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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,903 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 Suburban electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Suburban Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #31

Mar 192011


  • miles


"reduced engine power" light comes on and truck slows to less than 10 mph and the power steering stop working. This has happened six times in the last year. 1st incident I took it to the dealer and they said nothing was wrong with it. Diagnostics performed and nothing came back wrong. I think the wiring to the throttle is possibly to blame. If I hit a bump in the road or cross railroad tracks, the reduced engine power can come on. I have a hunch after researching online & finding that several other people have the same problem, that leads me to believe that Chevy knows about it & is doing nothing about it. "typical"!! I am very displeased, especially because I love my Suburban. I suggest an investigation & recall of this problem.I ask that Chevy takes responsibility for poor quality & repairs the problem pronto! oh, and the power seating fuse caught fire and exploded the little fuse in the fuse box, now the seats won't work & neither does the passenger side windows. The wiring done on this truck is cheap! the parts are cheap! not a happy customer!

- New Boston, OH, USA

problem #30

Aug 012011

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • miles
I'm filing a complaint because of an issue with the instrument panel cluster. My car has had this issue for the past few months. Anytime the car goes over bumps(no matter how big or small the bump is, it could just be a crack in the cement) the gauges on the dash will go crazy, sensors will so off. Specifically the speedometer will stop working or go all the way to 120 mph. The fuel and oil gauges will not be accurate (for example it will say the tank is empty when it's full). But the most disturbing problem is that while driving no matter how fast the anti theft will go off and shut the engine off in a matter of seconds and the car loses all power. A few times I have been driving 55 mph on the expressway and it will just shut off. So far I have been lucky enough not to get rear ended, I don't know when my luck will run out. There was a recall on the car for this problem but it was only until 2010 or if the odometer was between 70,001 and 80,000 miles. My car is eight years old and over 100,000 miles. We bought this car used in 2009 from a Chevy dealership (dick wickstrom's Chevrolet). When we talked to the dealership about this and complained that it wasn't fixed when they had it, they said it wasn't having problems at that time. It will cost approximately $600 to $800 to fix. I don't have the money to fix it or to buy another car so I must continue to drive a defective unsafe car. If a part is defective how can that expire. GM should be responsible for the safety of the cars they sell and to fix any defective parts no matter how old the car is. I hope that you can help us as I need a dependable safe car and can't afford to buy another one or pay out the kind of money it will take to fix this one when I feel this should have been taken care of by the manufacturer because it is a part that was defective no matter how long it took to go bad. Thank you.

- Schaumburg, IL, USA

problem #29

Aug 042008


  • miles
I have 2003 Suburban 1500, that keeps getting a error message "reduce engine power". the vehicle will all of sudden while driving, reduce speed and I can't accelerate above 25-30mph. I will have to pull over and turn car off for 10-15 seconds before it resets, however it will continue to happen over and over again! it is very scary and dangerous when I have my kids or my wife drive it because you never know when the car will have this happen. Strangely, when we drive on the highway we can use the "cruise control" feature when we reach 25mph and use the cruise control to accelerate that way with minimal occurrences. I have taken the car to "2 Chevy dealers and 3 mechanics" neither can tell us what's wrong! this is frustrating because we only have on car, and we know this a "safety hazard" and extremely dangerous and somebody has to look into this! I only hope someone who reads these complaints has the power to help me and everyone with this problem.

- Santa Fe Springs, CA, USA

problem #28

Sep 142011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 153,221 miles


I was driving my Suburban when a message reading "reduced engine power" came on and my car cut off. I was very lucky to only be going 20 mph in my neighborhood. Had I been going faster and had a car been following close behind, we would have caused an accident. This problem still persists and stops every 2-3 miles. We have to pull over, leave the car off for 5-10 seconds and then restart. We are then able to go another 2-3 miles. This is our only vehicle so we have no choice but to drive with our hazards on because we have 4 kids at 3 different schools to drop off and pick up each day. After researching this issue online, I am seeing that this is occurring in hundreds of Chevrolet and GM cars. It is my understanding that these 2 are the same company. I do not dare get on a major highway or interstate because of the fear of the car shutting down and causing an accident. Chevrolet and GM are aware of this problem, as many people have filed complaints with both the company and the NHTSA. Why is there no recall to fix this? this is a very dangerous situation and could likely lead to a deadly accident. I am discussing a class action lawsuit with a number of people and once the info is collected, I will contact an attorney. Please help get these unsafe vehicles off of the road and into the dealerships to be fixed. Thank you.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #27

