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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
109,659 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 Tahoe brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Chevrolet Tahoe Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

May 182014


  • 143,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe. The contact stated while driving 35 mph and attempting to stop the vehicle by applying the brake pedal the brake line broke. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician diagnosed there was erosion on the brake lines and they needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 143,000. The current mileage was 143,050.

- South Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #37

Oct 182013


  • 125,000 miles
I was sitting at a drive through waiting for food. Suddenly with my foot on the brake pedal, it started getting a mushy feeling and the pedal sank to the floor. When I got it home, I found there was a leak in one of the front brake lines which were rusted pretty badly. The next morning, I took the truck in to get the front brake lines replaced for just over $300. The rear are rusted pretty bad but my automotive shop said they usually don't replace them if they aren't leaking. I was very fortunate to not be dead or injured (along with anyone else) as I was on the high way earlier that night and driving around quite a bit. I heard there was an open investigation on this issue, so I wanted to offer my experience and inquire on why the investigation is still open and no recall has been issued? it seems like something so crucial to safety should be either more protected or be less prone to rust, even in the snow belt with all the corrosive salt on the roads. This is something the car manufacturers must account for.

- Parma Heights, OH, USA

problem #36

Apr 202014


  • 210,000 miles
The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe was driven on U.S. highway 10, in Minnesota, for approximately fifteen minutes on the incident date. The Tahoe was taken home and, as it was parked, the brake line to the passenger side front brake assembly ruptured. It's interesting that the Tahoe body and drivetrain is in good condition, not much body rust for it's age, but on further inspection it was discovered that every brake line has heavy rust on it. I don't know that I will be able to afford the repair of this Tahoe. It is unfortunate that Chevrolet used inferior materials in the production of the Tahoe's brake system...the most important safety system on the vehicle. But, also, it's a shame that NHTSA has taken six years to "study" this problem and has not drawn a conclusion or forced GM to do a recall? it's government bureaucracy at its best...what a sham.

- Ramsey, MN, USA

problem #35

Jul 122012

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 72,437 miles


Vehicle parked in my driveway, attempted to pull out of driveway and had no braking ability (7/12/12) all front brake lines replaced due to rust. Then on 2/11/14, had left um hospital with wife, noted something was not functioning properly with brakes but continued to a restaurant. When I got out of restaurant, attempted to pull out from curb and had no brakes. All rear brake lines had to be replaced due to rust. Both occasions required a flatbed tow truck from aaa. Total cost for repairs was $2050.74.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #34

Mar 132014


  • 177,980 miles
ABS, brake service light comes, door locks cycle repeatedly, loses power and won't start.

- Starkville, MS, USA

problem #33

Jan 272014

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 161,000 miles
When I applied my brakes as I backed out of a parking spot in my 2003 Tahoe I heard a popping noise and when I applied my brakes a second time my break pedal went down to floor. I was able to crawl home as I wasn't far. Took a look under car and all my brake lines are rusted and one for sure is leaking. My Tahoe is as I type at a shop waiting on pricing for parts that can only be purchased thru Chevrolet. I'm praying that it is not to expensive but the ballpark figure I was given is about $1000 to replace all four lines. Debating of just having the one replaced and hopefully GM will come to their senses and recall these problematic brake lines. Thank goodness I wasn't going any faster as my daughter was in Tahoe with me.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #32

Jan 032014

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


I was at a traffic light, waiting for it to change, and all of a sudden the brake went all the way down and all kinds of lights in the truck were flashing indicating trouble. I managed to pull to the curve, put it on park, and noticed that there was fuel coming down from underneath the truck. I called aaa, since I am a member, and they towed the truck to my local mechanic. The mechanic inspected the truck and noticed that both the brake lines and the fuel lines were corroded. I happened to read online about other Chevy owners that were having issues with brake and fuel line corrosion on the same model and year Chevy Tahoe I own.

