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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 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

Oct 152013


  • 68,500 miles


Rear brake line corrosion and low brake fluid. Chevrolet dealer replaced rear brake lines. Lost brake pressure on December 23, 2003 and towed vehicle to Chevrolet dealership. Dealership diagnosed problem as front brake line corrosion and recommended replacing brake lines.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #37

Dec 092013


  • 120,000 miles
Brakes failed when coming to a stop after leaving a gas station. Brake fluid leaking down frame rail next to ABS booster by the fuel tank.

- Freehold, NJ, USA

problem #36

Dec 082013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 100,910 miles
Approaching stop sign and brake pedal went to floor. After looking at lines, they are all corroded terribly and I noticed the NHTSA has an open complaint on this very thing.

- Cooperstown, PA, USA

problem #35

Nov 192013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 54,894 miles


I took my vehicle in for our states' required annual vehicle inspection. The mechanic observed that the brake lines were extremely rusty and, in his own words, on the verge of complete failure. He showed me the lines which were flaking and already pitted and crevased. He noted this was a **very** dangerous condition and could result in a "no brake condition". after showing me the brake lines in question, he recommended full brake line replacement. I took his recommendation seriously and I went home and did some research on the internet, and much to my surprise, the internet abounded with owners of 1999-2003 Suburban (and other Chevy/GM models) problems associated with the rusting of brake lines. !!! I was appalled that so many problems have been documented and with no formal recourse/action taken by Chevrolet. [as a related note, in the prior annual inspection for this vehicle, the ABS sensors were noted as rusted through, and which I had replaced]. we live in Virginia where the weather is moderate and there is not that much winter conditions that require road salting, etc. So this is not a result of the vehicle living in harsh road-salted conditions. I ended up deciding to spend the $$ to remediate this dangerous driving condition and to get another 10 years out of the vehicle. I purchased a stainless steel set of pre-bent brake lines specific to this vehicle (shows that there is a demand for these in the market because of this condition) and having them installed (over $1K total). Ouch! Chevrolet needs to step up to the plate, admit culpability, and make it right for vehicle owners. Come on Chevy...

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #34

Nov 172013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
My husband was backing out of the driveway, heard a pop and brake pedal went to floor. Luckily no one was hurt. Dealer said front to back brake line corrosion. Cost will be $2000 to fix. We see there is a pending investigation on this and want to know status because it seems likely from researching this that a recall is possible. Can you provide a status on brake line corrosion investigation among 1999-2003 GM vehicles. Not fair that we have to pay $2000 for brake corrosion that should not have happened. Please advise if possible.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #33

Oct 192013


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact stated that while decelerating and approaching a traffic stop, the brake pedal traveled to the floorboard when depressed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the technician diagnosed that the brake lines were corroded and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 67,000.

- Oak Brook , IL, USA

problem #32

Aug 102013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 92,450 miles


Brakes failed on highway. Had to have front and rear brake lines replaced due to severe corrosion.

- Foster, RI, USA

problem #31

Oct 022013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 121,084 miles
While traveling 35mph I began to brake for a changing light signal. The initial application of brakes began to slow the vehicle until the brake pedal went to the floor and a complete loss of braking power was experienced. I rapidly let off and re-applied pressure to the brake pedal with no gain in braking. I coasted through the intersection on a red light. There was no collision. I downshifted and used the parking brake to slow the vehicle and eventually stop. A brake warning light came on only after the complete loss of braking power. Inspection of the brake line revealed a rupture to the front right brake line next to the frame rail.

- Salisbury, MD, USA

problem #30

Oct 012013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
All brake lines and fuel line rusted, was not driving fast, dealer told me it would cost 3500. Have to take trans out, I think GM should help pay for this they have 3 other Tahoe and Suburban there with the same problem, too bad they got bailed out.

- Schnecksville, PA, USA

problem #29

Oct 042013


  • 75,233 miles
I was driving on the road coming up to a stop sign getting ready to enter on to the freeway. My brake pedal went completely to the floor and I could not stop. I had to use the parking brake to avoid hitting the cars in front of me. No easy task at 45mph. I veered around the cars and went off of the road. After looking, my Suburban I found that 2 brake lines had blown out and were severely rusted. The area that they rusted was directly below the drivers area. I looked at the rest of the brake system and all of the lines are severely rusted. In 28 years of driving I have never had a brake line go out on me. I've owned some cars with upwards of 250,000 miles too. My 03 Suburban has 75,000 miles on it. This is ridiculous. I could have been killed or seriously injured or killed someone. I have been researching this online and see that there is complaint after complaint of this problem. When is the NHTSA going to act on this? GM should be recalling these vehicles and fixing them. These are family vehicles that can carry as many as 8 or 9 people. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #28

Sep 242013


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, he applied the brakes at an intersection but the vehicle did not stop and crashed into a curb. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that all of the brake lines and the front calipers would need to be replaced due to severe corrosion. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 80,000.

