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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 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #58

Jul 112014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 91,000 miles


I was driving my 2003 Suburban and heading southbound along Washington blvd. In arlington county. As I approached merging traffic from rt. 50/arlington blvd. And ft. Myer, I adjusted my speed to allow vehicle #1 to merge in front of me. Simultaneously, vehicle #2 sped up to abruptly merge in front of vehicle #1, causing that vehicle to brake hard directly in front of me. I also had to brake hard to avoid hitting vehicle #1 and upon doing so managed to get stopped without contact, but at the same time lost all further braking ability. The brake light and a warning message to "service brakes immediately" both illuminated on the instrument panel. I was able to safely pull to the right side of the highway and into the breakdown lane and called aaa for tow service. The tow truck driver's initial assessment was that the brake linings had leaked out. After having the truck towed and further assessed, it was determined that the front brake lines had failed and needed to be replaced to the ABS module. Although now a 11 year old vehicle, it has been maintained routinely by either the Chevrolet dealership where we purchased our Suburban, or with our local sunoco mechanic. It also recently passed inspection in March of this year. There was no previous indication or warning of any possible brake issues. Fortunately, this incident was not serious; however, I believe it could have been avoided entirely had GM notified owners of possible brake line failure.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #57

Jun 062014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
I was stopped at an intersection at a stop sign. There was a car approaching on my left that had the right of way and did not have a stop sign. They were traveling at approximately 30 mph. My foot was on the brake pedal, and it suddenly dropped to the floor. My vehicle went into the path of the oncoming car and I could not stop. I cut my wheel to the right and accelerated quickly to get out of the way. After I was clear of them, I pulled over to the side of the road. My vehicle was towed to a local shop and the rear metal brake line had failed and had to be replaced.

- Forest Hill, MD, USA

problem #56

Jun 072014


  • 120,000 miles
Brake lines rusted thru going to anti lock block. These lines run along the outside of the frame.

- Ida, MI, USA

problem #55

Apr 032012


  • 95,000 miles


Brake flex lines between ABS and master rusted and failed, twice, within 2 years, brake lines rusted out between 90-106 K miles, GM does not make the parts anymore, and aftermarket parts are sketchy quality from china! poor design, cheap steel lines, too thin, and no support of their products! clearly GM has a myriad of other recalls and failures, but these are brakes, a critical part and safety component in vehicles that are supposedly their bread and butter- if your going to design safety parts to comport with federal requirements, support the product for reasonable use which is 25 years, better designs. 3 brake failures in 3 years, over $1800 now and no peace of mind it will not fail again.

- Mclean, VA, USA

problem #54

May 262014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
When departing for the day, the brake pedal went completely to the floor. The stopping time of the vehicle was compromised. Since the vehicle was being used to tow a 19 foot boat, the trip was aborted in the first mile and the vehicle was parked. Upon inspection of the brakes, a severe leaking of brake fluid was discovered. The brake lines were checked and extensive rusting of the lines was discovered. There was no indication of brake fluid leaks or reduced pressure from any indicator signal. The failure was sudden and unexpected as the brakes worked without issue the previous evening.

- Port St. Lucie, FL, USA

problem #53

Mar 312013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 94,038 miles
Thankfully in our driveway, the brake pedal went all the way to the floor. And we noticed fluid was leaking from the left rear. Our vehicle was towed to our repair shop and the mechanic reported the following: There was heavy rust on the rear differential. The metal brake line at the left rear wheel has a hole rusted through. All of the metal brake lines are in very poor condition due to rust contamination. All of the brake lines need to be replaced. I understand that you are investigating a rust issue with the brake lines on 2003 Chevy Suburban. We have maintained our vehicle with regular service, and oil changes every 3,000 miles. Our Suburban looks new inside and out. This is the second issue we have had with excessive rust. In 2008, with less than 50,000 miles on the vehicle, the backing plates rusted and needed to be replaced. Thankfully, GM paid for the repair. We take very good care of our vehicles and with 94,038 miles (mostly highway miles), we feel that the brake lines rusting through is not an expected repair. The brakes failing could have had catastrophic consequences. I have read about other people having the same issue with their Suburban.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #52

Mar 222014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 96,836 miles


Slowing down to turn on to I95, brake pedal went to the floor. Had no brakes what so ever, no warning. Thank the lord that we were able to move out of traffic and slow down with out having a accident. Took it to GM dealer they replaced all to lines. Had to take it to other GM dealer to tighten and replace a part the other dealer had stripped the threads on and tried to fix it with teflon tape. Also tighten body mounts the dealer left loose.

- Mahopac, NY, USA

problem #51

May 042014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 132,126 miles
Right in my own driveway, I applied the brake pedal and without any prior issues the pedal went to the floor and the dash alert came on to service brake system. Thankfully, this did not occur while on the road because it was a sudden failure. Even at slow speed, the heavy vehicle took several feet to stop. The brake line from the ABS module heading to the rear axle burst in 3 or 4 places causing a large amount of brake fluid to leak out. All lines to and from the ABS module are heavily rusted and look much worse than other components. As I looked into this online, I've discovered numerous vehicles having this and much worse problems involving accidents. I can't see how this vehicle could have ever stopped safely. I just drove it the night before and had no warning signs. This is more than normal wear and tear. These brake lines are sub standard and could have been made better. Another sign of large corporations trying to use inferior materials to boost their stockholders profits. Someone help us.

