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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
85,091 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.

2004 Chevrolet Suburban electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Chevrolet Suburban Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Apr 032007


  • miles


Engine intermittently goes into "reduced engine power" "traction control disabled" for no apparent reason. Engine power is reduced by two thirds. Issue has been occurring for approximately 2 years now. GM/Chevy dealership has been unable to resolve the issue. I've had the car in the shop over 20 times some times on a weekly basis. Throttle body, tac, battery cables, and other components have been changed to no avail. Several close calls on the freeway with 18 wheelers bearing down on rear end when issue has occurred. I no longer allow my wife and kids in the car. I'm sure someone will eventually die as a result of this issue and maybe then GM will address the issue. Hopefully when it happens it will not involve small children which is what Suburban are typically purchased drive around families with small children. Consumers thinking they are purchasing a good size vehicle that will keep their family safe should steer away from GM products.

- Wellington, FL, USA

problem #21

Jan 152009


  • 50,000 miles
Vehicle is a 4WD model, equipped with electronically controlled transfer case. The control only works intermittently. Several times I have been caught in a snowstorm and unable to use the 4WD. This is a serious safety issue. I had the control repaired once, but the problem quickly returned. I am told this is a very common problem with 4WD Chevrolet and GMC trucks, for many model years.

- Ebensburg, PA, USA

problem #20

Feb 132009


  • 63,000 miles
First occurrence was in 02/2008. Power seat adjuster and seat heater quit working. Problem found to be high resistance in the electrical connector under drivers seat. Substantial burning and melting of the connector present. Second occurrence on 2/13/09, found same high resistance problem at the connector between body and rear hatch. Caused rear wiper and defroster to become inoperative. Both incidents raise concerns about a vehicle fire due to the extreme heat that is produced by current flowing through a high resistance connection. Both connectors have evidence of extreme heat and lead me to be less than confident that these two connectors are the only ones on this vehicle that are faulty. I submitted a complaint about the seat connector in February of 2008, but find no record of it at and have never been contacted about the complaint.

- Johnston, IA, USA

problem #19

Feb 052009


  • 88,000 miles


The speedometer in my 2004 Chevy Suburban is not working properly. When traveling only 50 mph it reads 91 mph. CanżT tell how fast IżM driving.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #18

Jan 202009


  • miles
The speedometer does not always start at 0 sometimes it starts at 20mph sometimes at 30mph. When you start the vehicle it does this. Also the oil gage is at 40 with the vehicle and goes over 80+ I'm scared to drive my vehicle. Can you help me.

- Washington, PA, USA

problem #17

Oct 272008


  • 147,350 miles
Speedometer erratic, stuck on 71mph. Will not function, severe safety hazard and common to many other Chevrolet owners.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #16

Oct 042008


  • 52,341 miles


A short in the wiring that powers the heated seats and power drivers seat. Connector is burned and melted. As a result of the short, my battery has been drained twice. Luckily this was found before a fire or serious injury.

- Fresno, OH, USA

problem #15

Aug 252008


  • 53,000 miles
Speedometer is erratic.

- Winnsboro, SC, USA

problem #14

Jul 282008


  • 85 miles
2004 Suburban 85,000 miles - speedometer skipped under decel from 55 mph, inaccurate readings of 20, 40, 60 mph when stopped. Speedometer now reads past 120 mph & is completely inoperative. Apparently this is a rather common occurrence - a very costly instrument cluster repair does not mean the issue is corrected (it may reoccur).

- Oakboro, NC, USA

problem #13

Jul 032008


  • 67,880 miles
I was driving along the freeway and I noticed that on the computerized dashboard, the service tire monitor was flashing. I was driving 50 mph and when I looked at the speedometer, the gauge went up to 120 mph and even though I turned the engine off the gauge is still at 120 mph. I also noticed that the battery gauge is not working, because the gauge is not moving at all and when I looked at the RPM gauge, I was only pressing the gas slightly, the RPM gauge went up to the maximum level. When I was coming back home from work the same day, when I started the engine I felt it right away that whenever I put my foot on the gas, the vehicle is just moving slowly, until it stopped moving. I have it towed to bill heard dealership and they found out that it was the transmission was tore and according to the dealership that I need to have a new transmission. This vehicle is a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban, bought it brand new. Right now we have 67,880 mileage and we only have this vehicle for 4 1/2 years. Few months prior to this incident, I received a letter from GM, about a condition that may develop on this vehicle which is where one or more of the instrument panel gauge needles may stick, flutter or become inoperative and may cause inaccurate readings, including the speedometer and the fuel gauge. I have kept that letter and called the GM and I was advised to take the vehicle to the dealership. I was just wandering, because it all happened in one day. I don't know if this problem is related to the transmission.

- Sugar Land , TX, USA

problem #12

Jan 072008

Suburban 8-cyl

  • 68,000 miles


I have been having problems on and off with speedometer for the last 4 or 5 months. Thought it was a temperature related problem. Today I called the dealer because it seems to be acting up more often. I was told it would be $500. Then I found out that the warranty had been extended several years ago and I was never notified. I have spoke to haywood allen motor co. (5/28/08) and also Chevrolet customer service and received sr #71-631086777 (5/8/08). Still waiting for Chevy dealer to call me back about extended coverage.

