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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
102,388 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 Trailblazer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer Owner Comments

problem #18

Apr 012014


  • 174,539 miles


Was driving on the highway to lansing when my check engine light came on and I lost all power and guage function.I began to hear a loud howling noise, pulled off at the exit went to the repair shop in portland, mi where my wheel hub exploded in their hand on the passenger side. The fan clutch has completely stopped working witch caused the vehicle to overheat, and loose all power and my 4 wheel drive locked right up and stopped working. This was extremely dangerous at a rate of 70 mph because the vehicle slowed all the way down to 25 and had no power. I have had so many issues with this vehicle that I am now checking for recalls to have the vehicle serviced completely.

- Morley, MI, USA

problem #17

Sep 212013

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The transmission shifter cable came off the lever connected to the transmission thus leaving me stuck in reverse during this recent event. I had to drive the car in reverse to park it safely out of the way of traffic. The problem resulted from a plastic bushing that connects the cable to the lever, see GM # 15785087. In my opinion this bushing was not designed to withstand the normal life of the car due to the degradation of the bushing which essentially snapped in two pieces and allowed the cable to dislodge from the transmission and leaving the driver stuck in whatever gear they happen to be in. Luckily the car was able to be turned off after safely being removed from traffic. I had to tie wrap cable back to lever to place in the proper gear ie. Park. GM should have designed a more rigid linkage connection with a safety pin to prevent this dislodging. The other issue is that the console has to be removed to replace the cable thus leaving the average owner stuck in having to take the car to the dealer and incur the cost upwards of $300 to replace it.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #16

Feb 262013


  • 142,500 miles
Bought used from a dealer. Had for 2 days when had first prob that was fixed got back after a week. Ran great. Drove for 1 day and ran good, stopped at a stop sign and went to pull onto main highway and wouldn't move forward. Backed up fine but no forward. I finally got it to crawl forward. After a lil while it kicked back in and ran fine til I stopped again. Finally I made it home and parked it. After they finally came and towed it and "fixed" it I had it and drove it for 1 day and had same problem. After it sat for a while it did go again. Pulled into driveway and parked it. Still waiting for it to be towed and "fixed" again and hopefully right this time. I have researched this problem and found it happens a lot. Sounds like it might be the fan clutch or sun shell spline. Not sure yet though. Called mechanic that dealer had fix it and they only changed a valve in tranny they thought was bad. Said they have about 3 more of them to check before they replace whole tranny. I hope more people research these vehicles and don't buy them.

- Bath, NY, USA

problem #15

Dec 092012


  • 160,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle suddenly decelerated to 0 mph. The vehicle would regain speed after several minutes. The failure recurred on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was later towed to the dealer for diagnosis where they advised that they were unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 160,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Burkville, VA, USA

problem #14

Dec 252011

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Was making a lane change on perfect road conditions when the back end of the Trailblazer started shaking uncontrollably. Veered into the median and was about to drive into on coming traffic. Cranked hard on the steering wheel to the right to avoid traffic and rolled the vehicle 4 times.

- Pulaski, WI, USA

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problem #13

Sep 122012


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact merged to the shoulder and restarted the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing, which confirmed that the sun shell gear was fractured and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and advised the contact that the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000 and the current failure mileage was 152,265.

- Barnwell, SC, USA

problem #12

Oct 052012

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


Automatic drive shift linkage disconnected due to failure of what appears to be a small plastic rivet that held the linkage components together. Transmission could not be shifted out of drive, not even to neutral. Could only stop car by coming to a complete stop with the brakes, turning off the ignition key, and then applying the emergency brake. Called dealer and then tow truck. When the tower arrived, he looked at the make/model of the vehicle and as I described what had happened he said he knew what the problem was because he had picked up 6 of the same vehicle in the last 2-3 months for the same problem. When he checked, he was correct, the linkage had become disconnected due to a broken plastic rivet.

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #11

Jul 122012


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated that erroneously, the vehicle was able to be shifted out of park without the key being in the ignition. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised the contact that the VIN was not included under NHTSA campaign id number: 03V075000 (power train:automatic transmission). The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The current mileage was 91,000. The failure mileage was 87,000.

