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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 9
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 1
Average Mileage:
56,411 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 Silverado 3500 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #66

Jan 012013

Silverado 3500

  • miles


Brake lines, gas line, transmission fluid lines all rusted/corroded beginning at under 50,000 miles. * had near accidents as the brake lines blew while driving on a highway and was decelerating in an attempt to come to a stop..pedal went to the floor, I continued on (foot off the gas) until the truck slowed down enough on it's own, shifted into low gear & was able to come to a stop and get towed. * shortly after brake line incident, the same thing with the gas line, rusted/corroded and leaked gasoline when ignition was on and pump was running... towed * a few, months later, I was parking the truck and fluid started spewing from under the truck - after close examination I determined it was transmission fluid, the lines had rusted/corroded - again, towed. * rear bumper rotted out completely before hitting 35,000 miles- I had it replaced, now the wheels and side quarter panels and everything in between are also rotting out. * currently the dash lights/panel will intermittently begin to flash - the whole dash goes blank, lights off, then they come back on, while driving! * mechanic recently told me after state inspection, that the frame is the next thing to go, it is rusting out more than expected for a vehicle of it's age/low mileage. Personally, I feel that inferior products were used when the truck was manufactured only because I have another Chevrolet product with twice the mileage and 6 years older with barely any rust/rot/corrosion.

- Hunlock Creek, PA, USA

problem #65

Jan 042016

Silverado 3500

  • 126,000 miles
While driving, the heater blower stopped working and I smelled burning plastic or insulation. I pulled over and figured out it was coming from under the dash. Logically I pulled the bottom cover off from below the blower assy.(former mechanic). Smell was coming from plug harness and relay. Melted wire insulation and melted plastic from plug harness(obvious short). I was near an auto parts store and checked to see if they had this wiring plug assy. And they informed me that they did and this was an issue that GM had and there had been a safety recall on this. It's winter and I needed a defroster! roadside fix, but this could have been much worse. Contacted GM and they informed me that this was not their problem because the VIN number wasn't part of their recall. GM case # 8-174060432. Not dropping this, this could have gotten worse.

- Benton Harbor, MI, USA

problem #64

May 212015

Silverado 3500

  • miles
This is the second of three fatal collisions investigated this year by my office involving Chevrolet pickups that caught fire after being involved in frontal collisions. This was an off set head on, passenger side to passenger side. Passenger in pickup was pinned in vehicle due to crush and consumed by fire.

- Springfield, OR, USA

problem #63

May 252015

Silverado 3500

  • 0 miles


The gauge cluster is always drawing power. Battery goes dead if I do not drive the vehical for one day.

- Vermilion, OH, USA

problem #62

Apr 102015

Silverado 3500

  • miles
I have had to replace the distributor cap and rotor bug often due to corrosion after less than 1000 miles. This is very dangerous. The dealership installed cover over the ac line and that had little effect. It is my belief that this is a manufacture flaw.

- Norman, OK, USA

problem #61

Aug 012014

Silverado 3500

  • 227,792 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 227,792.

- Versailles, KY, USA

problem #60

Mar 082015

Silverado 3500

  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado. While driving at approximately 60 mph, all the gauges on the instrument panel seized. The contact had to maneuver to the side of the road where the vehicle was started after five minutes. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000.

- Livingston, KY, USA

problem #59

Jun 122013

Silverado 3500 8-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
Blower motor switch resistors, defective from factory. Resistors get so hot they melt and melt the end off the factory wiring harness. The wires and blower motor are suppose to be protected by a fuse but the fuse never blows. Replaced resistors in 2013 but it did not last 1 year and burned up again in 2014! GM has known about this problem for many years but does not care if the wires over heat and cause a fire.

- Champlin, MN, USA

problem #58

Sep 172012

Silverado 3500 8-cyl

  • miles
I purchased a 2003 Chevy Silverado lt manufactured in Nov 2002, for the past yr and a half the truck has been in and out of the shop numerous times for electrical problems, my outside temp and direction indicator located on the rear view, the heated seats, the remote entry have all stopped working and sometimes the stereo will come on and work properly but with no sound, constantly having to get a jump start because the battery was drained while parked. I have replaced the battery twice. After talking to several different technicians at different dealerships I found out that those items I just listed are controlled by the body control module or (BCM). Also that it will draw power off of the battery. That is the same problem recalled on the other GM vehicles, why is the recall not being added to the Chevy trucks as well. My truck was manufactured very close to the same time as the Malibu's and other GM vehicles that are being recalled and I would like to know if my vehicle has the same part.

