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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
120,283 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 Avalanche brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #58

Dec 102014

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 140,000 miles


Brakes would not hold vehicle stationary at a stop sign/light (no light on dash). Upon investigation a brake line has rusted through and brake fluid covering underside of vehicle.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #57

Nov 202014


  • 159,000 miles
There is a GM recall #05068C- product safety- front wheel speed sensor corrosion. The 2002 Avalanche is listed, but my 2003 is not. I live in Indiana, one of the states listed in the recall. My 2003 Avalanche has this failure and should be covered by the recall.

- Fairmount, IN, USA

problem #56

Oct 042014


  • 143,053 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche. The contact stated that the brake pedal was depressed, but the brakes failed to respond. The contact discovered that brake fluid was leaking and the brake lines were corroded and fractured. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 143,053.

- Munfordville , KY, USA

problem #55

Oct 032014


  • 167,000 miles


I was coming down the hill and saw 2 vehiles stopped one was going to turn once traffic was clear. And I started slowing down almost to a stop on a hill and I got about 2 car lenghts away still stepping on my brakes and all the sudden my brake light came on. A warning came up and said service brake system when I slambed into the rear end of the car in front of me who intern hit the car infront of them. I had just replaced my breaks and roters 45 days before this. I blew the brakeline on the front. July 2012 I blew a brakeline. Noone was injured that time and also blew a brake line August 2013. So for the 3 time blowing a brakeline there is something wrong. I lived in the North Carolina until moving to West Virginia in 2012 and this has happen every year since I moved North.

- Spencer, WV, USA

problem #54

Sep 032014

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 120,509 miles
Driver's side front to back brake line corroded and leaked all brake fluid causing an inability to stop. The brake indicator light did not come on until all fluid was gone and normal braking ability was loss. Upon further inspection all brake lines are severely corroded.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #53

Oct 022014


  • 137,000 miles
While leaving a funeral in near sweetwater tn, I applied the brakes and felt pressure and then the pedal dropped to the floor. My wife and two small children were riding with me. After pushing the brake pedal to the floor, I noticed I did have brakes but not power brakes. I pulled over and examined the problem and found leaking brake fluid coming from around the gas tank. With no choice, I had to drive the truck back to Kentucky. Appr. 175 miles if not more in heavy traffic on I-75. I know trucks have problems and I know there is routine maintenance but I have never seen the amount of complaints that the brake lines have had on these trucks. I have owned Chevy trucks my whole life and have never had a problem with the brake lines. Due to the seriousness of the issue and number of complaints, how is Chevrolet issuing a recall.

- Richmond, KY, USA

problem #52

Sep 302014


  • miles


My brake line split open while I was trying to stop at a light. They are very rusted and have to be replaced.

- North Tonawanda, NY, USA

problem #51

Jun 282014

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
Loss of brakes occurred when applying brake peddle. Inspection by local mechanic showed both front brake lines had rusted through. Further mechanic inspection revealed that the remaining rear lines were also corroded to the point where failure was imminent. Local Chevrolet dealer service department indicated cost of repair would be thousands of dollars and that there were no oem pre-shaped lines produced by any manufacturer for such repairs. Hence, this would require custom brake line bending and substantially increased repair costs. Second occurrence resulted in a complete lost of all braking ability. This vehicle is often used to haul horses with a horse trailer. We are extremely lucky we were not hauling horses at the time of the brake lines ruptured and failed. Research on various Chevy and Avalanche internet sites / boards as of this date shows this has become an increasingly common problem for Chevy trucks of this vintage. The true incidence of this problem is likely hidden by fact that people are forced to seek repair alternatives other than at Chevy dealers as the dealer quoted repair costs are outrageous. It is incredible that with all the press about recent recalls on large numbers of Chevy vehicles, and the government and taxpayer money that went into bailing out Chevy, that something as serious as increasingly frequent Chevy truck brake failures, which could put people's lives at risk, have been ignored.

- Rehoboth, MA, USA

problem #50

Sep 172014

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 125,900 miles
While pulling my boat on a long decline at 55 mph, a car in front of me signaled to turn left. I put on my brakes and the pedal eased to the floor board. I told my wife that the brakes are failing. The check brake system alarm did sound, but that does not comfort you when you realize that you are not going to stop before plowing a car in front of you. I was able to swerve to the right to avoid the collision, only due to light traffic and the fact that I was a good distance behind the turning vehicle when the brakes failed. I didn't measure my stopping distance, but it was well over 100 yards. I got out of my Avalanche and saw the fluid trail. There is a cluster of 5 brake lines running together by the frame, right at the driver side door and one of those lines broke. They were all severely corroded. I had the truck and boat towed to a local repair shop and they were not surprised. The mechanic told me that he had repaired 5 Chevy trucks with the same issue in the past week. We were very fortunate to avoid a serious accident.

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #49

Nov 112013

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 34,511 miles
On November 11, 2013 I was backing my 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche out of my driveway in Maryland when the brakes failed. As I was stopping, the brake pedal suddenly lost all resistance. I tried pumping the brakes but could not produce any braking action. I shifted to neutral and used the parking brake to stop. I towed the vehicle to a GM dealer, who said the metal brake lines had corroded and ruptured. I was charged $1150 to repair the brakes. Ten months (Sept 5, 2014) and less than 500 miles later I again lost all braking power, this time while traveling at 5 mph leaving a parking lot near a carwash. I returned to the same dealer who said the steel brake lines have corroded. His estimate is $2200 for repairs.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #48

Aug 072012

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


One day while driving at 55mph the truck just shut down. Everything electrical completely shut off. Luckily I was able to control it. I turned the vehicle off and restarted it. It was fine but did it again when I stopped at a stop sign. It continued to do it but then just stopped. Check engine light goes off and on all the time when I accelerate up a hill. The lights on the dashboard are dim. Everything on the mirror comes and goes. It will go months without working and then comes back on. The suspension is terrible. Feels like it's going to shake the wheels completely off the truck when I hit even a small bump in the road. I've almost lost control several times due to it shaking so hard. Latch on the tailgate broke off and needs to be replaced. Rotor on back completely broke and had to be replaced.

