2020 Chevrolet Colorado Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Transmission, electronic stability control and electrical system issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

While the majority of pickup owners look for a full-size truck, there are plenty of people getting behind the wheel of a compact version instead. The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado is a top choice, offering “all work for more play.” However, customers find that there is certainly more work involved while trying to resolve a multitude of issues that relate to the electronic stability control, electrical system, exterior lighting, steering, and transmission.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
6
Power Train
5
Steering
4
Engine
3
Electrical System
3
Service Brakes
2
Exterior Lighting
2
Visibility/wiper
1
Seat Belts
1
Suspension
1

Problems with the Electronic Stability Control

Advanced systems help vehicles remain under control at all times. Yet, there are serious problems with the electronic stability control system on the Colorado.

One NHTSA complaint says, “Bought 2020 Chevy Colorado WT exactly two weeks ago today and on my way home from the 3 day weekend the traction light as well as ESC Service light came on. I have 227 miles on my vehicle.”

There are no manufacturer communications related to this problem, but it is something that should never be dealt with. Basically, the “all work” aspect of this truck is to struggle to keep the pickup on the road without any major warning systems occurring. In order to experience “more play,” customers might prefer to go with a different brand altogether. Maybe it’s time to jump ship and go to Ford after all.

Problems with the Electrical System

On any vehicle, the electrical system must be designed to handle the advanced systems it runs. Yet, complaints are abounding regarding the faults occurring.

One of the most alarming is recorded in an NHTSA complaint. “The radio/info screen went black while in use (and) wouldn’t come back on. Turned (the) vehicle off and back on and it started working. While (the) vehicle was parked and off, the dash caught on fire and discharged the passenger side airbag.”

Another NHTSA complaint reports a fire too, although it isn’t clear whether this was an electrical fault. “While driving (at) approximately 65 mph, the warning, ‘failed seat belt’ suddenly displayed. When pressing the brake pedal the vehicle would not stop, and smoke was present in the cabin of the vehicle. After coasting to a stop, the occupants exited the vehicle and flames were present, coming from under the vehicle. A bystander extinguished the flames and the fire and police departments came to the scene and filed reports.”

The mileage of this Chevrolet Colorado was 10,000. It was towed away and examined by the manufacturer, “but no information was available.”

One Edmunds review talks about several problems. “Check engine light after 20 miles for some wiring issue, multiple problems with the air conditioner that the dealer can’t duplicate, and then today my touchscreen locked up. All within the first 2,000 miles.”

In this situation, Chevy has issued countless communications about troubles with the electrical system. One such report, Service Bulletin #070604025M, states that customers might hear a noise, ticking sound or clicking when starting the engine. However, Chevy wants customers to know that this is a “normal characteristic.” Basically, the automaker is saying – nothing to see here! Telling truck owners that strange noises are normal is only going to further alienate the base.

Problems with the Headlights

To drive the Colorado at night, it must be equipped with headlights that provide maximum visibility, but that’s not the case with this Chevy truck.

Another NHTSA complaint states, “The low light output while driving is very dim and the visibility seems to be reduced. While driving thru back roads poorly illuminate it seems that the lights are not enough.”

Again, Chevy isn’t hiding troubles with the lighting. Service Bulletin #PIT5516D talks about dealing with the accessory off-road lamps becoming inoperative. Basically, Chevrolet wants customers to “work” and “play,” but they might not be able to see clearly in the process.

Problems with the Transmission

Several NHTSA complaints are due to transmission issues, including jerky shifting and vibrations dubbed the Chevy Shake. They say it happens at various speeds from 25-80 mph. For example:

“The vehicle is experiencing a shake and/or shudder during light throttle acceleration between 25 and 80 mph steady state driving when (the) transmission is not actively shifting gears. The condition is as if I were driving over rumble strips.” The owner adds that the shudder has persisted since the first day he drove it with only 5 miles on the clock.

Another says it typically happens when in cruise control traveling at between 50 and 60 mph when transitioning from going downhill to uphill. This driver also describes the feeling of going over rumble strips.

“The transmission on my 2020 Chevrolet Colorado often jerks when shifting,” says another. “This is an automatic transmission. GM is aware of this issue and problem but are not resolving this problem as they indicated it should be acceptable.”

Some of the complaints highlight the fact that this is an established, well-known problem with Chevy Colorado pickup trucks. As one of them states, referencing a technical service bulletin: “TSB 18-NA-355 shows (the) same issue with 2017-2019 Colorados, but should probably include 2020 models as the condition is identical to what my vehicle is experiencing.”