- Davison, MI, USA

problem #50

Apr 072014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 217,000 miles
On approximately April 7, 2014, while engaging vehicle in parking lot, I depressed the brake pedal, and the pedal went all way to floor. Had vehicle subsequently towed to Chevrolet of gadsden, al for examination. Was informed that the brake line on drivers side had developed a leak, and the brake line was so corroded that they would not be comfortable with a standard repair. I.e., they refused to work on vehicle. The vehicle is at the dealership, and I have been advised that I can come and pick it up.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #49

Apr 022014


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The contact stated that while exiting a parking space the brakes failed. The brake pedal was applied and pressed to the floorboard but to no avail. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer, who diagnosed that the brake line on the drivers side needed to be replaced due to extensive rust. The undercarriage was extremely rusted for an extended period of time and the local dealer had not provided a remedy. The VIN was not available. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #48

Jun 142013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 103,000 miles


Brakes completely failed without any warning or warning light. Brake pedal went to the floor with no brakes response. Rolled to a stop going up a hill. Car was towed to the local dealer, who told us the brake lines had corroded and failed. Second time the brake lines failed in two years.

- South Orange, NJ, USA

problem #47

Apr 062014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 60,100 miles
As I was backing out of a parking space, I experienced a total brake failure. Fortunately, I was going slow enough to stop and avoid injuring myself or another person. Thank god I wasn't going 50 mph with my wife and 4 children in the car or I might not be writing this today (or someone else could have been injured by me due to this brake failure). I discovered the reason for this failure was because my brake line prematurely corroded and this problem is well known to NHTSA and you have done absolutely nothing. How dare you and GM put my family and other innocent bystanders at risk because of your incompetence!!! why hasn't there been a recall"?? a simple google search shows this problem has been experienced by thousands of Chevy owners as well as premature rusting of the body and undercarriage which I am also experiencing. This car only has 60K miles and has been well cared for, but I am experiencing problems that cars with 3 times as many miles shouldn't experience. Perhaps congress would be interested in this dereliction of duty by NHTSA. How many americans have to die or get injured in accidents before you take action??? if total failure of a vehicle's breaking system doesn't spur a call to action by NHTSA then what will? what could be more vital to safety than brakes on a 1/2 ton truck" repairs for the brake line will cost me over $1,200 and that just adds insult to this whole disgraceful situation. I demand to be reimbursed for this well known safety issue that I have to correct. NHTSA has failed and it's costing way more than $1,200; it's costing americans their lives.

- Norridge, IL, USA

problem #46

Nov 012011


  • 60,000 miles
Brake pedal went to floor while wife was driving. Took it to Chevy dealership and they said steel brake line had rusted through. Upon inspection they said all steel brake lines needed replacing due to outside rust which I had them do. I live in northern Michigan. Cant remember cost of Chevy dealership replacing all of the steel brake lines.

- Roscommon, MI, USA

problem #45

Mar 082014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 211,950 miles
On 3-8-14 at about 10:00 am I was less than a mile from home when I was approaching a two way stop sign traveling at about 30 mph. I began braking normally for the stop when shortly after applying the brakes, the resistance from the brake pedal was lost and the pedal went instantly to the floor. At the time the pedal went to the floor there was no longer any breaking of the vehicle. I could not slow the vehicle by braking and continued through the intersection. Fortunately, there were no cars in the intersection. Pumping the brakes lightly provided a slight breaking. I continued to drift and down shift the transmission until the car could be stopped. When inspecting under the vehicle, break fluid was seen dripping at a fast rate from a break line under the driver side door. A puddle of brake fluid was quickly building up. Later that day I went to the Chevrolet dealer and explained what happened. I was told it's a common problem and there was a repair kit that could be installed. I was not aware of the common instantaneous brake failure problem.

- Street, MD, USA

problem #44

Nov 302013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Getting onto exit ramp at 50 mph. Began pressing brake pedal. Suddenly no braking power at all.

- Blue Island, IL, USA

problem #43

Feb 182014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Driving down the road and the brake pedal became mushy, took precaution to get home with slow speed. About 100 yards from my driveway the brake service light came on. Complete loss of hydraulic braking power. Coasted into drive and applied parking brake. Checked brake lines and found all brake lines rusted but the front right brake line rusted through allowing all brake fluid to leak out. The brake reservoir was completely empty.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #42

Jun 112012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Vehicle made a full stop, driver then continued on and pressed the brake and the brakes went all the way down, brake light went on and dic advised of a brake problem. This has occurred a total of 3 different times on this vehicle, each time another area of the line bursting. Each time I have paid more than $185 to have the issue fixed.

- Lakewood, NJ, USA

problem #41

Nov 262012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Brake pedal almost to floor, extremely long time to warning just driving in columbus traffic and lost brakes. Found master cylinder almost empty. Brake lines rusted through left side drivers floor/frame rail area. Dealer estimate $1200 to$1600. Seems to be a common problem as on line investigation verifies.web site shows open case, no re-call to repair.

- Orgoia, OH, USA

problem #40

Jan 202014

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 194,836 miles
Was backing out of driveway and brake pedal went to the floor and would not stop. Threw shifter into park before it rolled out of driveway and down embankment and into woods. Inspection of vehicle found brake fluid leaking from corroded brake lines at rear of vehicle on driver's side. Further inspection showed that all brake lines are corroded and must be replaced.

- Newton, NJ, USA

problem #39

Dec 182013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
Brake pedal went to the floor and car would not stop. Had to use the parking break and run into the curb to stop. Found there was no fluid so filled the master cylinder and pumped brakes. Fluid was running out of the line just under the driver's door. I inspected all the brake lines and found them severely corroded and will now replace them all. The last time I had to change a steel brake line was on a 1952 Buick, but that was in 1984, when the car was 32 years old. There should be either a recall or at least a notice from Chevrolet that this could happen. I could have easily wrecked my truck and/or killed a pedestrian.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

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