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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,050 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 Cavalier brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #10

Nov 012006

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles


I have a 2003 Cavalier and I am experiencing problems with front brake rotors again. When car was 1 1/2 years old I experienced wheel vibration, took car to dealership where I bought it and they told me that the brake rotors were warped and that they would replace them under warranty. I checked them about 2 weeks later and found that all they did was turn the rotors down they didn't replace them. Vibration problem was fixed I thought. Got new tires on car and about 6 months later the vibration problem surfaced again. So I took car to a regular brake repair shop and was informed that the rotors were indeed warped. So had the work done for about $350 this lasted for awhile till warranty is out now problem is back again. To me it seems like a manufacturing defect/ or it could be the cheap factory wheels. Car is a big disappointment. First brake service was 20 thousand plus miles, second time car has 45000 on it, these are mostly highway miles not a lot of stop and go. I have a 94 S-10 with 109000 miles and it, S only had 3 brake jobs in 12 yrs. This car is only three yrs old with low miles and it, S on it, S third time.

- Lewisberry, PA, USA

problem #9

May 232005

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
Brake failure, 1st happened at 1024 miles, dealer reluctley fixed it, happened again at 19.500, dealer and GM refused to fix.

- Reisterstown, MD, USA

problem #8

Dec 012003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles
There are numerous things, and the delaership has convinced GM, because I wrote GM about the problems with this, that I am making this stuff up to get an SUV. First the radio wasn't working, they put the cable back on said it was loose, its still not sounding like a radio should. Next was the popping in the front end, dealership turned rotors, under warranty back brakes squealed real loud they said it was dust I had to pay for that. Back brakes still squeal, front end still pops like a bad cv joint. Trunk wouldn't shut had to keep slamming it. Took it back they greased it worked for awhile starting to get hard to shut sometimes. Brake lights and back lights and cruise control quit working. Took it to dealership at least 5 or 6 times till they finally replaced it how long it will last I don't know. Front sun visor popped when it hung up in rear view mirror real floppy can't use it no more dealer said they ordered it in December. Still waiting not fixed. Real bad odor of gas in car when tank is half full, no explanation as to why. Seat belt makes a funny noise when you are wearing it, pins you back against seat real hard. No explanation for that. Have to stop and jerk on it to loosen it like a seat belt should work. Dealer says I am imagining this stuff because I do not want car, bought it new still paying for it. Been trying to get rid of it they have everyone convinced I am a psycho woman wanting an SUV and thats why I am complaining that is all false. Just plain hate a car I am paying for.

- Sevierville, TN, USA

problem #7

Dec 302004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I always noticed on my 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier that the low trac light would periodically come on when I braked. I thought that this was just because it was a nicer vehicle than my previous one (an old Ford escort). I recently took my car to the dealership (integrity Chevrolet in parma heights, oh) for 2 recalls. When they finished doing the recall work, they informed me that my front brakes were low. I thought that was unusual since the car was only 1 1/2 years old and had only 23,000 miles. A couple of days later I inquired to the dealership about getting the brakes repaired. They informed me that this was just part of the "normal maintenance" work and was not covered under the warranty. I thought this was not usual maintenance since a person should not need new brakes after 23,000 miles. I took my car to a local service center a couple of days later to check my brakes. They informed me that not only did I need new brakes, but I also needed new rotors because mine were rusted. This trip to the local service center cost me $423.14. I am still making payments on this car and it is only 1 1/2 years old! this should not be happening to a 1 1/2 year old car with only 23,000 miles! the service center attendant had informed me that they had noticed this with many of the 2003 Chevrolet Cavaliers. This lead me to believe that the problem with my brakes and rotors is indicative of a manufacturing defect!

- Strongsville, OH, USA

problem #6

Feb 282004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
1) brake failure, warped rotors and hubs, lro. 2) crash, rear end collision. Property damage. 3) GM refused to fix 2003 Cavalier on 01-17-04 under warranty and as a result a crash happened on 02-28-04, a rear end collision due to brake failure.cause was defective factory equipment, warped rotors and hubs resulting in violent judder, shutter, and chatter, due to a lateral brake run out problems.this condition shows up thru the steering wheel which shakes violently when applying the brakes, especially on the freeway at 70 mph. It's a total out of control condition.there is indeed 2 tsb's out on the lro problem from GM, tsb 01-05-23-001A, brake lateral runout, tsb 00-05-05-22-002B, brakes rotor service guide on 02-28-04 my daughter audra M griffin crashed into a 2001 Ford pickup due to front brake failure. My daughters statement was "daddy the brakes didn't work", this after an extreme nasty gram (fax) was sent to jessica white GM customer service about the dangerous condition regarding my from brake system. GM absolutely refused to fix this unsafe condition under my warranty contract. They did nothing thus endangering me and my family. Fast action is required to investigate and get this car fixed pronto. So far GM seems content to do nothing. They now seem to be more interested in avoiding legal liability, then they are about my safety.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #5

Oct 012004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Six months or so after the purchase of my vehicle I started experiencing rotor problems, I took it to my dealer and they fixed it. It worked well for about a month or so then it start to pulsate and grind again so I took it in and they fixed it again, this is the pattern two months ago was my fith or six time that I have had them fix it. Well the problems is getting worse it make a very bad grinding sound when I push on the breaks and it is really pulsating this time around. I would just like for the rotors to be replaced. I'm really tired of the constant trips to the shop.

- Jefferson City, MO, USA

problem #4

Sep 182004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles


While driving 55 mph, = the trunk came open and would not stay latch. Dealer was not notified. Vehicle experienced grinding/scraping noise when backing up or coming to a stop. Dealer was notified. Dealer had turn the front rotors twice and the problem recurred.

- Bastrop, TX, USA

problem #3

Apr 162004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
Vehicle experiencing grinding/scraping noise when backing up or coming to a stop. Dealer was notified. Dealer had to turn the front rotors twice, but problem recurred.

- Edgewater, FL, USA

problem #2

Aug 092003


  • miles
I purchased my car in August OF20 03. I immediatly had to have the rotors redone. Within two months I once again had to have them fixed, this time at the cheverlot dealer in pensacola. Within a few months not only did my roters once again begin to pulsate badly, my brakes began to go out. Both were redone. The brakes at my cost. It has now been over a month and once again my rotars and brakes are messing up. This is very inconvient for me as I am in the military and I can not be without a car because I live off of base.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #1

Apr 092004

(reported on)


  • 18,500 miles
When the brakes are applied vehicle shakes. Consumer states that the rotors are the cause of the problem.

- West Hamlin, WV, USA

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