Problems with the Steering

The steering problems recorded in NHTSA complaints relate to safety, although they describe several different issues.

One complaint states that the power steering suddenly stopped working while the Colorado was towing a trailer that weighed about 5,000 lbs. The message that popped up on the dash was, Service Power Steering Drive With Care. The complaint records that one person was injured in the incident and says that the “truck is unfit for driving safely.”

Another states: “ Making right-hand turns intermittently, the steering started locking until let off the throttle. Then it would release.” After this happened a couple of times, the owner decided to take the vehicle to a dealer.

But, while making a right-hand turn, the “steering wheel made a hard right-hand turn to the stop, and was so hard (I) couldn’t hold on to the steering wheel. (It) happened so fast (I) couldn’t do anything. (I) almost crashed into the shoulder of the road.

“The electric steering system on a Colorado is extremely dangerous. (I’ve) never had anything like this happen with any other vehicles I’ve owned, and (I’ve) had many different brands.”

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Complaint Data

CategorySteering
DateOct 20, 2022
StateNY
Description
The contact owns a 2020 chevrolet colorado. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the steering wheel was intermittently difficult to maneuver. No warning lights were illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer for routine services and the contact made the mechanic aware of the failure. The vehicle remained at the dealer awaiting the diagnostic test and repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and a case was opened. The approximate failure mileage was 16,000.
CategorySteering
DateApr 03, 2022
StateTX
Description
Making right hand turns intermittently the steering started locking until let off the throttle then it would release happened couple of times trying to get into a dealer to look at it. But the last time making right hand turn steering wheel made a hard right hand turn to the stop and was so hard couldn't hold on to the steering wheel happened do fast couldn't do anything almost crashed into the shoulder of the road the electric steering system on a colorado is extremely dangerous never had anything like this happen with any other vechiles I've owned and had many different brands.
CategoryEngine, Unknown Or Other
DateAug 12, 2021
StateTX
Description
1)the exhaust system has leaked into the vehicles interior on at least two occasions may 7 2021 and july 24 2021. Arrangements can be made for vehicle inspection. We will be happy to help by any means we can. 2) there were both large amounts of exhaust fumes to the extent that I had to turn off the truck and exit the vehicle iimmediately. I might have died. Fortunately I was already parked so I did not need exit the roadway. It had been a long hot day in the mid to upper 90s I was about to take a brief nap in the vehicle and could have potentially died if I had fallen asleep as I was waiting in the parking lot on my partner to complete a couple purchases and was anticipating about a 30 to 45 minute wait. The other time happen on may 7 2021 while my partner was driving on the highway by them self. The exhaust fumes were bad enough that all windows had to be rolled down and needed to exit hhhighway for the enext exit to park and exit the vehicle as soon as possible. Partner notes that they saw exhaust smoke/fumes coming iin from the vents with the air conditioner running . 3) the dealer has not been able to reproduce the problem. Vehicle has not been to a independent repair facility for the issue 4) no other inspections have been performed outside of dealership staff. 5) no warning lamps or messeges came on. The amount of exhaust fumes coming into the vechle was not a gradual ooccurrence but a sudden large amount of fumes. We will most likely be driving with the windows down partially, in addition to carrying a home carbon monoxide detector in the vehicle to assist in saving our lives and others on the road and to help document the problem.
CategoryPower Train
DateAug 12, 2021
StateND
Description
The transmission on my 2020 chevrolet colorado often jerks when shifting and down shifting. This is especially true in colder temperatures where there is a significant hesitation and jerk when shifting from 1st gear to second gear. This is an automatic transmission. Gm is aware of this issue and problem but are not resolving this problem as they indicated it should be acceptable. I have contacted both the dealer and gm. There have been no accidents related to this issue.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other, Visibility/wiper
DateAug 05, 2021
StateCA
Description
It's occurred twice and I recorded it the second time. The infotainment display goes to a green multicolored pixelated screen and doesn't allow me to see what is behind me. If I can't see like I'm supposed to with the reverse camera technology, would this not be a safety concern if a child, or handicapped person -blind, deaf, or both- got behind me somehow?
CategoryPower Train
DateJun 08, 2021
StateTN
Description
Vehicle is experiencing a shake and/or shudder during light throttle acceleration between 25 and 80 mph in a steady state of driving when the transmission is not actively shifting gears. The vehicle shudders as if I am driving on rumble strips. Tsb 18-na-355 shows same issue with 2017-2019 colorados, but should probably include 2020 models as the condition is identical to what my vehicle is experiencing.
