Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

Print this page Notes: The Chevy Express is mechanically identical to the GMC Savana.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
106,860 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 Express engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Chevrolet Express Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 212014

Express 8-cyl

  • 15,500 miles


My speedometer quickly jumps from one indicated speed to another speed that is clearly inaccurate, down as low as -0- while driving, accompanied by the transmission attempting to downshift on it's own, which causes a severe engine over-rev condition or going into a neutral momentarily with no input from me as the driver. There are no specific actions I can take to trigger the erratic symptom, nor any specific action I can take to cause normal operation. With snow and ice on the roads at this time of the year this is extremely dangerous as it could cause the van to lock up the rear wheels on slippery pavement causing lack of control. This condition can occur regardless of whether or not cruise control is selected, regardless of the gear I manually select, and regardless of the trailer mode being selected or not. Simultaneously the "check engine" light goes on, the "ABS light" and "brakes" lights are lit on the dashboard although no braking abnormalities are noted. I reported a less severe case of this several months ago, but received no reply from the NHTSA. Doing internet research I find that it may be a defective speedometer dashboard assembly that would need to be sent away for repair/exchange. They require a large deposit in order to go thru the verification process that the odometer reading I report is the same as the unit I send in. Part cost with deposit is close to $600, and they show an online internet video of how to remove the dashboard unit which takes less than 3 minutes. I've read this is a common problem with this vehicle make, model and year. I am the original owner since new, and it has less than 17,000 actual miles on it.

- Plainfield, NH, USA

problem #4

Sep 012003

Express 8-cyl

  • miles
This vehicle was bought brand new but unbeknownst to me was made in Canada (something which would not have been acceptable to me had I been told). Upon possession the windshield molding came off on the ride home. The driver side tierod end went at 12,000 miles and again at 24,000 miles because upon inspection the ball joints were never properly tightened. The bolts on the transmission were found by the dealer to have been never properly tightened. The sidedoor hinge had to be replaced at a cost of $600 because it froze up and could not be opened. The power steering unit rusted out at 12,000 miles and started leaking fluid and, what I find most important, I am not sure if I have airbags because the airbag light stays on but is noted to go off when the key is partially turned however the key cannot stay in this position and must be turned to start the vehicle. Fuel expectation was never near what I was told it would be and tailpipe consistently showed evidence of being blackened due to insufficient fuel burning. The poor backdoor design makes it difficult to see out the back window and it is clearly evident by almost every van of this type having a dented bumper due to this blindspot in design. I have not begun to list all the things not right with this vehicle but I will chalk them up to downright lying and just inferior parts and craftsmenship. This vehicle has been a nightmare.

- Columbiaville, MI, USA

problem #3

Apr 162014


  • 254,000 miles
For the second time in one week the engine raced to max RPM without a throttle input. Had to put it in neutral to slow down with the brakes. The first time (35mph slowing down for a red light) went to neutral, foot on brake and back to drive, the engine responded normally. Last night the engine raced to max RPM again 100 feet from my parking spot going less than 5mph went to neutral back to drive no change in engine speed back to neutral glide to parking spot turned engine off. No warning when the max engine rev would begin, one was slow speed the other moderate speed, temp 75 one day, temp 45 yesterday. Worked fine today. Worried the problem is not repeatable or can be found using a code reader. Worried that the only way now to stop max engine RPM is by turning engine off, not safe while driving on the interstate.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #2

Jul 022013


  • 206,300 miles
My 2003 Chevy Express 2500 cargo van was in evening rush hour stop and go traffic. After reducing my speed to 10 mph then attempting to accelerate. The vehicle stalled and began to idle rough and shut-off. I had to put the vehicle in neutral and restart in the middle of the interstate. I had to continue to shift into neutral and press the gas to prevent the vehicle from shutting off in the middle of traffic. I had the plugs and wires change the very next day and the problem continued. This could have turned into a major accident with the vehicle shutting off in the middle of traffic. This issue should be addressed and an immediate recall notice should be put into effect to prevent a major accident which could lead to a possible fatality. This is dangerous! I've researched this issue and have found multiple Chevy Express owner's with the same concern. GM should do the right thing for the customers who support their brand and product.

- Snellville, GA, USA

problem #1

Aug 092012


  • 58,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Express 3500. The contact stated that after starting the vehicle the transmission failed to shift into gear. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who stated that the cause of failure was unknown. However, the technician stated that the maf censor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who stated that the vehicle needed the catalytic converters replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 58,500.

- Wolcott, CT, USA

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