Chevrolet Silverado: 11 Common Problems (Useful Guide)

Known for its hardworking powertrains the Chevy Silverado is one of the most sought after and iconic vehicles in the US.

If you’re a fan of pick-up trucks then the Chevrolet Silverado is an excellent choice. However, Silverado owners have experienced a few problems over the years and we’ll outline some of their causes and solutions in this article.

Whether you’re in the truck market for a Silverado or you’re an owner of one, sharing in the troubleshooting others have done can help save you time and money.

Here are the most common problems associated with the Chevy Silverado:

Chevrolet Silverado Keeps Cranking but Won’t Start 

A truck that cranks but does not start can cause quite a headache. You put the key in the ignition, turn it, and the starter keeps spinning and spinning but the engine refuses to spring to life. 

Typically, when the engine won’t start but it still cranks, the battery and starter motor are not to blame. Refrain from excessively attempting to start the vehicle before repairs take place – doing so will drain the battery and overheat the starter. 

Take note that on a new model Silverado, if the gas pedal is depressed whatsoever the engine will not start. This is a safety feature. Some owners learned this the hard way, after towing their truck to the shop only to find the floormat was touching the accelerator and causing this problem. 

With that said, there are other components that can be responsible for this concern, and the full list is rather long. This means isolating the issue can take time. Expect to pay a diagnostic fee if you take it to a shop. 

We’ve done plenty of research, and listed some of the most likely causes:

Fuel Pump 

The Silverado is infamous for fuel pump issues. The pump is electronic and  located inside the tank, and is responsible for priming the fuel system on start  up, and supplying the engine with fuel. 

When the fuel pump fails to operate, the engine will crank, but never actually start. This is because the pump either stops working completely, or the fuel pressure required to start the engine is too low. 

Due to its location, a fuel pump replacement can be a somewhat lengthy repair.

RepairPal estimates it will cost owners between $978 and $1,120, just for gasoline powered 1500s. 

Cost of replacement may fluctuate depending on the year or the trim level.

Fuel Pump Relay

To put it plainly, a fuel pump relay is a device in a Silverado’s electrical circuit used to control the operation of the fuel pump. It is located in the fusebox. 

If the relay fails, then the fuel pump will not function. Luckily, relays are reasonably priced and replacing one is straightforward. 

Fuel Pump Driver Module 

The fuel pump driver module was a more common problem in the 2007-2014  Silverado, but may be responsible for failure on other model year Silverado trucks.  

This module controls the voltage supplied to the pump, and maintains  optimal fuel pressure and delivery to the engine. 

Just like a relay or the pump itself, when it fails, the engine is left without fuel.  The cost of a driver module is not too expensive, with aftermarket options available at around $100. 

This component does require programming, unless you purchase a pre-programmed module. 

Ignition Coil 

Another main cause for the engine not starting on the Silverado is a failed ignition coil.

Older models had one ignition coil and a distributor – which  would prevent spark across all cylinders if it failed.

Newer Silverados have individual ignition coils for each individual cylinder.

All the same,  if one fails it can still prevent the engine from running. 

Spark Plugs 

Spark plugs are required for igniting the compressed air/fuel mixture inside of the cylinder.

Due to the harsh environment the inside of an engine produces, their lifespan is finite. 

Eventually spark plugs wear out and will require replacement.

These are usually replaced when you go for a tune-up.

It is always a good idea to follow maintenance recommendations on spark plugs to prevent unwanted no-starts. 

Chevrolet Silverado Won’t Shift Out of Park 

Not shifting out of park can be caused by a few reasons. 

Most modern-day automatic transmissions have a safety feature called “shift interlock”.

Essentially, you have to press the brake pedal before you can shift out of park – which is exactly what can cause the issue of your Silverado being stuck in park. 

There is a brake pedal switch located down at the brake pedal assembly. 

This switch not only activates the brake lights but the shift interlock solenoid as well.

If the brake pedal switch goes bad, the shifter will not move, because there is no signal going to the solenoid. 

A quick way to check if the brake pedal switch is working, is to ensure your brake lights are working. 

If the brake pedal switch is working, it could be the shift interlock actuator. 

