Steering, brakes, electrical and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
The GMC Sierra 1500 boasts of having the best-in-class cargo box volume, best-in-class horsepower and torque plus best-in-class front head and legroom. It’s no wonder that the automaker listed this pickup truck as a model providing “Details with Distinction.” Yet, those that actually drive this GMC truck aren’t impressed with all the accolades. Instead, they continually battle against malfunctioning electrical systems, defective service brakes, a poorly engineered powertrain and faulty steering.
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Problems with the Electrical System
Modern vehicles rely heavily on the electrical system to run correctly. Whether it is the infotainment system or the battery, everything has to be functional for the ride to be enjoyable. Yet, that’s not the case with the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500.
One Edmunds user says, “Stereo has already stopped connecting to Bluetooth. Dealer says it needs to get replaced. For some reason GMC only allows you to view text messages with android auto or apple car play and wait it gets better you have to plug your phone into a USB cord to do this? Which defeats the charger in the counsel that you just set your phone on? Either way I’ve been a Chevy/GMC guy for 30 years I put a lot of road miles on and buy a new truck every two to three years and for the first time I can’t wait to trade this turd in for something else. If you want tech this isn’t the truck for you.”
The company has nearly 90 manufacturer communications just dealing with the electrical system. That gives an insight into the problems faced within this truck. Among these documents, they discuss how the brake pad monitor life % counts down too quickly, defective fuses and the possibility of reduced power due to a potential throttle body issue. It’s clear after looking at these service bulletins that the company hasn’t paid any attention to the details, as previously claimed. Instead, all of these defects only add up to create a full-size lemon.
2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Complaint Summary
|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Electronic Stability Control|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking|
Problems with the Brakes
One of the most important things a vehicle must do is stop properly. With the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500, owners continue to find that the service brakes aren’t reliable.
One Edmunds reviewer puts the situation perfectly. “I leased a 2019 GMC AT4 Crew Cab. Factory 2 inch lift with 18” rims and the Goodyear Wranglers. After driving the truck for approx. 100 miles there was a horrible whirling or whipping sound from front driver side. Also, a disturbing rumbling sound under the passenger seat. As usual, the dealer said it was tire noise! It was more of an axle, front end noise. They allowed me to return the truck..So I got the 2019 Sierra Denali. I hit 5000 miles and lost my brakes!!! Similar to other forums. I had no braking power unless I pushed the pedal to the floor. UNACCEPTABLE GM!!! I also have a check engine light on. When I opened the hood, I heard a hissing sound from the driver side.”
No one wants to deal with brakes that don’t work, especially when using a truck to tow with. Still, among the many communications found from the automaker, one is especially disturbing. In Service Bulletin #18319, GMC states that some vehicles might be missing the cotter key clip retainer from the front brake pad guide pin. This sounds like recall-worthy material, but nothing has been issued. Maybe the engineers were too busy focusing on other “details” that they couldn’t be bothered ensuring every part of the brake system was installed.
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Problems with the Transmission
Based on the name, it’s clear that the powertrain is responsible for supplying much needed power. When the engine or other components don’t work correctly, it’s difficult to get the pickup to move anywhere.
We see this illustrated by an NHTSA complaint. “While driving down road, sudden message of No Oil Pressure, Turn Off Engine Immediately. Was able to pull over with no power (luckily it was safe to do so at the time). Left a large puddle of oil underneath the front of the vehicle. Also, left large cloud of smoke from oil splashing on hot components underneath vehicle (exhaust, etc…) Behind me. Vehicle was undrivable and had to be towed. Large oil leak was the result of a burst oil cooler line. Dealer did not show me the failed part. Unable to confirm nature of burst.”
It appears that the company is dealing with many oil leaks considering that they issued Service Bulletin #18NA150, which shows technicians where to look for the leaks. There are two issues found with this document. First, how many oil leaks are occurring that documentation about it is needed? Secondly, why do the technicians require a diagram of the engine to find an oil leak? This isn’t rocket science. Considering that the word distinction means “excellence that sets someone or something apart from others” it’s clear to see that the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 doesn’t live up to its tagline. It is set apart, but not by excellence.
Problems with the Steering
The last thing anyone wants to deal with when driving a full-size truck is trouble with the steering. Whether the owner is hauling cargo or a trailer, no one needs more hassle while trying to maintain a straight path.
Again, we see this is something many owners are struggling with. One Edmunds reviewer says, “Own a 2019 Denali with the ultimate package. I have had it in the shop 4 times for ride quality and vibrating gear shift. Was recently in the shop for 3 weeks, and all that was done was changed one tire. The truck rides like the tires are out of balance. This is the most expensive vehicle that I have ever owned, and it’s my 3rd and worst Sierra. The gear shift vibration is so bad, it draws your eyes to it. Talking about distracted driving!”
As far as the steering and suspension on this truck, GMC can’t seem to get it right. These systems are riddled with service bulletins discussing noises, leaning vehicles and vibration. Considering that owners put out extra money to get behind the wheel of this truck over the comparable Chevy Silverado, one would assume that all of these kinks had been worked out during production. What exactly are the details that GMC worked on during manufacturing because they surely aren’t seen in the electrical, braking, powertrain or steering systems? Looks like they were only focused on becoming the best-in-class with equipment without giving any thought to how well it all worked.
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