The Chevy Silverado 1500 has been one of the top selling vehicles in the U.S. for several decades.
Among its many powertrain options is GM’s iconic V8 engine, which are very reliable and easy to maintain.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common issues Chevy Silverado 1500 owners have reported since it was introduced.
Table of Contents
1. Oil Consumption Issues
Excessive oil consumption is one of the biggest issues of the second generation Chevy Silverado 1500.
This problem only affects trucks equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 and is more common on the 2007 to 2011 models.
The 5.3 V8 engine was the first to feature GM’s AFM (Active Fuel Management), which automatically disables cylinders during light driving to improve fuel economy.
Unfortunately, when AFM is activated, oil would eventually end up in the combustion chamber and get burned up. Lots of owners would report needing several quarts of oil in between scheduled oil changes.
Other common symptoms of excessive oil consumption include:
- Blue smoke on startup
- Low oil levels
- Oil pressure warning
- No oil on dipstick
- Check engine light
- Fouled spark plugs
These issues are also common in other GM vehicles from the same era equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 like the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra and Cadillac Escalade.
Here is how a few owners described their issue on the SilveradoSierra.com forum:
“2009 Silverado with around 89,000 miles experiencing significant oil loss. However it is not showing any obvious leaks.”
“I have a ’07 Silverado 1500 LTZ 4×4 ext. cab with the flex fuel V8 and the truck is mainly driven on the highway. The truck has around 85k on it and is having a large issue with oil loss/consumption. At around 80k, the truck warning for low oil came on and the oil was barely on the dipstick. The on board computer said that the oil was at 50% life and the oil change was not yet due.”
Although it’s normal for a high mileage engine to have some oil leaks and consumption issues, many second gen Silverado owners tend to start noticing problems at 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
Many Silverado owners plug an aftermarket device into the OBD2 port to disable the AFM or get a tuner to reprogram the ECU. In a lot of cases, disabling the AFM gets rid of the oil consumption — as long as the engine hasn’t been damaged yet.
GM also released a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) that recommends replacing the valve cover with an updated design so that oil doesn’t get into the PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) system and get burned up once it ends up in the intake manifold.
The oil pan was also updated so that the oil valve doesn’t spray oil upwards into the crankcase and into the combustion chamber. The excess oil causes the piston rings to get stuck due to carbon buildup, which eventually allows more oil to leak into places where it shouldn’t be.
If the piston rings are already stuck, you’ll have to get the engine rebuilt and get new rings and pistons. You can also just replace the engine with a used or remanufactured one.
2. Collapsed Hydraulic Lifter
Chevy Silverado 1500 trucks that have AFM, or DFM (Dynamic Fuel Management) as it is called in later model years, are also prone to hydraulic valve lifter problems.
The hydraulic lifters open and close the valves in the cylinder head based on the rotation of the camshaft.
When a lifter collapses or gets stuck, the valve that it’s connected to won’t open completely or will just stay closed.
A collapsed lifter will also hit and damage the camshaft, and the tiny metal shavings can severely damage your engine.
Other common symptoms of a collapsed lifter include:
- Loud ticking noise from engine
- Squeak or chirp sound on startup
- Low compression in one or more cylinders
- Service Engine Soon warning
- Rough running
- Stalling or hard starting
- P0300 or P0301 trouble code
Both the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 engines can suffer from lifter failures. Other GM vehicles that use the same engine as the Silverado are also affected by this problem.
Premature failures are more common in the 2014 and newer model years of the Silverado, but it can also affect the 2007 to 2013 models at higher mileages.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“My father’s 2021 Silverado Trailboss’s motor bit the dust the other day. He was at a stop sign waiting to turn when the stop/start stuff shut the truck off. When he went to leave, the motor cranked and began knocking, then sputtered and died. Got towed to the dealership where they found a collapsed lifter with the possibility of more.”
“Have a 2015 Silverado (100k miles) with passenger side lifter failure. Dealer said $2800 if just lifters (other bank could be potential problem in future) and $7000 if camshaft is bad. New engine $11k.”