The actuator is an electronic device that either prevents or allows the vehicle to be shifted out of park. 

A typical shift interlock solenoid replacement will run you approximately $100  according to RepairPal.

However, that does not include the price of a tow, or diagnosis. 

Older Silverado trucks had a cable that ran from the shifter, down to the transmission.

If the cable is seized, damaged or broken, that could also be the issue. 

This repair is more costly than the brake pedal switch or the shift interlock solenoid, as RepairPal states it will cost the average Silverado owner anywhere between $195 – $227.

This average repair estimate also does not include the price of a tow, or diagnosis. 

Chevrolet Silverado Keeps Dying/Randomly Shuts Off

Having your Silverado continually dying or randomly shutting off is cause for concern.

Not only do you lose total engine power, but on older models you lose power steering and power brakes as well.

This can often be quite a complex problem and there are many possible causes.

If you lack the experience and knowledge to properly repair a complicated issue such as this, you should leave it in the hands of a trusted professional. 

If you are attempting the repair yourself, the first thing you should do is scan the computer for diagnostic trouble codes (DTC). 

A DTC can send you in the right direction in terms of diagnosing the underlying issue. 

So, what causes random stalling? Well, generally stalling is caused by an engine issue or an issue with a component that controls the operation of the engine. 

Here is a list of the most common causes of random stalling: 

  • Faulty alternator 
  • Fuel pump damaged
  • Fuel filter needs replacing
  • Damaged/worn out spark plugs 
  • Dirty/faulty throttle body 
  • Camshaft and/or crankshaft position sensors faulty
  • Mass air flow sensor faulty
  • Throttle position sensor failure

It should be noted that the transmission could also be responsible, a defective torque converter or a faulty shift solenoid could be at the root cause.

As you can see, a great number of components can cause random stalling.  Even a poor electrical connection, such as a bad ground, or an intermittent computer failure can be guilty.  

There is no “fix-all” solution, which is why we recommend seeking the service or advice of a professional automotive technician on this matter. 

Chevrolet Silverado Beeping

Most Silverado owners kicked themselves when they found out how simple the source of the beeping was. 

The majority of beeping complaints were caused by a parking brake that was slightly engaged and simply needed to be released. 

So, do yourself a favor, and check the parking brake first.

If that is not your issue, it could still be something clear-cut.

Another common explanation was owners placing too much weight (such as groceries or a tool bag) on the passenger’s seat.  

The seat has seat weight sensors primarily used to determine if the airbag should be deployed or not. This resulted in the truck deeming there was a  passenger sitting in the seat without their seatbelt fastened. 

If both these scenarios are not behind the beeping noise, then a defective door switch could be to blame. 

If these suggestions prove unsuccessful your best option is to take your truck into your local Chevy dealership and get it checked out by a professional.

You may also be interested in our article: Chevrolet Silverado Beeping? (7 Common Causes)

Chevrolet Silverado Headlights Keep Burning Out 

Are you having trouble getting more than a few months out of a set of bulbs  on your Silverado? You aren’t alone. 

Owners claim that removing the daytime running light fuse assisted in bulb  longevity, but due to safety reasons, we recommend against it. 

With all that said, there are a few factors that can decrease the lifespan of a  bulb. 

Alternator output may be too high. If the voltage regulator in the vehicle’s charging system fails, then alternator output voltage can rise, causing the bulbs to constantly burn out.

Moisture can also be to blame. If the headlight assembly has moisture, this can cause headlights to burn out. 

As a side note, refrain from touching the bulbs with your bare fingers.

The oil on your hands will cause premature bulb failure. Always wear some sort  of gloves, such as latex or nitrile.  

Chevrolet Silverado Alarm Keeps Going Off 

Some Silverado owners have experienced the alarm randomly going off without anything obvious triggering it. 

Firstly, ensure you are opening the vehicle in the correct manner. Manually reaching through the window and opening the lock can cause the alarm to go off. 

Also, confirm your shifter is actually placed in park properly. 

Now if those conditions are met, there are a few other things that can be at fault.

Assuming your truck has no aftermarket alarm system installed, it could be  the key fobs.

GM key fobs are known for their issues, and if the key fobs are acting up – that could be your problem right there. 

