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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,425 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Chevrolet Suburban Owner Comments

problem #11

Apr 082010


  • 133,600 miles


Transmission slippage; driver side mirror defects; head lamps & loose steering column. Biggest issue is transmission. While driving on highway at 70 mph, transmission began slipping without any prior warning. Situation was extremely dangerous as it was night-time driving with little or no opportunity to get vehicle off the interstate. Other family vehicles have had the same issue with the transmission going out without warning. Also, the driver side mirror goes out gradually, as the liquid that defrosts the mirror goes bad and leaks into the mirror. This mirror has already been replaced once, at the cost of $400+. this mirror is also a hazard as the driver is unable to use the mirror to adequate lane and traffic maneuvering. The steering column always seems to be loose. Nothing has been done, as of today's date, to correct the transmission issue as it is a costly repair.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #10

Mar 242009


  • 72,200 miles
Transmission started slipping causing a "shudder" around 55 mph or lower if I am hauling something. We took in to dealer who said the torque converter clutch is bad and they can replace it or put in a whole new transmission at a cost to us of $3,300. After searching online I found tsb #050730017 which outlines this known problem. I have several friends who have had this same problem. If this many people are having this problem and it is know by GM I feel it should be handled by them. The technician that handled our repair said that the tranny fluid should be changed every 25-30K miles since we live in a mountainous area and occasionally pull a small horse trailer. The manual states that it should be changed every 50K miles with no reference to terrain. I feel that GM should cover the cost of this repair since they know about the problem and have done nothing to notify owners of the issue or how to correct it.

- Fincastle, VA, USA

problem #9

May 122008


  • 83,999 miles
Transmission failure.

- Largo, MD, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Feb 232008

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
2004 Chevy Suburban 1500 4WD normal driving secondary roads. After stopping at a stop light the vehicle transmission shifted normally through second gear. Immediately and without warning the 2-3 shift resulted in severe slippage. There was no noise, no fluid leaks of any kind and no fluid contamination. The vehicle has been serviced by the selling dealer and has had the transmission fluid changed an two occasions by the dealer. A number of complaints about erratic transmission shifts and behaviors were noted each time the vehicle was brought in for routine maintenance and scheduled service. Each time the dealership was unable to replicate the problems complained about. Upon returning the vehicle to the selling dealer and authorizing removal and tear-down of the transmission we were told it was completely destroyed and needed complete rebuilding. The vehicle was phrased new, has had one driver, never towed anything, has had complete and timely service by the selling dealer. The mileage at the time of failure was 85,000. We had a GM extended warranty which expired at 75,000. The dealer won't cover it and after asking them to contact the Chevy zone office to seek some support, I was told that was denied. When I asked for that denial in writing the dealership said that the zone official refused to do so. They are seeking between $2800 - $3,400 for repair of the vehicle.

- Plainfield, CT, USA

problem #6

Aug 072005

Suburban 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
There is a "lack of power" with my 2004 Chevrolet Suburban 1500. My previous 1999 Chevy Tahoe towed my boat and trailer easily my new Suburban with 40 more horsepower has a very difficult time towing the trailer. It is very difficult to maintain highway speeds without the transmission constantly shifting in and out of lower gears. It doesn't seem to matter if I am in tow mode or not. With 40 more hp. Than the other vehicle and the same amount of torque this should be easy for this truck. More importantly there is a great lack of acceleration when you depress the pedal. I guess you would call it a big lag. I am told this is called "torque management." Well torque management almost got my family killed the other day! when pulling into traffic a car came over the hill rather quickly I stepped on the gas.....and nothing happened it was like I was dragging an anchor. The dealer says that is the way they are designed and computer controlled and there is nothing that can be done about it.

- Raynham, MA, USA

problem #5

Apr 042005

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Transmission slipping. When traveling up hills the truck loses its power, even while accelerating. Reported the incident to the dealership a week after I purchased the vehicle. I was informed by the dealership that they could not find a problem. I took the vehicle in 2 other times, the last time I was informed GM is aware that there is a problem with the transmission for the 2004 Tahoe, however there is no fix.

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #4

Sep 062004

Suburban 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The vehicle lost it's service stability control at 40 miles per hour making it difficult for the driver to maintain control of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for repair for the fourth time, but there still continues to be a steering problem. There were five repair attempts to repair the system. The brakes would pulse and come on while the vehicle was in motion followed by the service stability light. The vehicle would shake violently as if it were out of control. The transmission would slip at times. A service bulletin was found in re to the clutch. The forward clutch seal/piston diss pump as well as the shift cable. The yaw rate sensor table was replaced and the ABS module was reprogrammed. There was popping coming from the left when turning due to the crossmember. Static noise was heard under the dash at times when the headlights flickered. Both upper shock insulators were squeaking. Both shock insulators were removed and replaced by new style insulators. The yaw rate sensor was replaced again with one form a new unit, the steering rotation sensor was replaced and the stability module was reprogrammed.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #3

Jan 092005


  • miles
When the vehicle is placed in the accessory position, the brake does not have to be pushed on to put into gear. I was on the side of the vehicle and turned away and my 2 year old was able to climb into the front seat, put the key into the ignition and turn it to the accessory position and into gear. The vehicle rolled out the drive up on the curb, hit a mail box and since the door was opened -luckily it did not run into the house. I was under the impression that when that there was a law passed that stated you have to push on the brake to put the vehicle into gear. Luckily no one was driving down the road and hit the vehicle with my children in it. I took it to the dealership and they said it was a towing feature, I personally think this is very dangerous considering the fact that this is a common SUV for people with children and it would be very easy to have this vehicle stolen. I took pictures of the vehicle and paid someone to have this fixed, however; I feel this should be a defect in the 2004 chev. Tahoe and should be covered under warranty damage. Thank you for your time and in the future if this is not recalled or fixed - I will not be purchasing another chev. Vehicle and I know several people who will not be also.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #2

Sep 142004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Vehicle was able switch gears without applying brakes. As a result, the vehicle rolled down the driveway with a four year old child inside. No impact reported.

- Newport Beach, CA, USA

problem #1

Apr 282004

Suburban 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles
I had my 2004 chev Suburban parked in my garage. My 8 years old daughter was in the back seat listening to the radio. I had the gear in park and the key in the accessory position so she could listen to the radio. From the back seat she reached up to turn off the radio and accidently hit the gear shift. The car went into reverse. The drives side rear door was open. When the Suburban rolled out of the garage the rear door caught on the garage door keeping it from rolling into the street, into a pedestrian or into the house accross the street. There were no injuries. I notified GM product alligations department, tim miller, about the incident. He stated that this vehicle could be put into gear without using the break when the key is in the accessory position. They were not willing to look into this as being a safety issue. The owners manual suggests that you use the accessory key positioning to "let you use things like the radio, power windows and the windshield wipers when the engine is off". I think that GM needs to look at installing some type of feature that requires the brake to be engaged to shift the grear out of park even when the key is placed in the accessory position similary to standard no. 102 - transmission shift lever sequence, starter interlock, and transmission braking effect - passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses (effective 1-1-68) this standard specifies the requirements for the transmission shift lever sequence, a starter interlock, and for a braking effect of automatic transmissions, to reduce the likelihood of shifting errors, starter engagement with vehicle in drive position, and to provide supplemental braking at speeds below 40 km/H (25 mph). Please advise on how to proceed with installing some type of safety measures in the chev. Surban so a fatal injury does not occur.

- Gahanna, OH, USA

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