Product Reviews

Welcome to Consumer Reports.

We’re so glad to have you as a member. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed.
With its superior ride, quiet cabin and added versatility, the Avalanche scored the highest of any pickup we'd tested during that period of time. The folding midgate gives this model flexible cargo-carrying ability. However, removing the rear window is time consuming and extending the cargo bed turns the truck into a two-seater.
Alerts
There are 7 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
2012
NA
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard in 2002, available until 2006. ESC available from 2004, standard from 2006. Head protection air bags available in 2007, standard from 2008.
Road Test

With its superior ride, quiet cabin and added versatility, the Avalanche scored the highest of any pickup we'd tested during that period of time. The folding midgate gives this model flexible cargo-carrying ability. However, removing the rear window is time consuming and extending the cargo bed turns the truck into a two-seater.

Seating
3 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
4WD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
crew cab
Transmissions Available
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 5.3-liter V8 (285 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel pump

“Fuel pump developed a minor leak. I had a complete new fuel line installed when replacing the fuel pump”

Jim S., NY (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“This is the third fuel pump that I have ad to install. The first failed in transit, the second failed to correctly display the fuel level. This in tank designed is prone to failure”

Kenneth H., CA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Fuel pump was around $1,200.00 to replace and entailed dripping the gas tank”

Anonymous, KS (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Loss of power under load,40% drop in fuel economy and PSI @30 when should have been 100 PSI”

Tommy B., TX (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“broke down on highway had it towed, fixed. 2 weeks later same problem”

Anonymous, ME (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Truck suffered from rough idling while waiting at stop lights. Check engine light came on. First fuel injectors were cleaned. That did not clear the problem and check engine light came on again for same problem. Fuel pump and fuel line was replaced”

Greg F., MN (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“I had to replace the catalytic converter recently because it started coming apart. We live near a salt water beach and the salt air is highly corrosive and causes a lot of rust on this older vehicle. I also had to replace the brake lines because th”

Anonymous, FL (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“I am sole owner and this is second time that emission control device needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, MT (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Fuel gauge/sender

“Fuel line leaking”

D B., MI (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“fuel injector cleaning that included the changing of spark plugs and wire for the first tiem”

Anonymous, MT (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“Truck ran rough and acted like it might stall”

Anonymous, CO (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“One failed; had to be replaced”

Anonymous, NC (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“After fuel pump and line was replaced, check engine light came on again for same reason as before.This time the oxygen sensor was replaced. No more problem”

Greg F., MN (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“ABS computer is failing/has failed. Cost to replace is high. Not fixed yet”

Anonymous, GA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“failed sensor”

Brian S., ON (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Parking brake

“The parking brake on this vehicle is worthless. It has never operated sufficiently”

Anonymous, OH (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Won't release”

Anonymous, NC (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Premature brake wear

“I had brakes replaced on this vehicle and less than 20,000 miles later they completely ate through the rotors”

Anonymous, OH (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“In todays market usually rotors get replaced and not machined as the labour cost to machine is not worth it. As far as I am concerned this truck has gone through way to many sets of brakes”

Anonymous, ON (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Normal routine brake wear

“Normal brake wear. This was original brakes”

Daniel S., TX (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“seals were leaking and had to be replaced”

Anonymous, WI (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Depending on the parts purchased and the quality of the labour, this will determine the length of time the brakes last. This time I purchased higher quality parts”

Anonymous, ON (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Regular brake failure

“Brakeline leaking,caliphers and rotors”

Anonymous, OH (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Wheel bearings

“New vibrations caused me to take it to the shop. Front wheel bearings had to be replaced”

Anonymous, OR (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Rhythmic thumping sound coming from the front of the vehicle. It was difficult to localize and was inconsistent in occurrence. The front right wheel bearing was bad and needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, MO (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Wheel bearing on front left had to be replaced”

Debbie P., VA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“lower ball joint premature wear and replacement”

Patrick C., BC (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Ball joints on steering rack are wearing”

Frank K., LA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Bushings

“Replaced all the bushings”

Anonymous, CO (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Power steering pumps and hoses

“Ended up replacing the PS pump twice, paid once. Gear box & pressure hose”

Ron R., AZ (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Power steering pump failure”

Patrick C., BC (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

“There was a defect in the suspension or steering which emited a loud clunk when starting out and turning right. The dealer said they were aware of the problem but would not repair it under warrentee because GM said it was not a safety issue. It cost”

John B., CA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Body control module

“Power window motor failed”

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Horn

“All of a sudden, when making left turns, the horn goes off”

Anonymous, MA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Gauges

“the gas gauge stopped working and the whole thing had to be replaced. It had to be reprogramed”

John P., TX (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“I had to replace the instrument cluster after the gas, rpm, temp, electrical, oil gauges and speedometer failed”