- Juana Diaz, PR, USA

problem #31

Jan 132014

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 80,500 miles
Upon starting vehicle while vehicle was parked on a gentle downward slope, I stepped on brake pedal. Brake went to floor without resistance, red dash alerts lit up. Upon investigation, brake fluid was seen leaking out from a rusted brake line located along the car frame in the vicinity of the driver door area. No sign of other damage was apparent at the time. Digital photos of the leak area were obtained.

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #30

Nov 262013

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
Brakes line burst due to excess amount of rust under vehicle. Called dealer where it has been serviced for last 8 years. Service manager said he was well aware of problem and that replacement lines...not revised one but oem ones which will do the same again we're back ordered due to demand. He said a lot of clients were having their vehicles resolved and that replacement part could possibly be months to obtain.. idiots and when is Chevy going to do something before more people get hurt or worse? has a stainless kit for $450. Replaces every part brake fluid runs through. We'll worth it for peace of mind. Hate GM for denying claim. Hope a lot of them drive same vehicles and learns about the life threatening issue first hand or has family affected... angry father, husband and owner.

- Elmhurst, NY, USA

problem #29

Oct 262013

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
Brakes lines rusted out. Brake fluid expelled.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #28

Oct 282013

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 96,000 miles


Vehicle has lived in the garage for the last 5 years only driving about 1200 miles per year. Took it out yesterday to get it inspected and the brakes failed completely at the stop sign a few doors down. There was no stopping power and I got it stopped with the emergency brake. The brake lines look awful, completely rusted. The rest of the truck looks like it did the day I bought it new, perfect. I can't believe this happened. This vehicle saw high mileage the first 3-4 years but has been stored inside since that. It looks new. This should not have happened and could have cost lives. This vehicle has no stopping power what so ever. I see now that there has been an active investigation on this issue but no recall. Are you kidding me, two and a half ton vehicles with no brakes aught to concern you.

- Monroeville, PA, USA

problem #27

Oct 152013

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
My wife an I were traveling home from shopping as we approached a traffic light I went to apply the brakes the pedal went to the floor. I swerved to the shoulder of the road and put the vehicle in a lower gear. Passing three other vehicles in our lane and going through a traffic light. I was able to slow the vehicle on the shoulder of the road to a stop. Inspection under the drivers side door showed the brake line was rusted through. We had the vehicle towed home. The inspection there revealed the brake lines were rusted to the point you could collapse them with your hand. We could have been killed. The Chevy dealer stated he had never heard of such a problem and said it was normal wear and tear.

- Moira, NY, USA

problem #26

Sep 132013

Tahoe 4WD 8-cyl

  • 49,945 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, he depressed the brake pedal but the brakes failed. The contact avoided a collision by driving on a grassy area. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis where it was stated that the brake lines were corroded. The mechanic stated that the brake lines were repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 49,945....updated 11-12-13 updated 11/18/2013

- Mullica Hill, NJ, USA

problem #25

Nov 192011


  • 79,800 miles
In Nov. 2011, with 79,800 miles, while in my driveway, the brake pedal collapsed to the floor. Two front brake lines burst with no warning. There was almost no rear braking power at all. I had to push the pedal to the floor, before the rear brakes engaged and barely stopped the Tahoe in my driveway at 5 mph. My 03 Tahoe and my dad's 06 Tahoe have the weakest brakes, of any vehicle we've ever owned. Love the Tahoe-hate the brakes. I had the lines replace and had to replace the front calipers as well. The aftermarket calipers helped the weak braking problem a little, but there is still a design flaw somewhere. Now in Aug. 2013, with 90,200 miles, two more brake lines burst with no warning, while driving 25 mph, again with almost no rear brake power to stop. I barely missed crashing the truck. It's in the repair shop now and the Tahoe needs several lines replaced, 2 that burst and others that are extremely rusted, obviously about to burst. The NHTSA needs to look at, not only the rusting brake lines, but also into the weak breaking system on these trucks, including why the rear brakes are so weak. Seems that about 90-95% of the braking power is the front brakes. This problem is discussed all over the internet. This is a serious problem on the Tahoe, from 2000-2006, and this entire brake system should examined and even recalled, it's weak, dangerous and unreliable.

