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pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
7,531 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 Cavalier electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #3

May 022005

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,500 miles


Just wanted to clarify my call resulting in ODI number 10133041. According to the mechanic, prior to the belt breaking, my car's alternator had a "hard spot". this means that it would seize and let go. My understanding is that the alternator should not seize unless there is a collision which in turn stops the engine. This car has never been in an accident. This random seizing, I believe, is what caused my "undiplomatic", steering and braking problems - with loss of control ranging from 1/2 second to 2 seconds at a time. On the report associated with the alternator repair, I again reported braking problems (not just the documented noise), and the oddball sensation in the steering wheel. Both lines of complaint were attributed to the seizing up of the alternator. To me, this means that my life, and the life of anyone else on the road with me - was and still is still at the mercy of a weird alternator, whose intermittent failures result in loss of power to the steering pump, and the brakes - resulting in complete loss of control of the car until the backup kicks in - which takes from 1/2 second to 2 seconds. I wish to make very clear - I do not blame the dealer for lack of ability to adequately repair what is an inherent design flaw. In addition, in the course of research, I have learned that most all new cars regardless of manufacturer are designed the same way. This is a serious hazard, and needs to be addressed on an industry wide scale. At this stage, steering, acceleration, and braking are all erratic. Sound in the front tires is like a clip-clop. I am not a mechanic, but in reading the descriptions placed here, I must also wonder if the crashes and airbag failed deployments in several posts were also due to a seizing alternator prior to the mva.

- Cairo, NY, USA

problem #2

Feb 182003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,392 miles
The consumer owns a 2003 Chevrolet caviler. Was losing control of the steering and the brakes. It started in the winter. The consumer stated the direction that car was headed was the way it stayed. Also, she noticed that there was a hum in the steering wheel which lasted a couple of seconds each time. The consumer contacted the dealer, and they said that it did not sound to them as dangerous. A couple of months later the problem finally came to ahead in June. Lights came on the dashboard. The belt broke, and the alternator seized. When the car was repaired by the dealer they concluded the alternator and the belt malfunctioned. Also heard a grinding noise in the brakes. The dealer never did any repairs to the steering. The consumer said that the key was hot after it had been in the ignition. And the steering wheel was tight when turning to the right. The car went back to the dealer, and she did not have the tightness to the steering. But, the car was still pulling to the right. The brakes were spongy. There was a popping sound in the front wheel. There was a delay in the speed of the car. And almost had a collision.

- Cario, NY, USA

problem #1

Jul 212004

(reported on)


  • 700 miles
Various problems with 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. The vehicle tail light shorted out three times then the circuit shorted out. The gas gauge would fluctuate. Cold starts. The vehicle would hesitate at stop light or stall out completely. The driver' S side speaker blew. The cd player would eject the cd while it was playing. The RPM gauge bounced. The fuel pump was replaced. The alternator made noise.

- Unknown, DC, USA

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