really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
91,820 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 Sierra 1500 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 GMC Sierra 1500 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Jul 192014

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 135,000 miles


Brake line corrosion caused rear drivers side steel line to burst and lose most of the truck's braking ability. Luckily I was driving slowly at the time. In addition to the line that rusted through, all lines will need replacing after further inspection.

- Rutland, VT, USA

problem #28

Jun 062014

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 66,500 miles
Driving down middlebelt road coming up to a red light I hit the brakes and the brake pedal went to floor, truck finally came to stop, looked under hood and could see brake fluid leaking out of right front brake line.

- Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #27

Jun 042014

Sierra 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 GMC Sierra 1500. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the vehicle failed to respond to deceleration attempts and that the brake warning light illuminated. The contact inspected the brakes and noticed that the failure was due to corrosion. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000. Updated 8/19/14

- English Town, NJ, USA

problem #26

May 112014

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 51,850 miles


I was backing up a trailer with my 2003 GMC Sierra and tried to stop when the brake pedal went to the floor and did not stop. Checked out the brakes and found that the brake lines are rusted bad and one had failed. I found out this is a common problem with this truck for that time period. Reading about other complaints and there are a lot of them. This is not normal and very dangerous and there needs to be a recall for these vehicles. This is a safety issue and warrants a recall to replace these brake lines. This is a serious issue! there are no warnings, and most owners of these vehicles, like myself are not aware of this problem. It makes me sick to know that GM is aware of the poor choice of materials they used to make these brake lines and by doing so putting our love ones in danger and put money first.

- Easton, MD, USA

problem #25

Apr 202014

Sierra 1500

  • 135,250 miles
Applied brakes when a deer ran in front of the truck. Steel brake line feeding the left front brake ruptured as a result of corrosion just above the fitting where the steel line connects to the brake hose. Pedal immediately went to the floor, both braking circuits failed. Had to use the emergency/parking brake to bring the truck to a stop. Vehicle is not a southern vehicle - was in Vermont from purchase in early 2003 until moving to Virginia in August of 2013.

- Marion, VA, USA

problem #24

Apr 102014

Sierra 1500

  • 67,000 miles
You must take action on the GM brake lines in the early 2000 trucks. The corrosion is not normal compared to other vehicles. Either the metal is thinner or there is something in the metallurgy allowing increase corrosion. With the worst winter in recent memory, these brake lines were subjected to more salt than ever. I realize that there are two sets of brake lines and if one of them fails the vehicle still may stop albeit at an increase distance. While this may be fine for a small car. The vehicles we are dealing with are large vehicles. The brake lines are subjected to the most pressure when the beds are loaded and/or pulling a trailer. That also is the worst time for the brake lines to fail. These vehicles are also the least maneuverable in case evasive action needs to be taken. Are we just waiting for a few deaths first??

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #23

Feb 202014

Sierra 1500

  • 110,500 miles


Pedal went to the floor on exit ramp. No warning. Truck went off road to avoid cars stopped at ramp end.

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #22

Feb 202014

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 59,500 miles
Brake line failure.

- Canton, MA, USA

problem #21

Jun 012013

Sierra 1500

  • 113,635 miles
The contact owns a 2003 GMC Sierra 1500. The contact stated that while he approached a stop with the brake pedal depressed, the brake failed to engage and caused the contact to drive through the intersection. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who inspected and advised that the brake lines were corroded. The vehicle was repaired and the brake lines were replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 113,635 and the current mileage was 115,599.

- Three Rivers , MI, USA

problem #20

Oct 232013

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
While slowing down for a light on a 4 lane highway my brake lines burst in two places failed from being weaken by rust....I had no chance to stop or advert the car and crashed into and totaled a new Buick.....the driver was taken to the hospital...the front of my truck need repair....GM made the lines out of steel even thought the exhaust system and fuel line were made out of rust resistant material ( go figure)....I have my truck serviced at the local GM dealers and they never mentioned the potential hazard....when searching the internet I found that many other owners had the same experience.....I had also been on the local and national news yet GM but they never advise me of this condition, and I'm the original owner....under different circumstances it could of been much worse...my insurance went up $1000 and the agent said the break lines on her GM truck had just burst and crashed in a ditch...people are driving their cars longer and theres going to be a bad accident...I see on the net your department has been investigating it for several years, yet no action....you could at the very least advise owners of the danger....I filed a claim with GM for help in this matter and was denied because I already had the brake lined repaired....

- Lake Orion, MI, USA

problem #19

Jan 032014

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 118,000 miles


During major snow fall after new year 2014, upon arriving home from work, with my wife and another passenger, I attempted to stop and my brake pedal sunk to the floor, nothing, no brakes. I nearly drove through garage door. I had to cut the wheel and punch the gas to perform a "half doughnut" to avoid hitting my house. Had there not been signifigant snow on the ground, this maneuver would have been impossible. The following day while navigating vehicle into garage, we had an incident, causing minor damage to truck & garage. Upon inspection, I discovered the steel brake lines were extremely fragile do to rust. 2 lines from proportioning valve to ABS unit, & 2 lines from ABS unit to front wheels deteriorated under body near chasis. One of the lines from prop valve to ABS failed, leaking brake fluid. I went to abeloff GMC where I was informed only lines from prop valve to ABS where available. I purchased and changed them. However, as I suspected the front lines would leak due to the fact they would be disturbed while changing prop V. to ABS lines. They failed before I got the truck out of the garage, causing a minor accident in garage. I then found a company online, classic tube, which provided me with a kit containing all brake lines made from stainless steel. So, not only could we have quite possibly been killed, but I now have [2] extra brake lines that cost me $125 that I don't need. GM could at least had the decency to make all the lines availeable. I also discovered that this problem is not uncommon. Had these brakes failed a few minutes earlier, say on rte 80 w in pa, it could have been tragic for me, my wife, my passenger, and anyone in the way!

- Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #18

Jan 032014

Sierra 1500

  • 97,800 miles
The brake lines ruptured and all breaking power stopped. I nearly slid into the intersecting street with traffic coming. The roads were icy/snowy, but no storm was occurring on this night. The temp. Outside was around 0 degrees in nh. I had it repaired and the technician noticed the entire rear brake lines were extremely rusted out and the spot just under the driver side door was the first part to rupture.

- North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #17

Oct 012013

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
After starting the truck, I stepped on the brake pedal to shift out of park. Upon pressing the brake pedal, my foot went to the floor and a loud pop/snap noise was heard. The rear steel brake line had corroded and burst. After being towed to the mechanic and being inspected, I was told that all steel brake lines were corroded and had to be replaced. The mechanic also noted the extremely high failure rate of the brake lines in full size GM vehicles from that time period. This is the second GM truck I have owned that a brake line failure has occurred; experiencing the same failure with my 1992 Chevrolet Silverado.

- Erlanger, KY, USA

problem #16

May 192012

Sierra 1500

  • 55,000 miles
Backing up toward 60 ft dropoff to unload debris.when I hit the brakes the pedal went to the floor.stopped with E-brake or I would have been down that 60 ft drop.checked under truck and fluid was running out a break in the line from rusting through in the middle of the line, not at a fitting.was very lucky that I stopped in time.that would have left a mark!

- Middletown, PA, USA

problem #15

Sep 122013

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 88,755 miles
Our truck was at collision shop for a repair from a hit and run in a lowe's parking lot.. when they finished, they took the truck out of the garage to take for a car wash. When pulling out of their business the truck would not stop. They pushed it back into the parking lot and restarted and tested the brakes. There were no brakes. They looked under the truck and saw the brake fluid flowing out on the ground. We had the truck towed to our mechanic and one of the lines was broke. He replaced it ($298). He told us the other lines were also in bad shape. We became aware that GM had a problem after seeing a television news story. We took copies of this story to our local GMC dealer, the collision shop and our mechanic. Our GMC dealer said they knew nothing about this problem. On September 25, 2013 we had the remainder of the lines replaced. ($984.80). We have since encountered two additional people who have had the same problem. This truck was purchased in Michigan, but we spend out winters in Florida, so it has limited exposure to salt used during the winter. What scares us about this is: On the day before we took the truck to the collision shop, we were going to drive 45 miles to ann arbor, mi for a birthday party. We decided at the last minute not to go. If we had gone that day, this would have happened to us traveling on the expressway at 70 mph! this is a scary thing. To quote the news story: "GM, in a statement to 7 action news states this is 'not a safety issue' as the brakes still operate with a broken brake line and admit that rusty brake lines are a problem that 'can happen over time', presumably from liquid salt used in cold weather states. GM has a solution. The company is offering what they call a deeply discounted brake repair kit that runs $2-thousand dollars for only $500". GM needs to step up to the plate and let owners know.

- Waterford, MI, USA

problem #14

Aug 212013

Sierra 1500

  • miles

- Vestal, NY, USA

problem #13

Aug 072013

Sierra 1500 6-cyl

  • 70,500 miles
A vehicle pulled out in front of my son last night on his way to a boy scout meeting. The speed limit was 45. My son hit the brakes which locked up then let loose. Pedal went to the floor. He avoided hitting the car that pulled out on him and when I arrived found that the metal brake line running along the frame had ruptured as it bent to go across the frame behind the cab. This truck has only 70,000 miles on it and this is a premature failure due to premature rust. I own and 1971 Dodge dart and a 1978 Pontiac firebird with original metal brake lines on both with no rust on lines at all and I live in Ohio and they are driven in the winter. I feel fortunate my son and no one else was injured due to the catastrophic failure of the GM metal brake line. Hope others will be just as fortunate. Toyota was forced into a recall of there truck line due to premature rusting problems and GM should be made to follow suite. These vehicles are accidents waiting to happen. I also own a 1994 GMC C2500 Suburban that has no visible rust on the brake lines either with 170,000 miles that I have owned for 15 years.. the 2003 GMC chassis is truly sub standard to say the least. Please look into these issues I have read the forums out there and I know I am not alone. Thanks.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #12

Aug 052013

Sierra 1500

  • 104,000 miles
My son was driving my GMC pickup ( always dealer maintained ) to a friends house. While driving in traffic, he went to apply the brakes and the peddle went to the floor. He was not injured but it was a very scary situation. When looking into the problem, I find the brake lines rusted through. I also have found that GM is aware of this problem and has done nothing to correct a very serious problem. Thank god my son was not injured. I hope other people who allow their children to drive will be as lucky.

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #11

Jun 162013

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 79,617 miles
Was traveling at 50 mph when brakes were applied and brake pedal went all the way to the floor, unable to slow vehicle with pumping brakes. Parking brake was applied with no success, ultimately slowed down with putting truck in low gear and costing to a stop. Was informed by dealer of rusted and blown brake lines.

- Highland, MI, USA

problem #10

Jun 162013

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 74,420 miles
Slowing for turn brake line rupture due to heavy rust. Complete repair needed for lines from master cyl. To wheels.$400 repair cost. Very scary situation.from what I have read GM says it will stop. It did, but they omitted how [xxx]far it takes.thank you information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Chambersburg, PA, USA

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