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CarComplaints.com Notes: Carrying the not-so-proud traditions of its 2002 predecessor, the 2003 has a handful of instrument panel malfunctions that can leave you guessing your speed, engine temperature or how much gas is left in the tank.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
114,845 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Apr 302014


  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. While driving at 40 mph, the transmission shifted between drive and overdrive. The contact also stated there was a fuel odor when driving. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission shift kit and the fuel pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- Bethel, OH, USA

problem #25

Sep 202014


  • 242,962 miles
I was driving in the left lane on interstate highway 290 (youngman highway) at about 65 M.P.H. when smoke began wafting from the area where the steering column meets the dashboard. I took immediate evasive action, pulled onto and off the shoulder onto the grass, shut the engine off, ran to the barrier fence and watched to see if vehicle was going to burst into flames. After calling aaa, about ten minutes had elapsed without further smoke so I assumed I could drive to the next exit ramp at colvin blvd. (about 1,000 feet away) and off to a wendy's parking lot where I waited for a aaa flatbed truck. My SUV was flatbed towed to my dealership, fuccillo Chevrolet on grand island, where the problem was diagnosed as a faulty ignition switch, code number C0379. Total cost of repair was$222.66. It would be nice to be reimbursed for this expense. Though no visible fire was observed, the smoke was a clear sign of problem that was so hot it caused oxidation of material into visible smoke.

- Grand Island, NY, USA

problem #24

Sep 182014

Trailblazer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the transmission stopped and there was a sudden increase in engine rpms. The vehicle became stuck in drive and would not switch gears. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission failed. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was not aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 95,000. Updated 10/24/2014 updated 4/16/2015

- Danbury, CT, USA

problem #23

Dec 102013


  • 149,000 miles


Transmission cooler lines spring a small pin hole leak. Leak directly under power steering pump. Lines cause transmission to slip and have very hard time shifting into next gear. Truck would almost red line. Can cause internal damage to transmission if kept driving. Truck has sat for 6 months now. Can cause an accident if transmission loses to much fluid.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #22

Apr 022012

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
Driving from out of town and all of the sudden rps ran high and trans would not shift. It would catch finally and then slip out had to drive it in 1st gear. Had it rebuilt lasted 1 yr and now back in shop! having it rebuilt again. Very frustrated with this vehicle. I have had to replace just about everything on it at least once some things twice. Very poor made vehicle. Please look into the transmission problems. Mechanic states it is a known fact that the transmissions in Trailblazers overheat which causes these issues. How can GM sleep at night knowing they are charging $36,000 for a piece of junk! I have to work hard for my money and don't appreciate the way GM turns a deaf ear to their poor workmanship and design. I feel I should be compensated for the frustration!

- Thaxton, MS, USA

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problem #21

Apr 182012

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
My 2003 Chevy Trailblazer check engine light comes on accompanied by the low engine power light. The vehicle goes into limp mode. This is a safety feature that allows the computer to protect the engine from any damage should something go wrong. The only problem is that there is nothing wrong. This happens multiple times a day (6-8). Changing sensors doesn't fix it. I believe it to be a problem with the 2003 Chevy Trailblazer computer. I have read many forums with hundreds of people that have this same problem. Please look into it before it causes an accident or makes an emergency situation a fatal one.

- Redmond, OR, USA

problem #20

Oct 112013

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 137,828 miles


I was at a drive thru pharmacy when my gear shifter cable (broke) and was stuck in park. It would not move. I had to get towed to my mechanic's garage, luckily about 1 mile down the road. Prior to this happening, I had noticed the gear shifter very loose for atleast a year!! the mechanic told me there had been alot of people with the same issue on their Chevrolet. The Chevrolet parts dealer told my mechanic the same thing. There should be a recall on the defective gear shifter cable. I could have been at a major intersection when this happened. Luckily, I was in a parking lot.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Mar 102014

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 201,190 miles
The car takes off as if it doesn't want to allow shift change. It automatically changes on it's on. Transmission starting to slip.

- Rock Hill, SC, 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

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

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