- Pennington Gap, VA, USA

problem #47

Aug 172014

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 188,000 miles
I was driving my 03 Avalanche like any other day and as I was pulling into the gas station to fill up, the brakes went to the floor. Instinctively I put it into 1st gear and engaged the emergency brake. Come to find out, the brake lines were rusted out on the passenger side front. I examined all lines and they seem to all be rusty. Only a matter of time before they break too.

- North Dinwiddie, VA, USA

problem #46

Jul 142014

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 157,400 miles
At a stop light, with the brakes applied, a loss of pressure was felt. Letting off and reapplying the brakes lead to the brake pedal traveling to the floor / front of driver cab. At the point there was no braking pressure felt and the truck began to travel at idle speed into the intersection. Two failed attempts at applying the brakes lead to the brake warning light going off, after the initial failure. Applying the parking brake yield similar / failed results. The truck was safely steered into a parking lot and put in park to bring the vehicle to a rest. The engine was turned off and let rest a period of 5 minutes and then turned on and brakes tested while in park. No break pressure was felt at the pedal. Brake fluid was observed under the drivers side front portion of the truck. No bystander injuries or property damage occurred. Aside from the driver, a fourteen month old was the only other occupant, neither sustained any injuries.

- North Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #45

Aug 012013

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
I was driving northbound on old us 23 in brighton, mi and stepped on the brake. The pedal went all the way to the floor and barely got the truck stopped. One of the brake lines had ruptured. Polarchios auto repair (brighton, mi) identified the problem as a ruptured brake line due to corrosion. I had never heard of brake lines corroding and while not happy about the approx. $350 repair did not think too much of the incident thinking this was not a common problem. Polarchios told me this was not an isolated problem and had repaired several other trucks for this problem. I saw that this Agency was investigating the problem and was encouraging GM to recall and repair these vehicles and wanted to provide my experience. I would think a recall is in order as I only had one line fail, there are 3 more......when will those fail? as serious as the GM ignition key issues are, I would think the ability to stop would be at least as important. Please call me at if you have any questions - thank you for the good work that you do!

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #44

Jul 072014

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 171,000 miles
Shifted from park to drive. Brake went to the floor, and brake fluid gushed from brake line under driver's seat. Also leaked on driver's rear passenger side. Total loss of braking power.

- Brooklyn Park, MN, USA

problem #43

Jul 062014

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Brakes went all the way to the floor and was getting no braking at all unless emergency brake was applied...luckily was at a stop in a parking lot when this happened and not trying to stop on at am intersection or on the highway...was able to limp home using emergency brake to stop...aren't these supposed to have a split system so you cannot lose all brakes at once...pads are not worn low...and fluid is spraying from brake line directly under drivers side door...

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #42

Jun 192014

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 202,000 miles
I was driving on I95 traveling at a speed of 60 mph when I tried to apply the brakes and the brake pedal went completely to the floor. I had absolutely no brakes. Lights on the dash board stated service brakes. Luckily there were not any cars directly in front of me. I was able to drift onto the side of the highway and waited for my vehicle to come to a stop. After coming to a stop, I noticed a large puddle of fluid under the driver side door. My brake line had ruptured. Evidently this is known problem with GM trucks and is a great safety hazard. I was very fortunate that my entire family was not in the car like the previous weekend. I took my vehicle to my mechanic and he informed me that all 4 brake lines were corroded. This should never happen on a part that is essential to stopping your vehicle. GM claims that you still have brakes when this happens. That is totally not true. I had absolutely no brakes. GM needs to take responsibility for this problem.

- Sewell, NJ, USA

problem #41

May 142014


  • 159,900 miles
While driving my truck in a curve I notice the vehicle was not responsive as I applied the brakes. The brake pedal went straight to the floor. I regained control of my vehicle I place the vehicle in the N drive attempting to let the vehicle coast to a stop. I did a maintenance check for low brake fluid, I found that the level was good. That's when I was informed that my brake line had broken. When the brake pedal was applied brake fluid was shooting out from the brake line. This was the third time that this has happen to me that my life and others has been endangered. The first incidence was a few years ago I went through a red light because I could not stop the vehicle, the second time was November 2013 and now this time. Although I purchased the vehicle used in 2006 with only 47,000 miles on it for this to occur three times is to often. I now have 150000 miles on my vehicle and cannot afford a new car or new car payment. Please look into to so that I and other lives will not be further endangered. Recall and do something about these brake lines breaking so that we are safe.

- Unadilla, GA, USA

problem #40

Mar 032014

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
Brakes suddenly gave out. Pedal fell to floor and when I took it to be repaired I was told all the brake lines rotted out. I don't understand this because by vehicle was garage kept. My total bill was $875.

- Goodrich, MI, USA

problem #39

Jan 072014

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 134,600 miles
Ruptured rear brake line under driver side door due to extreme rust of lines. Inspection reveals all the brake lines are showing signs of extreme rust, which should not happen for an 11 year old truck. By the grace of god, I was in my driveway when the brake pedal went to the floor and not driving on the roads at any speed. Why the risk of using substandard materials for brake lines" why not use stainless steel brake lines"

- Arden, NC, USA

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