2003 GMC Yukon XL Denali Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2003 GMC Yukon XL Denali as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

One or more heater & AC (HVAC) temperature and/or air delivery mode door actuator may fail, resulting in improper temperature or air delivery. If this occurs, fault code(s) should be stored in the HVAC control module which should assist in diagnoses.

The rear window defogger may stop working due to a wire terminal broken off of the rear glass. Our technicians tell us that terminal can be reattached using a special glue or silver solder.

Illumination of the Check Engine Light can be caused by a loose or worn gas cap.

The daytime running lights are prone to burning out. Our technicians tell us that the light sockets may show signs of heat damage but usually are OK. Always be sure to use the correct replacement bulb for the best life expectancy. The new bulb recommendation for 2001-2003 models is #4114K (trade number).

The CD player may fail due to an internal fault with the radio. Our technicians tell us that in most cases, the radio unit will need to be sent to a specialty repair shop to correct this issue.

Units with 4 wheel disk brakes may develop at situation where the park brake does not hold as it should. Our technicians tell us this can be caused by worn park brake shoes located inside the drum section of the rear brake disks. The worn shoes should be replaced and properly adjusted to correct this issue.

The speedometer or other instrument panel gauge may begin to work erratically at times. Our technicians tell us that the instrument cluster must be sent to a repair facility to correct this fault. The warranty has been extended on some of these units to 7 years or 70,000 miles.

The spark plugs should be replaced every 100,000 miles. Our technicians recommend replacing the spark plug wires also at this time.

A dirty throttle body may cause a lower than normal idle and possible stalling condition. Performing a throttle body service will commonly correct this concern.

A rattling noise may develop from the AC belt tensioner. This can be caused by an internal fault with the AC compressor, AC performance may also be diminished when this occurs. Our technicians tell us that replacing the ac compressor will commonly correct this concern.


It is common for the fuel level sensor in the fuel tank read the fuel level incorrectly. The sensor must be replaced to correct the condition. Our technicians recommend having the complete fuel pump module replaced on high mileage vehicles.

The battery may leak acid at the battery cable connections. As a result corrosion may form on the battery cable ends. Leaking batteries should be replaced and the cables need to be thoroughly cleaned or replaced if necessary.

The muffler heat shield may become loose on the muffler causing a rattle or popping noise. Our technicians tell us there is a kit available from GM to correct this problem.

A poor electrical ground under the battery tray may cause the ABS warning light to illuminate. Our technicians tell us that cleaning and properly securing this ground and also the main ABS ground on the frame rail below the drivers door may be necessary.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) pump may stay running after the ignition is turned off causing the battery to go dead. Our technicians tell us that the ABS control module should be replaced to correct this fault.