- Russellville, AR, USA

problem #57

Apr 252014

Silverado 3500

  • 140,506 miles
First complaint for this problem was reported on 10/21/10. Complaint #10361641. Same problem again dtr light on right side out, smelled burning wire saw that the same thing happened again. Wires leading to light assembly melted and also melted the socket again. I think this could possibly lead to some sort of electrical fire in the engine compartment. I fixed the problem myself the first time and will do so this time.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #56

Mar 102012

Silverado 3500 8-cyl

  • 99,201 miles


I purchased my Chevy Silverado truck in 2003 new off the lot at [xxx] in roseville California. Within a couple years, I made a left hand turn at an intersection and lost power. I nearly hit a homeless man with a shopping cart, as I came up over a sidewalk. I called Chevy and got towed back in. They told me it was a solenoid? they fixed it and that was that. A year later, I am driving down a busy major street and make a left turn. As turning I lose power and my truck dies. Cars behind me honking. Light changes to red and cars still behind me. Now other lights are green. I turn my key again and it turns on and I get out of the way. I have 4 teenagers in my truck with me screaming. I take my truck to [xxx] and they test drive. Nothing happens. They say there is nothing to fix. Couldn't get it to die on them. A year later, make a U turn on busy street. It dies and loses power. I have no brakes and no steering. Cars honking. Again take it to [xxx]. nothing. A year later, taking a car load of women out to dinner and drinks. All hard working mothers. I am the only non drinker. At midnight I am taking the women home. U-turn at intersection, and truck dies. Again. No brakes or steering. Scared women. Turn it over and it goes. I take my truck to [xxx]. they have just moved to another building down the street. All my records of ignition problems gone. They have no idea where any of them went. They test drive. Nothing. They have yet to fix anything on it. It hasn't done it in over a year. But no telling when it does happen. It just happens. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #55

Oct 022013

Silverado 3500 8-cyl

  • 181,433 miles
We were driving on US19 in new port richey, fl, when traffic slow down for a red light and I lost all brakes had to veer off the road almost got into a head on accident, the only way to stop was by using the emergency brakes, could not change the gears, everything just froze. We just moved from Connecticut a year ago. Now the instrument gauge cluster panel is not working, RPM, speedometer is not reading at all, it just states on 0, this is the second time it happened in about 2 months.

- Holiday, FL, USA

problem #54

Feb 012014

Silverado 3500 8-cyl

  • 207,345 miles
2003 Silverado started by itself while I was putting gas in. Key was in ignition but was not turned on. It started in reduced power mode. I do not have a remote start installed on this vehicle.

- Waucoma, IA, USA

problem #53

Jul 032007

Silverado 3500

  • 65,000 miles
Air conditioner shorts out. We have had every panel replaced trying to fix it, but it keeps happening. There is also a problem with this trucks brakes rotting out and brake failure. This happened 2/2013. There is also a problem with the drivers seat and seatbelt. Both have completely broken in the truck 5/2013. We have never received any recall notices for this truck.

- Sicklerville, NJ, USA

problem #52

Feb 212013

Silverado 3500 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
Overheated connector in dash, possibly loose at assembly. Origin behind instrument panel, driver side of dash.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #51

Jun 072010

Silverado 3500 8-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
After a 3 mile ride, backing up truck noticed smoke then flames coming out from under the hood. Fire melted all electical lines, destroyed hood and windshield. Weather was perfect, air conditioning may have been on.

- Canterbury, NH, USA

problem #50

Nov 272008

Silverado 3500 8-cyl

  • miles
My speedometer reads 125+ mph when I'm only driving 55mph according to my gps. My oil pressures gauge and ammeter also indicate readings in excess of mechanical limits.

- Frazeysburg, OH, USA

problem #49

Oct 142011

Silverado 3500

  • 115,000 miles
The instrument cluster guages are all failing. I did not realize it until I received a ticket for speeding and found out my speedometer was not working correctly.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #48

Feb 022010

Silverado 3500

  • 127,361 miles
While driving home around 10 pm with small children; my truck started to surge, became difficult to control, and the gauges did not register anything ( all at 0). This road was in the middle of nowhere and outside a bad area, so I called my husband to come follow me home and I drove home slowly all the while enduring a chugging motion. What is normally a 20 minute trip became an hour and a half trip. When I got home and shut the truck off my husband looked at it thinking that the fuel injectors could be the problem since they had just been recalled and replaced. The truck would not start when he went to restart it and the dash said 'unknown driver". through some research we discovered it is a faulty passlock system. We went through the recommendations and it was fixed. This occurred again today August 18, 2011 while driving and I now can not start my vehicle or have it towed because it can not be put on a truck because everything is locked up tight and can not be unlocked. We changed the batteries in the key fobs to no avail. The windows are stuck open and it is rainy season here. They lights come on and the information center keeps says 'unknown driver." I am now afraid to drive my truck for fear that the next time I will not be able to control it. I have an 18 year old that drives my truck to college and I live in great fear that he will not be able to control the vehicle if it does the same thing while driving it.

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #47

Jul 282009

Silverado 3500

  • 43,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado. The contact stated that the speedometer was reading inaccurately. A local mechanic diagnosed that the instrument panel cluster needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The dealer and manufacturer were notified of the failure, but did not offer any assistance with the repair. The failure mileage 43,000 and the current mileage was 63,900.

- Clintwood, VA, USA

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