really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,942 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 1 of 2)

problem #32

Dec 112014

Sierra 1500

  • 44,300 miles


While having my vehicle check over for the winter, the mechanic inform me that the front brake lines are very rusty as well as the fuel lines and the cooling lines going to the transmission. This situation is very disturbing since I have very low mileage. The tubing used for the brake as well as the fuel lines should be able to withstand rusting for the life of the vehicle. If the material used by GM was not up to specification as far as corrosion protection either compensation to repair it is in order a recall should be made.

- Oswego, IL, USA

problem #31

Feb 212012

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 72,380 miles
This truck and I reside in Wisconsin but were in Florida at the time of the incident. My travel on 2/21 was to pick up my young granddaughter at her school. I was traveling at around 40 mph in fairly heavy afternoon traffic, I had crossed a controlled intersection about a mile from the school and applied the brakes to slow down, the pedal went to the floor. I pumped the brakes and was able to slow the truck down. I proceeded to the school at a very reduced speed using the parking brake and pumping the brakes. I was able to safely get to the school. I exited the school yard and parked the truck. Called a tow truck for the rest of the trip. The mechanic that repaired the brake lines said there has been a partial recall on GMC and Chevrolet trucks for faulty brake lines but my truck was not included. He said the worst rust was at the ABS control but there were other area's involved also. This vehicle is only 9 years old. I have owned vehicles much older than this one and have never had a brake line rust through. I urge you to do a deeper study and recall if necessary, into what appears to be the use of inferior brake lines and/ or poor placement of the ABS control on a wider range of this vehicle. It was fortunate that this incident did not cause an accident or injury or take place as we were returning home through the mountains in Tennessee a few weeks later. I again urge you to extend the recall further into this trucks production. Thank you for your attention to this dangerous and extremely unsafe condition.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #30

Mar 032012

Sierra 1500

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 GMC Sierra 1500. The contact stated that while stopped, the brake pedal was abnormally depressed to the floorboard. The contact was able to safely drive the vehicle home and park. Upon examining the vehicle, the contact noticed that the brakes lines were fractured and corroded. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Warrenton , VA, USA

problem #29

Feb 172012

Sierra 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • 78,719 miles


Low speed crash in driveway due to sudden rupture of rt. Front brake line metal section at banjo bolt. After inspection of the truck by a mechanic I was informed that 4 other steel lines are leaking due to severe corrosion and that every steel line on the truck is in danger of failure due to severe corrosion. Estimate to repair is near $1000 body damage from crash is around $900.

- Deep Gap, NC, USA

problem #28

Jun 092011

Sierra 1500

  • miles
My 2003 GMC Sierra 1500 sle has corroded brake, transmission and fuel lines. A certified mechanic stated that they all need replaced or breakage and leakage will occur without warning causing break, transmission or fuel delivery or fire damages. Please help with this problem asap. 00.

- Huber Heights, OH, USA

problem #27

Nov 192011

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • miles
I took my 2003 GMC Sierra in for an inspection, inspection failed due to corroded brake lines. Was informed that all brake lines need to be replaced. Is this normal? I live in the North..there seems to be a lot of rust/corrosion on the underside of my truck as well as starting around the body..am facing spending $400-$600 to replace the lines..looking for info regarding this type of problem..

- Troy, ME, USA

problem #26

Nov 082011

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 57,540 miles


Brakes blew out coming down a very steep hill. I was lucky because I had a Toyota in font of me slowing down because of a squirrel crossing the street. I had also slowed down but then the Toyota stopped and I went to stop my brake lines both front and back blew out and my pedal went to the floor and I had no brakes at all. Thanks to the Toyota being there to stop me other wise I would had a very bad crash into crossing traffic or head on into a guard rail or trees. I had to pay for all new brakelines installed on my truck and the damage to the Toyota and my truck costing around $2000 dollars plus the insurance over $2300 for the Toyota and my front end. Now im afraid to drive my truck.

- Cockeysville, MD, USA

problem #25

Nov 072011

Sierra 1500

  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 GMC Sierra 1500. While driving 25 mph, the contact applied pressure to the brakes when the pedal was depressed into the floorboard and the vehicle did not stop. He activated the emergency brake and was able to idle the vehicle. The dealer advised the contact to bring the vehicle in for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who informed the contact that the brake lines were rusted and needed to be replaced. The contact was awaiting repairs. The current and the failure mileages were 40,000.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #24

Oct 032011

Sierra 1500 8-cyl

  • 64,975 miles
The braking system failed when the pedal went to the floor. Investigation revealed that the steel brake line had rusted and ruptured. The only precursor to this was noise from the ABS unit at low speed. It appears that all of the brake lines are badly corroded and will need to be replaced.

- Layton, PA, USA

problem #23

Sep 222011

Sierra 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Main brake line blew while my wife was backing up in a parking lot, the only way to stop was to put the car in park while moving. We had it towed to our local mechanic who had to replace every brake line. The truck only has 68K miles on it. The mechanic said they were very bad and we were lucky to be safe. I cannot believe this issue has not been addressed and recalled by GMC. Our bill was an unexpected $1,300. I'm expecting a call back from a district GMC contact Monday about the issue. I'm fighting to be reimbursed as this is a known deadly issue and needs to be recalled. How have they not been sued from this problem yet?