- Cornwall, NY, USA

problem #24

Aug 162013

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 135,500 miles
While driving vehicle the brakes became soft, brake warning light came on. When I tried to stop the brake pedal went to floor with no stopping power. Fortunately I was able to slow down and come to a stop without collision or injury. Brake fluid was dripping all over. Taking vehicle to mechanic, but appears that brake line has rusted through and will need replacement. Found information on-line that brake line rust through is under investigation on these vehicles as it is occurring more frequently.

- Holland, MI, USA

problem #23

Jul 272013

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
I started the vehicle on 2/27/13 to go to an afternoon wedding. Brake light warning and sound alarm went off - no brakes. Brake fluid had leaked all over driveway. Thank goodness the brakes had not failed on the previous day when my wife had gone to a luncheon. Vehicle was towed on Monday (7/29/13) to Chevy dealership. Inspection revealed that all brake lines plus rusted front rotors and back plates needed replacement. Currently being repaired at a cost of over $3500. Rusted rear rotors were replaced a few years ago. As a long time Chevy owner, I never, ever had a problem, such as this, with brake lines and components. This is a low mileage vehicle, for its age, and never driven in the snow or on salty roadways. I am very skeptical of purchasing another GM product if they insist on using inferior parts.

- Sykesville, MD, USA

problem #22

Jul 202013

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 93,400 miles
Brake failure due to a rupture in the brake lines caused by rust. The failure was in the left front steel brake line.

- Chatham, NJ, USA

problem #21

Dec 272011

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I had driven to a doctors office and parked in the lot. I came out, started the truck and when I applied the brakes the pedal went all the way to the floor. The brake warning light never came on. I had the vehicle towed to a local dealer. The brake line on the passenger side of the vehicle rusted through and failed. I had the entire passenger side line replaced. On June 24th 2013, I had another brake line failure on the drivers side. I was going 40 miles per hour, came to a traffic light that turned yellow, applied the brakes and the pedal went all the way to the floor. I went through the light and managed to stop using the lower transmission gears and finally the parking brake. The brake warning light never came on. I had the line repaired at a local garage. The line rusted through near the ABS unit. The truck had just over fifty thousand miles at this time.

- Millstone Township, NJ, USA

problem #20

Jul 152013

Tahoe 8-cyl

  • 155,104 miles
While traveling on a 4 lane us highway, traffic conditions required a rapid deceleration from 55mph to approximately 10mph. The vehicle slowed normally, but the brake pedal traveled much further than usual. With the assumption that the brake pedal travel was due to the ABS activation, the trip was continued. Approximately 3 miles later a downhill sloping exit was taken at approximately 50 mph, and when the brake pedal was depressed, the pedal went full travel to the floor, a red ┐┐brakes┐Ł light on the annunciator panel illuminated, the driver message center read ┐'service brake system┐Ł and an audible chime sounded. The vehicle was not slowing rapidly enough for the space remaining so the parking / emergency brake was applied. The vehicle did not stop within the confines of the off-ramp, but fortunately, the traffic conditions allowed the vehicle to continue past the stop point into an adjoining road without causing an unsafe situation for other drivers. The vehicle was towed back to the owner┐'s residence, upon inspection a steel brake line was found to be rusted through approximately 12 inches forward of the ABS valve body. Coincidentally, three other lines in the same area were in similar conditions and will have to be replaced.

- Levittown, PA, USA

problem #19

Jun 142013


  • 31,349 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe. The contact stated while the brake was depressed in an attempt to slow the vehicle down it felt spongy and stocked to the floor board. The contact was able to avoid a near crash. The vehicle was towed to the mechanic for inspection.the failure was located in the brake lines which were corroded with holes that caused the brake fluid to leak. The vehicle was repaired and the steel brake lines were replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 31,349. The approximate current mileage was 31,500.

- Hicksville , NY, USA

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