“2014 Silverado, 5.3L V8. I had a collapsed lifter in cylinder #6 two months ago. The shop replaced all 16 lifters using GM parts. Now, 2 months and 2K miles later, the exact same lifter in cylinder #6 has collapsed again.”
“I got a great deal on the truck I have now which is a 07 Silverado 1500 4wd 135k LTZ. Super clean inside, low miles, was very well taken care of. I drive the truck a few days and drives perfect then it started to give me a misfire in cylinder # 4. I did a compression test and sure enough low compression in that cylinder. Come to find out I had a collapsed lifter on the DOD (Displacement on Demand) lifter on cylinder 4.”
GM released a TSB for the 2014 to 2019 Chevy Silverado that recommends replacing the lifters and, if necessary, the camshaft to fix the ticking noise and the other engine problems associated with a collapsed lifter.
This repair can cost several thousand dollars if done out of warranty, so you may want to ask other independent repair shops for the best price. Some shops are able to free up the stuck lifter without taking off the cylinder head which significantly lowers the repair costs.
Even though GM hasn’t updated their lifter design to prevent future issues, it’s still advisable to stick with the OEM lifters if you need to get them replaced. After getting the lifters replaced or unstuck, many owners completely disable the AFM to make sure they won’t have to deal with the issue again.
Some Silverado owners don’t have any issues aside from the lifter tick noise. However, if you plan on keeping your truck for a long time, it’s best to have it looked at as soon as possible to avoid expensive engine problems down the road.
3. Transmission Shudder
Some third and fourth generation Silverado 1500s were equipped with an 8-speed transmission that had lots of complaints of shuddering and jerkiness.
The 8-speed transmission started becoming an option on the V8 models in the 2015 model year. But the issues and complaints persist into the latest model years.
Some of the reported problems with GM’s 8-speed transmission include:
- Hard shifts from 1st to 2nd gear
- Bucking or jerking when coming to a stop
- Shuddering or vibrations at certain speeds
- Hesitation when accelerating
Here is how a few Silverado owners described their experience on the GM-Trucks.com forum:
“I have a 2016 Silverado with a 5.3 and the dreaded 8 speed. I cringe every time I come to a stop because it feels like tranny is gonna fall out it slams so hard. Have to come to a complete stop for truck to shift to first gear. But then after it’s warmed up I’ll go drive it and it’s smooth as butter.”
“My truck has the 19′ 1500 4×4 5.3L with the 8speed and i constantly have a hard catch, notchy feeling shift between first and second at low speeds at various times. Like it doesn’t catch and then lurches forward or back (if in reverse). Taken it to the dealer several times and because the techs can’t replicate it.”
“I have a 2020 Silverado Custom 2.7 turbo with the 8-speed tranny. There is a serious shudder between 35 and 55 that drives me crazy.”
“Right after purchasing my CPO 2019 LTZ, I had two symptoms. One was that it felt I was being bumped from behind when I stopped (i.e. hard downshift to first). The second was what felt like rapid shifting twice from one gear to the next, and it would sometimes lunge and buck when shifting.”
GM eventually switched to a new Mobil 1 transmission fluid in their 8-speed gearbox to address the numerous complaints they were getting.
Many owners reported a marked improvement in the transmission’s performance after changing out the transmission fluids in their older trucks.
Applying software updates to the TCM (Transmission Control Module) and putting it into Fast Learn mode so it can reset and adapt to your driving habits also help smooth out the shifting performance.
However, some owners have also had to get their torque converters and other transmission parts replaced to fix their issues. Several Silverado owners have also had to replace their transmission altogether, and in some cases, they’ve had to replace the entire transmission more than once.
4. AC Condenser Cracking
Early model years of the third gen Silverado 1500 had lots of cases of cracked AC condensers which caused the AC to stop blowing cold air.
This issue is more prevalent in the 2014 to 2015 model years, but they can still occur up to the 2017 models.
When the condenser develops a crack, the refrigerant or freon will leak out, making the AC inoperable.
