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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 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Mar 082013


  • 130,000 miles


A complete loss of brake pressure with no warning light indicator - when inspected the drivers side line had corroded almost directly under the drivers side door. This is the second time of occurrence, the first being the passenger side brake line in same location.

- Brewster, MA, USA

problem #17

Jul 032000

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
This was the date a mechanic advised us that the brake lines are severely corroded and that they should be replaced. Our vehicle is garaged in the winter and we bought the vehicle new. The brake lines should last longer than that.

- York, ME, USA

problem #16

Mar 152012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
One of the brake lines from the master cylinder to the ABS control unit ruptured due to severe corrosion, resulting in severe loss of brake fluid, and near complete loss of braking force. Replaced both lines on the advice of my mechanic who stated that the other line was just as badly corroded. Subsequently, the brake line from the ABS control unit to the rear brakes failed due to severe corrosion in December of 2012, resulting in complete loss of rear brake effectiveness. Replaced that portion of brake system, and very concerned about the remainder of the original equipment brake lines still extant.

- Farmington, CT, USA

problem #15

Feb 012013

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 58,500 miles


As I was backing my vehicle from my driveway I noticed a puddle of brake fluid where the vehicle was parked. Upon closer inspection I noted that the front brake line leading from the master cylinder to the rear ABS controller was leaking fluid onto the roadway. The vehicle is no longer safe to drive until the brake lines are replaced. All of the brake lines on this 2003 Suburban are heavily corroded and look ready to fail at any moment.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #14

Feb 082013


  • miles
Brake line failure, brake went to the floor. Brake line corrosion.

- Bayville, NY, USA

problem #13

Dec 282012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 86,420 miles
I was driving on a paved highway, when the upcoming intersection light turned red. When I applied the brakes the brake pedal was very soft and just kept going all the way to the floor. After the pedal was all the way to the floor then the red warning light came on. I was able to stop the vehicle before entering the intersection and luckily there was no one in front of me. If there had been, I would have hit them. I drove to a nearby truck stop and got some brake fluid, the vehicle took the whole container. I had no fore-warning of any problem with the brake system. I carefully drove home and by the time I got there, approximately 12 miles, my brake fluid was down again and the brakes were failing as I pulled into my drive. Again, the warning light did not come on at any time until I pushed the brake pedal all the way to the floor. My husband looked at the car the next morning and the rear brake linings were corroded and leaking.

- Fenton, MI, USA

problem #12

May 202011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 53,817 miles


I purchased this Suburban new in 2003. In may of 20011, I suddenly had no brakes when backing up and going forward in parking lot after driving from home to store. Took the Suburban to olympia, Washington Chevrolet dealer who said cause of the brake failure was due to rusting of brake lines that were leaking and recommended replacing all brake lines. In the previous weeks, I had driven the Suburban on mountain roads in national forests in the area that were unpaved and had steep inclines, was lucky not to have had a failure on those roads or on paved highway at high speeds on the trip home. All break lines were replaced. This required removal of the fuel tank. A few weeks later the service engine check light came on I took the Suburban back to the dealer who determined that the problem was the front fuel tank vent that was also rusted and was not functioning properly. This required replacing the fuel tank since the vent was not sold separately!! the new tank with vent cost $829 dollars bringing the total cost over $3,000 dollars. Note, I also purchased a 2003 Honda Accord new, which I still have, and have driven it for over 70,000 miles and in the same environment as the 2003 Suburban, and it has no signs of rust on the brake lines or fuel lines. This seems to be a common problem with Suburban of other model years and it is a life endangering failure. I feel I should be compensated by Chevrolet for these repairs and a recall issued all Suburban to check for this rusting of the brake and fuel lines to avoid loss of brakes that could cause an accident and loss of life.

- Lacey, WA, USA

problem #11

Dec 092012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 96,343 miles
We bought the Suburban in Virginia in 2004 moved to Washington state in 2007. Lived there for 4 years and now live in guam which has been for about a year and a half. The 2003 Suburban has seen very little snow and when it has the states we have live in use sand and not salt and yes I know guam is a island. While coming home a car pulled infront of us and I had to apply the brakes and the brake pedal went completely to the floor, I barley stopped in time which would of been no problem if they brakes worked normally (note: Guam's max speed limit on the island is 35 miles per hour). Still in traffic I had to find a place to pull off which took about a minute, lucky it was up hill. The service warning came on to check brakes of course at this time they where completely to the floor taking 100 feet to bring the vehicle to a stop thank you K-mart parking lot. The brake reservoir was completely dry and a pool of brake fluid was below the drivers door. There was no warning of this failure they worked fine one minute then not the next. I am now being quoted $1,100 dollar repair by the dealership and to top it off it will be atleast 2 weeks to get the parts from detroit since they only use oem parts. Not to mention the rental car bill I will racking up in guam. My major concern is 6 years down the road when they fail again will I be so lucky since oem parts are not stainless steel.

- Santa Rita, GU, USA

problem #10

Dec 032012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
I was driving about 25mph on a snow covered road. I applied the brake and the ABS system engaged then the brake pedal went down to the floor with no hydraulic pressure. The car no longer slow down so I down shifted to slow the car and finally got it to stop and shifted to neutral to stay stopped. Once I put the car in gear the brakes could not keep the car from moving. Once safely off the road I checked the brake fluid and their was none. The brake line failed and all the fluid leaked out. I am thankful this didn't happen while I was driving at any faster speeds, this is very dangerous and occurred with no prior warning.

