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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
71,839 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 1 of 2)

problem #36

Aug 082012


  • 117,286 miles


In a situation that required sudden hard braking, I experienced an almost total loss of braking power. The brake pedal went all the way to the floor and the truck required a much greater distance to slow down and stop. There was no advance warning light /sound until after the brake system failure. The repair shop told me one of the metal brake lines had blown out due to severe corrosion, causing a complete loss of brake fluid. The other brake lines were also very corroded and seeping brake fluid. Additionally, many other components of the brake system (rotors, calipers, brake hoses, bleed valves, backing plates) were very rusted or deteriorated and falling apart.

- Highland, MD, USA

problem #35

Mar 222012

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 102,270 miles
The rear brake line broke.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #34

Feb 132012


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact stated that while driving 3 mph, the brakes malfunctioned and the contact had to utilize the emergency brake to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an automotive shop where it was diagnosed it that due to corrosion, the brakes had ruptured. The dealer was not contacted nor was the vehicle completely repaired. The failure mileage was 77,000 and the current mileage was 77,050.

- Hastings - Hudson , NY, USA

problem #33

Jan 162012


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact stated that there was corrosion in one of the brake lines, causing complete brake failure while driving 30 mph. The dealer was notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The manufacturer was not contacted and the vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 90,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Deerfield, IL, USA

problem #32

Nov 302011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 60,502 miles
The brakes failed due to rusted brake lines blowing out in the proximity of the ABS motor, which is located on the driver side, along the frame, underneath the drivers seat.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #31

Nov 172011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 122,632 miles
While driving at 45 mph on a medium traffic city road, the brakes were applied while stopping for a traffic light that had turned red. The brake pedal did not respond quickly enough and had depressed all the way to the floor. The vehicle was able to slow down enough to be driven into an empty parking lot. As I got the vehicle to stop, I opened the engine compartment and saw the brake fluid level was very low. The vehicle had its preventative maintenance done on it just three weeks prior and all fluids were checked topped off (all of which is documented by an oil and lube garage). I was able to get the vehicle back to my home and had inspected the issue. An area along the frame rail were the brake lines go from the master cylinder to the ABS motor was leaking. The brake lines were severely corroded in just one area, inspection of the rest of the brake lines were ok. Its just odd that it was corroded in just the one area and nowhere else. There was no warning that the brakes were about to fail or any indication that the fluid level was low.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #30

Oct 132011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 65,871 miles


While driving the car at a relatively slow speed (35 mph), I attempted to apply the brakes as I approached a traffic light turning yellow. The pedal went all the way to the floor without any decrease in speed whatsoever. Essentially, there was no braking power at all. Prior to this, there had been no issues with the brakes and the truck had been routinely serviced at my local dealership (nesenger 112 Chevrolet, 112 medford avenue, medford, NY 11763). I was able to place car in neutral in order to allow it to coast off the road and it was towed to the above named dealership for repair the next morning. Fortunately, it was approximately 10:30 pm on a side road and there were no cars in front of me. The service manager at the dealership told me that all the brake lines were corroded and had to be replaced, as well as the rear backing plates. The repair total was $2457.01.

- Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #29

Oct 222011


  • 112,000 miles
Corrosion on rear driver side brake line caused brake failure, while driving vehicle. Such a failure has been reported by many who own this generation of vehicle.

- Exeter, NH, USA

problem #28

Oct 072011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • miles
On Oct.7, 2011 my wife was driving our 2003 Chevy Suburban. In just normal driving conditions she applied the brakes. A warning sound came on and the brake pedal went to the floor. Just that quick !, brake line failure! if she had been driving faster than 40 mph. Their might have been a bad intersection collision. She nervously was able to creep the vehicle to a stop. I researched this condition on-line and was startled to find NHTSA is investigating over 6 million vehicles with the same's a travesty that this can go must be the goverments way of not being able to police its own company.

- Centerburg, OH, USA

problem #27

Sep 182011


  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. While driving approximately 40 mph, the contact depressed the brake pedal and stated that the brake pedal dropped to the floorboard abnormally. The contact was able to stop the vehicle and place it in park. The contact inspected the vehicle and noticed that the brake lines were corroded and was fractured, causing the brake fluid to leak. The vehicle was not repaired. There was an open investigation under NHTSA action number: EA11001 (service brakes, hydraulic service brakes, hydraulic:foundation components:hoses, lines/piping, and fittings) that could possibly have been related to the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 86,000.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #26

Aug 302011

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 93,813 miles


Was driving my 2003 Suburban 2500 & went to stop, brake pedal went all the way to the floor & truck had trouble stopping. After looking what was the problem saw brake fluid all over the underside of truck and on ground. Brakelines have rusted through and have burst. Now need to be replaced.

