A study was conducted of aging-induced Sn whisker growth at the surface of Au-Sn bonding solder layers around a laser chip, as well as metallurgical reactions, especially in p-side down lasers, at the interface of the solder and laser crystal just below the active layer. These phenomena cause electrical shorts in InGaAsP/InP laser diodes, which occur suddenly in devices operated for long periods without any previous symptoms having appeared in their aging characteristics. To completely eliminate such failures, a novel assembling method in which chips were mounted p-side up on semiinsulating SiC submounts using Pb-Sn solder, was applied to InGaAsP/InP buried heterostructure (BH) lasers emitting at 1.3 μm. BH lasers assembled by this method do not suffer any shorting failure even after 8000 h operation under 60°C and 5 mW/facet output conditions. The small degradation rates obtained, for example, 3 percent/kh (median) at 60°C, certify the reliability of these improved lasers. As long as the stripe width of the active layer was optimized to be in the range of1.5-2.5 mum necessary for obtaining kink-free light output versus current properties, no detrimental changes in laser characteristics, including transverse and longitudinal modes and dynamic output response, were observed in aged lasers. In this paper, the long-term degradation modes observed are presented, and possible causes are discussed.