The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it is investigating 1975-79 Volkswagen Rabbits and Sciroccos for brake-line wear. Some 650,000 cars, all built in West Germany, are involved - not the US-built vehicles.
The federal safety agency says it has so far received 53 reports of brake-line failures in which the corrosion of hydraulic brake lines is the alleged cause.
Volkswagen of America also has a service campaign to inspect the vehicles involved and repair them as required.
While VW says it does not consider it a safety problem because the failure usually affects only half of the dual braking system, NHTSA says it still plans to determine if the alleged failures may warrant a complete recall of the cars.
The federal agency invites anyone who has experienced a brake problem with these cars to write to: NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20590. The public can also use the agency's toll-free auto-safety hot line: (800) 424- 9393.