Another common weak point is the hose that goes from the compressor to the condenser, which also has a tendency to develop a leak.
Here is how a few owners described their issue:
“I have a 2016 Silverado with 50k Miles on it. On Tuesday I noticed that my AC wasn’t blowing cold air. I took it into the dealership and the service writer says it’s more than likely that it’s the AC Condenser because they are notorious for cracking.”
“AC was repaired 2018. It was still under warranty, AC stopped working again in August 2020. Dealer charged 1200 dollars to to replace faulty condenser. Truck was 2 months out of warranty. Truck is a 2014 Chevy Silverado LTZ.”
GM eventually updated the condenser in the later model years to reduce the number of failures. Getting the dealer to replace the AC condenser out of warranty typically costs around $1,000.
New OEM and aftermarket condensers cost around $100 to $200. You can usually get the replacement done at an independent shop for around $500 in total which includes recharging the refrigerant.
5. Oil and Transmission Cooler Line Leak
Leaking oil and transmission cooler lines are a fairly common issue across all generations of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
Leaks usually start developing on higher mileage vehicles, but they can also occur in trucks that are only a few years old.
By the time you see drips of oil under the truck, the lines have probably been leaking for quite a while. You’ll also notice the oil pressure dropping a bit when it starts leaking.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I own a 2014 Chevy Silverado 4×4 LTZ 5.3 L. I can visually see a leak in the oil cooler lines.”
“I have a 2019 5.3 getting ready to hit 39k miles. About 4-6 weeks ago I started noticing small drips from under the front. Can see oil pooling up from front plastic skid plate and eventually drip. Removed plate and can see weeping from oil cooler line crimp. Oil pressure and level are still good. My local dealer informed me oil lines are backordered.”
New oil cooler lines are fairly cheap even if you go with the OEM parts. Any competent mechanic or shop should be able to replace your oil and transmission cooler lines fairly easily.
Those who are mechanically inclined can also replace the line themselves, but you might have to drop the front axle and differential to get easier access.
6. Rear Window Leak
Many Chevy Silverado 1500 owners have complained about water leaks coming from the rear window area.
With older generation Silverado 1500s, water leaks usually come from the third brake light area when the gasket starts to wear out.
The fourth gen Silverado 1500 can also develop cracks around the rear sliding window’s frame.
Other sources of water leaks in the Silverado 1500 can also come from the following:
- Rear cab vents
- Sunroof drain
- Window seals
- Shark fin antenna
Signs of water leaks include:
- Stained headliner
- Wet carpets
- Water on the rear seats
Here is how a few owners described their issue:
“I got a used 2019 Silverado RST (only 29k miles!) and I took it through a car wash where I noticed some water getting in on the passenger side near the slider track.”
“I have a 2015 Chevy 1500 High Country. A few weeks ago after a big rain storm I noticed there was a puddle on the drivers side floor mat and a dirt on my headliner near the rear bed window.”
“I had multiple leaking spots on a 2020 with sliding rear window. Dealer replaced entire window and water poured in much worse than before.”
To fix the leak from the third brake light, you just have to replace the gasket underneath it. There are also aftermarket gaskets that are thicker and more durable than the OEM ones.
Some owners simply apply some silicone or RTV around the brake light to seal it shut.
The water leaks on the fourth gen Silverado’s sliding rear window can be fixed by replacing the plastic window frame. In a lot of cases, dealers will replace the rear glass as well. Applying sealer around the frame can also get rid of the leaks.
It’s also worth noting that trucks with a fixed rear window don’t have the same water leak issues. Some owners have opted to replace the sliding glass with a fixed one to avoid future problems.
7. Jingle Noise in the Front
Fourth generation Silverado 1500s have a tendency to make a metallic jingling noise when driving in two-wheel drive.
Others have also described the sound as metallic ringing, squeaking or chirping, but it goes away when engaging four-wheel drive mode.
Here is how a few owners described their situation:
“I have a 2020 Silverado high country. 17k miles, and has had the front axle jingle noise for some time now. Dealer finally replicated issue on my 3rd or 4th trip back for service.”
