really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,273 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 GMC Envoy transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 GMC Envoy Owner Comments

problem #14

May 142010


  • 95,000 miles


The transmission failed in my 2003 GMC Envoy with approx 95,000 miles. While driving down the road I went to pass a slow moving vehicle. As the transmission down shifted there was a "bang" so I pulled over to look under the truck, and made sure nothing had fallen off. I got back in the S.U.V. and made my way back home with no problem. The next day when I went to back out of my drive way there was no reverse. I called a local GM dealership and was told that the problem appears to the sunshell gear. According to multiple post online, seems to be a common failure among Envoy's and trailblazer. I checked the fluid and it appears to be fine, not low, not burnt, and still red and clean.

- Minerva, OH, USA

problem #13

Jan 032010


  • 104,000 miles
It appears that the transmission/solenoid failed. The SUV does not always go into gear. Slips out of gear. After SUV sits for a while it goes into gear only to resort back to afore mentioned problem.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #12

Aug 052009


  • 72,456 miles
First problem occurred in 2008, driving to work in 2003 GMC Envoy slt (original owner) heard clunking noise when downshifting. Took car in to shop for repair (just over 50K miles so out of warranty). Shop explained that the transmission needed to be replaced $4000 with one year warranty. Since I was planning on driving cross country decided to do the repair. One year later, driving and trying to accelerate on a ramp to find SUV stuck in second gear and wouldn't accelerate while RPM kept going up. Also heard clunking when downshifting. Pulled over and tried to get gears to shift by slowing down and speeding up (to get RPM to drop). Drove car to dealer who stated I needed a new transmission (again). Dealer removed transmission and "found input bushing in pump bad. And reverse drum. And had heavy metal contamination". when asked why this is my third transmission in six years the service agent said "bad luck". both replacement transmissions were rebuilds. The current transmission is not under warranty.

- State College, PA, USA

problem #11

Jul 302009


  • 80,700 miles


I have a 2003 GMC Envoy, 80,700 miles original owner. While merging onto highway transmission locked in 2nd gear. Engine RPM's increased to 5,000 speed dropped to 20 mph creating a dangerous situation with oncoming traffic. This happened without warning or any indication of a problem. I had vehicle towed to GMC dealer, asked if there were any known problems with GMC Envoy transmissions and was told there were none. The diagnosis, my transmission exploded internally with a failure of the sun shell gear and torque converter. Transmission could not be rebuilt and the cost of installing a re manufactured transmission was $3700! GM has been having these transmission failures since 2002 with no acknowledgment of liability!

- Cromwell, CT, USA

problem #10

Mar 072008

Envoy 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 GMC Envoy. The contact smelled gasoline, but did not pay it any attention initially. His son entered the vehicle later and also smelled the strong odor. The following day the contact filled up the tank with gasoline and the smell intensified. When he arrived home, he noticed a fuel leak by the rear driver side wheel. A mechanic stated that the leak originated from the top of the fuel tank where the fuel pump connects. The contact dropped the vehicle off at the dealer the next day and they stated that the leak originated from the gas tank, and it needed to be completely replaced. The vehicle is still at the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 59,000. Updated 04/16/08. The transmission was slipping and would not engage in 1st gear. The air condtion was blowing hot air. The ignition swithc shorted out.

