GM recalls nearly 300,000 Chevy Cruzes to fix brakes

DETROIT – General Motors said it will recall about 293,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact sedans to fix a brake problem.

The automaker said the 2011 and 2012 model year Cruzes can experience an intermittent loss of brake assist in certain engine-transmission configurations of the car.

In some cases, a driver will have to push harder on the brake pedal to stop the car.

There are 27 alleged low-speed crashes but no injuries related to Cruze brake performance, GM said, and some of those incidents could be a result of the brake pressure problem.

The condition is found in vehicles with the combination of the turbcharged 1.4-liter dual overhead cam gasoline mated to GM’s 6T40 automatic transmission. Other engine and transmission combinations in the Cruze are not involved, GM said.

Dealers will fix the cars by replacing a microswitch in the power brake vacuum pipe assembly.

The Cruze recall comes at a time when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is trying to make sure that cars with defects get fixed.

Earlier this week, the agency said automakers must provide a free online tool that will allow owners or shoppers hunting for a used car to punch in a vehicle’s 17-digit identification number and learn whether a specific vehicle is subject to a recall and whether it has been fixed. The rule starts next year.

Some automakers already have the tool, but it isn’t available yet from GM.

Only about half of recalled vehicles are repaired, depending on the brand and model, according to industry estimates.

“There are some people who are not reached, and there are a significant number of people who don’t respond,” said Jack Nerad, an analyst at auto information company Kelley Blue Book. “They figure the car is running fine and don’t bother to get it fixed.”

“This is an important issue,” he said. “People should respond to safety recalls.”

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