CategorySteering
DateMay 18, 2021
StateHI
Description
Power steering suddenly stopped functioning as I was towing a trailer approx 5000 lbs. ‘service power steering drive with care' popped up on dash. No dealership visit as this just happened. Truck is unfit for driving safely.
CategoryEngine, Power Train
DateApr 10, 2021
StatePA
Description
My new chevy colorado truck (10000 miles) has experienced vibration issued between 30-60 mph. Typically it happens when in cruise control between 50-60 mph and I transition from going downhill to uphill and the engine is starting to re-engage and accelerate to maintain speed. It feels like I am going over rumble strips and items in my glove box can be heard vibrating around. Apparently it is common enough that on the internet it is known as the "chevy shake". I am worried about premature transmission failure. Also, if the internet is correct, chevy has known about the problem since at least 2018. Also, if the internet is correct, chevy has known about the problem since at least 2018. I have always it was the pavement conditions until I did some research online. I think I have really notices it within 3 months of purchase in may 2020.
CategoryEngine
DateFeb 22, 2021
StateCA
Description
Engine temperature gauge runs in red after 30-40 minutes of driving. After 10-15 minutes the gauge will go back to normal then will go back to hot. This is both city and highway driving.
CategoryElectrical System, Power Train
DateFeb 19, 2021
StateOH
Description
Front and rear axle locker failed to engage
CategoryPower Train
DateDec 31, 2020
StateWA
Description
The vehicle is experiencing a shake and/or shudder during light throttle acceleration between 25 and 80 mph steady state driving when transmission is not actively shifting gears. The condition is as if I were driving over rumble strips. Tsb 18-na-355 addresses this issue in 2017 - 2019 chevy colorado pickup trucks with the 8 speed transmission. The 2020 model should be added as it does not appeared to be fixed at this time. I purchased this vehicle brand new from the factory with only 5 miles on it. The shudder issue has been persistent from the very first day I drove it.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateDec 19, 2020
StateVA
Description
While driving the radio will go suddenly to full blast without reason. After about 2-3 seconds it will return to normal volume
CategorySteering, Unknown Or Other
DateDec 16, 2020
StateFL
Description
My 2020 colorado has a sloshing sound coming from passengers front going towards back when accelerating. Also the truck has been going out of alignment since the day I got it. Dealer claims 'rear thrust angle not aligned from factory' every month I have been back to get it realigned
CategorySeat Belts, Service Brakes
DateDec 09, 2020
StateNJ
Description
Tl* the contact rented a 2020 chevrolet colorado. The contact stated that while driving approximately 65 mph, the warning "failed seat belt" suddenly displayed and when pressing the brake pedal the vehicle would not stop and smoke was present in the cabin of the vehicle. After coasting to a stop the occupants exited the vehicle and flames were present coming from the under the vehicle. A bystander extinguished the flames and the fire and police departments came to the scene and filed reports. The vehicle was later towed away. The manufacturer was contacted regarding the incident and the vehicle was examined but no information was available. The failure mileage was 10,000. *bf*jb
CategoryExterior Lighting, Service Brakes, Suspension
DateDec 05, 2020
StateCA
Description
Gushing sound of liquid when start. Rattling when accelerating noisy suspension screen turned black once or twice clunking noise when shifting noise in brakes
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateNov 27, 2020
StateGA
Description
While starting to drive the vehicle a gushing water sound is coming from behing the dash.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateOct 01, 2020
StateIN
Description
While beginning to accelerate after starting the vehicle, I noticeable sound that is best described as 'water rushing' is heard from behind the passenger-side dash area. After conducting some research I have narrowed it down to the issue of air trapped in the coolant system. Issue is isolated to the area of the heater core. Have also seen mentions of service bulletins where, if the vehicle is under warranty, it can be brought in and the tank can be drained and refilled properly.
CategoryElectronic Stability Control
DateSep 04, 2020
StateTX
Description
Bought 2020 chevy colorado wt exactly two weeks ago today and on my way home for the 3 day weekend the traction light as well as esc service light came on. I have 227 miles on my vehicle!
CategoryElectrical System
DateAug 01, 2020
StateMS
Description
The radio/info screen went black while in use. Wouldn't come back on turned vehicle off and back on and it started working. While vehicle was parked and off the dash caught on fire and discharged the passenger side air bag
CategoryExterior Lighting
DateJun 17, 2020
StateGA
Description
The low light output while driving is very dim and the visibility seems to be reduced. While driving thru back roads poorly illuminate it seems that the light are not enough. *tr

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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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