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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,303 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #18

Jun 142008


  • 62,011 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. The contact's vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 04V524000 (exterior lighting:turn signal) in 2006. Two years later, while driving at an unknown speed, she noticed that the passenger side brake lamp and turn signal were inoperative. She repeatedly replaced the brake light bulb, but it continued to fail. The manufacturer stated that because her vehicle was previously repaired under recall, she would be responsible for the repair costs. The contact is in the process of taking the vehicle to an authorized dealer for a diagnosis and repair. The failure and current mileages were 62,011.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #17

Mar 012005

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,666 miles
Chevrolet Cavalier Z 2003, multiple failures. The defroster would not clear the windows, the heater did not work, the air bag light illuminated because there was a split in the center of the steering wheel. When the consumer made a right turn a noise was heard. The left rear turn signal bulb was replaced, the right rear brake light bulb. There was a noise coming from the front of the vehicle, the dealer lubed the front sway bar bushing. The tires were over inflated, so the vehicle would sway when going over bumps, the blower motor, and heater control was replaced. The ABS lamp illuminated. The vehicle needed brake pads. There was mold on the drivers front door. The ac compressor was replaced. The window went down extremely slow, the dealer lubed the window track and regulator. The fog light bulb was inoperative, the door latch was inoperative.

- Altoona, PA, USA

problem #16

Aug 122003


  • miles
Chevrolet Cavalier 2003, problem exist with the passenger side blinker/brake light continues to operate incorrectly. The starter cylinder was replaced. The dealer replaced the brake light bulb and blinker bulb on several occasions.

- Middletown, NJ, USA

problem #15

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 #14

Nov 222004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Right rear brake light and turn signal turned on intermittently which caused cruise control to work sporadically.

- Ansley, NE, USA

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problem #13

Apr 072003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 300 miles
The brake lights on the vehicle continued to go out. The dealer serviced the vehicle for the defect at least three times and it was still defective. The consumer is constantly stopped by other motorist to inform him that the lights were out.

- Chicago Heights, IL, USA

problem #12

Aug 202004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles


The signal indicator and brake lights failed.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #11

Aug 042004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,443 miles
I bought a ne 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier on 5/2/03. It has been to the dealer 9 times for repairs. 7 of which were for brake, turn, and/or dash lights not working. Originally, fuses were being blown. In 3/04, I was advised that there was a bad socket problem. In 7/04, the excuse became that they have a "special" grease that they have to put on the bulbs and that this was normal. I had to return my car most recently on 8/4/04 because I did not have rear brake lights or turn signals. I filed a complaint with the better business bureau. We went to arbitration on 6/8/04. Chevy motor div. Acknowledged that there was a safety defect with my car (brake lights) prior to it being returned to the dealer in 3/04 and faxed a copy of the bulletin they wrote in 4/04. However, they argued that they corrected the defect w/ the bulletin (verbal instructions were given on or about 3/12/04 when my car was being repaired to the service tech at the dealer re: The bulletin that wasn't in written format until 4/24/04). My arbitration was denied because my brake lights were working at the time of the arbitration so they determined that the defect had been corrected. Since June, I've returned my car to the dealer 2 additional times for brake lights and turn signals not working properly. Since I've purchased my car, I've had fuses replaced, fuse links installed to 5 circuit branches, drivers side window motor replaced, HVAC cable and seal replaced, converter seal replaced, sockets replaced, and bulbs replaced; and all in less than a year of owning the car. In this last time, the dealer has replaced bulbs, replaced sockets, and packed sockets with special grease. I've had to drive a defective car for over a year now. My fear of having an accident because my lights fail to work properly.

- Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #10

Jun 102004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
This letter was sent to the Chevrolet corporation but I still have not had sufficient help in correcting the problem. I seem to get more excuses and proper procedures quotes; opposed to adequate help on this dangerous problem with my brake and signal lights. This has been on going since the date of purchase. Vehicle : 2003 Cavalier VIN :[xxx] mileage : 24000 dealer : foxs security comments : I have been trying to find a resolution to the ongoing problem with my vehicleS turn and break lights. I purchased my car brand new with zero mileage. I have been back and fourth to the dealership to have my lights repaired faithfully every other month. This problem is serious because in most cases; I don't realize my lights are out until im on the beltway traveling 60 miles an hour or more when it occurs to me my signals are not working or another driver gestures my lights are out again. This problem is extremely dangerous and im in total distress because the dealership cant or wont resolve the problem. I have been going back and fourth every 3 to 4 weeks for the same problem. The lights on the left side will go out and the right side will follow a week later or vice versa. I didn't purchase a new vehicle to constantly use hand signals or endanger my families lives daily; this is totally unacceptable and I want someone to resolve this problem immediately. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #9

