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really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
73,493 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace fuel pump (20 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
2003 Chevrolet Cavalier engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Jan 012006

Cavalier 2S 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles


I was on the middle of a bridge when car started to jerk and buck then died completely while in traffic. Coasted off to side of bridge and had to have my car towed to local garage. The fuel pump was defective and had to be replaced. I was told that this is a common in this particular car.

- , Lillian, AL, USA

problem #23

Dec 102012

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

First off, this is an American car company, why is there someone who barely speaks English on the other end of Chevy's complaint department?

I bought a 2003 Cavalier back in 2010, most because I needed a better car then what I had at the time and being from a Chevy driving family decided that the Cavalier was in my price range and would be perfect for me and my little girl. The dealer who sold it to me showed me the carfax and told me the previous owner keep in mind I am the second owner and the first was an elderly woman who hardly drove it except to get to the store and what not never had any issues with it. When I bought it, it had around 72,000 miles on it. Being in MT that is awesome for a car that is 7 years old. I kept gas in it and made sure everything was always tip top on the car.

I relocated to FL over a year ago and again never had any problems with the car. Till recently! I was on my way to work I am a single mom so it is kind of important for me to have a good running car so I can get to and from work since I don't get child support I stopped at a stop sign and my car started acting funny so I pressed on the gas and went up to the next intersection with a stop sign and my car just died! Right in the middle of road of a busy intersection. Having no one around I jumped out of my car and flagged the people behind me around me. Thank god my car stopped in front of a local business with wonderful people working there. I walked over and explained to a couple of the guys what happened and they said they would help me push it off the road. We got it off to the side and I figured I could try starting up my car again......Nope. So I grabbed my purse and keys and started my walk home. I wasn't far from home.. probably about less of a mile. I got here and called my insurance company to let them know about my car and to get roadside out there. They said they would tow it to the nearest shop and to head back to my car and wait for the tow truck to get there. Now, you think having to miss work and not having a running car is bad? NOPE! It gets worse.

I had my car towed to Goodyear. They informed me it was either the timing belt or alternator. Being somewhat car smart I knew what they were talking about and said I didn't agree but would let them run the computer on it to find out for sure. I went home somewhat worried because this was the only way I can get around but I figured it would be no biggie and everything would be back to normal. Again...WRONG! Goodyear called me the next morning and informed me it was the fuel pump... They wanted to replace it and the fuel filter... try not to choke here...for 955.00... ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It's Christmas time and I have missed work now and you want how much? I told them I would be having the car towed out of there and find somewhere else to have it fixed. I found out the part is only about 220.00-250.00 through AutoZone. Thank the lord up above for amazing people as well. A guy I work with said he would fix it for me free of charge. So I go to Goodyear and pay them the 55.00 for checking my car with the computer and I pay the tow truck guy 63.00 to get my car back to my house.

Now, I decide to do some research when I come across this website. I got the Chevy number from a previous post and decide to file a complaint. I get in touch with someone who hardly speaks English.. I shouldn't be shocked that is how all call centers are now. I tell them my issue and she informs me they will not be filing the complaint because I didn't take my car to the GM dealership to have it looked at. ARE YOU F^CKING KIDDING ME? It shouldn't matter where I take my car, a complaint is a complaint! After me being pretty upset she finally said she would do the complaint but there would not be much of an outcome from it since I hadn't taken it to the GM dealership.. I finally had enough and said "Well unless you all want to pay 63.00 dollars to have it towed to your dealership to have it looked at I suggest you don't tell me what to do with my car.. Take my complaint and let me get off the phone." By this time I just had enough! She started in about the GM dealership and I just hung up.

My car will be getting fixed anyways so what does it matter? I loved and I say loved because I don't feel much love for my car right now. But I loved that car I never had any serious issues until now. I come from a Chevy driving family but I think once tax time rolls around I might be looking into a different car. This has been a nightmare!

- , Brooksville, FL, USA

problem #22

Jul 162011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Many times, my 2003 Cavalier would just quit running. Sometimes it would have to sit for hours or days before it would start again. I ran an injector/fuel cleaner through it many times and it would seem to help for a short time. After the last time, my father changed the fuel filter on the car and I haven't had the problem since. Just another very problem that is a royal pain in the ass!

