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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,766 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #13

Mar 162016


  • 130,000 miles


Instrumet cluster problems for a few years. Fuel sending unit has been replaced at about 52,000 miles after quiting twice while driving highway speed of 55 mph. Dealer claimed the car quit because of a bad battery the first time and did not diagnose the problem correctly. It was not the battery. The fuel sending unit intermittently reads well beyond full and interfears with the temperature gage function. Now speedometer is stuck at 85 mph while turned off. I was driving with the cruise doing 67 mph, I slowed down to make a turn at an at grade insection to a road posted at 55 mph. I completed the turn and sped up. The speedometer read 58 mph but it felt llike I was gong about 30 mph. I stopped at another intersection and the speed dropped to 40 mph. I made the turn and acelerated and the speed went to 110 mph but I was not going near that fast. The car is in driveway turned off but the speedometer reads 85 mph. Most recent issue is steering rack and K-frame rusted out and needed to be replaced. Mechanic stated he never saw a steering rack rust out or a K frame rusted as bad as the one on this vehicle. We are the original owners.

- Pound, WI, USA

problem #12

Dec 062015


  • miles
Metal on metal noise found out shoes and rotors are damageddamaged. I have no money. V can't fix this. Smell inside of leak. Temp running high. 200.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #11

Apr 022015

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 184,000 miles
Steering wheel and shroud became totally disengaged and fell into my lap while trying to turn onto livernois road making it impossible for me to steer vehicle.lucky I was leaving post office after mailing letters and not while on freeway.

- Ortonville, MI, USA

problem #10

Jan 032012


  • 189,587 miles


Power suddenly shut off, causing power steering to fail, which made me wreck into a ditch. It also caused the airbags to not deploy and prevented seatbelts from locking into place when the brakes were hit.

- Wewahitchka, FL, USA

problem #9

Jun 022014

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I had been reading about recent recalls with GM, especially ignition switches. I have a 2003 Chevy Cavalier and it was diagnosed with a bad ignition switch. I first noticed when I went to start the car in the morning, a day after coming home from work. Good thing it happened then because I would have been stranded off site. I went to start the car, nothing happened except wipers and radio did not work as well which I thought was strange. Finally the radio at least came on at some point, but car still would not start. After it was fixed they said the ignition switch was bad and the mechanic asked if I had looked for the recall on it. I searched online but did not find it. I know my car is older, however of all the cars I ever owned and I had many, I never had any issues with ignition switches! I think I had one of the defective switches and would like to look into this matter. Unfortunately I probably can't go back to get the physical ignition switch at this point, too late. I have the proper paperwork for it however. Also on another note, my rear driver side signal keeps going out, no matter how many times I replace it. That might be something GM should look into as well.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #8

May 062005

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
2006 Chevrolet cobalt & 2003 Cavalier. Consumer writes in regards to both vehicles power steering and cutting off problems. The consumer stated the Cavalier, cut off, just like the cobalt. However, the cobalt was recalled. The Cavalier cut off weekly since it was purchased. The power steering was replaced during a recall. It was replaced at 35,000 miles and again at 68,000. Updated 08/07/14 updated 09/24/14.

- Rustburg, VA, USA

problem #7

Apr 182014

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 77,700 miles


My son was pulling into a parking lot and as he describes it, everything but the radio went dead all by itself (the engine died and there was no power steering or brakes). Obviously the same symptoms as the current recalls. I called the dealer and was told the car isn't on the list. I've complained to Chevy and am getting the runaround by multiple members of their "consumer support team" (we've assigned you a service request number but I am to wait until it happens again and then bring it in "so we could start reviewing on your case"). I took it to my own mechanic and he ran a bunch of tests but couldn't find anything that would cause the car to die.

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #6

Apr 182013

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
Driving at low speed. Steering wheel experienced excessive side play. Made appointment at local mechanic (non-dealer) steering housing taken off and found one of two pins in the steering column for the tilt mechanism half way out of housing. Mechanic reinserted pin and attempted to restake pin in housing. Experienced no side play after repair for about 1 week and problem has resurfaced.

- Fallon, NV, USA

problem #5

Apr 012009

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Trans axle went out April 09 with a horrible mess of oil, steering rack replaced 6 months later, driver side window/ motor problem, fuel pump went 75,000 a bit shy of a year later. Now my defrost isn't working; possibly the switch 85,000. Had brakes done twice so far with leaks; this includes hydraulics, rotors, pads, shoes etc. My steering has seized while driving. This car has been a very expensive inconvenience.

- Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, 00, USA

problem #4

Jul 202008


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle suddenly shut off. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic shop and the contact was informed that the steering pump failed. The contact did not notice any differences prior to the failure. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 96,000.

- Janesville, WI, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Jun 012003


  • miles
I own a new 2003 Chevy Cavalier with several problems. Had to replaced 2 spacers, a strut mount, several steering parts and part of the rear light. The consumer stated that she can slightly rock the steering wheel from side to side. The consumer asked if an occasional popping in the steering is normal in her vehicle after testing four of the same models.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #1

Nov 252003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 5,000 miles
When coasting to a stop and depressing clutch, car idle speed will drop below the normal idle speed of 800 RPM. Sometimes, the idle speed will bounce around between 400 RPM and 800 RPM. Other times, the engine will stall. Problem is intermittent, but will usually occur multiple times before fixing itself. The stalling engine is a concern because of the lost of power steering making turns. Dealer unable to duplicate problem.

- El Paso, TX, USA

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