Jun 022010

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
My Suburban goes to reduced power unexpectedly and the engine will stall causing a loss of power steering and control of the vehicle. My Suburban has been taken in to the dealer I purchased the vehicle from on five occasions and the dealer is unable to fix the problem.. the most recent time was 9/1/2011. It went to reduced power 10 miles after leaving dealership and stalled as I pulled out into traffic from a restaurant. A number of cars had to brake excessively and swerve around me until I could angle my Suburban off the road without power steering. The truck weighs 6700 lbs and I needed all my strength to turn the wheel enough to get off the road. I am fearful about driving my Suburban and the high probability of injury to myself or others.

- Ludington, MI, USA

problem #26

Mar 212010


  • 69,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The contact stated that the speedometer began to fluctuate erratically while driving. The failure began as an intermittent problem before progressing to a contact issue. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 69,000.

- Stevensville, MD, USA

problem #25

Sep 272010


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The contact was driving approximately 25 mph when the speedometer suddenly failed. In addition, the gear shifter indicator light would not illuminate and the rear center seat belt would not function. When the left turn signal was engaged, the hazard warning lights would illuminate sporadically. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the contact was awaiting a diagnosis of the failure. In addition, the contact stated that the fuel kit had to be replaced twice as well as a fuel injector cleaning. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000.

- Cincinnati , OH, USA

problem #24

Nov 202010

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
We are having serious electrical issues with our 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Z71. It started with the seat warmers only workiing occasionally, then when I was trying to start it one day the ds automatic power seat deployed me and smashed my chest and legs all the way into the steering wheel and dash I was pinned against the steering wheel and dashboard until my husband heard me screaming and came to get me - it did this on its own, I hadn't touched a thing other than turn the key to start position. Then the ds power seat buttons starting working in reverse I.e. pushing forward on the button sends you backwards and pushing back sends you forward, then the service 4WD light came on the dic and stayed on for awhile, the seat warmers started to work again on occasion and then quit altogether...again., now the cluster panel...speedometer, RPM and other gauges are incorrect more often than not. We are having to use a gps to maintain speed limits.

- Quitman, TX, USA

problem #23

Aug 182010


  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact stated the all gauges on the instrument panel have stopped working. The digital and mechanical gauges failed and the contact does not know how much gas was in the vehicle or how fast they were traveling. The contact stated that the light in the gear shift indicator failed first. The vehicle was not inspected, but the contact was concerned that the failure was a wiring problem. The failure mileage was 99,000 and the current mileage was 103,000.

- Bemieji, MN, USA

problem #22

Nov 012010


  • 18,000 miles
Got a 2003 chevorlet surburan. The rear door be showing open N the oil gauge, temperature gauge, RPM, N speedometer not working.

- Tutwiler, MS, USA

problem #21

Nov 292010

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 85,219 miles


I was driving to a store in my city when it felt like I was not doing the speed limit and going slower than normal. When II got to the store and turned off the car, I saw that the speedometer was registering 20 mph. I started the car back up and it dropped the speed reading by 5 mph. I did this 3 more times till it registered zero mph. When driving home, I noticed that I was still driving slower than normal and when I got home and turned off the car the speedometer reading was showing 25 mph. I looked online and saw that others are having the same problem. This problem continues to occur every time II am driving my 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. I have not taken it to get fixed yet and have contacted Chevrolet to see if they will fix the problem for free since it should not be happening. This could possibly affect the vehicle speed control when set.