Jose R., TX (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Within 3 months the oil pressure Gauge, speed odometer, and battery gauge wend bad. I had to have the complete instrument panel replaced”

Douglas F., NC (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“The cluster system crashed a month ago comes on and off randomly. Window remotes and mirror just failed yesterday. Sending Cluster out for repair and driver door controls are being looked at tomorrow”

Anita F., BC (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“2 warning lights showing”

Diana M., AB (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Wire connecting plug under fender well was corroded”

Louis A., IL (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Heated drivers seat would turn on by itself after wet weather. Turning off would last seconds and it would go again. Because of problems with GM service I Googled and got a reply from a GM engineer coaching me to unplug seat heater”

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat controls - temperature

“The drivers side seat heater no longer works. I was advised that to fix it and the other computer related issues would cost approximately $3000+ to replace all of the computers one at a time to find the problem”

Christopher M., GA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

“The front driver door, and tail gate latch broke and my husband ordered the part ond repaired it”

Jan L., CA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“I have had to replace the latching system on the tailgate 3 times in the last 4 years. When you lift the outside handle to open the tailgate, it breaks free and locks you out if the removable tops are in place on the cargo area. My mechanic says it i”

Anonymous, GA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Windows

“Rear right window does not go up or down with speed and sometimes does neither - I tend not to use it”

Anonymous, MN (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Have replaced the power window cables multiple times ( $250 each) for the two front wondows”

Rose D., MA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“The original transmission start slipping to the point truck would not move.. Had new transmission installed. It came with a GM warranty of 3 years. Also came with new torque converter This was costly for the parts and labor. Since replacement hah zero problems. Also had a transmission oil cooler installed”

Lloyd N., CA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Reverse gear failed. replaced w/ rebuilt transmission”

Daniel S., TX (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Replaced transmission and differential”

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“did not replace transmission this last 12 months. It was in 2009. We have pulled a RV all over the Rocky Mountains since 2003. So, replacing the transmission was no surprise”

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“had to replace the transmission around 125k miles after I broke down on my way home from a camping trip. Bought an after market OEM transmission from GM Dealership. The installation was done in the town where it broke down. I may need to take it back”

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“The paint is peeling off the hood, some on the doors. My husband did research and found the primer was a problem which caused the paint to peel off in chunks”

Jan L., CA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“The material that makes up the upper section of the cargo area is plastic/fiberglass. It does not hold up well to the enviornment. It chalks and turns from black to gray. This vehicle is also garaged most of the time. It is a very high maintenance it”

Anonymous, GA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Paint started cracking - Had to have one area repainted because the paint started falling off- Bought it new but the body shop said that it had been patched and painted over”

Anonymous, MN (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Complete rust through in multiple body areas including rust on middle of body pannels”

Rose D., MA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Paint peeling and rocker panels totally rusted through”

Anonymous, WI (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“A/C Compressor , the part that expands due to the temperature, broke. Vehicle had over 200,000 mi. at the time”

Joseph B., SC (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“On the drivers side it would go from cool to hot and the passage side would stay on cool. The only way to fix it for a while would be to restart the car. Now it will only heat when it is on 90 and cool when it is on 60”

John P., TX (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“Driver seat heater only stays on for a few seconds and then shuts itself off”

Anonymous, WI (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Condenser

“Very high pressure because of blocked condenser”

Anonymous, LA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

“CD player skipping”

Anonymous, TN (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“The stock CD AM/FM stereo will no longer eject CDs. This died about 6 months ago. Did some research and found its a very common issue. Looking to replace with a new aftermarket stereo”

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Speakers

“Front and back door speakers bad/broken”

Anonymous, TN (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

4WD/AWD components

“4WD will not engage. No Warning or error signals”

Anonymous, MO (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

“changes from one setting to another IE 2WD to 4WD Low”

Anonymous, SC (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Differential

“Made a lot of noise”

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

“Since the truck is registered in California you MUST have a CARB catalytic approved one. It required the replacement of them both to pass smog check. All other states cost is 2/3 less in price. It cost $750.00 plus 8.5% California sales tax and also the labor”

Lloyd N., CA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)
Exhaust manifold

“Exhaust manifold started to leak and make noise. It has been difficult to find a mechanic who can give a price for repair because of unforeseen variables (broken studs etc.)”

Clifford L., MA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Wind noise

“A lot of interior noise from wind. Always been an issue. Need to talk louder to hear, especially when driving on the highway”

Anonymous, ME (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

“Multiple trips to mechanic to find solution to "Reduced Engine Power" code. $1000 plus problem”

Ron R., AZ (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Water pump

“Gasket Leaking”

Anonymous, LA (2003 Chevrolet Avalanche None 5.2-L V8)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Change Vehicle