- Albany, NY, USA

problem #9

Jan 012003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 GMC Envoy with a list of problems ** the consumer began to hear a knocking and pinging in the engine on cold starts and felt a hesitation when the automatic transmission shifted into gear. After many complaints, it was finally discovered the engine knock was due to shorter pistons in the re-designed engine and the hesitation in the transmission shifting required reprogramming. The consumer was told he would have to live with the engine knock, because it could be more trouble taking the engine apart. On a separate occasion, the engine stalled due to the battery dying. From April 2004 to October 2004 the battery failed several times and had to be re-charged. During that same time the engine light illuminated and each time it happened, the dealer would have to reprogram the engine computer. The radio was not functioning properly which primarily consisted of static. The driver information center control knobs as well as the radio knobs wore out. The front center console was loose. It was discovered that the engine light was coming on because the third stop light that's on the top of the liftgate malfunctioned. There was a short circuit in the stop light. The cooling fan broke, the brakes and the left front head lamp had to be replaced. The rear tail lights, directional and signal lights have been replaced several times. The lug nut broke while a replacement tire was being mounted on the vehicle. The front stabilizer linkage was replaced. The gas tank had to be replaced along with the fuel lines and a seal on the tank due to a leak. The seat belt was designed poorly and the belt cuts into the consumers neck. The drivers side door didn't close properly, the windshield wipers were replaced within the first 2 years.

- Kinnelon, NJ, USA

problem #8

Nov 032006

Envoy 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles


The transmission failed in my 2003 GMC Envoy with 82,000 miles. The problem appears to the sunshell gear which seems to be a common failure with this transmission. Because the transmission was downshifting hard, I took the car to a GMC dealer less than 1000 miles ago to have the transmission looked at. I was told my the dealer that there was a problem but not to worry about it. Now the transmission has no reverse and the repair estimate is $1,800.

- Clarkston, MI, USA

problem #7

Jul 052006

Envoy 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles
Parked 2003 GMC Envoy at work. Left work, unable to start truck. Starter did not engage. Unable to move transmission from park to neutral with key in on position and foot on brake. Truck is stuck in park.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #6

Oct 032004

Envoy 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,202 miles
1) sequence of events - nothing happens when we try to start. -battery voltage ok, auto-headlights on, bright - instrument panel completely dead -2 hours later, instrument on the miles per hour instrument is going wild, back and forth finally sets at zero, now engine will start. Check engine light is on for the first time - radio looses preset station memory 2) it started about a week; we had problems starting the warm engine. 3) automatic climate control is working sort of, sometime not 4) the check oil came on, at that time there was plenty 5) the backup mirror option is always loosing the input 6) transmission problem light was on for a day some time ago while driving in sb and in 2 wd, called your service and was told to ignore the dealer replaced the ignition switch, a superficial fix as it turned out later when the ignition switch was replaced again. The cause of the problem was not identified.

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 012003


  • miles
Upon starting the vehicle and taking off the gear shifted, and then dropped down to the correct gear it should have be in. Transmission was replaced within the first six months. Also, starter made a clicking noise several times before starting. Then the vehicle shut down.

- Albany, NY, USA

problem #4

Jul 012004

Envoy 4WD

  • miles


Problems with vehicle's windshield wipers. The consumer noticed that everytime the windshield wipers were used, they would bounce across the windshield so much that the consumer was unable to see and in order for them to be used, the consumer had to keep turning them on and off to see properly. The vehicle was taken to the dealer at least four times to have the wipers adjusted and replaced. The last time however, it was determined that there was a bow in the windshield and it needed to be replaced. After having the windshield replaced, the consumer continued to experience problems. There was a film on the windshield and when the wipers were used, the consumer could not see properly. On two occasions the 4WD/A4wd light illuminated and the vehicle was stuck in 4WD and then all the lights went out and the transmission was slipping. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the computer had to be reprogrammed. The consumer also stated the rear wipers failed and the dealer found a nut loose and the front washer hose did not work and there was a kink in it. There was noise coming from the windows, although the dealer said it was coming from the mirrors.

- Katonah, NY, USA

problem #3

Apr 032004


  • 11,658 miles
Vehicle shifted gears without applying the brakes.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #2

Dec 092003

(reported on)


  • miles
When driving transmission kept slipping out of gear. Dealer could not resolve the problem.

- Metairie, LA, USA

problem #1

Oct 082003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,800 miles
I own a GMC Envoy XL. The transmission will not hold the car on an incline. In drive, the car will accelerate backwards down a hill.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

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