- Canon, GA, USA

problem #11

May 172008


  • miles
In researching online I've noticed this on many different Chevy 2004 models. The tachometer, fuel gage, and speedometer are what I noticed problems with and what others have seen problems with though the speedometer is the most prevalently noticed item. The gauge motors are not stepping back down when rpms, speed, or fuel levels drop thus leading drivers to respond in potentially dangerous ways. In my own case I almost caused a pile up when I thought I had lost my senses and applied my brakes a little harder than I should have, almost lost control of the vehicle, and certainly agitated the drivers behind me when they almost hit my vehicle. I don't typically get this problem as I typically drive less than 10 miles a day. When I do have to drive more than 60 miles I tend to have this problem. The problem has also been reported to be more prevalent in cold conditions which fits with the explanation I have had that it is the housing of the gear motors breaking down and jamming the gauge gears in the instrument panel. A problem with the plastic used in the housing of the gear magnets; "the problem lies with the plastic material that holds the permanent magnet for the rotor of the stepper motor." Now that I am aware of the problem and have asked around about fixes I have to stop the vehicle completely and turn it off. From there I have to turn the key enough to bring the instrument panel momentarily on and then back off. It steps the tachometer, speedometer, and fuel gauge back down, (bit by bit with each turn of the key) whichever is having the problem. This solution has been reported to stop working as the problem persists. The instrument panel needs to be replaced at a cost estimate of over $450 from a private shop and at over $800 from the Chevy dealership. A gps for speed and a log book w/ calculator can get two of the three solved for me at a price of less than $200; it's just not safe to be writing log book entries while I'm driving.

- Huntsville, TX, USA

problem #10

Aug 122007

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. While towing a U-haul trailer at 75 mph, the vehicle completely shut off without warning. The vehicle coasted to the right lane and failed to restart in the neutral position. The vehicle had to be physically shut off in order to restart. The contact filed complaint number 71-547942923 with Chevrolet. The current and failure mileages were 54,000.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #9

Aug 012006

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Owner of a 2004 Chevy Tahoe Z71 4X4 lat August 2006 my vehicle will not start after an overnight stay. Since purchasing the vehicle in may of 2004, I had to replace the speedometer. After towing my vehicle to the dealer, 5 times I was told that I had a bad intake manifold and it was causing my vehicle to not start. They replaced it. A few weeks later. About a month later my vehicle did not start. I took it back to the dealer, they claimed that they couldn't find anything wrong. 3 weeks later the problem emerged again, this time I was told that my battery was bad, they replaced it. Now this weekend of March 10, the same problem. My vehicle is dead and will not start. I am very anal about taking my vehicle for regular checkups. Why is that there is something wrong with the vehicle but the dealer cannot find or fix it. I cannot rely on Y vehicle, I may go to work or to store etc. Expect to get in my vehicle to come home or even on vacation. The point is that I don't know when it is going to start or halt on me.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #8

Aug 102006

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
2004 Chevy Suburban- speedometer and oil psi gauges read erratic. Speedometer can read zero one minute and 120 another, very erratic. Oil pressure gage reads 0-80 at any time. Many documented cases but no recall on defective stepper motors. Internet shows many repairs being made on theses clusters replacing defective stepper motors. Dealer repair to replace defective cluster $400

- Trophy Club, TX, USA

problem #7

Nov 012006

Suburban 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
I have a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban with approx. 60,000 miles. The speedometer works intermittently. Sometimes it seems to register and other times not at all. When "working", the speedometer steps or jaggedly moves. I have no confidence that even if it is "working" it is not accurate. I have searched the web and there seems to be a high number of similar cases. Additionally, I was in a friend's Suburban last weekend and he, for the first time, had the same thing happen. He had approx. The same mileage (60,000 miles). Very dangerous not to know how fast you are going at any given time.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #6

Nov 112006

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Last night the speedometer started ticking loudly and moving with sudden jerking movements. It then showed I was going 85 mph when I was actually going less than 45. This got progressively worse as I continued, to the point it showed I was going over 120 mph when stopped. Now it is all the way to far right side and is stuck. It will not reset when the vehicle is turned off.

- Tigard, OR, USA

problem #5

Oct 192004

Suburban 4WD

  • 39,000 miles
Speedometer failure. The speedometer goes from 0-120 in a matter of a few seconds and back down. I cannot tell how fast I am going. There are hundreds of similar incidences found on the internet. I haven't heard of any real issues, but I could see it happening if you were not with other traffic to verify your speed.

- Springville, UT, USA

problem #4

Jan 182006

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,119 miles
: the contact stated without warning the speedometer stopped working. The dealership determined the speedometer cluster needed to be replaced. Also, while turning the contact felt a knocking in the steering. The dealership determined the intermediate steering shaft needed to be replaced. Updated 2/7/2006 -

- Oceanside, NY, USA

problem #3

Feb 022005

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles
The consumer stated at 22,000 miles she was told there was a computer glitch in the vehicle. When the consumer turned the ignition off, the seat would shoot forward into the steering wheel. The controls for the seat work backwards. The consumer had to push the button forward in order for the seat to go back. She was told by her service dealer that there was a computer glitch in the program. Resetting the seat did not correct the problem. The heated seats came on by themselves.

- Willoughby, OH, USA

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