2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Steering, brakes, electrical and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

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.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2021   2022   2023

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
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Electronic Stability Control
Exterior Lighting
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.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes GMC pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Mike R

    purchased 2019 model GMC X31 crew cab in Jan of 2021. I noticed several times the transmission or something was causing severe jerk – almost like being rear-ended.

    Took to dealer, said it is ‘normal.’ and sent me on my way.
    I brought it in about 6 months later and reported it again. Dealer made an electronic adjustment and significantly reduced the behavior.

    However, sometimes when backing up, the transmission seems to hang or do nothing for a second or two when shifting from Reverse to Drive causing another jolt as if being hit from behind. My 1st vehicle had a trans leak so when fluid was low, and vehicle on an incline, the trans would slip then engage. That is exactly how this truck feels sometimes.

    Just took to dealer again because within the last month the truck seems to stutter, or jerk while accelerating. Thought bad gas, possible engine misfire, or maybe speed control sensor.

    Dealer stated an issue with Torque converter and charged nearly $500 to change the fluid !!! Stated the fluid change resolves the issue 99.9% of the time and to drive 250 to 500 miles and issue should be resolved. Vehicle has less than 73,000 miles on it… sad.

    We have owned 3 Toyota vehicles for more than 200,000 miles with literally no issues other than normal maintenance. none! I am very disappointed in GMC at the moment.

    Let Me Be Clear – I am not driving this truck rough by any stretch of the imagination! Almost never shotgun start, when shifting from Reverse to Drive I always come to a complete stop before shifting, and typically run premium gas 2 – 3 tanks per month. I love almost everything about the truck, but VERY concerned about these issues


    2019 GMC Sierra 1500 sle brakes locking suddenly without warning, the brakes locked suddenly in the middle of highway with ongoing traffic. I’m too traumatized to drive this vehicle.

  • will A

    2019 GMC Sierra X31 With the FAMOUS “JIMMY SHIMMY” “SIERRA SHUDDER”, Transmission shudder during shifting. Problem gets much worse as the transmission heats up on longer drives. (over 25 miles).

  • John

    2019 elavation 2.7 litre. Feb 2021 replaced main harness from to apparently it ROTTED OUT. February 2023 2nd day of Polar Vortex -38 Celsius truck won’t start same messages come on service esc, service parking brake, engine power reduced and check anti lock brakes this after road side assistance Tryed to boost the vehicle. UNACCEPTABLE GM

  • Gidget B

    2019 GMC 1500 DENALI
    Just bought this truck 4 months ago. Yesterday with no warning slowed down to let another car turn but when I went to accelerate it started misfiring. Luckily no one was behind me because I had to coast to safety. Once I was able to stop the truck would turn over but not fire. 1 Hour later after OnStar had a tow service come, they started the truck but it was misfiring. They towed it to the dealer it was purchased at. Now my GMC app is sending all kinds of errors on this truck. I should have kept my Diesel.

  • Joe L

    2019 gmc Sierra 70,000 km blown cylinder and scored crankshaft.

  • Jr

    I have a 2019 GMC elevation 4×4. Bought it with 40k Miles on it, should have never went with GM. In the first two months I’ve had the transmission issue everyone is expirencing , all they did was a transmission flush and fluids replacement but it’s already acting up again. The whole truck creaks and bounces, and to me literally feels like it’s rattling apart. The quick boost from the turbo 4 is too quick for this fiberglass body panel, and it feels like the frame or body panels are starting to separate. Already all my window door panels are rattling and shaking on tiny bumps. This truck is horrible, last month the trade in value of my truck was 32k I paid 35. Now one month later my trade in value is being listed as 30k, what happened? Guess people are starting to find out about these trash trucks so sad

  • david

    have 2021 Chevy Silverado and the booth tooth audio for the phone is making noises on the other end not the inside of truck . need to find a what is causing the problem
    already did a reset

  • Jim P

    I have a 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab. Bought it in June of 2019. What a piece of shit. Has been in for recalls, went into limp mode, lost the brakes, warning lights, suspension sucks (FRONT END BOTTOMS OUT OVER THE SMALLEST DIPS), transmission feels like its going to fall out of the truc due to hard down shifts, seats feel like Im sitting on a damn piece of plywood. What a piece of crap for over $55,000 dollars. Why did this country bail out these damn auto makers anyhow when they are screwing the American people by putting out CRAP. Is GM willing to pay me for my time every time I have to take this junk in for another recall and waste my time. Wake up and stop letting the manufacturers push shit out the door that they know will be recalled. NEVER WILL BUY A GM PRODUCT AGAIN.

  • Vinny

    My legal concern is I was in a serious accident I rear-ended another car with my 2019 GMC sierra Limited the brakes failed the airbags burnt my two inside arms I got whiplash my daughter has whiplash she also hurt her leg my truck is totalled and they’re saying it’s my fault how do I go about this now very depressing

  • Walter

    While slowing to a stop it felt like I got rear-ended

  • Ron

    Bought a 2019 GMC Sierra Crewcab SLT 4×4 in spring 2020. My 3rd GMC, same model. Driver seat is so uncomfortable that I can’t drive it more than a couple or 3 hours without getting backpain. Horrible seat, for a truck with $72K list, it is a piece of shit. Getting some padding put in today! Hope that helps or will trade it for a Ford.

