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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
110,770 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 Suburban brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Chevrolet Suburban Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #78

Dec 162014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 157,000 miles


Was driving behind a school bus when it stopped to let kids off. I applied my brakes and the pedal went to the floor. I had no brakes, I am not really sure how I managed to stop without hitting the bus. I pulled over in a parking lot. Got out of my 2003 Chevy Suburban went into the bank to call my husband to come get me. By the time I got back out to my truck there was a puddle of brake fluid under the drivers side door. My brake lines where shoot.

- Marshfield, VT, USA

problem #77

Dec 122014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
Applied brakes and had to press almost to the floor. Once stopped, the vehicle would start to roll again unless I applied further pressure on the brakes. I drove the vehicle home and the next morning there was a puddle of brake fluid under the car.

- Clarksburg, NJ, USA

problem #76

Dec 102014


  • 192,600 miles
Was traveling in city down a slight hill when the brake pedal went all the way to the floor and the service brake system warnings went on and sounded. Immediately shifted vehicle into a low gear and pumped brakes. Was able to bring vehicle to a stop off the road. Upon examination it was obvious there had been a catastrophic brake line failure as brake fluid was all on the ground and covering the spare tire. Repair shop confirmed this was due to rusting of the brake lines.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #75

Nov 272014


  • 142,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact stated that while having routine maintenance performed, the contact was informed by an independent mechanic that the brake lines were corroded. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a second opinion. The technician stated that the brake lines were working up to standards. The vehicle had not been repaired. The vehicle failure mileage was 142,000.

- Owosso, MI, USA

problem #74

Dec 032014


  • 163,000 miles
Went to stop when traffic stop and felt the brake pedal go to the floor with very little braking power to stop. Had to swerve to miss the car in front. I limped home with very little braking power and when I got home I check the oil resolve, it had almost no oil. Looked under the truck and found a leaking brake line. The line was rusted out.

- Harrison Township, MI, USA

problem #73

Dec 042014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 169,000 miles
Catastrophic brake failure; brake pedal went to the floor with very little stopping power left to the vehicle. Mechanic has advised that all of the brake lines require replacement.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #72

Nov 152014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • miles


As I was coming to an intersection with a red light, I went to slow stop from 30 mph and my brakes failed almost causing me to crash into the intersection. When I applied the brakes they did not engage and my brake pedal went to the floor.

- Sault Sainte Marie, MI, USA

problem #71

Nov 112014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
Re: loss of brakes. The hydraulic brake lines failed and leaked brake fluid. The brake system suffered a loss of loss hydraulic pressure. The brake lines showed heavy corrosion. Corrosion caused the hydraulic brake lines to fail.

- Arnold, MD, USA

problem #70

Nov 012014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Driving in my subdivision I applied the brake with very limited/slow stopping power stopping. With great luck it wasn't an emergency, it could have been so terrible if a kid came in front last minute because I would not have been able to stop and there would have been a very serious incident. Driving very slowly home and in the driveway I had another person apply the brakes and when they did brake fluid came dumping out of the brake lines under the drivers seat. Closer inspection revealed terribly rusted out brake lines. One of the lines had split, all the others could go any day now. Reading online this is not a new issue. This should be a recall, one day these lines are going to break at the wrong time and someone or some people may lose their life. Do the right thing GM.

- Wentzville, MO, USA

problem #69

May 012014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 131,024 miles
Brake lines rusted and failed especially where they attach to the ABS mechanism under the driver's side door.

- Branchville, NJ, USA

problem #68

Jun 182014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 101,000 miles


I was slowly backing up at a flat launch ramp to put our boat into the water. As the trailer reached the water, I pressed harder on the brake pedal. When I did that, the brake pedal went to the floor and the vehicle continued to roll backwards until the boat reached the water. Fortunately that stopped the vehicle from moving and allowed me to apply the parking brake. One of my brake lines had burst. The repair shop said the brake lines were all rusted and not in very good shape. Contrary to what GM is claiming, my vehicle could not stop in a safe distance and that was without the boat/trailer attached. If we had been exiting the highway when this happened (which we did shortly before the failure), the results could have been catastrophic.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #67

Oct 092014


  • 223,000 miles
While transiting the parking lot at the end of the work day last Thursday, I was approaching the street entrance when I attempted to slow my vehicle. When I pressed the brake peddle, I encountered normal braking resistance for about a half second before resistance stopped and the peddle floored. I pumped the peddle several times to attempt to build pressure in order to stop the vehicle. This was unsuccessful. I abandoned the hydraulic braking system and deployed the parking/emergency brake in order to stop the vehicle before entering rush hour traffic on the cross street. The parking brake system was able to stop the vehicle before it entered traffic. There were no accident or injuries. The hydraulic braking system appeared to have suffered a sudden and complete failure without any warning. In fact, the "brake system failure" indicator light did not come on until several minutes after the vehicle had come to a complete stop. On site inspection showed rusted brake lines and no brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoirs. There were large puddles of brake fluid on the ground at both the left front and left rear wheels and a trail of brake fluid leading back up the parking lot. There was also a small puddle of brake fluid by the right rear wheel. The mechanic at the dealership, where I purchased the vehicle new, confirms that one brake line ruptured due to corrosion and that the others were also corroded and should be replaced. Please note: This vehicle was purchased in and has been continuously garaged in central Virginia and has never been operated for significant periods of time in traditional "salt belt" states or in marine environments which would accelerate corrosion. Were "stainless" or corrosion resistant alloys mandated or used in these brake lines?