Mar 302004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
The left and right turn signals/brake lights in car stopped working. I took the car to the dealership where it was repaired. They told me there was a short in the wiring in the rear of the car. The right turn signal/brake light stopped working again about 1 week after the repairs.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 282003


  • 12,125 miles


Owner says that the vehicle is experiencing electrical problems. The headlights, tail lights, and the directional signals are malfunctioning. Owner took the vehicle to the dealer who has replaced the brake and headlight bulbs on five occassions. However, the problem still occurs. Provide further details.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #7

May 282004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier from fred diehl motors of philsipburg, pa (814-342-3223). I am having problems with the rear brake lights and now all rear lighting. Fist the car was serviced at valley tires who replaced the bulb lamps. Second, fred diehls replaced the left side socket and tightened the right bulb. The third time, I was stopped by local police for no brake lights. Fred diehls replaced both the sockets and bulbs because of a short in the system. I called General Motors woth a complaint (customer relationship manager alvin johnson 1-866-942-4368 ext. 47590). Mr. Johnson sent me a letter April 20 stating they would make the repairs up to 75,000 miles. On May 28, 2004, I was involved in an accident. There were no injuries, but the vehicle was damaged. I signaled and applied my brakes to make a left turn. A flat bed truck behind me started to pass me as I proceeded to turn and struck the driver's side. The man told state police there were no lights, but he was fined anyway for passing in a no passing zone. On June 1 and 2 I called GM and Mr. Johnson returned my call and took the accident report. On June 3, darrin tranuse of GM (1-800-231-1841 ext 58932) called me and told me to take the vehicel to the nearest Chevy dealer. My brother-in-law followed me to fred diehls because I had no rear lights. They checked the car and found no lights also. They called GM and were given special orders to allow no one around the vehicle until they could look at it. I have twice called Mr. Tranuse but never received a return call. The had the vehicel serviced three times and the fourth time resulted in an accident. Right now, I'm afraid to drive it.

- Hawk Run, PA, USA

problem #6

Apr 302004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,900 miles
I have been having a problem with my 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. The rear brake/signal lights keep burning out due to bad sockets and bulbs. Combined, I have had to replace five (5) light bulbs (three (3) on the right and two (2) on the left). The first time was April or May 2003 on the right side, when I was still in pittsburgh. The second time was in September or October 2003, also on the right side, but this time was in port orange, fl, where I found out about the socket problem. The third time was two weeks following the second incident, this time on the left side, but the dealership had the sockets on back order. The fourth time was in January 2004, again on the left side, this time the dealership replaced the socket. The fifth time was April 30, 2004, again on the right side, after the socket was replaced.

- Port Orange, FL, USA

problem #5

Jan 312004


  • miles
I am a GM technician. GM is having a huge problem with "J" body cars with new body style. (caviler, sunfire year 2001-current) the problem is with poor terminal contact with the rear bulbs due to defective bulb sockets. The result is loss of rear turn signals and brake lamps on one or often both sides. This problem affects cars often with less then 1000 miles. It is a huge problem and our shop must fix 8 cars a week on average for this problem and we are not a large GM shop. Not having rear turn signals or brake lamps is serious for risk of rear-end collisions.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #4

Mar 102004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,500 miles
Brake light/turn signal bulbs have burned out 4 times(left 2 times, right 2 times) in the last 2 months.

- Anderson, IN, USA

problem #3

Nov 192003


  • 15 miles
While driving at any speed heater did not work. Vehicle was taken to the dealer, and heater was replaced. Also, on two different occasions dealer replaced wiring harness and connection wires. On another occasion entire brake light assembly was replaced along with the sockets. In all, vehicle had been to the dealer six times in seven months.

- Acosta, PA, USA

problem #2

Feb 222004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
2003 Chevrolet Cavalier purchased new August 23, 2003 bill heard Chevrolet, columbus ga. Brake light have burned out twice since that date. Once in November 2003 and again in February 2004.

- Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

problem #1

Sep 012003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,500 miles
2003 Chevrolet Cavalier only 6 months old and already both of the back turn signals/brake light bulbs have burnt out.

- Erie, PA, USA

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