Chevrolet Silverado: What are the Common Problems?

If you are in the market for a new or used pickup, you are probably wondering what the common issues are with the Chevrolet Silverado. After all, these Chevys are the second-best selling pickups after the Ford F150. Knowing the common problems with each model you are looking at will give you a rough idea of what to check for on vehicles as you inspect them as well as what to expect during your ownership of the truck.

To identify these problem areas, I have scoured various recall and repair bulletins as well as owner forums to pinpoint exactly which issues are most likely to crop up each model year.

Chevrolet Silverado: What are the Common Problems?Issues with the Chevy Silverado tend to group into each generation, so here are the common problems within each generation:

  • First Generation (1999 – 2006): First-gen Silverados frequently experience transmission sunshell failures on the 460LE transmission. There was also a recall on nearly all models addressing a bad parking brake system.
  • Second Generation (2007 – 2014): This generation of Silverado was affected by the Takata airbag recall. These trucks also frequently experience broken or cracked dashboards and some were involved in the ignition lock recall as well.
  • Third Generation (2015 – Present): The transmission problems were finally behind us, but the newest generation of Silverados are still troubled by airbag and dashboard problems.

So there you have a very general overview of the issues common to each generation of Silverado. To truly gain an understanding of all issues specific to each model year, however, keep reading.

Chevy Silverado 1999 Models – Reported Issues

1999-2002 Chevrolet Silverado

Problem: 4WD motor position selector switch failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Problem: Fuel gauge failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Transmission sunshell failure

Solution: A complete gearbox disassembly is required to replace the sunshell.

Cost: $800 – $1200.

Chevy Silverado 2000 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: 4WD motor position selector switch failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Transmission sunshell failure

Solution: A complete gearbox disassembly is required to replace the sunshell.

Cost: $800 – $1200.

Problem: Fuel gauge failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Problem: Loss of Brake Fluid Pressure

Solution: Replace front right-hand brake pipe.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2001 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Parking Brake Failure

Solution: PBR brake systems require a low-force spring clip retainer, while TRW systems need a new brake cable assembly.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Transmission Sunshell Failure

Solution: A complete gearbox disassembly is required to replace the sunshell.

Cost: $800 – $1200

Problem: 4WD Motor Position Selector Switch Failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Fuel Gauge Failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Chevy Silverado 2002 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Parking Brake Failure

Solution: PBR brake systems require a low-force spring clip retainer, while TRW systems need a new brake cable assembly.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Transmission Sunshell Failure

Solution: A complete gearbox disassembly is required to replace the sunshell.

Cost: $800 – $1200

Problem: 4WD Motor Position Selector Switch Failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Fuel Gauge Failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Chevy Silverado 2003 Models – Reported Issues

2003-2005 Chevrolet Silverado
2003-2005 Chevrolet Silverado

Problem: Parking Brake Failure

Solution: PBR brake systems require a low-force spring clip retainer, while TRW systems need a new brake cable assembly.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Tailgate Hinge Corrosion

Solution: Replace tailgate hinge cables.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Incorrect Rear Seat Belt Position

Solution: Removing a portion of the guide loop.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Transmission Sunshell Failure

Solution: A complete gearbox disassembly is required to replace the sunshell.

Cost: $800 – $1200

Problem: 4WD Motor Position Selector Switch Failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Fuel gauge failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Chevy Silverado 2004 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Parking Brake Failure

Solution: PBR brake systems require a low-force spring clip retainer, while TRW systems need a new brake cable assembly.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Transmission sunshell failure

Solution: A complete gearbox disassembly is required to replace the sunshell.

Cost: $800 – $1200

Problem: 4WD Motor Position Selector Switch Failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Fuel gauge failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Problem: Incorrect Rear Seat Belt Position

Solution: Removing a portion of the guide loop.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2005 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Parking Brake Failure

Solution: PBR brake systems require a low-force spring clip retainer, while TRW systems need a new brake cable assembly.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Fuel Rail Failure (5.3-liter engines only)

Solution: Replace fuel filter.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Fuel Leak

Solution: Hub assembly replacement.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Transmission Sunshell Failure

Solution: A complete gearbox disassembly is required to replace the sunshell.

Cost: $800 – $1200

Problem: 4WD Motor Position Selector Switch Failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Incorrect Rear Seat Belt Position

Solution: Removing a portion of the guide loop.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Fuel gauge failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Chevy Silverado 2006 Models – Reported Issues

2006 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab
2006 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab | Photo from Wikipedia

Problem: 8.1-liter Engine Fuel Rail Clip

Solution: Replace the engine fuel rail pulse damper retainer clip.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Transmission Sunshell Failure

Solution: A complete gearbox disassembly is required to replace the sunshell.

Cost: $800 – $1200

Problem: 4WD Motor Position Selector Switch Failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Fuel gauge failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Problem: Wheel Hub Failure

Solution: Hub assembly replacement.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2007 Models – Reported Issues

2007 Chevrolet Silverado
2007 Chevrolet Silverado

Problem: Washer Fluid Heater Can Catch on Fire

Solution: Disable washer fluid heater.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: 4WD Motor Position Selector Switch Failure

Solution: New 4WD switch

Cost: $150.

