GM Recalls Buick Regal Over Brake Issue

2019 Buick Regal Avenir 16 photos
Photo: Buick
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Codenamed Z18, the second-generation Opel Insignia is known as the Holden Commodore in Australia, where it was discontinued in 2020 because Aussies know that a Commodore is a rear-drive large sedan. Also discontinued in the UK, the Insignia had enjoyed a three-year stint in the United States of America, where it’s dubbed the Buick Regal.
General Motors canned the Regal due to abysmal sales, topping 14,118 units during calendar year 2018. The biggest of the Big Three in Detroit apparently refused to acknowledge that utility vehicles reign supreme nowadays, with increasingly more customers stepping away from conventional body styles like the good ol’ sedan, wagon, and hatchback.

The Regal was also subjected to a couple of high-profile recalls. In August 2018, it was called back over insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons. In October 2019, a handful of units were recalled for insufficient welds on the driver and passenger front seat frames. These cars were produced in Germany at Opel’s factory in Russelsheim, but nevertheless, the myth of German quality is exactly that in relation to modern vehicles.

GM has recalled the Regal once again for power brake assist loss to the tune of 23,734 vehicles from the 2018 through 2020 model years. GM became aware of this problem on April 22nd. Based on a braking performance problem affecting the 2019 model year Opel Insignia, the Detroit-based automaker opened an in-depth investigation into this matter on May 6th.

Together with a supplier, which hasn’t been named in the attached report, the automaker determined that “a software error in a file supplied by GM could cause the hydraulic brake boost to fail to respond to a loss of brake vacuum pressure.” Tests conducted on a Regal between June 22nd and 23rd showed that, following a loss of vacuum pressure, the stopping distance could exceed federal motor vehicle safety standard 135’s requirements.

A review of field data identified four claims received between January 2019 and March 2022, in which the invalid vacuum pressure diagnostic trouble code was set and the hydraulic brake boost was disabled. On the upside, none of these incidents ended in crashes or injuries. General Motors will reflash the software in the electronic brake control module to address the aforementioned condition with software that activates the hydraulic brake boost if the vehicle suffers a loss of vacuum brake pressure. Somewhat curiously, GM started using different software with the 2021 model year, which suggests that somebody was perfectly aware of the implications.
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 Download: Buick Regal brake recall (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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