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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,631 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 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

May 232011


  • 109,065 miles


The metal brake lines on my 03 Chevy Avalanche 1500 Z1 truck are catastrophically failing. There is no warning prior as there would be with other brake related problems. This failure leads to an inability to stop the vehicle, the result of which could be deadly. The degradation of the steel lines is so bad that replacement of all line are required.

- Florida, FL, USA

problem #17

Apr 022011


  • 142,000 miles
I changed the front brakes and was adjusting them when the rear brake line started gushing out brake fluid. Ihad it towed to a mechanic and explained what had happened and before I finished he said let me guess "you bled the front brakes and blew out the back line next to the gas tank be hind the rear driver side wheel." This exactly what happened he said alot of Chevy trucks have the same problem. He is going tto change the rear line. He said where the line is mounted allows grit salt and things build up in this spotcausing the brake line to rust into. This could have gotten us killed had I needed to hit my brakes hard.

- Glenwood, WV, USA

problem #16

Oct 162010

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 37,762 miles
I have a 2003 Chevy Avalanche that I bought new. In October 2007 my mechanic replaced all 4 rotors and pads on the brakes. He said the brakes had rusted out from the backside. At that time I paid $390, and the rest was covered by warranty. On October 16, 2010, I was driving from the philadelphia airport to my home in West chester, pa. Shortly after leaving the airport, I suddenly lost all braking power. The brakes were completely gone. When I pressed the brake pedal, nothing happened. I drove for more than 20 miles this way, to my mechanic in West chester, on several roads with heavy traffic and many stop lights. I did this by shifting gears and by turning the engine off and on. My mechanic had to fabricate some parts to replace the brake lines, since these parts are no longer made by GM. He completely replaced both brakes. I paid $394. I have learned online that some 110 owners of certain GM trucks and SUVS, including the model I own, have reported their vehicles to the NHTSA for brake defects, and that there is an ongoing investigation that began in spring 2010. I want to add my complaint to those others. I think GM did a shoddy job manufacturing the brakes for my 2003 Avalanche. If there is any way to get compensation for this, I am interested. But at the very least, I want the NHTSA to know that my brakes completely failed on a major urban highway, and that I believe poor manufacturing materials were the cause. Hopefully the repairs done by my mechanic will prevent a recurrence. But for what I paid for my Avalanche (about $35K), I didn't expect rotten brakes.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #15

Aug 282010

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Rusted brake line to rear brakes failed. Reduced braking ability prevented vehicle from stopping allowing vehicle to pass into an intersection. All rusted brake lines rear and front had to be replaced. Old parts may still be available.

- Lakewood, OH, USA

problem #14

Aug 222010


  • 86,029 miles
Rusted out 2003 Chevy Avalanche brake line leading to brake failure.

- Ringwood, NJ, USA

problem #13

Aug 212010


  • 81,000 miles
2003 Chevy Avalanche had catastrophic brake failure while being driven. Upon inspection found severely corroded brake lines driver side above chassis rail.

- Colchester, CT, USA

problem #12

Jul 122010


  • 145,672 miles


Aproaching a stop sign behind another vehicale at about 50 mph when applying the brakes I felt a pop and the pedal went to the floor. The brakes had completely failed. Using the parkinng brake and down shifting brought the vehicle to a stop before I hit the vehicle in front. It is an autometic. At the end I had it in 1st gear and turned off the ignition for the stop. It is a 2003 avalanch VIN# [xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Fort Myers Beach, FL, USA

problem #11

Apr 282010


  • miles
Weak brakes, long stopping distance, no wear on front pads, front pads stuck, taken to dealer 3 times and they say nothing is wrong, I believe I would not be able to stop in time under emergency conditions. The back brakes have been changed 3 times (wore to wear indicator) and the fronts pads and rotors look new (glazed over no friction) this has been ongoing since buying truck brand new in 2003.

- Wauseon, OH, USA

problem #10

Apr 122003


  • 0 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500. The contact was driving approximately 45 mph with the brakes depressed when the antilock brake system activated. The brakes became extremely spongy which made it difficult to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the brakes functioned normally. The failure mileage was unknown. The current mileage was 51,000.

- Oxford, MI, USA

problem #9

Jan 052010


  • 63,450 miles
Complete loss of brakes due to corrosion and rupture of brake lines.