- Upper Black Eddy, PA, USA

problem #9

Nov 032012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 174,000 miles
Traveling from MA to fl, stopped to eat dinner and change drivers. When we resumed the trip we lost the brakes in the parking lot of the restaurant. A mechanic in nc came out on a Sunday morning to help us. He found the brake line at the left rear axle had ruptured due to corrosion. He said he keeps a coil of brake lines in stock so he can make up a brake line for travelers from the North. When I called him to tell him we lost our brakes, he said you are from the North, right? I thought it was my accent but he said it was because gets enough calls for this that he keeps a coil of material in stock. We are fortunate it was not in city traffic or at a higher speed. When I did a google search I found many others with the same experience and an article that NHTSA was studying this.

- Bedford, MA, USA

problem #8

Oct 272012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 86,000 miles


Vehicle infront of me stopped quickly. When I applied the brake; peddle went to the floor. I was far enough back to avoid a crash but had no brakes. Brake system failed with out warning. Towing Agency told me brake line burst.

- East Berlin, PA, USA

problem #7

Sep 042012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 73,350 miles
We were driving down the highway at 55mph when I saw a deer on the side of the road. I pressed the brake pedal and it didn't respond properly. Instead, the brake pedal went nearly to the floor and the vehicle took a long time to slow to a stop. I began driving again and tested the brakes; they did not work properly. I had to press the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle to brake, and even then it took a very long time to stop the vehicle. It was dangerous to drive the vehicle at this point. I took the vehicle to the nearest Chevrolet dealership and was told that all four brake lines had rusted and ruptured. The vehicle has been stored indoors and driven very little in the winter months. This incident upset me greatly as it put my family in serious danger. I have subsequently learned this is a common problem with GM vehicles of that model year. I have owned 25 automobiles over 45 years and have never had sudden brake failure. I am concerned that someone will be injured or killed, if this hasn't already occurred, and I implore you to consider a safety recall. Thank you.

- Cadillac, MI, USA

problem #6

Mar 192011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
My low mileage 2003 Suburban has been garage kept since I purchased it new. In March 2011 my brake lines failed causing me to hit the stopped vehicle in front of me. Upon taking it to jba Chevrolet for repairs, service manager said they replaced rotted brake lines in 2003 and 2004 GM products all day long. He also said that during these years GM chose not to anodize their brake lines on some models. I asked the dealership if this had been reported to the NHTSA, he told us that car dealers and repair shops are not allowed to file complaints, that complaints must come directly from the consumer. Who else would know better than a car dealer or repair shop about continuing defects found in a certain model vehicle. What does it take to get a recall" how many people must die"

- Arnold, MD, USA

problem #5

Aug 252012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 77,941 miles
I was coming up on an intersection when the light turned red, I stepped on the brakes and they failed to work. I had no warning, only after I tried to stop the car did the instrument panel light come on and read "service brakes". the car went into the intersection. I called aaa, who came and towed me to a dealership. The dealership said that the brake lines had corroded and I had lost all brake fluid.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #4

Jan 032012


  • 72,300 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 2500. The contact was traveling 45 mph when the brake pedal was depressed and the brakes failed to work properly. The contact mentioned that the brake warning light illuminated immediately after the failure. The failure recurred five times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The mechanic confirmed that the brake lines needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 72,300 and the current mileage was 75,293.

- Chatsworth, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jul 282012


  • miles
I was on my way to the grocery store with my two children and I noticed while going to leave my driveway that when I went to brake there was a lot of play room that was not previously there. I went to test them again and had to push down all the way to the floor to get our vehicle to come to a complete stop. I then parked the vehicle until my husband got home. After having our vehicle looked over a couple times we were able to see that the brake lines were corroded in some areas.

- Naugatuck, CT, USA

problem #2

May 252012


  • 57,500 miles
Brakes worked fine driving to lumber yard, after loading lumber, and backing up, the brakes pedal went to floorboard. Was able to drive to olympia Chevrolet dealer about 5 miles away. Brake fluid was about halfway down in the brake fluid reservoir. Left car for dealer service department to determine cause of brake pedal not having any pressure. Pressing on brake would provide slight braking to slow vehicle. Dealer service department called, and said that the brake lines had rusted through, preventing pressure to brakes. I had not noticed any fluid spots in my driveway nor any loss of braking in recent driving. The service department said that all the steel brake lines needed to be replaced and that GM did not have any stock replacement brake lines. This meant that they would have to order brake line tubing and form the brake tubing to fit the vehicle. The cost of this is estimated to be $1,800- $2,000. The vehicle is still at the dealer being repaired. I understand that the NHTSA is investigating over 110 complaints of similar brake failures on other Chevrolet and GM vehicles due to excessive corrosion. Please add this complaint to that list. I purchased this Suburban new in 2003 and it has been maintained by the dealer and has minimal mileage. I feel this failure should be handled as an recall and the costs paid by GM. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Lacey, WA, USA

problem #1

May 182012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 100,568 miles
I was driving my Suburban 2500 and pulling a trailer. I hit the brakes to stop at an intersection and the brake pedal went right to the floor. I went right through the stop sign and just missed another car before I could stop. I checked the brakes, a brake line under the truck had burst due to heavy rusting.

- Holland, PA, USA

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