- , Byrdstown, TN, USA

problem #21

May 072011

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,117 miles


2003 Cavalier, Second fuel pump replacement after only 71,000 kms.

Why hasn't Chevrolet taken care of this problem???

Recall and take care of this or I will never buy another one of your cars!!!!

- , Burnaby, B.C., canada

problem #20

Dec 242010

Cavalier LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

12.24.10 Car just died. Had Fixed thought it was fuel Sensor = $50.00 + Towing.

No problems un 10 days later when same thing happened - car just died and tried to turn over, but wouldn't. Had it towed and replaced fuel pump = $452.00! I was fortunate that first time it happened a few houses away from where I live and the second time 1/2 mile from repair shop. After seeing all the fuel pump problems will I ever buy a GM product in spite of the family discount I get. I am disabled and live on SS. Not only is this a huge inconvenience, but the $$$ for a problem that seem to be chronic. As with the orher complaints: No warning at all - just died. I was blessed and luck both times - son't ever want it to happen again to me or anyone else.

- , Warren, MI, USA

problem #19

Sep 152010

Cavalier LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

this 2003 chevy cavalier was running fine and all of a sudden died out of no where. now the only thing i get out of it is cranking thats it. It starts for a moment with start spray, but only as long as the spray last then shuts off again. It has to be a fuel related problem, but Im not sure exactly what fuel related component is malfunctioning. I tesed the fuel pump and the pressure is reading fine. I changed the pcm and the car still is not starting doing exaclty the same thing. Also the fuel filter was dirty as hell and that was changed out for a new one as well. Im not sure what to do next, it may be the injectors im not sure. Oh yea I forgot to mention that the fuel pump relay is working properly as well.

- , Las Cruces, NM, USA

problem #18

Jul 012008


  • Manual transmission
  • 62,137 miles


The car was giving trouble starting for a couple of months before this even happened. It seemed every time it rained or If I made a short trip (5 Min or under) and tried to restart it would give resistance the first time. Typically it would start the second time. Then on the day we moved into our first house June 30, 2010, I parked the car in the parking lot beside our house that I was not supposed to use...Tried starting the car....Car would not start. I tried letting is sit all night and the next morning it started no problem. I then went with my family to the house we use to live in to pick up some freezer items and on the way back home (both houses are about a 10-15 min drive apart) the car died while idling at a Red Light. I thew my hazards on and of course people are cursing at me as this was a busy intersection. Some teenage kids were nice and helped me push the car into the parking lot beside the intersection to get it off the road. We called my sister in law to get my wife and child and the freezer food. I called CAA and had the car towed to Midas (I know they are expensive, but I trust them). No one was there as July 1st is a Holiday in Canada. The next day I called Midas and told them what happened they said they would take a look and let me know. They called back some time later and advised me the Fuel Pump failed. They had not seen this before in such a new car (the car was only 5 years old at the time). They advised that they would have to replace the whole unit (I think it is the pump itself, sensors, and the sender?) The total cost was $1000 CAD so that would have been about $950 USD at the time. What was I supposed to do? We only had one car and just moved into our new house, I needed to get around.

- , St Thomas, ON, Canada

problem #17

Nov 102010

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Driving home from work on a cold afternoon. Bam! car just stops and won't restart. Leaves me stranded on the interstate. Had to walk off the highway to call for a tow truck. This seems to be a problem that should be on recall by GM.

- , Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #16

Jul 172009

Cavalier LS 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

I have ALWAYS owned chevrolet cars, however this is the last time I will own an American brand car, I was driving at 3 am in a back road in the rain and the car just stopped, no warning nothing, the car malfunctioned in a blind curve, I almost got run over by a pick up truck, I had to walk a couple of miles in the rain to get a cell signal to get my car towed, it cost me $150 for the tow truck and $550 for the new "pump" that in reality you are not only replacing the pump, you have to replace the entire gas tank, from now on I will buy a Toyota or Honda!

- , Wildomar, Calfornia, USA

problem #15

Jul 042010

Cavalier 2.1L

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Of course it was a holiday weekend, when nothing is open and it's going to cost you double to fix or tow. Driving down a busy road, and the car just died. Luckily, I was able to make a quick turn and pull car off the road and into someone's drive. Someone came out and looked at it, and told me it was either the fuel filter or fuel pump. I was 45 min.from home, so I came back the next day with someone to see if he could change the fuel filter (a $15.00 part) After spending 2 hours working on it in 100 degree temperatures we couldn't get the filter off, so I had it towed to the closest auto shop. Just got a call today, to let me know it's going to be about $500.00 to fix, and yea they are known to go at 80,000 -90,000 miles. In fact in the last 6 month, one thing after the other has been breaking down in the car. Guess I won't get American made next time.