  • Randy

    2019 GMC 1500 Denali ($52,000) experienced brake system failure at 1,500 miles requiring reflashing of brake control module, and engine control module failures at 12,000 and 18,000 miles. Towed three times in first few months, Subaru BRZ (64,000 miles) not once. Was any real-world testing conducted with these vehicles? I can’t take it camping for fear it will leave my family stranded. Let me know when Subaru starts producing 1/2 tons…

  • Ken J

    2019 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 (late Dec 19 purchase, new)
    Steering Column Service Warning, SD Card Removed Warning both on the info center on between the speedo and RPM. Service rear vision system on the center console dash.
    31,000 miles. Issues started around 27,000 miles. Went into dealer, spent 3 days and they replaced the BCM (Body Control Module). Had truck back one day, rear vision system, service came up again. Took it back and they said the rear camera needed replacing. Bought it back again the next day to replace the camera. Been back on the road two days, no issues as yet.
    Symptoms, apart from the alarms, was the reboot of the navigation system while driving down the road. The screen would go blank (black), pause and then go back through a reboot and return with the navigation picking up again, like you had stopped, which you hadn’t.
    Todays issue is the front warning system; how close you are to something in front, like at a drive through is flashing intermittently and not staying constant, even if no outside parameters have changed.

  • Josh G

    I have a 2019 GMC Sierra SLT. It has been to the shop 10 times. Issues with the transmission, brakes and engine and the dealer is stating there is not. The truck pops into gear when truck is cold. Most recent issue is the cam shaft and lifters have to be replaced. This is after a valve seal failed and the truck leaked all oil out. The oil hung out on the skid plate and showed no sign of a leak on the ground. Truck will be in the shop for two weeks. I have reached out to GMC corporate and they are doing nothing besides telling me they’re speaking with the dealer. So, I will have a rebuilt engine at 50K miles and they’re not extending the warranty or compensating for depreciation. First GM product I have owned and will be the last.

  • Michael

    Biggest piece of junk I e ever bought. Multiple Safey and serious recalls. Truck will not start. No info to halo change battery. Crappy engineering. Never GM again.

  • Dan D

    6K on the vehicle and has been in the shop 4 times. Problem with Braking system. Braking system failure 62MPH top speed. Steering Assist Reduced, Service tailer brake system. No brakes reduced steering.
    Has happened 2 times. Dealership really hasn’t done anything but tell us not to use the App to start the truck. Now check engine light on. Going back in to service tomorrow. Also had transmission issues after going through the car wash.

  • peter g

    Purchased a 2019 gmc sierra 1500 wt ,infotainment screen went black at 70 km.3 months later and at 4400 km the problem still happens sometimes then corrects itself after a restart.I have taken it back to dealer 3 times, now being told it is a software problem and cannot be repaired until update comes out.Gm cannot tell me when it is going to be released.I wish i had never seen this thing. If you are thinking about one of these trucks dont make the same 45000 dollar mistake i did.

  • Danielle

    My truck has been in the shop 3 times and about to be for the 4th time. First time I had to tow it because the brakes locked up after I stopped and went to start again. It was so bad that I had to have it towed to the dealership. They told me it was a recall, but the man that brought it to me said it was stuck in 2wd-4wd. I ask about the had transmission change and I’ve been told that’s normal and GMC is aware of it. The driver side window malfunctions, where when I roll it up it goes halfway up and then back down. Now the turn signal has to be manually turned off. I have 7k miles and it’s a rolling piece of junk. I traded in a truck and now I can’t drive mine because it’s always in the shop. I called the GMC 1-866-522-9559 and well that was interesting. Cody with customer service advised she hasn’t heard of any of these issues. Told me to take it back to the shop. Wow. Advised there would have a senior adviser would call me. She did and now I have to take it to the shop so she can talk to the mechanic. It’s always an issue.

  • Alberto D

    Well I wish there was a way I could return my GMC Sierra pick up truck,
    You pay over 60,000 for a pick up truck, and it does a system reboot.
    And it fails so it locks up everything when it comes to the GPS the phone system the radio the backup camera, and the dealerships in my area even the one that I purchased it from cant see me until December, and Im going on vacation for the week of Thanksgiving.

    I even called the 800-number and they ran me through a series of turning the vehicle on an Off.
    and that didnt work so here I sit for the second day, Not even able to use the System

    If I had to do it all over again I would never have bought my GMC as far as im concerned they can return my money and take possession of the vehicle what a piece a SHXX a joke and Ill try to resolve my issue in 3 to 4 days.

  • Chet S

    I’m having transmission problems with a jerking shutter problem when coming to a stop or slowing down. Feels like I’ve been rear ended by a another car from behind…I have a 2019 gmc sierra crew cab x31 offroad edition

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