Print this page Notes: The 2003 Chevy Astro Van has a solid reputation with very low complaint rates. The only problem now is finding one with low miles.

Not only is the 2003 Astro Van reliable, but since they were built on a truck powertrain, they can tow 5,500/5,000 lbs (RWD/AWD) -- almost double what other minivans can.

The Chevy Astro is mechanically identical to the GMC Safari.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,974 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 Astro Van electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Astro Van Owner Comments

problem #6

Jul 142004

Astro Van 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Astro van. The contact stated that the brake pedal went all the way to the floor while making a left turn. The contact also stated that the vehicle failed to start when the vehicle was parked and the wheels were turned to the left. A mechanic looked under the vehicle and found that the wiring harness that was located near the front passenger side tire had burned out. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but the contact was unsure of what would be repaired. The failure mileage was unknown but the current mileage was 67,000.

- Broad Run, VA, USA

problem #5

Apr 102011

Astro Van 6-cyl

  • 80,246 miles
Potentially dangerous defect in the 2003 Chevrolet Astro van. The steering knuckle/arm is designed in a way that causes it to come into contact with a wiring harness when the vehicle is turned sharply to the left. Over a period of time, this constant contact damages the wiring harness and allows the steering knuckle/arm to touch the wires inside the wiring harness. The wiring harness is connected directly to the battery so the end result is damage to other wires also sheathed in that wiring harness. Two weeks ago, while pulling out of a grocery store parking space, everything died. The engine would not re-start and nothing electrical worked, from the door locks to the radio. Everything was dead. We could smell burning wires and tried to get out of the vehicle. Because the doors were locked we could not get them open. We had to manually push up our door locks; each of us pushing up the lock of our own door, so that we could get out of the vehicle. Since then when the problem occurred, additional issue was that the ABS light and brake light would come on and the brake pedal would sink to the floor. We came close to rear-ending someone several times. On April 23, 2011, we showed the damaged wiring harness to the mechanic at the Chevrolet dealership. Within two hours, we received a call to let us know the electronic control module (ECM) and the anti-lock brake (ABS) module had been damaged. Both had to be replaced at a cost of over $2,100. We contacted General Motors customer service this morning. Their response was that they considered this issue to be caused by "normal wear, based upon the age of the vehicle." We disagree with their findings. Concern is that this defect can cause damage to important safety items, such as the brakes and door locks. The area of the wiring harness that is coming into contact with the steering knuckle/arm should either be moved or better protected. We don't want other drivers injured.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 022010

Astro Van

  • 78,000 miles
2003 Chevrolet Astro van. Drove vehicle without incident on August 1, 2010. Monday morning August, 2, 2010 battery was dead (purchased new February 2010). Replaced with new battery on August 2, 2010. First connected the positive cable. Attempted to connect negative cable. Negative post terminal sparked and battery cable got very hot. Disconnected battery cable. Inspected fuses. All good. Trace visible portions of positive cable to fuse box, alternator, and starter. No indication of grounding. Contacted mechanic who on August 14, 2010 performed test on fuse box, alternator, and starter. All good. Mechanic thoroughly traced positive cable. Discovered short located at the passenger side of the engine behind the steering linkage. Stated that cable sheath had been worn away by the rubbing of the tie rod and was grounding out on the body and that it was extremely fortunate that the vehicle had not caught on fire. I had to have the vehicle towed to Chevrolet dealership and had cable replaced.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #3

Jan 212006

Astro Van 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


A fire started in the engine of 2003 Astro van, the van was GM certified from the dealer, it was used with approx 17K miles with manufacturer warranty. The fire dept. Report noted no arson involved, electrical short or malfunction cause of fire. GM has denied the claim with no report given to back up their decision.

- Ontario, CA, USA

problem #2

May 152005

Astro Van 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,600 miles
I have a 2003 Chevy Astro. The problem started in January of 2005. The volts meter started dropping. I took it to phil smith Chevrolet in lauderhill, Florida. They did an electric diagnostic and found the alternator and battery to be bad. I changed the alternator and battery on my own. Vehicle still had same problem afterwards. I then took my vehicle back to phil smith Chevrolet, and they said that the battery cables were bad. I had them change them. The battery light was still coming on, and they said that it was okay, they just forgot to reset the light. Everything was okay, except for the battery light still coming on, until may of 2005. When I accelerate from a complete stop, my vehicle stalls out, but starts right back up. I then brought my vehicle to trapp Chevrolet in houma, la. They ran a diagnostic and said that the alternator was bad. So, I then changed the altenator again. I was still having the same problem. So I returned to trapp. They ran a diagnostic test again, and said that the fuel filter was out and distributor cap and rotor was out. I then changed the fuel filter, distributor cap, and rotor myself. I was still having the same problem. I then, returned to trapp Chevrolet, and they said that they cannot find the problem, and the mechanic has driven the vehicle and sees the problem, but cannot find the problem. If I want them to continue working to find the problem, I have to pay for another diagnostic test, even though they haven't found the problem to begin with.

- Dulac, LA, USA

problem #1

Sep 032004

Astro Van 6-cyl

  • miles
Consumer stated that both she and her 2 year old child got burned by the interior bulb. It overheated and melted the housing around it. Consumer's husband stated that it may have been a electrical wiring problem, and was afraid that the vehicle may catch on fire.

- Oceanside, NY, USA

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