- Smithtown, NY, USA

problem #27

Jul 132013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 221,334 miles
Brake fail with no pressure when brake pedal was pushed and no warning lights, we were going about 65 mph and had to stop for traffic. Had to pull off roadway on to grass area to avoid hitting other cars. Lucky no one was kill. Upon inspection, the driver side brake line was corroded, it was directly under the driver seat area. This is the first time in my life that brake line ever fail due to corrosion. We in North East of the country by the shore area are subject to salt during winter and manufacture should take this into consideration for safety of public.

- Forked River, NJ, USA

problem #26

Sep 242013

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 100,124 miles
While driving my 2003 Suburban I was approaching a stop sign and attempted to brake. The brake pedal suddenly went to the floor with no braking action. As the truck continued through the stop sign (thank goodness no other car was crossing) I attempted to engage the emergency break which failed to slow down or stop as well. I then intentionally turned to truck over a curb into a grassy area as to stop the vehicle prior to rolling down the hill into highway traffic. Upon examining under the truck I discovered an area under a clamp leaking brake fluid. It appears that it had corroded through.

- La Plata, MD, USA

problem #25

Sep 022013


  • 112,200 miles
I took my 2003 Chevy Suburban for a brake fluid flush recently. The shop told me that all the brake components are corroded very badly especially the brake lines. The shop recommended to replace all my brake calipers. Brake rotors were almost end of their life. So I ended up replacing all 4 brake calipers, rotors, pads and the brake hoses leading to the brake calipers. The shop said sooner or later I would need my brake lines replaced. I just searched online and came across NHTSA's investigation on the brake line corrosion hence decided to report it to you. From the carfax history report, this truck was registered around philadelphia, pa area for it's entire life and also it was serviced at dealerships around this area. So I guess this truck was on the northeast part of the U.S for its entire life but not closer to salt (sea) water or weather.. should you need more information feel free to contact me via email or phone.

- Bensalem, PA, USA

problem #24

Aug 212013


  • 147,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for an unrelated repair when they noticed that the brake and fuel lines were rusted severely. In addition, the spare tire carrier exhibited rust corrosion and was removed from the vehicle. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The vehicle had not been repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 147,000.

- Churchville, PA, USA

problem #23

Aug 072013


  • 91,000 miles
Stopped to get gas. Brake pedal went to the floor and wouldn't stop, warnings started going off and smoke was coming from under the vehicle, was able to put the vehicle in park to avoid hitting anything, husband was able to look under vehicle and saw all the fluid, told me to step on the brake pedal and fluid was spraying from a line in the engine compartment.

- Union Mills, IN, USA

problem #22

Jul 202013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
My brakes did not seem to be operating correctly. Stopping distance was greatly increased. When I checked, most of my brake lines were completely rusted and crumbling. I think it is important to note this is a low mileage, garage kept vehicle which is rarely driven in the winter. Furthermore, it has received undercarriage clean water washing twice a year since 2006 when I purchased it. I understand that brake lines will eventually rust but this case seems extreme, especially since it is a well cared for, garage kept vehicle that rarely sees road salt.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #21

Jul 232013


  • 142,000 miles
Wife just returned from work, backing into the garage. Brake pedal went to the floor (no lights or warnings)? when I crawled under and looked brake lines were ruptured nest to frame.

- Goshen, OH, USA

problem #20

Feb 062013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
My son was driving in bakersfield ca, he was on buena vista, when he came to a traffic light at ming ave. The light changed and when he hit the brakes the warning light came on. The front brakes failed to work and he skidded thru the intersection, thru the red light. The speed limit is 55 mph on that road, the time was 11am. No other car was hit. He had my truck towed to a aaa shop, they said the front brake tubing off the ABS boxed to the front caliper failed from rusting out (with no warning). They said they could not fix it at that shop and I should take it to 3 way chev. I called the Chevy factory line and spoke to a rep. She said they might warranty some of the repair but their dealer ship had to verify the problem. I informed her of the mileage and gave her the VIN# I told her I also bought the car from heritage Chevy in md. I called them and got a price to replace all the brake tubing for $1600 and if it needed a ABS box it would be total of $3400 for everything.3way Chevy in bakersfield said it would cost $7597.07 for everything but it may be more because they said they had to remove the cab from the frame. They also said the truck should not be driven in the snow because of the salt that is used on the roads. This is a 4X4 and I live in northern md and I bought for the snow and I tow a 24 foot boat that weighs 6300 lbs. The factory rep said they could not help me in any way because of the age and mileage, which I originally told them about. The factory reps keep on transferring me to other reps till I gave up. I was ase tech( everything except transmissions ), md state inspector and md certified emissions for over 20 years. This brake problem with the GM trucks will eventually get someone hurt or killed. I sold the truck for $ $1500 with no brakes as is.

- Parkton, MD, USA

problem #19

Mar 272013


  • 140,000 miles
Total brake failure caused a collision with car that had slowed in front. Inspection under the car showed brake fluid sprayed around the left side of the rear axle.

- Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

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