“In my humble opinion, it’s a lot louder than a “jingle” in my truck. It’s a loud, ear piercing squeal. Pretty embarrassing driving a new truck down the road,”
GM released a TSB in 2022 that recommends replacing the driver’s side axle shaft to get rid of the noise.
According to the TSB, the noise shouldn’t affect the truck’s drivability or reliability.
This problem also affects other GM vehicles like the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra, and Cadillac Escalade.
8. Oil Pressure Problems
A lot of Chevy Silverados will have issues with the oil pressure gauge going to zero and displaying a low oil pressure warning.
In older trucks, this could mean you have a massive oil leak or a catastrophic engine failure. But in most cases, it’s usually caused by a faulty oil pressure sending unit, also known as an oil pressure sensor.
This problem mostly affects the V8 models starting from the first generation up to the latest model years.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“2016 Silverado 5.3L V8 with 57k. Changed oil last night, afterwards I drove about 50 miles between two different trips. Went out to leave, saw a check engine light and no oil pressure. I confirmed there were no leaks and that the oil level is right where it should be. Used my scanner but didn’t pick up the code. Started it up since it sounded fine previously and the code is gone and oil pressure back to normal.”
“I went to drive my 2012 Silverado 1500 this morning and about 5 minutes from my house the oil pressure dropped and it said to stop vehicle immediately. The engine sounds fine and the oil level is correct.”
A new oil sending unit costs less than $100 and can be easily replaced by any mechanic or garage.
The incorrect oil pressure reading can also be caused by a blocked screen that’s just below the oil pressure sending unit near the back of the engine bay.
Cleaning debris from the screen can also fix the oil pressure issues even without replacing the oil pressure sensor.
This screen only costs a few dollars and is usually replaced along with the oil sending unit to ensure no more problems arise in the near future.
9. Instrument Cluster Issues
The first and second generation Chevrolet Silverado 1500 have lots of issues with faulty dash gauges and other instrument cluster problems.
It’s common to see inaccurate readings for the fuel gauge, oil pressure or speedometer. It’s also common to see different warning lights coming on intermittently or the entire instrument cluster not working at all.
Here’s how a few owners described their issues:
“2000 Silverado instrument cluster is intermittent. When I am driving and hit a small bump or start the truck and shut the door, the speedo gauge and dash indicators except the turn signals stop working. The battery light comes on. For it to work again I either hit another bump or I smack the dashboard.’
My instrument panel on my 2008 silverado 1500 will freeze up every now and then. It only does it when I start the truck. When I realize it, I can pull over and shut the truck off, then wait a few seconds, turn it back on, and the gauges all work again.”
The instrument cluster problems are usually caused by bad solder connections and faulty stepper motors.
A mechanic or auto electrician might be able to resolder the cluster and swap out the stepper motors for you, but you can also just replace it with a remanufactured unit for around $200 to $400.
10. Cracked Dashboard
It’s fairly common to see an older first generation Chevy Silverado 1500 with a dashboard that’s cracked in several places.
Second generation Silverados from 2007 to 2014 also have dashboard cracking problems but to a lesser extent.
Here’s how a few owners described their situation:
“I have a 2004 Silverado 1500 with Florida sun damage. When I say it’s cracked… It’s in about 8 pieces and has to be replaced. I’ve been driving it for years in that condition and just covered it with no issues.”
“I have the cracked dash on the passenger side at the airbag on my 2010 silverado.”
“I have a 08 Silverado with 38000 miles on it and the dash is cracking in a few places around the passenger side air bag.”
If the crack isn’t too bad, you can use a dashboard cover or a dash mat to cover it up and protect it from future damage. Some owners have also glued it back together using JB Weld or epoxy to keep the dash from falling apart.
You can also just replace the dashboard altogether. OEM and aftermarket dashboards for the first generation Silverado cost around $400. You might also find a used dashboard in good condition online or at a junkyard.
11. Shaking at High Speed
The third generation Chevy Silverado 1500 has had many complaints of excessive vibrations or shaking at speeds over 70 mph.
