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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,976 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

problem #15

Apr 072014


  • miles


While exiting hwy 75 the breaks failed on my 2003 Chevy Avalanche. The first application of the breaks the pedal went 3/4 of the way to the floor, the second time the pedal went the the floor I pumped the pedal several times until the pressure built up enough to finally grab. I was half way thru the intersection when the truck stopped, with oncoming traffic approaching I made a left turn to continue under the overpass and the stoplight was red I couldn't stop and went thru that as well. I used my emergency break to finally stop the truck and was able to pull into a gas station and park the truck. This happened so fast and without any warning I never had any indication that I was having any break issues. This could have gone so wrong. The truck is in the shop and so far they have found all four brake lines severely corroded.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #14

Jan 202012

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
I have had several issues with my 2003 chevorlet Avalanche Z71 only 62,000 miles. My problems started around 8,000 miles with the rear brakes going bad. I have replaced the front and rear brakes four (4) times since I have owned it. The ABS speed sensors have been replaced once and need replaced again. The speedometer is stuck at 120 mph, the U joints have been replaced and now the transmission has gone out. I feel that chevorlet should fix these problems under a warranty/recall.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

problem #13

Dec 122011

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 19,500 miles
The brake lines on my 2003 Chevy Avalanche have completely rusted out leading to a complete brake failure incident while on the road. Although it's a 2003 year model, I have less than 20,000 yes, less than 20,000 total miles on the vehicle. I will never ever by a Chevy again. I also have a 1998 Acura which I have driven for the past 11 years and it has no such problems. Nope. I will never ever by a Chevy again.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #12

Nov 152006

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • miles


Severe brake line rust that started when vehicle was less than 3 years old. 2 separate dealers saw the rust but said they could not act on the problem unless there was a failure or they were leaking. I brought this to the service departments attention while the vehicle was under warranty.( original & oem extended).

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #11

Nov 192011

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 134,678 miles
I was driving down hwy 316 and began approaching a red light. When I attempted to begin stopping for the red light, my brake pedal went all the way to the floor and the brakes didn't seem to be working. Luckily I was able to safely pull off the right side of the road and was able to avoid hitting any other vehicles or objects. I then pulled into an empty parking lot about 50 feet away. When I got out of my vehicle and starting looking around I could see fluid dripping on the ground next to the driver side front wheel. I then was able to find that the fluid was brake fluid and it was coming from a pinhole sized leak in the stainless steel brake line coming from the master cylinder and going to the ABS system. After closer inspection I have discovered that all my steel brake lines are severely rusted. There were no warning signs, lights, bongs, or beeps until after my brakes failed.my brakes would barely work, the pedal would go to the floor and I would only be able to slow my vehicle down enough to shift into neutral and then shift into park to completely stop. I consider myself and my family extremely fortunate that we were able to avoid a crash and were not harmed or didn't harm anyone else. After this occurred I starting doing research on the internet and discovered that this has become a major issue with Chevrolet vehicles in the salt bed states. I live in Georgia, but my Chevy Avalanche is from a salt bed state and was only recently brought to ga.

- Auburn, GA, USA

problem #10

Nov 072011

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • miles
This is the second complaint that I will be giving in regards to the brake line on my Chevy Avalanche as per complaint number: 10430307. I took my truck to a GMC/Chevy dealership to have the brake line replace which cost $600. Not even a week after bringing the truck home, I start up the truck, put it into reverse and as I start moving backwards and apply the brakes, the brake pedal goes to the floor and a loud pop is heard. Upon inspection, brake fluid was pouring out from under the driver side again and now I will have to return in the truck to the dealership. GMC did not offer any help to repair/replace the brake lines the last time and it is unknown as of now if they will this time. It was not even one week and the brake lines gave out yet again even after just being fixed. Someone must hold GM accountable for this before more people get hurt or worse due to faulty materials used on these vehicles.

- Jacksonville, NC, USA

problem #9

Oct 142011

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 107,211 miles


October 14, 2011: My family and I were backing out from our home when we lost pressure in the brake pedal. Upon visual inspection under the driverside door, brake fluid was flowing freely onto the road. A closer look revealed that the brake lines were severely corroded and that they had ruptured when pressure was applied to the brakes. As I pulled my truck back into the driveway, it took 10-15 ft just to bring the truck to a complete stop using the emergency brake and I did not even get up to 3 mph. I am very concerned as to what could of happened to my family and I were traveling down the road at 45 mph or faster and went to brake and the line ruptured not to mention anyone else I would of crashed into. I did some research online and have discovered that there is a current investigation (NHTSA action number :EA11001) that is pending final results. Please add my own experience to your growing list of issues with GM's manufacturing/installation of brake line. It is apparent that this issue is not one that has affected a small percentage of buyers. I strongly ask that someone please figure out the corrective action for GM to take that does not negatively affect the customers both ethically and financially.

- Jacksonville, NC, USA

problem #8

Aug 032011


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche. The contact stated that while performing routine maintenance on the brakes, he noticed that the brake lines were rusted and corroded. An authorized dealer was made aware of the failure and stated that there were no recalls addressing the failure. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 61,000.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Jan 052010


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

- Lockport, NY, USA

problem #5

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 #4

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 #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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