- Lockport, NY, USA

problem #8

Nov 242007


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche. While reversing out of the drive-way he experienced a loss of power steering. He applied pressure to the accelerator pedal and the steering wheel began to operate normally. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection and he was advised the he experienced an identical failure referenced in recall campaign id number 04V045000(service brakes, hydraulic). However, the VIN was excluded from the recall defect. The vehicle has not been repaired for the malfunction. The failure and current mileages were unavailable.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #7

Jul 292009


  • 49,000 miles
Same problem as found in NHTSA id # 05V37900 in 2002 Chevy Avalanche is occurring in my 2003 Chevy Avalanche. The ABS is activated when reaching a speed of 5 mph or less. This is causing my Avalanche to not stop immediately at stop signs or red lights. My Avalanche will travel approximately 2 to 3 feet closer to the car or intersection I am stopping at. If I roll through the stop sign or not go below 5 mph while turning, the ABS do not come on.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #6

Jul 272009


  • 68,000 miles
Service brake system light comes on in information center, brake and ABS lights are on. The garage says the brake computer for the ABS is not functions disabling the ABS on the vehicle. The computer part for the vehicle is unavailable. The ABS brake system remains disabled. It is a 2003 model year vehicle. Brake parts should be available for the ABS system.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #5

Jun 152008


  • 110,000 miles
ABS system vehicle activates ABS system below 5 mph 805 thousand recalls from 99-02 for the same thing! GM customer service didn't even know of the 805 thousand" what a joke!!!! never again will I buy a GM, they don't know about a safety as bad as this"

- East Haven, CT, USA

problem #4

Oct 012003

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevy Avalanche. While driving 40 mph or greater he would have to depress the brake pedal to the floorboard to stop, which increased the vehicle stopping distance. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The contact also stated that there was a flapping noise coming from the windshield wiper. The dealer took the windshield wiper apart and glued around the sides, however the problem continued to occur. The current mileage was 29,500 and the failure mileage was 4,000.

- Kingsville, OH, USA

problem #3

Sep 082005

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
Driving to work. Dry conditions. Had 4-5 car lengths between me and car in front of me. Car in front of me stopped. I was going about 30-35 mph. Truck would not stop. ABS did not come on and wheels did not lockup. I rear ended the truck in front of me. It felt like there was no braking power at all. Brake pedal was to the floor. Truck just slowly slowed down. There is definitely a problem with the braking system.

- Saugus, MA, USA

problem #2

Apr 122004

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
While driving my 2003 chev Avalanche down a hill I realized that when I stepped on my brakes, they went to the floor, the vehicle slowed down, but very slowly. I have towed my boat with this vehicle in the past and I thought that it was having a hard time slowing down. I'm affraid that if I have to stop quickly the brakes will not stop the vehicle in time. I am a state trooper and I am very familliar with the braking systems to include ABS. I only have 9000 miles on the vehicle and this shouldn't be happening. I took the vehicle to a local GM dealership for several repairs, I requested them to check the brakes. I was advised by the service mgr that the brakes were within GM specs. I asked him what that meant? he said that he had had a lady come in several weeks ago complaining of the same thing and because she wouldn't go away he contacted the GM engineers, they came out and inspected her brakes, they told him that her brakes were within specs and they wouldn't do anything. He then told me that my brakes were better than her's. I asked him what he meant by that, he said that if her brakes were ok then my brakes would be within specs. I told him that I wasn't satisfied with the way the brakes worked and that I wanted him to make a note of my dis-satisfaction. He never wrote this on my invoice. The second complaint is that I had advised the service department of a problem with the remote controled outside mirrors. They were not working the way they were designed. I was advised that it was operator error. I told them that I was very capable of reading and setting the operator preferences. I told him that this was the second time that the vehicle had been to a GM dealership for the outside mirrors not working properly. I have read on you service bulletin web site that their had been one issued for this type of problem. I am also having a problem with the alarm system, it doesn't set properly, they again advised me that it was operator error.

- Shaftsbury, VT, USA

problem #1

Oct 012003

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40 miles
During a panic stop/hard brake, braking is insufficiant. With multiple hard brakes in a row, braking power is regained, though return to previous state occurs when vehicle is not driven for approximately 6-12+ hours.

- Evergreen, CO, USA

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