2003 Chevy Silverado 1500 Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Roomy extended-cab models, strong V8 engines, innovative features.
- Cheap interior materials, questionable build quality.
Most helpful consumer reviews
4dr Extended Cab LS 4WD SB (4.8L 8cyl 4A)
I'm the 2nd owner of a well kept 2003 Silverado LS 4WD with the Z71 package. Aesthetically for a 12 year old truck this one has held up exceptionally with the paint still being super glossy. The powertrain is still rock solid especially the engine. All of the electrical components work and I've only had to change out the starter in the two years I've owned it. I did have a total flush and replacement of all the fluids (transmission, power steering, brakes, antifreeze, transfer case, front and rear differentials) when I purchased the vehicle. I highly recommend you do this with any 4WD you purchase used with over 100K on the clock. I've only replaced the starter and had the instrument cluster serviced (stepper motors replaced and LED lights changed to blue - $75 fix). I'm very proud to own this truck because it was obviously taken care of by the previous owner. I have a couple of gripes ... the transmission is clunky shifting from 1st to 2nd and also 2nd to 3rd. Also when driving at 45 mph and at 65 mph the extended cab and crew cab versions of the Silverado (also GMC's version the Sierra) transfer vibration through the cabin. Both the shift and vibration issues are simply design flaws. GM recommends you place 300 to 500 pounds directly in the middle of the truck bed to stop the vibration (but who is going to do that). So you can't fix the vibration issue ... but I plan on replacing the tranny with a rebuilt and hardened version of the 4L60E automatic that will address the hard shifting. Fortunately you can find these transmissions relatively cheap with the biggest issue being able to find a good mechanic to install it without it costing too much. Overall for a pickup I purchased with 132K on the odometer I am extremely happy and I've only had light maintenance done so far. The 4.8L V8 doesn't leak oil and parts are cheap because there are millions of Silverados and Sierras on the road. I plan on keeping this truck a minimum of five to ten more years. *** UPDATE *** This is my weekend vehicle and have had it nearly 3 years now. I've only driven it 10,000 miles and the brakes just died on me. I'm just finding out that the brake hard lines are made of inferior metal. Fortunately when the pedal went to the floor I was on a remote road with no other cars around. $1200 to replace all of the defective lines with non corrosive copper / nickel lines. Thank goodness I have a quality mechanic because I've heard horror stories about $3000 fixes at the dealership. I'm still keeping the truck and my mechanic says this isn't just a GM issue. He says most older pickups / large SUV's brake lines have failures and he sees this quite often at his shop.
4dr Extended Cab Rwd SB (4.3L 6cyl 4A)
At 170,000 miles now, this truck runs like new. The 4.8 motor has plenty of power, and still gets upwards of 22mpg - although it doesn't do as well in town driving (maybe 14-15 mpg). But compared to other full size trucks, that don't get as good mpg, and some have less power, this truck can't be beat.
2dr Regular Cab LS 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl 5M)
Have had this 2003 Z71 2-dr since new. It currently has 134,000 miles. No complaints about reliability with just basic maintenance. Original tires only lasted about 40,000 miles. Replacements have lasted about 80,000 so far. Only parts that have broken on me are two rear U-joints,water pump seal seeps, and the battery died after 7 years. Clunking noise from steering column is a little annoying, but apparently common for this model. Under-body rust is a problem even though I regularly wash the underside of the truck. 4x4 system has been rock solid in snow, ice, mud, you name it. Tows/hauls with no problems although trailer brakes highly recommended for heavy loads/high speeds.
4dr Extended Cab LT 4WD SB (5.3L 8cyl 4A)
This is my 4th Silverado and love it. It has everything I want in a truck. The Bose sound and 6disc in-dash stereo is great. Very comfortable inside. I bought this truck used with 36k miles on it. Since then--in the past 3 years, now it is up to 106k miles on it----still no problems. The only complaint I have was the face of the radio. The paint or numbers would peel off. The other thing I love is how much this truck holds its value. Unlike other cars--it holds its value really well. Great truck!