Chevy Avalanche Problems

by Andy Joseph

Launched in 2001 for the 2002 model year, the Chevrolet Avalanche is a full-size four-door pickup with a short bed that combines the passenger capacity of the SUV with the cargo capability of the pickup truck. The Avalanche is based on General Motors' SUV platform, sharing its wheelbase chassis with the Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade EXT. It is currently in its second generation.

Engine

Some 2002 and 2003 Chevrolet Avalanches may have failure of the Evaporative (EVAP) Vent Valve (a device that is part of the Emission Controls) and the catalytic converter--both of which can trigger the "Check Engine" light. Specific to the 2002 Avalanche is engine noise, which could be due to either failed rocker-arm bearings or a corroded knock sensor. At either event, the broken part would need to be replaced.

Brakes

Some 2002 and 2003 Avalanches may experience a failure of the front wheel speed sensor. This can cause the Antilock Brake System (ABS) to cycle the brakes. The part can be replaced to restore the ABS functionality.

Ignition

In some 2002 and 2004 Avalanches, the ignition switch lock cylinder may fail, preventing the vehicle from starting, or causing an electrical circuit to not power up. The part can be replaced to rectify the problem.

Blower Motor

On some 2003 to 2005 Avalanches, the blower may either not operate or may keep running with the ignition turned off. This would require a revised blower motor control module to be installed.

Transmission

Some 2002 Avalanches might experience transmission slippage, which woud call for a replacement of one of the shift solenoid valves.

Newer Chevrolet Avalanches

Second-generation Avalanches (2007 to present) are not absolved of any problems. Watch out for audio system noise when a portable music player is used in the car. A ground loop isolator from Radio Shack can be purchased and placed between the device and power outlet to eliminate the noise. The one-piece wiper blades may streak when driving slowly because they do not press firmly enough against the glass. These are replaceable with traditional, bridge style blades. Problems unique to the 2007 vehicles include inadequate cup-holders. Drinks can be prevented from falling out by introducing ear liners. Electrical problems with the door locks and windows are also an issue, but a wiring harness near one of the seat belts can be replaced to fix it.

About the Author

Based in the D.C. area, Andy Joseph works full-time as a data analyst and technical writer. He has been writing articles about technology, health, politics, music, culture and automobiles since 2007. His work has appeared in The Express, Congressional Report and Road & Track. He has a master's degree in journalism and technology management.