Generally, the culprit is a faulty hood or door switch. The truck is locked,  and the hood switch fails, causing the alarm system to wrongfully detect  the hood opening. This triggers the alarm. 

But if you have an aftermarket alarm system, more often than not the problem lies in improper installation.  

Chevrolet Silverado Battery Keeps Dying 

Chevy Silverado owners have reported issues regarding a battery that keeps dying, which at the very least is a huge inconvenience.

Firstly, the battery itself should be tested.

As a rule of thumb – a battery on its way out is the most likely cause for the truck to not have electrical power. 

If the battery test indicates it is in good health, then the alternator could be the culprit.

The alternator charges the battery using a drive belt while the engine is running.  

Alternators that undercharge the battery can cause it to constantly die.

This is  because the vehicle is using electrical power from the battery, but the battery  is not being replenished with an electrical charge.

Another cause of a continually dying battery could be parasitic draw.

A parasitic draw is a term used to describe an electrical drain on the battery when the vehicle is off. 

Any electrical system can be responsible for this problem, though the majority of older Silverado owners with a draw found it coming from the radio.

The only way to properly find it is to hook up an ammeter to the battery with the vehicle off, and start pulling fuses until the amperage drops. 

If you do not have the tools required to perform a draw test, you will have to resort to a mechanic.

Due to the complicated nature of discovering where a draw lies, diagnostic fees could vary significantly.  

You may also be interested in our article: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Maintenance & Repair Costs (Complete Guide)

Chevrolet Silverado Won’t Go Past 40 MPH 

When a Silverado won’t go over 40 MPH, it is because the truck is in “Limp Mode”.

Limp mode is an engine mode designed to limit further damage. It still allows you to drive, but at a reduced speed. The gauge may display the message ‘reduced engine power’.

Limp Mode only comes on when the computer detects a serious problem. You should not continue to drive your vehicle in limp mode, it requires immediate repair.

There should be a “Check Engine Light” illuminated during Limp Mode. This means a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) should be stored, but not on all
occasions. The truck can be scanned with a basic scan tool.

Most owners found the issue of their Silverado not exceeding 40 mph was generally caused by a bad throttle position sensor in the throttle body. Other owners also found the wires to the throttle position sensor to be broken or damaged.

RepairPal states the average throttle position sensor replacement costs owners between $174 and $226. 

It’s worth noting that other components could be responsible for failure,  such as faulty ignition coils or spark plugs.  

Chevrolet Silverado Won’t Take Gas 

Modern vehicles have a system called “evaporative emissions (EVAP)”. This system prevents fuel vapors from being released into the atmosphere and burns them in the engine instead. 

EVAP systems have a charcoal canister that can become clogged. This can cause issues when refueling. The truck either won’t take gas, or it takes it very slowly. 

Another cause for this complaint is a blocked vent valve solenoid, which is also part of the EVAP system.

The vent valve controls the flow of outside air in and out of the charcoal canister. A faulty vent valve is a very common issue on 1999-2007 Silverados, and 2007 – 2008 Silverados.

GM released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) called 02-06-04-037D. This bulletin outlines the repair procedure for the vent valve solenoid and can be found on google by searching the TSB number stated above.

If the vent valve solenoid is faulty, you will likely have an illuminated engine light on the dashboard.

A faulty vent valve solenoid should trigger a P0446 code when you scan for a DTC. A P0446 code means: (EVAP) Vent Control Circuit Malfunction.

Chevrolet Silverado Keeps Blowing Ignition Fuse

A continually blowing fuse in a Silverado points to an underlying electrical issue.

Fuses blow because there is a short, or too much electrical current in a circuit. A fuse is a circuit protection device designed to open the circuit when amperage is too high.

This can be caused by starter motor wires becoming damaged, pinched or melted by the heatshield of the exhaust manifold.

However, a  short could be present in any part of the ignition circuit which would lead to the continual blowing of fuses.

Have an auto-electrician check the ignition circuit, they should easily be able to fault find the problem.

It is also worth-while to check all battery connections and makes sure they are clear of debris and tight.

Resources

https://www.chevrolet.com/owner-manuals