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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,799 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Chevrolet Suburban Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Oct 092015


  • 190,000 miles


I will be driving down the road both hwy and city. The Suburban will go into reduced engin and lose all its power and speed. I have to pull over and cut the car off and restart it and it's fine to go for maybe a mile and it does it again. They can not pin point what the problem is. It's very dangerous.

- Supply, NC, USA

problem #21

Sep 032009

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 93,300 miles
My '03 Chevrolet Suburban has developed what appears to be a very common condition where the entire instrument cluster becomes inoperable. For example, while traveling at low, in town speeds, the speedometer will have readings in the 60S, 70S' and 80S. While in the park position, the speedometer will read 55mph. This is absolutely a safety issue and I am really shocked that the NHTSA hasn't forced a recall. There are literally thousands of reports online of this exact problem. General Motors is aware that this is a wide spread problem, as they even extended. General Motors even provided owners with a special coverage that extends the warranty on the instrument panel cluster for the condition described above, as long as the vehicles age and mileage falls within certain parameters. Those parameters are the main reason for my complaint. Those parameters are 1) 7 years of the in service date, and 2) 70,000 miles, which ever occurs first. My claim to have the instrument cluster in my vehicle repaired under the special coverage was denied on 9/4/09 because the mileage of my vehicle was 93,000 miles at the time of my request. I believe that this is a large scale safety problem that warrants a recall by General Motors rather than an extension of warranty with unreasonable mileage parameters. Extending the warranty alone is a clear admission of a known widespread issue. Is NHTSA in bed with GM too? I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

- Celina, TX, USA

problem #20

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 #19

Aug 042008


  • miles


I have 2003 Suburban 1500, that keeps getting a error message "reduce engine power". the vehicle will all of sudden while driving, reduce speed and I can't accelerate above 25-30mph. I will have to pull over and turn car off for 10-15 seconds before it resets, however it will continue to happen over and over again! it is very scary and dangerous when I have my kids or my wife drive it because you never know when the car will have this happen. Strangely, when we drive on the highway we can use the "cruise control" feature when we reach 25mph and use the cruise control to accelerate that way with minimal occurrences. I have taken the car to "2 Chevy dealers and 3 mechanics" neither can tell us what's wrong! this is frustrating because we only have on car, and we know this a "safety hazard" and extremely dangerous and somebody has to look into this! I only hope someone who reads these complaints has the power to help me and everyone with this problem.

- Santa Fe Springs, CA, USA

problem #18

Nov 262010


  • miles
On 26oct. 2010 I had a throttle body replace on a 2003 Chevy Suburban at a local Chevy dealership. A day later my wife and I took the Suburban out to go shopping. I returned tothe parking lot to pull up to the door to load up. As I was ciircling around in the parking lot the engine of the SUV red lined, this caught me totally off gaurd. I applied the brakes to thi SUV, it did not stopped. The end result was that I hit a light pole in the parking lot. I reported the accident to my insurance company. My in insurance company sent a investigator out to look a the SUV, he started the vehicle and it redlined, he gave me a call and said I had a issue with the throttle body and that it could have been improperly installed or it could have been a manufacture defect. Later on I called the dealership that installed and proformed the work.they said that it was definitely a defected and that they are not responsibile for the acccident. They said that GM was responsible for this accident.

- Sprin Grove, PA, USA

problem #17

Apr 092010

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Driving on cruise control at 45 mph. Then, we turn off cruise control, but speedometer stays at 45mph. Occurs once or twice a month. Have been stopped by the police once for driving to slow. Corrected by turning car on and off three or four times in a row.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #16

Dec 172008


  • 97,000 miles


2003 Chevy Z71 sub speed odometer is not working correctly. Will work one day and be off by more than 80mph the same day. GM will not do anything to assist and can lead to accident as well as tickets as we have no idea of what speed we are traveling.

- Magnolia, TX, USA

problem #15

Dec 012008


  • 88,000 miles
Revving of engine to point of screeching tires. Sometimes feeling of being in neutral for a second then clunk in tranny/rear end? acts as engagement of cruise control increasing speed, not able to disengage by hitting brake. Computer did not show anything. Next time putter "locked out" tech's. puter replaced. Worked good for two weeks. Engine revved, hit patch of ice, totaled out Z-71. Thank god, no injuries. Fighting it for appx 16000 miles. 72000 to 88000.

