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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,820 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Owner Comments

problem #13

Jun 262016


  • 113,000 miles


My 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier recently began to make a clunking noise, which can also be felt, in the front end. When I put it up on a lift, I noticed that the sub-frame was rusting (deteriorating). I know it is 13 years old, but my parents owned a 1989 Cavalier Z24 for 20 years, and they didn't have any problems with its frame. I've read that other people have had this same issue with their 2003 Chevy Cavaliers. Why is this" why has there not been a recall" my family has owned several new and used vehicles, all GM, and we have never seen a sub-frame rust to this extent. We are a GM family and are extremely disappointed in GM's lack of response to this safety hazard.

- South Mountain, PA, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Feb 062016


  • 200,000 miles
I have noticed a lot and I mean a lot of these Cavaliers have had horrible frame problems I use to work on cars everyday until the last year when I got out of the mechanics field an now I own a 03 Chevy Cavalier its a two door 5 speed 2.2 I was on my way home from the store and I felt something rubbing so I stopped an got out to find out my K frame was horribly rotted an broke now this vehicle is 13 years old but as rotted out as it was it wasn't something that just happened its been bad I was just the lucky owner that the frame gave out on an I demand to know why this isn't a recall another thing is I owned a 98 Ford F150 which had recalls an when I was sent the letter about the recalls I asked Ford why the frames on the F150 or Ranger wasn't a recall they had no answer. I put my child in these auto makers cars and trust their work to keep him safe but they have no answer for why one of the most important part on the whole vehicle is falling apart. I don't know if they need to use stainless steel, aluminum, or what but it needs fixed or the vehicles need reimbursed an crushed. I could of been doing 70 mph down the highway with my woman an son in the car an the frame could of went and killed us all. Is that what its gonna take to get this [xxx] fixed someone else to die/hurt. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Toronto, OH, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Feb 182003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,392 miles
The consumer owns a 2003 Chevrolet caviler. Was losing control of the steering and the brakes. It started in the winter. The consumer stated the direction that car was headed was the way it stayed. Also, she noticed that there was a hum in the steering wheel which lasted a couple of seconds each time. The consumer contacted the dealer, and they said that it did not sound to them as dangerous. A couple of months later the problem finally came to ahead in June. Lights came on the dashboard. The belt broke, and the alternator seized. When the car was repaired by the dealer they concluded the alternator and the belt malfunctioned. Also heard a grinding noise in the brakes. The dealer never did any repairs to the steering. The consumer said that the key was hot after it had been in the ignition. And the steering wheel was tight when turning to the right. The car went back to the dealer, and she did not have the tightness to the steering. But, the car was still pulling to the right. The brakes were spongy. There was a popping sound in the front wheel. There was a delay in the speed of the car. And almost had a collision.

- Cario, NY, USA

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problem #8

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 #7

Mar 242003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,500 miles


The tires shake and vibrate around sixty miles/hr. So I took them to sam's club to their tire center in December of 2003. They rotated and balanced the tires. I drove the car for one month, then the tires started doing the same thing over again. About one month later, I went back to sam's club and they balanced my tires again. So here it is March of 2004, the tires are doing the same thing again shaking and vibrating around sixty miles/hr. I called Goodyear, they told me to bring the car in. They looked at the tires, and said that the rear tires were worn on the inside, and that I would have to take the car back to the dealership to get the tires fixed. They could not diagnose the specific origin of the vibration. Basically, for a brand new car, we should not have these kind of problems at 24,000 miles (as stated by mechanics from Goodyear, sam's club and Firestone). 5. cruise control switch- if right turn signal is used when cruise control is activated, the cruise control will automatically deactivate itself. 6. power failure- car all of a sudden lost power while at a stoplight. 7. A/C & heater- A/C and heater make loud noise. 8. rear turn signal light bulbs burned out 4 times on each side. GM replacement bulbs last only 1 to 1 1/2 month.

- North Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #6

Mar 242004

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,500 miles
When applying the brakes at night, the headlights and dash lights dim to a softer shade of light. I have also changed the rear single lights in my car three times in the past 6 months. This car has a bad brake problem. The front of the car shakes very bad when you apply the brakes while exiting a highway. City driving is not as bad, but when the brakes get warmed up they pulsate when I come to a stop. At the end of the day, I pull my car into my driveway and the first thing I smell when I get out is a burning smell from the back brakes. I called the fucillo Chevy service department in December 2003. I talked to a serviceman about my brake problem. He told me that my pulsating brakes is the ABS system working in the snow. Now the roads are dry and my brakes are still pulsating. I could not find anything in my original paperwork on my car showing that it has the ABS system. Now my brakes are shot. The car had only 6500 hundred miles on it when I first called in December of 2003. In June of 2003, I bought this car and test drove it. The car seemed to be a good car, except for the noise that I heard coming from the front left tire area. It sounded like a rubber band when it snaps. I brought it up to my salesmen rocky from the Chevy department. He told me that it's a new car. Now when the front tires are turned to the right, it makes a crunching noise. When I drive over any bump at any speed, it feels like there are no shocks or struts on this car and makes a bad clunking sound.

- North Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #5

Dec 052003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 8,000 miles
With only.5 inches of snow my car (a 2003 Chevy Cavalier) lost complete control and smashed into the curb. This was while traveling at less than 10mph. I feel the combination of 16" tires and the sports suspension (both standard on the car) was the cause of the accident.

- Brewster, NY, USA

problem #4

Sep 192003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 2,600 miles
Vehicle currently at dealership for multiple reasons. Front end has popping noises when turning. Rear end make loud noise when weight in put on it (ex. Entering and departing vehicle cabin). Also have had trouble with vehicle stalling when slowing down (manual...put in neutral and RPM's drop-off causing a stall). Technicians have not been able to duplicate latter problem.

- Aafb, MD, USA

problem #3

Jun 302003

Cavalier 4-cyl

  • miles


The consumer had taken the vehicle to the dealer for a regular oil maintenance and the dealer stated the vehicle needed front alignment. The dealer replaced the front struts. The vehicle had 3700 miles. Noise had come from the dashboard, when the left door was closed, when the vehicle was driven over bumps, and when the door was closed. There was static in the radio due to looseness, and there was a rattle noise in the rear, near the exhaust, when closed. The hinges were repaied, due to a noise in the door.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #2

Feb 152003


  • miles
When driving at 70mph vehicle would shake. Dealer notified.

- Efland, NC, USA

problem #1

Dec 232003


  • 9,000 miles
There was a knocking noise in the front end of the vehicle near the tires. The dealer was unable to locate the problem.

- Lincoln, DE, USA

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