- Dayton , OH, USA

problem #10

Jan 032012


  • 149,000 miles
I bought my 2003 Trailblazer ltz used about 6 weeks ago at 146,000 miles. Today, it will not go over 45 mph. Due to internal transmission hardware defects. No check engine light, or any warnings were displayed. The problem has been noted thousands of different times between different Trailblazer owners and GM refuses to issue a recall on the faulty sunshell gears! so I'm left with a huge safety hazard caused by GM as well as having to pay for their mistake"? I work hard on a tight budget and I'm in the beginning of an 18 month payment structure for this vehicle and cannot afford the $2600 a GM dealership wants to fix an issue they created. So do I drive an unsafe and unreliable vehicle, or work 90 hours a week for the next 3 months to fix my new car?!"

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #9

Dec 302011

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 151,883 miles
I had gone to a friends house with my boyfriend and our 10month old daughter the car was working great on 12-31-11 at around 5pm we parked the vehicle. On our way home at about 10:45pm we got on the road car drove fine we jumped on the fwy it was foggy and really hard to see we were on the 54 fwy in san diego approaching the 805 South there is a high on ramp we were going about 55 to 60 and all of a sudden I pushed on gas and lost all power to vehicle it sounded like I was in neutral and because it was up hill and curved very difficult to see us with just hazard lights on. I was praying thinking someone was going to take us out. Every car would swerving around us and honking we finally pulled over to the side of the fwy off of the ramp and turned off car turned it back on and it gave us enough power to get to the street exit. Once there again did the same and at that point we parked and left car on the side of the road after calling a friend to pick us up since we didn't want our baby out on the street that late and on new years. I have also had several other problems ac only works on 5 back passenger panel makes clicking noise when on and back ac works when it wants to. Also RPM gauge doesn't function, car alarm is very faint when place on. I have 3 other children and 1 car and now don't know what to do since we depend on the car. We have had small problems with this car and about 5 to 6 months ago my car engine started knocking and had to be replaced however ac already wasn't working and neither was the RPM gauge. When we replaced the engine the car ran great had a lot of power and everything. This was the worst experience of my life and I thought we were going to die.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #8

Dec 022011

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles


I have bought many Chevy vehicles but with all the problems im having with this truck im not sure I will purchase another. Last year my transmission was giving me problems and there was a recall on it and my truck was not covered under the recall also same was with the tail lights. This year I am having problems with my wipers during rain storm I went to turn them on and nothing. I couldnt see so I had to pull over until the rain had let up(2hrs later). I am just speechless when it comes to these "recalls". it seems that myself nor anyone I know ever falls on these lists, you would think with all the money we are paying to purchase these vehicles that someone would want to make sure they keeep our business.

- Lincoln Park, MI, USA

problem #7

Nov 172004

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
This vehicle was purchased new in Jun 2003. While still under warranty, various recalls were issued for steering, brake lights and rear hatch locking/handle assembly. Since then, the vehicle has been a lemon. Power steering pump replaced twice (first one I paid for, second independent and very reliable mechanic shop paid). Next the engine cooling fan bearing had to be replaced. Later, the transmission had to be rebuilt. I also had to get the computer checked and reset to avoid surging engine RPM and resultant speed deviations. Reaching a point of frustration as never before, I wrote GM asking for consideration repairing the transmission and received no response. I know they received the email since I had a "receipt requested" feature activated in my office computer. I sent a second email stating I was aware of the email receipt and that I expected a response. No such luck. All these problems manifested themselves well before the 100,000 miles were reached. Now at approximately 132,000 miles, I had to replace the exhaust manifold due to a crack, the vehicle has lost power on two occasions, the entire dashboard has gone to zero and back to normal several times and the latest is an engine noise that my very reliable, 6 year auto service provider has told be is related to the timing belt assembly/mount points and as it gets louder, the engine will be getting ready to fail. So, I read all these complaints today and felt like I could have summarized everyone's complaints and concerns. I am an accident investigator and have no doubt that this vehicle will go down in history as one of the most unreliable and dangerous cars ever built. Shame the feds have not taken the extra steps to remedy the issues after so many complaints yet, they went after top selling Toyota at a time when the american made cars were barely able to stay afloat. Wonder?