- Battle Creek, MI, USA

problem #14

Jun 012007


  • 69,233 miles
Speedometer reading incorrect when idle or moving. Registers over 120 mph while traveling approx 40 mph. Dealer made recall but limited to under 60,000 miles. I put on almost that amount of miles in the first year of ownership. Chevy should just recall & repair period.

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #13

Nov 282007

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
My 2003 Chevy Suburban speed odometer is malfunctioning. When at a complete stop it reads 30 mph and when driving on the highway it will go to 120mph and sometimes past that. Vehicle just hit 50000 miles. This is very dangerous safey problem that can lead to accidents and speeding tickets caused by a known malfunction in GM vehicles. The cost of repairing this problem is very expensive and should not be an out of pocket expense.

- Mary Esther, FL, USA

problem #12

Sep 282007

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


Driving 65 mph on highway, speedometer creeps up to 90 mph. When I stop it stays at 30 mph, then creeps up to 90 again. Also oil gauge is pegged all the way to the right.

- Fitchburg, MA, USA

problem #11

Jan 012006


  • miles
2003 Chevrolet Suburban- racing speedometer- bouncing from 0 to 120, now stuck past 120. No way to determine speed. Many reports of this problem-- but no recall as of yet- big bucks to replace unit.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #10

Jun 092007


  • miles
We have a 2003 Suburban and the speedometer is failing to tell the correct speed it is going. This is an extreme safety issue that should be recalled by GM, I have always bought Chevy/GM products but will reconsider when I trade in due to the lack of safety recalls when needed.

- Lisle, IL, USA

problem #9

May 012007

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
I have a 2003 chevreolet Suburban that has a faulty, racing speedometer. I just saw a news report on cbs television about this problem. My dealer told me it was just my car. Now I see many cars may have the same problem. The speedometer randomly races to a very high and incorrect speed.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #8

Dec 292005

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
2003 Chevrolet Suburban speedometer quit working when vehicle had 55,000 miles.

- Whitewater, WI, USA

problem #7

Mar 232007


  • miles
Speedometer failed intermittently for a period of about six months then stopped working all together. I am told by dealer and other Suburban owners that this is a common occurrence.

- Old Hickory, TN, USA

problem #6

Jan 142006

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
Speedodometer on my 2003 Chevrolet Suburban is failing. I have inquired the dealer about a recall, repair, without success. I have read that the speed odometer has been failing for many GM owners but GM will not recall the defective odometer.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #5

Jan 142006

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
1.speedometer faied S daily. It will read 90 mph when I have just began accelerating. Other times it will read 10 mph when I am driving with traffic on the freeway. Problem has not been corrected, dealership advised it was not covered under a recall although they have received numerous complaints. 2. second row middle seat belt failed to retract. Second middle seatbelt fastener got stuck and unable to unfasten seat belt without force. Has not been corrected. 3. paint on radio controls & dashboard is peeling off - paint was originally grey and now some areas are black and other clear with the bright light shining through when the radio is in use. 4. brakes squeek excessively, replaced brakes & pads noise ceased for a month and then began again. 5. rear access door rattles constantly 6. rear access door plastic molding on inside of door cracked 7. front passenger seat belt plastic cover cracked and broke off 8. left rear passenger door light casing cracked and fell off 9. steering makes an abnormal noise when turning.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #4

Aug 202006

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles
I was recently pulled over for speeding. The patrolman clocked my @68 mph in a 45 mph speed zone. My speedometer showed 52 mph. Now 2 weeks later it reads 75 mph parked in my drive. I can be driving 30 mph and my speedometer will read 105-100 mph or driving somewhere around 50-60 mph and it will be pegged out above 120 mph. I am reading on the internet and I'm not the only one having this problem.

- Savannah, TN, USA

problem #3

Sep 232006

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles
Speedometer quits registering speed of vehicle at times, the odometer continues to work. Next time driving vehicle speedometer works. Dealer said this is a very common occurrence and eventually the speedometer will quit and I will have to buy a new one. I do feel that a non working speedometer is a safety issue.

- Kingsburg, CA, USA

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