Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

Print this page Notes: The 2003 Chevy Astro Van has a solid reputation with very low complaint rates. The only problem now is finding one with low miles.

Not only is the 2003 Astro Van reliable, but since they were built on a truck powertrain, they can tow 5,500/5,000 lbs (RWD/AWD) -- almost double what other minivans can.

The Chevy Astro is mechanically identical to the GMC Safari.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,450 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Chevrolet Astro Van electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Astro Van Owner Comments

problem #2

Feb 012011

Astro Van 6-cyl

  • miles


2003 Chevrolet Astro van. Consumer states the steering knuckle/arm is designed in a way that causes it to come into contact with a wiring harness when the vehicle is turned to the left over a period of time, the constant contact damaged the wiring harness and allowed the steering knuckle/arm to touch the wires inside the wiring harness. The end result caused damage to other wires. The consumer stated the problem started in February 2011 when making a left turn would sometimes cause the radio and the ac to die. The ABS light and brake light would also come on and the brake pedal would sink to the floor. The dealer was unable to duplicate the problem. Two weeks ago, while pulling out of a parking space, everything died. The engine would not restart and nothing electrical worked. The consumer was unable to exit the vehicle and there was a smell of burning wires. The consumer was finally able to manually push up the door locks to exit the vehicle. The consumer stated he discovered a tsb and found the steering knuckle was not the source of the problem, but the battery cable retaining clips were not properly secured in their retaining holes in the engine cradle frame below the engine oil pan. As a result, the battery cable made contact with the steering linkage components and rubbed through the insulation on the cable. Updated 06/01/11

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 092005

Astro Van 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,900 miles
On September 9, 2005 my 2003 Chevrolet Astro van exploded and caught fire in a parking lot. The fire dept. Arrived and put out the fire; the firemen disconnected the battery cable. The van was towed to huffines Chevrolet in plano, tx. The cause of the incident according to the Chevrolet mechanics is as follows: 1) every time the steering wheel was turned, the tie rods etc. Would chafe against a bracket on the chassis that held down a battery cable. 2) eventually the bracket failed. 3) the battery cable arced against the brake line. 4) the brake line ruptured spraying hydraulic fluid over the hot engine manifold. 5) the ensuing fire burned through, among other things, the A/C hose carrying freon. 6) when the A/C hosed was severed, the freon gas escaped causing the loud explosion that we heard some distance away. 7) the smoke that we saw in the air was actually the escaping freon gas. All was supposedly repaired in three weeks. On November 8, 2005, the brakes failed while under way. The Chevrolet mechanics stated that the cause of the brake failure was traced to a small pinhole caused by the arcing battery cable several weeks ago. Eventually the entire brake line failed. If this story seems preposterous to you, it does to me too but this is the story we got from Chevrolet. In my opinion, my 2003 Chevy Astro van suffers from a fatal flaw in design and/or manufacturer. It is unsafe and should be taken off the road forever.

- Plano, TX, USA

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