2019 GMC Sierra 3500 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system and fuel system issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Heavy-duty trucks are meant for the big jobs, but they also need to be comfortable and filled with the latest features, which is what customers hoped from the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500. The automaker claims that newer models of this truck are “without compromise,” but owners are finding defects from every part, including the electrical and fuel systems.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Service Brakes
2
Exterior Lighting
1
Engine
1
Power Train
1
Vehicle Speed Control
1
Engine And Engine Cooling:cooling System
1
Equipment:appliance:air Conditioner
1
Electrical System
1
Steering
1

lick on other model year to view more problems: 2018 2020

Problems with the Electrical System

The electrical system in a pickup truck is needed for charging, running accessories and keeping the vital components operating as intended. With the GMC Sierra 3500, the electrical system appears to be a dud.

Here’s one complaint left on the NHTSA website. “Driving to work. Power steering went out and braking system seems to be ineffective. Instrument panel service light came on with the battery indicator displaying ‘Battery Charging System’ fault.”

On top of what is being publically discussed about this heavy-duty truck, there have also been class-action lawsuits. One class-action lawsuit claims that some GMC trucks, including the GMC Sierra 3500 were equipped with a seven-inch in-dash infotainment system that was known to be defective. This system will max the volume without any input from the driver. Imagine that surprise while driving! Apparently, GMC didn’t want to “compromise” at all on the volume of the driver’s favorite tunes in the GMC Sierra 3500.

Problems with the Fuel System

To produce all of the power from the engine, the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD must be equipped with a solid fuel system, but it isn’t.

Here’s one complaint on Edmunds. “I bought my 3500HD Denali new 0 miles in 2019 and the DEF system went out around 130k miles, one of the fuel injectors went out around 140k miles and the DEF system went out again around 150k. I know 3 more guys personally and have met a few more guys that had the same issue with the DEF system. I’m very disappointed being that I’m a GM guy. I had to let the truck go back as a repo because I refused to put more money in the truck.”

On top of the fuel system issues, there’s also a recall on the diesel engine. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V328000 says that the engine block heater on over 318,000 trucks might have a short circuit. If left connected, this fault can lead to a fire. One would think that GM would be replacing the block heater with one that works, but that’s not the case. Instead, the automaker feels it is completely okay to disconnect the block heater, even for customers that have paid extra for it. Isn’t that the definition of a “compromise?” It seems that GM is in denial about the role the company plays in the heavy-duty truck market and with the GMC Sierra 3500. Acknowledging this problem would be the first step to recovery.

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.

Complaint Data

CategoryService Brakes
DateOct 11, 2022
StateNY
Description
The trailer brake system has stopped working and displays the message "service trailer brakes" it does this no matter if several different tralers are hooked to the truck. These trialers test fine in other trucks and with meters. The trailer brake controller does not work. There are many owners reporting the same thing. It is a critical safety feature to stop the truck & trailer and probably already has led to some fatalities. Please issue a recall. Thank you.
CategoryExterior Lighting
DateFeb 26, 2022
StateCA
Description
Intermittent issue with entire dash lights and radio lights going either fully out/off or extremely dark. Adjusting dimmer does not correct the issue. Affects driver safety due to acute driver distraction while trying to correct, and disables driver warning lights and all information systems, including towing related warnings (transmission temp/coolant temp, etc) dealer advises to bring it back when it is occurring, but occurrences are not predictable, nor do they occur on a regular basis. Cause is unknown, but since dimmer switch does not correct this issue, it is the probable cause.
CategoryEngine, Power Train, Vehicle Speed Control
DateOct 25, 2021
StateCA
Description
While towing our trailer, truck went into reduced power mode, regen message displayed; check engine light came on; loud bag occurred and hissing from under the hood. Truck slowed to 3 mph so we pulled to shoulder and turned the vehicle off. Truck had blown the hose off the the turbo. We reclamped and restarted. Displayed check engine light, reduced power & regen message to keep driving however truck wouldn't go over a 3mph crawl. Truck lost all power, everything shut down and wouldn't restart. No dash lights, no error, no crank, no power. We were dead on the highway in the truck lane while towing. This truck goes into reduced power mode every time it tries to regen and we have had it to the dealer multiple times however, the problem continues to get worse. When it does regen, sometimes it takes hours. Dealer says needed a manual regen & that is their solution. Yet problem persists.
CategoryEngine And Engine Cooling:cooling System, Equipment:appliance:air Conditioner
DateJun 23, 2021
StateKY
Description
The contact owns a 2019 gmc sierra 3500. The contact stated that while operating the vehicle with the air conditioner on and blowing air the occupants had experienced an acid/chemical burning sensation to the eyes and throat. The failure was intermittent and had affected multiple occupants. The vehicle was taken to the local dealer who was unable to duplicate the failure and no service was performed. The manufacturer was also contacted. The failure mileage was 27,000.
CategoryElectrical System, Service Brakes, Steering
DateJan 28, 2021
StateTX
Description
Driving to work. Power steering went out and braking system seem to be ineffective. Instrument panel service light came on with the battery indicator displaying "battery charging system" fault.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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.

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1 COMMENT
  • Jeff F

    About 6 months ago I was on my way to Las Vegas in my 2019 3500 Denali towing my 24’ box trailer. I had just started up an incline when I heard a loud bang which sounded like a cannon going off. I immediately lost almost all power in the truck. I pulled off to the shoulder and turned the truck off. I let it set for a few minutes and restarted the truck. I pulled back on the road but when I pushed on the accelerator there was no power and the truck was blowing white smoke or steam. Luckily there was a truck pull off at the top of the hill. I got a hold of GMC and they arranged for a tow truck as the truck was still under warranty. I had to get my son to drive about an hour to pick me and the trailer and then continue on to Las Vegas to pick up materials. When we got back home I got a hold of the dealership to see what was wrong with the truck. The manager informed me that it looked like the hose to the turbo charger exploded like a bomb. My truck has been there going on six months and they cannot tell me when it will be fixed. I use this truck for towing my equipment and fueling my equipment. This has cos me a lot of time and money. I have gotten different reasons from the manager. The latest excuse is that the original manufacturer of the part went out of business and they gad a patent on the part. The first excuse was that the part was defective and had to be redesigned. I think the first excuse was the accurate excuse. I had my personal mechanic do some digging and through a mechanic friend of his at a GMC dealership in Oregon he found out that this is a nation wide problem on this make and year GMC 3500 Denali. The manager of the shop where my truck informed me that 2 exactly the same trucks have come in for the same problem as mine.

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