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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,347 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 Avalanche electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #51

Jul 122010


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche. While driving approximately 65 mph, the instrument panel failed. In addition, the driver side headlight failed. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the instrument panel needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Baldwin Park, CA, USA

problem #50

Oct 152014


  • 119,400 miles
It started with the airbag light, but nobody will own up to fixing it, as we moved from pa to fl. Then the brake lines went, all of them, now with the airbag issue the PCM is sending all kinds of stupid codes like the airbag issue is affecting the whole electrical system in the truck.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #49

Feb 022008


  • miles
I have a 2003 Avalanche and I've notice that other Chevy Avalanche has the same rust on the same place it seem that the back quarter panel is defective and the speedometer too

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #48

Aug 072012

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


One day while driving at 55mph the truck just shut down. Everything electrical completely shut off. Luckily I was able to control it. I turned the vehicle off and restarted it. It was fine but did it again when I stopped at a stop sign. It continued to do it but then just stopped. Check engine light goes off and on all the time when I accelerate up a hill. The lights on the dashboard are dim. Everything on the mirror comes and goes. It will go months without working and then comes back on. The suspension is terrible. Feels like it's going to shake the wheels completely off the truck when I hit even a small bump in the road. I've almost lost control several times due to it shaking so hard. Latch on the tailgate broke off and needs to be replaced. Rotor on back completely broke and had to be replaced.

- Pennington Gap, VA, USA

problem #47

Aug 252014

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 200,000 miles
I was driving approximately 15 to 20 mph down a hill that was curvy and all of a sudden my truck completely shuts off as I was driving down the hill and almost went into a ditch because the truck just shut off while in drive and luckily I was quick enough to put it in neutral so I could steer it away from the ditch and I turned the ignition over and luckily it turned on while in neutral otherwise I would of crashed into the ditch. Then it shut off again about 30 seconds after and luckily I was able to put it in neutral again so I could steer and coast down the hill because it wouldn't start up the second time when it all shut off. I was stranded at the bottom of the hill near a light so I tried to start it again and it would keep trying to turn over but wouldn't start again. I was stranded in the middle of the road and had to call aaa to tow my Avalanche to my house. This could of killed me if I wasn't quick enough to figure out to put it in neutral to be able to steer. There should be a recall on whatever made this happen and I still don't know what is wrong with it because it happened late last night and I was looking for recalls and it doesn't show anything on this.

- Bonney Lake, WA, USA

problem #46

May 112006

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Key ignition switch is loose and car will shut off while operating, key can be pulled out of ignition while running. If vehicle shuts off while operating then you loose control of brakes, steering, and electrical systems. GM is denying there is a problem. My vehicle is proof that the problem exists and the Chevy Avalanche 2003 has a problem.

- Grandview , MO, USA

problem #45

Dec 222006

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 82,000 miles


In light of the recent information concerning GM's intentional withholding of problems with the ignition switch in certain GM vehicles, I feel compelled to share my story. I do see other complaints filed here concerning the same issue. In October 2003, I purchased a new 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500. The vehicle had 5,500 demo miles on the odometer. I drove many miles for work and for transporting hockey kids to practice, games, tournaments, etc. In December 2006 I already had 80,000+ miles on the vehicle and the speedometer, gas gauge (causing me to run out of gas in the middle of the night!), oil gauge, battery voltmeter, rpms, which are all components of an electrical cluster began failing. I contacted my GM dealer and was told that a 'silent recall' had been issued to dealers stating that if a vehicle with less than 3 years and under 70,000 miles was brought in, the dealer should fix the item as a warranty repair. Since my vehicle was 2 mos over the 3 yr and over the 70,000 miles, I was denied a warranty repair and quoted $700 to fix the part. Since that date, my son's Chevrolet vehicle had the same problem! and, in 2009 a friend's brand new denali with less than 10,000 miles had the same problem. I have never fixed the problem due to cost and disagreement with GM. I wrote the corporate office and got nowhere. I don't see how a safety issue like this can be allowed to continue to happen nor how GM can know about the problem but not tell owners of the vehicle and/or future possible buyers of the vehicle. Oh wait, yea GM doesn't say anything because consumers might take their business elsewhere! I simply wanted to GM to fix the problem, that was obviously known about, but rather, GM simply keeps putting the same bad component in future vehicles!!

- Troy, MI, USA

problem #44

Mar 312010


  • 93,000 miles
I believe the same problem with the GM key/ignition switch is more common then what is being reported. The Avalanche 2003 has had the same loose ignition switch for years. Our key system has to be jiggled and forced to the start position 80 percent of the time. The ignition switch will also move the off position while the vehicle is moving and the key will fall out.