- Boscawen, NH, USA

problem #22

Sep 072011

Sierra 1500

  • 63,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 GMC Sierra 1500. While driving 40 mph, the brake warning light illuminated when he applied pressure to the brakes. The brake pedal went to the floor and did not idle the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed the vehicle with rusted brake lines. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure nor was the vehicle repaired. The current and failure mileages were 63,000.

- Piles Grove, NJ, USA

problem #21

Jul 212011

Sierra 1500

  • 77,636 miles
A brake line burst underneath the truck when I applied the brakes with substantial pressure (not enough to engage ABS on the dry pavement). Was able to swerve to avoid vehicle that cut us off and use emergency brake to slow/stop vehicle in a safe place. All brake lines were severely rusted/corroded and needed to be replaced. Fuel lines were replaced as well at the same time, due to severe corrosion.

- Brookline, NH, USA

problem #20

May 062011

Sierra 1500

  • 88,000 miles
When attempting to stop truck, brake pedal faded to floor. Upon inspection, the brake lines exhibited severe corrosion and rusted thru allowing fluid to leak out. The truck has less than 90,000 miles.

- Carrollton, OH, USA

problem #19

Apr 092011

Sierra 1500

  • 140,127 miles
I entered my vehicle to drive home and realized that I had no brakes. After looking underneath I realized that my brake lines were rotted and leaking. One line is currently leaking but they are all in very bad condition. I was left with no option but to have the vehicle towed home. I am going to have to replace all the brake lines as even the ones that aren't currently leaking are in very poor condition. It would be unsafe to drive the vehicle without replacing them. I am very fortunate that the failure didn't occur while I was driving at a high speed. When I parked the vehicle the brakes were fine and when I came out 20 minutes later I had absolutely no brakes.

- Pomfret Center, CT, USA

problem #18

Mar 152011

Sierra 1500

  • 97,025 miles
Luckily there was no accident as I have been teaching my 16 year old daughter to drive. The brakes felt spongy and not as responsive as normal on my way home from work. When I stopped in my driveway, I looked under the vehicle and brake fluid was pouring out of an apparently ruptured line to the back brakes. There was no warning light on. Regardless of the miles, this truck is barely 8 years old. A quick internet search shows that this model year and nearby years of the same type of truck have experienced this problem. Had this been on a highway trip with all fluid draining out, there certainly would have been an accident.

- N. Tonawanda, NY, USA

problem #17

Sep 142010

Sierra 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • 85,770 miles
Purchased 2003 GMC Sierra 1500 used from private party on Sept 10, 2010 and upon nys safety inspection all steel brake lines were discovered to be completely rotted out. Cost to repair exceeded $700.

- Hopewell Jct, NY, USA

problem #16

Sep 282010

Sierra 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • 70,003 miles
Traveling to work and vehicle cut out infront of my truck. Applied brakes to avoid collision and heard pop and brake pedal went to floor. Upon arriving at work a few moments later found rear brake line corroded and perforation went through causing leak. Replaced the rear brake line to correct but brakes still inop. Old piece of corroded line is available.

- Taunton, MA, USA

problem #15

Sep 292010

Sierra 1500

  • 112,985 miles
On September 29, 2010, I was driving my truck on rt. 66 West approaching linden va. At approximately 65 mph when traffic began to stop abruptly because of roadwork. I was in the left lane and applied my brakes. At this time my brake pedal went to the floor. I had begun my stop far enough away from traffic ahead of me that I was able to slow down without hitting anyone in front of me. I moved my truck over to the right shoulder, then onto the ramp for the linden va. Exit and then parked on the shoulder there. When I got out of the truck I found a puddle of brake fluid quickly forming under my truck, below the left frame rail behind the left front wheel. When I looked up to see where the fluid was coming from, I found the leak coming from a bundle or four brake lines, that were heavily corroded, that ran beside the frame rail. At this time I made arrangements to have the truck towed to my residence. At the time I was towing a single axle utility trailer. The truck has not yet been repaired. This truck is a 2003 GMC Sierra 1500 hd crew cab short bed, 8600 gvw. It is nearly identical in equipment to a 2500 hd crew cab short bed. I purchased this vehicle new.

- Warrenton, VA, USA

problem #14

Sep 222010

Sierra 1500

  • 42,200 miles
While driving home from work, I tried to stop at a stop light. Pushed the brake pedal and it went to the floor. Got it stopped by using the parking brake. Service brake light on. After parking the truck, noticed liquid on driveway. Traced the liquid back to a rusted brake line.

- Ripley, WV, USA

problem #13

Jul 122010

Sierra 1500

  • 106,000 miles
I own a 2003 GMC Sierra 1500 hd. This past winter I almost hit a snow plow due to a brake line rupture. Upon inspection it was found that all the brake lines were severely rusted and very brittle. I had the one line replace which cost me nearly $300. No this past week another rupture almost caused me to rear end another vehicle. This time I'm going to have to replace every line in the braking system. Also the ABS system kicks in when traveling at slower speeds (5-10 mph). The cause of this is unknown to me at this time. Upon doing a little research online I find that there are thousands of people with the same model and nearly the same year vehicles, having exactly the same problems. Then I find on your site where you have started an investigation into the problem. NHTSA action number: PE10010 this truck has been very well taken care of and there is no excuse for these lines to be faulty in only 6-7 years time. It's likely to cost me nearly a $1,000 to have all of these lines changed. My question is if the NHTSA finds GM responsible for these faulty lines and they issue a recall, will I be reimbursed for having already paid for the repair?

- Sandstone, WV, USA

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