This issue also affects other GM trucks from the same era and is more commonly known as the ‘Chevy Shake’.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I bought my Silverado new in 2016. Don’t drive highway much at all. I started noticing early on, <20k miles. Figured it was related to tires/alignment. Got an alignment and new tires by 30k miles. Still shaking at 70+ mph.”
“I have the shake in my 15 silverado. at some speeds its like its shaking the truck apart. at 60-80 kph noticeable but not awful but at 115-120 kph it’s real bad.”
There is no official fix from GM for this issue, but many owners suspect that it’s caused by the driveshaft.
Getting the factory driveshaft rebalanced or upgrading to an aftermarket unit can help minimize the shaking, but there are no guarantees that these solutions can completely eliminate it.
You can also have your tires road force balanced to eliminate some of the high speed vibrations.
12. Trailer Brake Issues
Some fourth generation Chevy Silverado 1500 owners have had braking issues when towing trailers equipped with electric brakes.
A ‘Trailer Brakes Disabled’ error message will usually pop up on the dash as soon as the trailer is connected and the trailer brakes will work intermittently.
This severely limits the usability of the truck as a tow vehicle and is also a major safety concern.
This is a common issue on the 2022 and 2023 model years of the Silverado 1500, but it can also occur on older fourth gen models. It also affects other GM trucks and SUVs.
Here is how a few owners described their problems:
“I just bought a 2022 1500 RST to haul my camper with. Right out of the box, had to tow my camper 430 miles at reduced speed so I could stop safely. Over this whole trip The trailer brakes operated about 10% of the time. The other 90% I kept getting the brakes disabled service message. Sometimes they would reset after restarting truck, sometimes not.”
“I have the problem on my 2020. More often than not the trailer disconnects after the brakes are successfully applied. Unfortunately, it takes 20 seconds or so to reconnect all the while you are left with no trailer brakes.”
GM announced a recall for the trailer brake issue in early 2023. Dealers will replace the trailer brake controller, also known as a trailer brake control switch, to get rid of the errors and fix the issue altogether.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Pros & Cons
- Excellent towing capacity
- Large bed
- Range of powertrain options
- Good overall reliability
- Lots of standard tech and features
- Four-wheel drive with 4Lo
- Roomy cabin
- AFM (Active Fuel Management) issues
- Ride quality compared to rivals
- Fuel economy
What Do The Reviews Say?
“We tested a Silverado crew cab in the High Country trim with the 5.3-liter V8 and four-wheel drive. Acceleration and braking are sufficient for daily driving or towing. Our test truck covered 60 mph in about 7 seconds from a standstill at our test track.”
“The ride is relatively smooth on the highway, and the truck ably absorbs most small impacts. But it can get bouncy when you drive on roads that have a high frequency of bumps and dips.”
“Inside, the Silverado has plenty of space for adults in its crew-cab configuration. This is particularly evident in the back seat, which has massive legroom to offer. Some models sit high off the ground, but large door openings and proper seat positioning make overall accessibility a positive experience.”
“We tested a 5.3-liter V8-powered, short-bed 4WD crew-cab truck that had the standard 3.23 axle gearing. This configuration provided plenty of towing and hauling capability for our needs. As for the bed itself, it’s a bit longer, deeper and wider than its rivals, and it has more tie-downs.”
“The Silverado High Country we tested had the 5.3-liter V8 and 4WD, which earns an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in combined city/highway driving. We found that number to be reasonably achievable in the real world. The best fuel economy for the Silverado comes from the available diesel-fueled six-cylinder.”
“Full-size trucks such as the Silverado aren’t necessarily fun to drive. But with its commanding view of the road, lots of towing power, and brutish front-end styling, the Silverado can put a smile on your face. However, the interior looks dated and borrows many pieces and design cues from the previous generation. It may or may not be the full-size truck personality you want.”
What’s the Resale Value of a Chevrolet Silverado 1500?
Here’s a quick look at the Silverado 1500 LT Crew Cab’s used pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.