- Grandview , MO, USA

problem #43

Aug 142013

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 95,040 miles
My speedometer and several gauges have been acting erratically for months, and now the speedometer battery gauge, and the oil pressure gauge have stopped working completely. In researching the problem, I have found out that there was a recall to fix this problem several years ago. I never received notice of this recall. I have lived in the same location since 2001, but have never been notified of the recall. If there was a recall affecting the instrument panel, I would have taken it in. Why didn't Chevrolet notify all owners?

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #42

Jul 222013

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 57,253 miles
Rattle form the A/C belt tension-er when accelerating. Have changed multiple new tension-ers and there is still the rattle from the belt tensioner. I have found a tsb on the A/C compressor that leads to the issue.

- Columbus, GA, USA

problem #41

Feb 082011


  • 198,000 miles


I was driving my truck and the speedometer was reading 60 and when I look down again it was reading 120. I stop and started again then I realize that it was not reading now. My fuel, RPM, oil pressure gauges stop also. I had a mechanic look at it and they said it was the cluster. I research and I notice that all these vehicle is having the same problems. I think that Chevy should be responsible for this defective item. I brought this truck new and I didn't think that I would be having any problems like this. I replaced the part but guess what, its doing the same thing after six months. Now the door chime will not stop when the door is close and while im driving so I don't drive it.

- Nunez, GA, USA

problem #40

Mar 012012


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500. The contact stated that the speedometer failed to provide accurate speed readings. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who confirmed that the instrument cluster needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and the vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 108,965.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #39

Jan 192012

Avalanche 8-cyl

  • 160,500 miles
During trip from nc->tx->fl->tx I was stopped for speeding (75 in 60 on I-10 in la) -- I do* knowingly speed. I began watching my speed to try to understand why this happened. The problem repeated several times on this trip, and I was able to record a number of photos of the precise problem. After driving for more than a couple of hours (probably why I never noticed this before), the speedometer will begin a very slow drift downward. Since I had been on 70mph roads for quite some time, I apparently adjusted my speed control up to maintain what I thought was 70. Then, when I reached iberville parish in la, I noticed the speed limit was now 60; but when I looked down, the speedometer was close enough to 60 that I didn't realize anything was wrong until a trooper flagged me down. In no position to argue, I was puzzled -- until I reached tx when I noticed the speedometer dropping ever so slowly. I had no real idea of my speed, so I just stayed with traffic. A few days later, on the tx->fl leg, the problem resumed after a few hours. This time, I got the idea to start the gps on my blackberry phone. Surprise! my real speed was definitely faster than indicated. So I began taking pictures of the speedometer and phone. I have a series of photos proving the failure. What is also interesting is that stopping and turning off the engine for a moment, the speedometer started working again for a while. ############### over a year ago, I had a one-time issue with the speedometer. It indicated much faster than I was going -- maybe 50 while stopped. When restarting the engine, I noticed the needle "stepping" backwards for less than a second. Out of curiosity, I stopped and started the engine about 8 times -- each time the needle stepped backwards a few mph, until it eventually fully retracted back to 0 and worked fine until this long trip.

- Sanford, NC, USA

problem #38

Jul 282011

Avalanche 4WD 8-cyl

  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500. While driving approximately 55 mph, the contact noticed the entire instrument panel and gauges failed to operate. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The contact stated the instrument panel cluster would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000... updated 08-07-12

- White Hall, MD, USA

problem #37

Jan 092011


  • 90,000 miles
Speedometer quit working.

- Fruitport, MI, USA

problem #36

May 052010


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche. The contact stated that the fuel gauge was reading inaccurately and he was unable to determine how much gas was actually in the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who inspected the vehicle and advised the contact to replace the entire instrument cluster. The contact did not inform the dealer or manufacturer of the failure nor was the vehicle repaired. The current mileage was 151,494 and the failure mileage was approximately 120,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- St Charles, MO, USA

problem #35

Nov 182010


  • miles
The temperature is not functioning. The gauge did a 360 rotation and stuck in the final position. I have seen some web posting which say people have received a recall and my make/year are listed, but I do not see the recall listed on your site. Is this a recall item?

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #34

Dec 102010


  • 90,000 miles
Speedometer failed on my sons 2003 Chevy Avalanche. Read where this is a prevalent problem. Why in the world has this not been the subject of a recall. I am reporting this to congress.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #33

Mar 072009


  • miles
I own a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche, my speedometer is stuck at 50 mph, I cannot accurately gauge my speed, I also have a service air bag light that will not go off. These are some serious safety issues and a recall should be issued.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #32

Oct 152008


  • 118,000 miles
While driving my 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z66 the speedometer stops & starts working. I feel this is of great concern for my safety as well as the others around me. I visited my local dealer only to find that will be covered under a recall as long as I have under 70,000 miles. I have exceeded the mileage and am expected to pay an estimated $1000 to repair the problem. This is a non-wear & tear item that should be covered by Chevy despite mileage.

- Miami Beach, FL, USA

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