- Stockholm, NJ, USA

problem #25

Aug 262011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
Chevrolet Suburban 2003 - complete loss of brakes due to a failed metal break line. Chevrolet dealer has advised me that the brake lines throughout the vehicle are defective because of extensive corrosion and not safe to drive. This vehicle has always been parked on a hard surface and never used in an ocean/ salt water environment. This is a GM defective in the vehicle.

- Hawthorne, NJ, USA

problem #24

Aug 062011

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 106,995 miles
Upon backing into the driveway after returning from a short errand, the brake pedal went to the floor with no braking action. No damage occurred since the emergency brake stopped the car at low speed. All instrument panel lamps for the braking system were lighted and the message "service brake system" came on. Upon inspection, the brake fluid reservoir was empty and the fluid was dripping from the underside a little forward of the driver's side of the car. After having the car towed to the auto repair shop it was found to have rusted out steel brake lines in a cluster of four leading from the master cylinder back toward the rear of the car. Luckily this total loss of braking occurred at the very end of the trip since there was no warning of any problem beforehand. Six lengths of the rusted steel brake lines needed to be replaced.

- Plano, IL, USA

problem #23

Jul 152011

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
In 2003 I purchased a new Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The vehicle has been garage kept and presently has 26,000 miles on it. Three weeks ago my wife experienced a total brake failure at 30 mph. She used the emergency brake to stop the car without incident. On inspection of the brake system, the front passenger steel brake line was rusted completely thru. On further inspection, all the brake lines were rusty and in bad shape. I have inquired information from 6 Chevrolet dealerships in the state of Maryland, all of which have seen and repaired the exact problem many times. I am told that in 2006, GM started annodizing their steel brake lines again. But for the Suburban built in 2003 and 2004, the problem was never rectified and GM has no recall on them. Since Suburban are primarily used to Transport people, I would think this issue would be of great importance to you. I replaced the brake lines with after market stainless steel lines at my own expense, $1200.

- Arnold, MD, USA

problem #22

Jun 252011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. The contact stated while driving approximately 35 mph approaching a stop sign, the brake pedal traveled rapidly to the floor upon engaging and the vehicle failed to slow down. The contact shifted into neutral gear in order to apply the parking brake and stop the vehicle. The failure was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Darlingdon, MD, USA

problem #21

May 162011

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact stated that both brake lines were covered with rust and were also leaking. The service brake light illuminated on the instrument panel. The dealer and manufacturer told the contact that he had to purchase after market parts. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 71,000. Updated 07/08/11 the consumer stated none of the auto parts store have the parts for his vehicle. Updated 11/23/11

- Toms Brook, VA, USA

problem #20

Nov 282007

Suburban 4WD

  • miles
2003 Chevy Suburban 1500 4WD 5.3L, GM has a known issue with braking on these trucks where it takes too long to stop. I have replaced all pads, rotors, and calipers. Also performed ABS brake bleeding to see if air was in the ABS module/pump assembly. Truck still at times seems to not want to stop. It always takes a long distance to stop. There is no ABS activating during this time. This has been an issue since I bought the truck in 2007.

- Niagara Falls, NY, USA

problem #19

May 022011

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 108,643 miles
Brake lines rusted out. Brakes gone !

- Paradise, MI, USA

problem #18

Jan 082011

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 84,432 miles
Corroded brake lines on 2003 Chevrolet Suburban caused a front end crash when brake line burst at corrosion. I was lucky to have had a snow bank in my path and not another car. I applied the brakes coming to a stop light when the brake pedal went to the floor. Myself and my wife went through the red light, unable to stop, with no traffic coming from the cross street, luckily. I was able to get home slowly and found the brake line corroded and brake fluid squirting from the brake when pressure applied upon inspection.

- New Fairfield, CT, USA

problem #17

Dec 062010


  • 38,900 miles
When I was backing out of a parking space I put on my brakes and they went down to the floor, I had to be towed to a Chevy dealer, when the car was put up on the lift they discovered all metal brake lines were rusted, out the dealer claims Chevy is not at fault that it was caused by road salt, I have owned cars for over sixty years and I have lived in the same area for seventy years and I have never had metal brake lines rust out, I feel that Chevy used inferior metal for there brake lines. They are billing me $4000 to replace brake lines plus whatever has to go with it. If I had been driving on the highway and this happened there would have been serious injures and even deaths.

- Randolph, NJ, USA

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