The Silverado hasn't changed much since its 1999 introduction and doesn't compete well with more modern designs. Its highlights include a selectable four-wheel-drive system with a full-time mode and a high payload capacity. But its powertrain isn't as smooth as some models, such as the Toyota Tundra's or Nissan Titan's. Handling was ungainly, and the ride is stiff. Interior quality is below par.
Alerts
There are 13 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.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
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.
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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?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. ESC and head protection air bags available from 2007; standard from 2010. Side air bags standard from 2010.
Road Test
The Silverado hasn't changed much since its 1999 introduction and doesn't compete well with more modern designs. Its highlights include a selectable four-wheel-drive system with a full-time mode and a high payload capacity. But its powertrain isn't as smooth as some models, such as the Toyota Tundra's or Nissan Titan's. Handling was ungainly, and the ride is stiff. Interior quality is below par. The nonadjustable seatback-mounted shoulder belts, common on many GM vehicles, were uncomfortable for some drivers.
Seating
3 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
4WD , AWD , 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
extended cab
regular cab
crew cab
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 4.3-liter V6 (200 hp)
  • 4.8-liter V8 (270 hp)
  • 5.3-liter V8 (285 hp)
  • 6-liter V8 (345 hp)
  • 6-liter V8 (300 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

"Clear oat started peeling off"

Anonymous, OK (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"The truck is solid white, roof and hood started peeling first, started peeling when the truck was still under extended warranty and paint warranty but they refused to repaint the truck, later the top of bed rails started, I had a white 1997 Pontiac, a white 2000 olds intrigue, a 2000 Buick century all set out side and none of these three white cars had a any peeling, flaking or rusting problem, I feel I got a bad paint job at the factory and GM should have warrantied it"

Nancy-Jim D., TX (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"Clear coat started peeling in the past 5 months"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 4.7-L V8)
Rust

"The rear bumper has rusted through"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)

"body is junk"

Anonymous, WV (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"Starting to rust under passenger door"

Anonymous, SD (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"salt cancer - throughout - spring shackles, hood, doors, rocker panels, tailgate latch, parking brake cables, and fuel pump elbows/lines. road salt caused the damage, but design/manufacturing flaws made it much worse"

Anonymous M., ME (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"under brake lines, fuel lines, shocks under door panels etc, clear paint peeling etc"

Emilia K., DE (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"Body started rusting below both extended cab doors"

Jeffrey J., IL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

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

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"A tank venting valve malfunctioned, requiring an expensive repair involving dropping the gas tank to access the valve. This repair was necessary to pass my emissions testing"

Michael B., CA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)

"CEL comes on intermittently"

Liz B., ON (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)
Fuel gauge/sender

"Fill pipe rusted out , fuel fill cap problem , oxygen sensor and fuel sensor which is located on top of the tank"

Anonymous, PE (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.3-L V6)

"Get the low engine power light that shuts down the truck if you don't pull over and physically tap on the fuel sensor plug"

Shari W., MI (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 6.0-L V8)
Fuel injection system

"started acting up while truck was still under warranty, had a problem and truck stalled and went into limp home mode they cleaned the throttle body but should have replaced it, I continued to have problems with truck going into reduced power very dangerous, finally when the truck was out of warranty I had a independent shop replace it with a OEM which was much cheaper that same part at the dealer, I got the part and labor for less than GM wanted for the part"

Nancy-Jim D., TX (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"2nd pump replacemebnt"

Ryan S., FL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"Failure at 160,000 seems premature"

Robt D., MA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.3-L V6)

"Engine light"

Betty C., ID (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 4.7-L V8)

"O2 sensor failed resulting in a check engine light and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, NH (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Unsure 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

"The water pump on the engine started leaking so I replaced it with a rebuilt pump, including the fan clutch, thermostat and all radiator hoses"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)

"seals no good. leaks air and water"

Ken T., MO (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"rear shock seal is leaking, left side"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4.3-L V6)

"Water intrusion occurs around door, drips down on driver side, often wets seat"

Angela S., FL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 5.2-L V8)

"Rattle was due to worn drive belt. Chunk of rubber was missing and at low speeds (no wind noise) there was a clunking noise"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)
Wind noise

"The window in the Extended Cab area no longer close tightly and cost about $400 to replace"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)

"driver door has loud wind noise over about 60 mph"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)

"Has been an issue for a while. Lots of road noise when operating vehicle, often have difficulty hearing correctly over the noise"

Angela S., FL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 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

"Sensor system faulty on abs"

Anonymous, SD (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"Abs brakes on one side malfunctioned. Currently driving with no abs just power brakes. Costly fix for age of vehicle"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"Malfunction had to disconnect till repaired"

Robert W., WI (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)

"1 caliper "froze""

Anonymous M., ME (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)
Parking brake

"Cable snapped"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)

"My mechanic advises that my parking break is adjusted to the max and in my mind is barely acceptable ad a brake. Repairs to improve are said to be extensive"

Timothy K., TN (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 5.2-L V8)

"I had to replace the rotors too"