- Davdson, NC, USA

problem #20

Dec 102006


  • 55,000 miles
I got a 2003 Chevrolet surb. The rear door keep coming open on it own, the speedometer does not work, oil gauge, and the temperature gauge not work. It had start now when start to cranked it the brake booster light come the battery light come saying not charging.

- Clarksdale, MS, USA

problem #19

Nov 302009


  • 65,000 miles
2003 Chevy Suburban I think it is called the cluster where the speeodometer and the fuel gage are located. Fuel gage does not work and speedometer is stuck. Air bag light has gone on twice took to vehicle to dealer they changed front sensor and the light came back on a month later 06/20/2010.

- Newark, NJ, USA

problem #18

Jun 152005


  • 38,000 miles
My 2003 Chevy Suburban's speedometer and volt meter indicate wildly false readings. I never know how fast I am really driving and I don't know if my electrical system is really at 30 volts or 0. I believe this is an unsafe condition.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #17

May 062003


  • 43,000 miles
Speedometer fluctuates, indicates various speeds other than actual speed. Never a standard offset from actual speed. Might indicate 20 mph at 55 mph actual as measured by gps one time, then 10 mph at 60 mph actual another time.

- Mcallen, TX, USA

problem #16

Mar 152009


  • 85,000 miles
The speedometer on our 2003 Chevrolet Suburban randomly stops working. We understand that it is a defect and that it will only be replaced by Chevrolet if the vehicle has less than 70,000 miles. Our Suburban has 85,000 miles on it. Since it is a defect in the instrument cluster, and not because of wear and tear, Chevrolet should replace it free of charge. We can't afford to pay the $550+ to have it replaced so we will drive it without the speedometer working, which is unsafe.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #15

Mar 042009


  • 91,000 miles
I have a 2003 Z71 Suburban. The speedometer broke today all of a sudden, said I was driving 60mph when I was barely doing 25. When I shut the car off it remained at 30mph. I called the Chevy dealer and they knew right away what the problem was and how much to fix it. $600. Now I know why, after reading the complaints on here. Everybody has the same problem. My truck has 91,000 miles on it. Why won't GM repair this regardless of how many miles the vehicles have on it. A defect is a defect, regardless of what the mileage is when it occurs! let's see, food in my kids mouth and a roof over their heads, or $600 to repair my defective truck. No wonder why GM is going under. I know I will never buy another GM vehicle. You people should do something. I see there a tons of complaints for the same thing. This obviously is a safety issue.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #14

Dec 012008


  • 88,000 miles
Revving of engine to point of screeching tires. Sometimes feeling of being in neutral for a second then clunk in tranny/rear end? acts as engagement of cruise control increasing speed, not able to disengage by hitting brake. Computer did not show anything. Next time putter "locked out" tech's. puter replaced. Worked good for two weeks. Engine revved, hit patch of ice, totaled out Z-71. Thank god, no injuries. Fighting it for appx 16000 miles. 72000 to 88000.

- Battle Creek, MI, USA

problem #13

Jan 142007


  • miles
The issue started with the drivers memory seat not remembering the seat position and the easy exit pushed the seat forward in to the steering wheel instead of back. Then came the issue with the speedometer. I received the letter identifying this problem however like so many other people my vehicle has more than 70,000 miles and although it has been identified as a problem GM will not consider it a recall and I would have to pay to have it fixed. This is obviously a wide spread problem that GM should fix free of charge no matter the mileage. My husband also has the same issue with his 2005 3/4 ton Silverado.

- Lyman, ME, USA

problem #12

Jun 122003

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. The same day the vehicle was purchased, the contact attempted to apply the parking brake and the vehicle rolled forward. The vehicle has been to the repair shop three times and each time the mechanic stated that everything was fine. The emergency brake has not worked since the vehicle was purchased. The current mileage was 62,000 and failure mileage was 1. the consumer stated the sunroof leaked, a blown fuse was replaced. The temperature gauge in the rear view mirror was inoperative, the dealer tightened the connection, there was a rattle coming from thee left side of the vehicle when going over bumps in the road. Updated 10/24/07.

- French Village, MO, USA

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