- Maidens , VA, USA

problem #66

Sep 102014


  • 160,000 miles
Pulling out of driveway pedal went to floor. Got out of truck and noticed brakeline broken under driverside door.. all lines look horrible.

- Sciota, PA, USA

problem #65

Sep 252014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 85,051 miles
Vehicle was coming to a stop from a speed of approximately 30mph and brakes failed suddenly to bring vehicle to a stop a normal rate. Driver needed to swerve off road to avoid collision. Vehicle crashed into side curve. Not warning sign or light was lit before incident. Clear yellowish fluid drained from underneath vehicle near driver's door.

- Oxford, MI, USA

problem #64

Aug 252014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 184,000 miles
Loss of braking power and stopping ability. A certified mechanic told me that this year vehicle had the incorrect braking system installed at manufacture. It is a 5780 pound vehicle (3/4 ton) with 1/2 ton braking system factory installed. On way home from NY state to Florida I had less and less stopping power. Brake fluid up to full level. Excessive heat from front wheels. I drove at slower speeds in order to keep a safe distance in front of me in case I needed to stop quickly, which I felt the vehicle could not stop in time to avoid an accident. I have contacted GM to report and ask what can be done. In the interim I have had new rotors and brake pads installed as a stop gap measure. I have been told it is not a permanent fix as the weight of the vehicle requires the 3/4 ton braking system rather than the 1/2 ton system that is on the vehicle. There will be excessive pad and rotor wear as a consequence.

- Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #63

Aug 312014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 72,103 miles
The brakes on my 2003 Suburban failed suddenly with no warning as I was taking the exit ramp off the interstate near my house. I brake sharply when a vehicle cut in front of me from the right travel lane into the exit lane, and the brake pedal suddenly went all the way to the floor. At the moment that happened, the instrument panel chimed continuously and displayed "service brake system". the truck seemed to have no braking power whatsoever, and I had to slow the truck using the emergency brake. I had just driven around 55 miles in heavy traffic on I-95 and the beltway, with traffic often slowing, speeding up, then slowing again, then speeding up again. If this brake failure had occurred then, instead of on the slightly uphill exit ramp off I-66 1/2 mile from my house, it likely would have resulted in a serious crash. After I got the truck home, I saw fluid leaking from the brake line running under the driver's side door. A few days later, I spoke with a service rep at the dealer, who gave me a verbal estimate that replacing just that one brake line would cost around $500, and to replace all of them (which he recommended) would cost around $2000. I had the truck towed in a week or so later and had all of the lines replaced.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #62

Mar 152013


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. While driving 10 mph, the brakes failed to respond. Another vehicle, traveling approximately 50 mph, crashed into the contact's vehicle. The air bag failed to deploy. The contact sustained minor injuries. The contact stated that two passengers in the other vehicle sustained major injuries. A police report was filed and medical attention was received. The vehicle was not repaired or diagnosed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #61

Sep 012014

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 137,096 miles
One of the metal brake lines between the master cylinder and the ABS modulator valve ruptured during a stop due to corrosion. All brake lines in the vehicle have similar levels of corrosion near the area the aforementioned line ruptured, and at various other locations on the vehicle. The transmission cooler lines had failed approximately 18 months previously due to corrosion. The corrosion and rust on many components beneath the vehicle and in the engine compartment is becoming rather concerning.

- New Holland, PA, USA

problem #60

Aug 152014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 80,909 miles
While pulling away from the driveway, coming to a stop the brake pedal went to the floor. After getting the vehicle back in the driveway, a large amount of brake fluid was running out from a location under the drivers door area. After inspection, the brake line to the left rear wheel was rusted through and ruptured. All brake lines look totally rusted. Limited or no brakes is a big problem on a 3/4 ton vehicle. This vehicle's under carriage is washed on a very regular basis.

- Methuen, MA, USA

problem #59

Jul 042014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 174,860 miles
While driving down hill the light at the bottom of the hill turned red. I stepped on the brakes, heard a pop and hissing noise and the brake pedal went to the floor. The truck was slowing but not by much. I pulled it into low gear and blew the horn. The car sitting at the light took notice and pulled out of the way and I was able to go around the corner onto level ground and stop the truck. When I opened the door brake fluid was pouring out on the ground. There was no warning of the failure and the truck has been GM dealer serviced including brakes.

- Middletown, OH, USA

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