- Eastover, NC, USA

problem #6

Jun 162010


  • 67,064 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer ltz. While driving at approximately 5-10 mph, the all wheel drive warning light illuminated. The dealer advised that the 4X4 actuator would need to be replaced. The claims adjuster for the contact's extended warranty adjustor advised that only the sensor would need to be replaced. The dealer did not agree. The dealer advised that the vehicle would not be safe to put on the road with only replacing the sensor and not the actual actuator. The approximate failure and current mileages were 67,064.

- North Las Vegas , NV, USA

problem #5

Dec 232009


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated while driving at speeds of 50 mph, there was an unusual grinding coming from the front end of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the front differential was replaced. The failure recurred within five months after repairs. The dealer advised the failure was due to the tires. The dealer would not make repairs under the vehicle warranty, stating the contact voided the warranty by installing used tires on the vehicle. The manufacturer was in agreement with the dealer. The failure mileage was 92,000 and the current mileage was 100,000.

- Defiance, OH, USA

problem #4

Aug 082009


  • 76,000 miles
Sun shell, (housing) on transmission shredded into oil pan and radiator. Was told the transmission literally exploded sending metal everywhere. Checked on line posts and see it is very common on 2003 Chevy Trailblazer, (76000 miles). Very dangerous. Left me stranded on the expressway. No warning signs!!

- Lansing, IL, USA

problem #3

Feb 152009


  • 70,000 miles
The 4WD does not work on the vehicle. This has happened numerous times since I have purchased the vehicle. The 4WD will all of sudden just stop working for no apparent reason, then will work again. The indicator says the vehicle is in 4WD, but the front tires are not locked in and acts as if it is in 2wd. The vehicle goes long periods of time with the 4WD working, then the 4WD just stops functioning. This, in my opinion, is extremely hazardous and is going to cause an accident. Just this weekend I was in a very hilly area and we received some snow, my 4WD decided not to work and I was very nearly stuck several times. Not to mention, causing a traffic hazard because my vehicle spun out at every intersection because I have no traction. I have taken the vehicle into the dealer and they insist nothing is wrong. I get the vehicle home and the 4WD still does not work. After doing some research on the internet a lot of consumers have this same problem. GM needs to recall their faulty 4WD system. These vehicles are an accident waiting to happen.

- Sartell, MN, USA

problem #2

Dec 122008


  • 66,000 miles
2003 Chevy Trailblazer. Transfer case needed to be replaced in 2006, @ 32,000 miles under warranty. Transfer case needs to be replaced again 2009 @ 66,000 miles, warranty period over, now its $2200 out my pocket. After researching this is a well known problem with these transfer cases. The bearing installed can not handle it. Apparently GM has recently updated the bearing. GM will not recall these transfer cases. Other GM vehicles have related issues with the transfer case.

- Girdwood, AK, USA

problem #1

Oct 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I purchased a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer lt ext (4 miles on the odometer) on September 9, 2003 from fisher bros. Chevrolet in mahopac, NY. I had the truck for exactly two weeks and started have acceleration problems. I would stop at a traffic light or stop sign or even behind a stopping school bus and the car would not move when stepping on the gas pedal. I brought the car in for service on September 23, 2003 and they had it for service until September 30, 2003. They said it was the transmission and they found out from Chevy that a bulletin with this problem had not yet been released. They ordered the parts and gave me back the car on 9/30/03. I drove it for less than 24 hours and it happened again. I brought the car back for service on 10/2/03. This time they claimed it was electrical - again relating to the transmission. The fixed a few values and things. Had the car in from 10/2/03 to 10/7/03. Got the car home for again less than 24 hours and it happened again. Brought the car back on 10/9/03 (2021miles on the odometer) and the car has been there ever since. When I last spoke to the service manager they said they had to put a whole new transmission in the car. I thought a brand new car would already have a "new transmission". they ordered a 2004 transmission to put into the car. This was the last I heard on 10/14/03.

- Stormville, NY, USA

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