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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,575 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments (Page 1 of 10)

problem #193

Jul 152009

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


Went to start car to go to store and it would not start. Luckily it was at home when it decided to stop working. Towed to garage and they said it was the fuel pump. The garage replaced the fuel pump and it fixed the no start issue. I had no idea that this was the process to start a recall investigation or I would have said long ago. There has been lots of recalls lately on GM and this same Cavalier decided not to start twice after the fuel pump, once in 2011 was the timing chain then again December 2012 that I still have to diagnose which led me to research recalls. Each time the car stopped working luckily it was in my driveway each and every time. The timing chain there was some warning, it would sometimes buck, other times it was fussy on starting and it would stall at stop lights. I will report a new issue if I can find out the 3rd unknown 2012 issue.

- Bridgewater, WY, USA

problem #192

Dec 072013

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 123,100 miles
Was in the fast lane and car shut off and tried to restart but it would not. Was stuck in the road cars honking car would not restart.

- Sun City , AZ, USA

problem #191

May 092012

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Coasting down hill on a dirt road, got to the bottom and engine had died. Rolled to a stop and would not restart. Towed to a mechanic, replaced fuel pump. This happened twice more and each time the fuel pump was bad. The last fuel pump only lasted 3 months and like the two previous pumps, it was brand new!! this is 3 bad fuel pumps in a year and my wallet can't afford to keep this up. Why is there not a recall on this?

- Cookson, OK, USA

problem #190

Jan 262011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 64,640 miles


Owner objects to GM's assertion that this is not a safety-related defect. Vehicle suddenly stalled without notice and left auto occupants in a dangerous position. Engine stumbled once and then stalled while driving down snow- covered road. Had to be pushed out of traffic. Engine would not restart. Was towed to repair facility and in-tank fuel pump had failed. Owner has always been careful to maintain at least 1/4 tank level as this failure has been widely publicized. Earlier model 1993 Cavalier went twice this mileage without any fuel pump failures.

- Far Rockaway, NY, USA

problem #189

Oct 122011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 275,200 miles
At approx. 67K my fuel pump failed. I purchased and installed a new fuel pump, adhering to the manufacturers installation recommendations. Less than 6 months later the new pump failed. The has been a recurring problem now for at least 10 fuel pumps. This installation recommendations have not changed and I have had the electrical system that powers the pump checked out as well. In each condition it was a no start "failure", leaving me stranded in each case and costing me hundreds of dollars in towing fees that are non-refundable. Even though the auto parts stores have been kind enough to honor the warranty most times I have still had to pay for at least 5 of the 10 fuel pumps. That's a 1 to 1 ratio. I have also read about the condition with brushes in the motor wearing out. Some of these pumps have provided 30K miles or more and others not 3K mi. This is a huge problem and I for one will not be shopping for another Chevy until this problem acknowledged and resolved. I am researching my purchases/exchanges to verify the dates and will register each one of them individually.

- Sebring, FL, USA

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problem #188

Dec 132010

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 87,738 miles
I was driving at approximately 6 am on a December morning in 2010 when the 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier I was driving cut off in the middle of the road. I had to push the vehicle into a parking lot to be towed to a body shop. I was informed that the fuel pump had went out and it would cost roughly $450 to fix. The mileage at the time of the incident was roughly around 87,000 miles.

- Holly Springs, NC, USA

problem #187

Jun 082011


  • 60,000 miles


Speedometer goes haywire so you have no idea how fast you are going. Other gauges (fuel, temp) also erratic. Seems this is a common problem with many GM vehicles and is very dangerous!

- Ardsley, NY, USA

problem #186

Jul 052011


  • 100,000 miles
My car would not start after I turned it off. I banged on the gas tank with a hammer, while a coworker cranked the engine over and the fuel pumped kicked in. This resulted in the car starting; however I played it safe and had it towed home. I replaced the fuel pump and have not had any problems since. Still unfortunate that the fuel pump barely lasted 100K. I believe Chevy should give you a fuel pump free of charge if there is a failure within the first 200K miles. Plain and simple fuel pumps should not fail as often as they do with this make/model. It's is dangerous to everyone's health, and I hope no one ever gets hurt from it.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #185

Apr 042011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • miles
My husband and I went looking for a car at this dealership on Oct. 31, 2010. We found this Chevrolet Cavalier (2003). When we bought the car it had no information on it; so I checked on carfax and found that it had couple of recalls on it; but nothing about the fuel pump. So now the car go's out won't start. I don't know what to do about this. We are on a fixed income and can't afford this right now. There was a recalled the cars from 1998 to 2002 and fixed the problem. We will have to have it fixed or get rid of it or trade it in.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #184

May 212008

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 61,246 miles
I had left my mothers and drove approximately 35 miles and started slowing to make a turn into our local grocery store when my 2003 Cavalier stalled and would not restart back. Upon checking I discovered there was no fuel to the fuel rail.I had just over 1/2 tank of fuel in the tank. I had another turn key and there was no whirring to indicate fuel pump was operating. I called tow service and towed it home. I dropped the tank and replaced the fuel pump and problem was resolved. Another symptom not listed in the complaints when my pump failed all the gauges on the dashboard would register (fuel gauge and temp gauge) then would drop to 0 and would flicker continuously when key was turned to the on position. Upon purchasing new pump assembly that the wiring harness needed to be repaired as well. You can not purchase a new harness to resolve issue had to cut the fuel pump leads off of pump wiring harness and purchase a new connector and splice them together. I feel there maybe more customers with these vehicles that had service done in a local shop that was not reported to NHTSA or to GM. As this repair was very expensive at the time and many would seek repairs for lower rates then offered by a dealership.