- , Meriden, CT, USA

problem #14

Jun 122010

(reported on)

Cavalier LS 1.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


Soooo... Apparently this is a common issue with these vehicles! I bought my Chevy Cavalier in April of '04 with a little over 8,000 miles on it. I made it to 30,000 miles before the fuel pump went out for the first time. This repair was covered under the warranty. However, now my car has 108,000 miles on it and it decided to stop working again!!!! This car died on me in the middle of an intersection at night with NO WARNING!!! I am SO UPSET!! I paid this car off over a year ago and thought that I would be able to make it at least a couple of years before I started having problems, I guess I was wrong. After reading some of the other posts I don't think that it is beneficial to replace it, since the probability of it breaking down again for the same reason is PRETTY HIGH!!! I guess that it's time to start looking for another vehicle and this time I'm going to avoid a Chevy like it's the PLAGUE!!!!

- , Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #13

Sep 022008

Cavalier LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Driving down the highway at 55, car just stopped in the middle of an interstate highway. No warning no lights turned on .... nothing. Would not start. Had car towed. Turned out to be a fuel pump problem. SOME STUPID STUPID IDIOT PUT THE FUEL PUMP INSIDE THE GAS TANK AND THEY HAD TO DRAIN THE TANK TO CHANGE IT.

The GM engineer who designed this should be fired. Can you say "if I only hand a brain". Dumb.... simply dumb. This cost me $900.00 to fix plus a tow.

- , Stillwater, MN, USA

problem #12

Apr 082010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

I was extremely lucky that my fuel pump decided to go out on me as I was barely out of my parking lot, instead of anywhere along my expressway journey to work. Unfortunately for me, I assumed it was a battery issue and replaced my battery (spending $90 - OUCH) to, obviously, not alleviate the issue. Ended up paying another $55 to have my vehicle towed and repaired. My insurance's roadside assistance paid for the tow, which helped. I'm still baffled that this hasn't been issued as a recall, it seems to be a very common problem. (My mechanic wasn't surprised in the least!)

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #11

Mar 142010

Cavalier SL Eco Tec

  • Manual transmission
  • 116,000 miles

Car just died on freeway lucky I could get off to the side had to call a tow to local shop for $85. Almost sure its the fuel pump. let hope it doesn't cost a lot to fix this is a major problem with this year cavalier, anyone who is reading this please take the time to post your story like I and others have. Thanks

- , Cambridge, OH, USA

problem #10

Jan 162010

Cavalier Sadan 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

This shouldn't happen at 48,000 miles this is pathetic and I wanted to trade it in for a new Chevy caravan what was i thinking now i am going to Toyota this isn't with it on a Chevy I was going to trade it in , in may but now i have to wait and I will definitely will shop at Toyota now.

- , Hanover, MA, USA

problem #9

Dec 102009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

The car took a sh*t and died smack in the middle of a busy intersection- pitch black outside and below freezing. A cop helped me push it out of the way. I had it towed to a repair shop, and they estimate about $730 for repairs. Awesome.

- , Ludlow, MA, USA

problem #8

Feb 162008

Cavalier 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,710 miles

It was one of the coldest days of the year, out in the middle of nowhere when it happened. The car just stopped. I tried to restart it and it would just sputter for a few seconds then stall.

My friend reached under the car and banged on the gas tank. The car started and stays running as we bang on the tank. As soon as he stops hitting the tank the car stalls.

The new fuel pump was arround $300, I put it in myself.

- , Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada

problem #7

Jul 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,863 miles

Backed out of my yard drove two houses down the back lane and the car shuttered and died.Had to have a tow truck tow it to the garage where it cost me 810.36 canadian dollars to fix, not very happy when I see that its a common complaint and GM will do nothing about it. My next car will not be a GM procuct you can count on that.

- , Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

problem #6

May 062009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles


- , Newburgh, IN, USA

problem #5

Mar 022009

Cavalier 2.4 Cilinder 2.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

want to know - can relays cause the problem? want to get it fixed

- , Bakersfield, CA, USA

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