Darlene L., FL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Unsure 4.3-L V6)

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

"all the gauges on the dash have quit working"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)

"Intermittent problem - either due to a bad connector or possibly by "little critters" chewing on wires. Not been able to identify problem area up to now"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"The entire instrument cluster failed and needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.3-L V6)

"Speed control meter stopped working. According to dealer it is a common problem but there was no recall"

Anonymous, AL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 6.0-L V8)

"Back up lights quit"

Linda P., IL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 6.0-L V8)

"Lights short out and blow bulbs. Brake lights and driving lights"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)
Interior lights

"Lights don't come on when you open the door"

Linda P., IL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 6.0-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

Power steering leaks

"Had rack & Pinon replaced due to fluid seepage at 167000 miles"

Ronald G., FL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"The shackles were rusted and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, NH (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Unsure 5.2-L V8)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Had alignment shop replaced rack & pinon with GM Rebuilt due to steering fluid seepage. Was allowed to bring part I bought at my parts wholesaler, no problems"

Ronald G., FL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"There was excessive play in the rack and pinion resulting in the steering wheel being off center. Replaced it with an AC Delco remanufactured unit"

Daniel M., CA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)
Steering wheel vibration

"I've had to replace the upper steering shaft twice"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)
Wheel bearings

"front bearings wore out and started to make some noise"

Anonymous, TN (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 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

Driveshaft or axle

"front bearing burned up. ball joints failed twice in 1 year"

Ken T., MO (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)
Electrical failure

"A sensor failed. And when starting it would cycle through Aw, 2 wheel and 4 wheel drive. Once it did that it was fine"

Robert Z., MT (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)

"Starting was erratic. Truck would refuse to start from time to time, but sometimes would start after 5 minutes and sometimes not until 2-3 days after initial attempt"

Melva E., TX (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base Unsure)
4WD/AWD components

"Vehicle thinks is in 4 wd when not. Difficulty in shifting between 2wd and 4wd. Dash reports 4wd needs service"

Anonymous, NM (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 6.0-L V8)

"Front differncial is going bad"

Charles G., AZ (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 6.0-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

"Replaced CD player with new one, it failed after about two months"

Charles G., AZ (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 6.0-L V8)
Display screen goes blank

"Started vehicle and whole dashboard was blank and unresponsive! Turned out to be a complete computer failure"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)
Radio

"radio appears to have an internal short that was first causing FM to drop out intermittently but now FM no longer works and AM drops out"

Henry S., NY (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4.7-L V8)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"4th transmission I have put in the truck. Also had to replace the transfer case once"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"original trans lasted 170K with lots of towing"

Ryan S., FL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"The transmission started slipping and my mechanic checked the fluid and found lots of small metal bits, indicating the trans was toast. Replacing the bad trans with a rebuilt unit was the quickest way to get the truck back in operation and he gave me a warranty too"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"One of the converters began to rattle inside, contents broke apart. Had to replace that converter"

Anonymous, LA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"Dual catalytic are plugging up and need to be replaced so I can smog the pickup"

Frank B., CA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)
Exhaust manifold

"One bolt bent so could not drill it out to replace bolt and tightened down the one manifold to ensure a good seal and less ticking noise and better fuel mixing and economy"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Oil leaks

"Engine rear main seal began leaking rather badly"

Anonymous, LA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

"Engine burns oil. I need to check it every two weeks to refill about a half quart. I also had an issue with the distributor cap building up moisture inside"

Brian B., MI (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.3-L V6)

"Main rear seal is leaking"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4.3-L V6)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"Setting the desired temperature has become a problem in that it is unresponsive to input as expected. That is, one can rotate the dial to increase or decrease the setting, but the displayed temperature does not move in a predictable manner"

Michael B., CA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)

"when the air conditioner is being used cool air is coming out in only drivers side of vents On passenger side the air generated is hot air. sinc we live in a very hot area we are unable to use air conditioner when there are 3 people in cab"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4.3-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

"A leak was found last summer, I don't recall the circumstances"

Nicholas B., FL (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Unsure 4.7-L V8)

Engine Major

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

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

"I replaced the engine 5-31-2014, as the castech head failed. The replacement GM Powertrain rebuilt engine was 2006. The rebuild was made with castech heads and one failed in 2.5yrs and only 24K miles. Very disappointed with the process, rather than warranty a new rebuilt engine GM POWERTRAIN only authorized the replacement of the defective head, my engine still has one castech head"

Daniel M., CA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)
Engine rebuild or replacement

"Replaced engine"

Anonymous, WV (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 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

Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Tailgate latch broke. Had to be replaced"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 5.2-L V8)

"Tailgate latch was broken"

Liz B., ON (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.7-L V8)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"Gear clunks at slow RPM's"

Katie L., CA (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)
Slipping transmission

"groove in the manifold which is a rare issue. took the tranny shop a while to figure it out"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LS 5.2-L V8)

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"Gasket leaking antifreeze into engin"

Anonymous, PE (2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Base 4.3-L V6)

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

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