Print this page Notes: Carrying the not-so-proud traditions of its 2002 predecessor, the 2003 has a handful of instrument panel malfunctions that can leave you guessing your speed, engine temperature or how much gas is left in the tank.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
118,232 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 Trailblazer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #30

May 082015


  • 225,000 miles


I've had to replace the transmission twice now I have in fact reported to GM asking if there was any recourse I may take and they simply flat out told me no! so I started hearing a noise and then the transmission started to not shift properly to the point you could not drive it. To me this I consider this a very unsafe condition because if it stopped moving altogether I'd be on the highway with the possibility of an accident occurring. I do have an invoice but no scanner, it did cost me 3K or better on both occasions to replace it. I'd like to know if there's anything I'm able to do to be reimbursed for any or all of the inconvenience I've concurred.

- Centreville, MD, USA

problem #29

Jul 012010


  • 78,000 miles
As I accelerated from a stopped position the vehicle became undrivable. The transmission had to be completely rebuilt. Planetary failed as well as other broken parts. I still have the receipt from cottman's transmission for $3K. The transmission was warrantied for 3 yr. It has been 5, and the transmission has again failed. Planetary again broken. Vehicle now has 150,000 mi. I think it is absurd that there has been nothing done by NHTSA. No recalls, cost assistance, or even an investigation. Considering the number of complaints, action should have been taken long ago. Even GM admits problems in some of it's bulletins. Why are you doing nothing about this.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #28

Apr 302014


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. While driving at 40 mph, the transmission shifted between drive and overdrive. The contact also stated there was a fuel odor when driving. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission shift kit and the fuel pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- Bethel, OH, USA

problem #27

Mar 012013


  • 140,000 miles


We own a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer which keeps going into reduce power mode, I pulled the codes at various time and different parts, I replaced the crank, cam, and accelerator position sensors. I also replaced the fuel pressure regulator, fan clutch, starter, alternator, spark plugs and coil packs to avail. GM knows about this issue and refuse to address this issue. What will it take to get this issue address, lawsuit and or death. Ashamed on you GM. This issue is an accident waiting to happen.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #26

Oct 122014


  • 118,000 miles
Put vehicle in park and stayed in drive. Shut vehicle off and put on park however still in drive and now will not start. Since I work on vehicles I looked at transmission linkage and found cable came off transmission linkage. Plastic clip broken. Looked on line and found transmission shifter cable repair clip for $14.99. Since it was special order I went to dealer and was told there is no repair kit and that they have plenty of shifter cables in stock $75 went ahead and ordered aftermarket part special order 2 days and today 3 days later was told out of stock and none available til December. Coincidence or is this a common problem? I'm afraid someone will not know or realize vehicle still in drive when shifter moves to park and not moving shifter linkage at transmission.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

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problem #25

Sep 202014

Trailblazer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 242,962 miles
I was driving in the left lane on interstate highway 290 (youngman highway) at about 65 M.P.H. when smoke began wafting from the area where the steering column meets the dashboard. I took immediate evasive action, pulled onto and off the shoulder onto the grass, shut the engine off, ran to the barrier fence and watched to see if vehicle was going to burst into flames. After calling aaa, about ten minutes had elapsed without further smoke so I assumed I could drive to the next exit ramp at colvin blvd. (about 1,000 feet away) and off to a wendy's parking lot where I waited for a aaa flatbed truck. My SUV was flatbed towed to my dealership, fuccillo Chevrolet on grand island, where the problem was diagnosed as a faulty ignition switch, code number C0379. Total cost of repair was$222.66. It would be nice to be reimbursed for this expense. Though no visible fire was observed, the smoke was a clear sign of problem that was so hot it caused oxidation of material into visible smoke.

- Grand Island, NY, USA

problem #24

Sep 182014

Trailblazer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the transmission stopped and there was a sudden increase in engine rpms. The vehicle became stuck in drive and would not switch gears. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission failed. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was not aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 95,000. Updated 10/24/2014 updated 4/16/2015

- Danbury, CT, USA

problem #23

Dec 102013


  • 149,000 miles
Transmission cooler lines spring a small pin hole leak. Leak directly under power steering pump. Lines cause transmission to slip and have very hard time shifting into next gear. Truck would almost red line. Can cause internal damage to transmission if kept driving. Truck has sat for 6 months now. Can cause an accident if transmission loses to much fluid.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #22

Apr 022012

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
Driving from out of town and all of the sudden rps ran high and trans would not shift. It would catch finally and then slip out had to drive it in 1st gear. Had it rebuilt lasted 1 yr and now back in shop! having it rebuilt again. Very frustrated with this vehicle. I have had to replace just about everything on it at least once some things twice. Very poor made vehicle. Please look into the transmission problems. Mechanic states it is a known fact that the transmissions in Trailblazers overheat which causes these issues. How can GM sleep at night knowing they are charging $36,000 for a piece of junk! I have to work hard for my money and don't appreciate the way GM turns a deaf ear to their poor workmanship and design. I feel I should be compensated for the frustration!