- Columbia, KY, USA

problem #183

Feb 262011


  • 63,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. The contact stated that while driving mph and above, the speedometer and temperature gauges would not illuminate. In addition, the fuel gauge was providing inaccurate fuel level readings. The vehicle was neither inspected nor repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 63,000.

- Ardsley, NY, USA

problem #182

Sep 262007

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 67,800 miles
2003 Chevrolet Cavalier giving off fumes first time I filled it to the top with gasoline. That eventually set off a check engine light on the dash. I used my obd2 scanner and it was a code for a high evap leak. It was too difficult to find the leak at my home, so I had the dealership do a smoke test and revealed a crack at the seams of the gas tank. Dealership said no recall for that make and model. Estimate for replacement and labor was $1,000. I found a salvage yard gas tank from a low mileage Oldsmobile Alero and the local repair shop replaced it. Mechanic mentioned it is a common occurrence to find a crack at the seams of a newer GM small car with a plastic gas tank. I reset the check engine light code myself and the problem never reappeared.

- Thompsons Station, TN, USA

problem #181

Aug 032011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 80,340 miles
Fuel pump failure at 80,340 miles. Pump failed in the driveway. Repair cost: $695 + towing.

- Mastic, NY, USA

problem #180

Jul 042011


  • 30,000 miles
I am the owner of a 2003 Chevy Cavalier and I have 2 complaints that should have been recalls as there are many with the same 2 problems, first every gauge in my car quit working no RPM, no gas guage and no speedometer. Second ever since I bought my car for no reason at all it would just stall at redlights when I would take off, dealer said no problem, I have nearly wrecked many times because of this, the latest was today I have read many forums that say they found out it was the faulty plastic fuel pump, why no recall this is going to get someone killed.

- Sherman, TX, USA

problem #179

May 312011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
On May 31, my 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier ls sport stalled on a highway. I was in heavy traffic and my power steering went out, but I was luckily able to make it to the side of the road. I immediately exited my vehicle and called roadside assistance for a tow. After receiving diagnostics at a Chevy dealership, it was determined that my fuel pump had gone out and had to be replaced. The cost of this and replacing a fuel filter was close to $1,000. My car only has 60,000 miles on it, I had previously replaced the fuel filter 1 year before at another GM dealership, and I performed regular maintenance on the vehicle in accordance with the user manual. When I went home I researched the issue with the car, and lo and behold I came across hundreds of pages which described the exact same problem I had. On one forum alone, there were over 700 posts where owners of the 2003 model Cavalier had fuel pumps go out at around the same mileage as my car, with repair costs ranging from $300-$900. I continued to research the issue, and found that the NHTSA had researched a large number of consumer complaints regarding fuel pump failures with the 2003 model Cavalier investigation #EA07015 and #PE07033. GM documents in both of these cases indicated a large number of malfunctions in models up to 2003, then a sharp decrease in failures in the 2004 model.

- Rolla, MO, USA

problem #178

Mar 092011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
My fiance purchased a used 2003 Chevy Cavalier about two years ago and we had the fuel pump go out about two months ago. I installed a used one from a junk yard and it went out again last week. I realize that I can't necessarily expect a used fuel pump to last for a significant amount of time, but I noticed that there have been many others complaints in regards to fuel pumps on this year model. I have owned a few cars much older than this one and with higher mileage and have never had to mess with a fuel pump. It currently has 120K miles.

- Ward, AR, USA

problem #177

Apr 232011


  • 180,000 miles
I stopped at a construction stop sign and my car just started to stall. I tried restarting it a few times but it would just putter out after running for a few seconds. I have been informed that the fuel pump needs to be replaced for about $800. Thanks a lot GM.

- Ellerslie, 00, USA

problem #176

Apr 102011


  • 85,000 miles
Fuel pump dead while driving on the highway, 60 mi/hr. Had to replace it for 700$. no more GM's products for me !!

- Sherbrooke, 00, USA

problem #175

Mar 202011

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 92,800 miles
The car just would not start one morning after no warnings! I had it towed to the shop and was told the fuel pump, fuel filter and some type of module would have to be replaced, at a cost of $900!!!

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #174

Mar 172011


  • 95,000 miles
My wife was picking our children up from school. When she pulled out into the flow of traffic her car died in the middle of the road. This of the second time the fuel pump has gone out the first time was about 60K miles the car now has 95K and I already have to replace it. I've read about many other people having the same problem and everyone is wondering why no recall.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

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