Problem: Fuel Gauge Failure

Solution: Fuel gauge replacement.

Cost: $85 for parts, $700 to $1000 for a full repair including fuel pump.

Problem: Temperature Control Failure

Solution: New HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) actuators will fix this problem in most cases.

Cost: $100 (easy to do at home).

Problem: Wheel Hub Failure

Solution: Hub assembly replacement.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2008 Models – Reported Issues

2008 Chevrolet Silverado
2008 Chevrolet Silverado | Photo by David Guo

Problem: Airbag Inflator Defect Causing Metal Fragments to Emit during Airbag Deployment

Solution: Replace frontal airbag

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Problem: Washer Fluid Heater Can Catch on Fire

Solution: Disable washer fluid heater.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2009 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Airbag Inflator Defect Causing Metal Fragments to Emit during Airbag Deployment

Solution: Replace frontal airbag

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Chevy Silverado 2010 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Airbag Inflator Defect Causing Metal Fragments to Emit during Airbag Deployment

Solution: Replace frontal airbag

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Chevy Silverado 2011 Models – Reported Issues

2011 Chevrolet Silverado | Photo by Tino Rossini
2011 Chevrolet Silverado | Photo by Tino Rossini

Problem: Airbag Inflator Defect Causing Metal Fragments to Emit during Airbag Deployment

Solution: Replace frontal airbag

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Steering Linkage Separation

Solution: Tighten intermediate steering shaft bolts.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Problem: Ignition Lock Actuator Binding

Solution: Ignition lock housing replacement.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Rear Axle Cross Pin Failure

Solution: Install new cross pin.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2012 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Fuel Transfer Pump Failure on 6.6-liter Diesel Engines

Solution: Replace Fuel Transfer Pump

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Problem: Ignition Lock Actuator Binding

Solution: Ignition lock housing replacement.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2013 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Fuel Transfer Pump Failure on 6.6-liter Diesel Engines

Solution: Replace Fuel Transfer Pump

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Problem: Steering Column Lock Failure

Solution: Replace Steering Column

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2014 Models – Reported Issues

Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Z71 Crew Cab 2016
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Z71 Crew Cab 2016 | Photo by RL GNZLZ

Problem: Tie Rod Attachment Improperly Tightened

Solution: Inspect inner tie rod to make sure they are properly tightened and replace steering gear as necessary.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Problem: Front Airbag Failure

Solution: Software Update

Cost: Free (Under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2015 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Overheating Exhaust

Solution: Reprogram the engine control module.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Ignition Lock Actuator Binding

Solution: Ignition lock housing replacement.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Axle Shaft Failure

Solution: Replace faulty rear axle shafts.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Loose Knee Bolster under Steering Column

Solution: Tighten screws underneath the bolster as well as the ones on the bolster.

Cost: $100 (labor) or free, if you have the tools and know-how

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Problem: Front Airbag Failure

Solution: Software Update

Cost: Free (Covered under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2016 Models – Reported Issues

Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Z71 Crew Cab 2016
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Z71 Crew Cab 2016 | Photo by RL GNZLZ

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Problem: Loose Knee Bolster under Steering Column

Solution: Tighten screws underneath the bolster as well as the ones on the bolster.

Cost: $100 (labor) or free, if you have the tools and know-how

Problem: Front Airbag Failure

Solution: Software Update

Cost: Free (under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2017 Models – Reported Issues

Problem: Broken Front Control Arm

Solution: Replace both upper control arms.

Cost: Free (under recall)

Problem: Loose Knee Bolster under Steering Column

Solution: Tighten screws underneath the bolster as well as the ones on the bolster.

Cost: $100 (labor) or free, if you have the tools and know-how

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

Problem: Front Airbag Failure

Solution: Software Update

Cost: Free (Covered under recall)

Chevy Silverado 2018 Models – Reported Issues

Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Z71 2018
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Z71 2018 | Photo by RL GNZLZ

Problem: Loose Knee Bolster under Steering Column

Solution: Tighten screws underneath the bolster as well as the ones on the bolster.

Cost: $100 (labor) or free, if you have the tools and know-how

Problem: Broken/Warped Dash

Solution: New dash panel.

Cost: $500 – $600

In Summary

Okay, now that you are armed with the mighty power of knowledge, you will know what problems and issues to look for on your next Chevrolet Silverado. As you can see, each generation has common and slightly different issues that tend to rear their ugly heads. Luckily, many of them were or are covered under warranty, so GM will perform the fix free of charge.

As a general rule, the first model in each generation often has more issues than other years. That’s because Chevy works quickly to fix any common problems they find with their redesigned trucks on subsequent model years. Other problems, however, are more persistent.

Of course, it’s always still important to verify that proper maintenance has always been performed on any used vehicle you purchase. For more help as you search for your next pickup, check out our guide about buying a used pickup truck.

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