- Thaxton, MS, USA

problem #21

Apr 182012

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
My 2003 Chevy Trailblazer check engine light comes on accompanied by the low engine power light. The vehicle goes into limp mode. This is a safety feature that allows the computer to protect the engine from any damage should something go wrong. The only problem is that there is nothing wrong. This happens multiple times a day (6-8). Changing sensors doesn't fix it. I believe it to be a problem with the 2003 Chevy Trailblazer computer. I have read many forums with hundreds of people that have this same problem. Please look into it before it causes an accident or makes an emergency situation a fatal one.

- Redmond, OR, USA

problem #20

Oct 112013

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 137,828 miles


I was at a drive thru pharmacy when my gear shifter cable (broke) and was stuck in park. It would not move. I had to get towed to my mechanic's garage, luckily about 1 mile down the road. Prior to this happening, I had noticed the gear shifter very loose for atleast a year!! the mechanic told me there had been alot of people with the same issue on their Chevrolet. The Chevrolet parts dealer told my mechanic the same thing. There should be a recall on the defective gear shifter cable. I could have been at a major intersection when this happened. Luckily, I was in a parking lot.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #19

Apr 012014


  • 174,539 miles
Was driving on the highway to lansing when my check engine light came on and I lost all power and guage function.I began to hear a loud howling noise, pulled off at the exit went to the repair shop in portland, mi where my wheel hub exploded in their hand on the passenger side. The fan clutch has completely stopped working witch caused the vehicle to overheat, and loose all power and my 4 wheel drive locked right up and stopped working. This was extremely dangerous at a rate of 70 mph because the vehicle slowed all the way down to 25 and had no power. I have had so many issues with this vehicle that I am now checking for recalls to have the vehicle serviced completely.

- Morley, MI, USA

problem #18

Mar 102014

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 201,190 miles
The car takes off as if it doesn't want to allow shift change. It automatically changes on it's on. Transmission starting to slip.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #17

Sep 212013

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The transmission shifter cable came off the lever connected to the transmission thus leaving me stuck in reverse during this recent event. I had to drive the car in reverse to park it safely out of the way of traffic. The problem resulted from a plastic bushing that connects the cable to the lever, see GM # 15785087. In my opinion this bushing was not designed to withstand the normal life of the car due to the degradation of the bushing which essentially snapped in two pieces and allowed the cable to dislodge from the transmission and leaving the driver stuck in whatever gear they happen to be in. Luckily the car was able to be turned off after safely being removed from traffic. I had to tie wrap cable back to lever to place in the proper gear ie. Park. GM should have designed a more rigid linkage connection with a safety pin to prevent this dislodging. The other issue is that the console has to be removed to replace the cable thus leaving the average owner stuck in having to take the car to the dealer and incur the cost upwards of $300 to replace it.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #16

Feb 262013


  • 142,500 miles
Bought used from a dealer. Had for 2 days when had first prob that was fixed got back after a week. Ran great. Drove for 1 day and ran good, stopped at a stop sign and went to pull onto main highway and wouldn't move forward. Backed up fine but no forward. I finally got it to crawl forward. After a lil while it kicked back in and ran fine til I stopped again. Finally I made it home and parked it. After they finally came and towed it and "fixed" it I had it and drove it for 1 day and had same problem. After it sat for a while it did go again. Pulled into driveway and parked it. Still waiting for it to be towed and "fixed" again and hopefully right this time. I have researched this problem and found it happens a lot. Sounds like it might be the fan clutch or sun shell spline. Not sure yet though. Called mechanic that dealer had fix it and they only changed a valve in tranny they thought was bad. Said they have about 3 more of them to check before they replace whole tranny. I hope more people research these vehicles and don't buy them.

- Bath, NY, USA

problem #15

Dec 092012


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle suddenly decelerated to 0 mph. The vehicle would regain speed after several minutes. The failure recurred on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was later towed to the dealer for diagnosis where they advised that they were unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 160,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Burkville, VA, USA

problem #14

Dec 252011

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Was making a lane change on perfect road conditions when the back end of the Trailblazer started shaking uncontrollably. Veered into the median and was about to drive into on coming traffic. Cranked hard on the steering wheel to the right to avoid traffic and rolled the vehicle 4 times.

- Pulaski, WI, USA

problem #13

Sep 122012


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact merged to the shoulder and restarted the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing, which confirmed that the sun shell gear was fractured and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and advised the contact that the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000 and the current failure mileage was 152,265.

- Barnwell, SC, USA

problem #12

Oct 052012

Trailblazer 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
Automatic drive shift linkage disconnected due to failure of what appears to be a small plastic rivet that held the linkage components together. Transmission could not be shifted out of drive, not even to neutral. Could only stop car by coming to a complete stop with the brakes, turning off the ignition key, and then applying the emergency brake. Called dealer and then tow truck. When the tower arrived, he looked at the make/model of the vehicle and as I described what had happened he said he knew what the problem was because he had picked up 6 of the same vehicle in the last 2-3 months for the same problem. When he checked, he was correct, the linkage had become disconnected due to a broken plastic rivet.

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #11

Jul 122012


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The contact stated that erroneously, the vehicle was able to be shifted out of park without the key being in the ignition. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised the contact that the VIN was not included under NHTSA campaign id number: 03V075000 (power train:automatic transmission). The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The current mileage was 91,000. The failure mileage was 87,000.

- Dayton , OH, USA

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