel after placing my right foot on the brake. The brake pedal traveled all the way to the floor board and was very slow in return. I shut the vehicle off and visually checked the master cylinder and connections. I noted the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir was not completely at the full mark. I continued to observe the hydraulic connections and found no active leak and no fluid on the ground beneath the vehicle. I drove the vehicle to a repair shop in town (out of state visit) advising the shop owner of the problem involving brake travel. A mechanic determined the brake lines on my vehicle were routed along the vehicle frame, made of steel, and unprotected resulting in corrosion, holes, and active leaks. Two of the lines were repaired and now the remaining two lines require repair. I observed and noted corrosion of the brake line distribution system along the vehicle frame running to the rear of the vehicle and crossing over the right side. I believe the brake line corroded and failed immediately behind the driver's side located immediately next to the vehicle identification tag. This location was obscured from view because a plastic wiring harness is routed between the brake lines and exterior of the frame. I believe the placement of the plastic conduit conceals vision / inspection of corroding brake lines. I believe unprotected steel brake lines are subject to physical abrasion and moisture between the unprotected brake line and the vehicle frame resulting in brake line fatigue and water based corrosion resulting in holes and failure of the hydraulic brake system. I never observed the operation of the "brake" icon located on the vehicle message panel.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #5

Oct 252012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 60,817 miles
While driving in an urban area I noticed that my brake pedal was going down more than usual and went down even more as I waited for the traffic signal to change. When I got home I checked the brake fluid reservoir and found the level about an inch lower than normal. I looked under the vehicle and saw a small pool of brake fluid forming on the drive under the drivers seat. Further search showed that a brake line was leaking and all the lines were badly corroded. I called a local Chevy dealer and carefully drove the car to the dealership after adding fluid to the reservoir. The dealer confirmed my finding and indicated that all the lines were so badly rusted that they would probably fail soon. While the vehicle was on the lift they allowed me to see the lines in their current condition. The labor to replace the lines was $1,200.

- Bay Village, OH, USA

problem #4

Oct 012012


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact stated the driver was traveling 10 mph when the brakes were depressed and the vehicle failed to stop properly. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileage was 112,000.

- Hampstead, NC, USA

problem #3

Jul 172012


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact stated that the ABS warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact turned the vehicle off however, the ABS continued in operation, causing the battery to drain. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 130,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Goose Creek, SC, USA

problem #2

Jun 202012

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 98,100 miles
The brake lines on my Suburban were rotted (I did not know this until after) and they ruptured while I was on the highway towing a trailer. I only avoided a crash by downshifting and using my ebrake. This is a widespread issue from searching the web and I am shocked this is not already a recall.

- Sandy Hook, CT, USA

problem #1

Apr 282012

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
The steel brake line failed on the drivers side below the door.

- Asbury, NJ, USA

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