LEDs are supposed to be far more reliable and economical than incandescent lamps, but not if they are designed by General Motors.
The high-mounted brake light on my girlfriend's 2006 Yukon XL failed. She mentioned that it was very expensive, and she was waiting until the annual inspection to replace it. I checked the brake light and found that power was present at the terminals, confirming that the light assembly had failed, not the power source. I tried to open the assembly, but the two plastic parts had been so well bonded that it could not be opened without destroying it.
A little Internet searching revealed that:
- The price for GM part number 1517 0955 is around $223.
- The failure occurs frequently -- many failures have been reported.
- The failure occurs so frequently that after-market manufacturers have taken to cloning the part, offering it at a far more reasonable price.
A week later, the brake light on my 2006 Tahoe failed. Same part number! Before ordering the after-market part, I called the dealer's parts department to ask if there were a hidden recall on this part, since it's a safety issue. The parts counterman could not have been more indifferent. His statement was, "What do you expect? It's five years old." An LED lamp with costs of $50 per year is not reasonable.
I refrained from mentioning the fact that residential LED lighting has a life far longer than five years. GM seems not to have bothered to life-test and qualify this design, nor is it willing to stand behind it.
This entry was submitted by Laurence Marks and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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