2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine, powertrain, electrical system, and brake issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

When it comes to finding a pickup truck, many consumers flock to the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Maybe it’s because the company claims it is the “strongest, most advanced,” or perhaps it’s just because there aren’t many options on the market. Either way, the Chevy Silverado 1500 is a disappointment in many people’s eyes. With complaints about the engine, electrical system, powertrain, brakes, and many other components and systems a lot could go wrong behind the wheel of this truck.

Click on other model years to view more problems:  2019   2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

Nearly half of the complaints about the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) between December 2020 and the end of February 2023 relate to the engine. Other components and systems that have elicited numerous complaints are the powertrains, electrical systems, and brakes. In many instances, two or three components are linked in single complaints.

But, many others are implicated too. They include airbags, backover prevention, exterior lighting, fuel and propulsion systems, seatbelts, steering, the structure of the vehicle, suspension, tires, vehicle speed control, visibility/wiper, and the wheels of the truck.

The most common issue is the lifters, which are an essential element of any internal combustion engine. Lifter problems are listed in complaints filed in the Engine, Powertrain, and Service Brake categories.

Lifter problems are common in many GM vehicles including 2019-2021 Chevrolet Silverados. Unfortunately, many owners who find themselves with faulty lifters in their vehicles are experiencing major engine failure as a result. Additionally, there is no evidence of any repair that will fix faulty lifters. Because of this, it’s not surprising that many owners are reporting engine failures as well.

Typical symptoms include shuddering, shaking, surging, and the engine misfiring. Many owners report that their engines make knocking sounds. Sometimes owners relate them to engine problems, sometimes to malfunctioning powertrains, and a few seem to assume that they are electrical system issues.

A number of the electrical system and brake complaints highlight issues with electronic stability control (ESC) and electronic brake control module (EBCM) malfunctions.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Air Bags
Fuel/propulsion System

Accidents & Recalls

There are also complaints that describe horrific incidents where 2021 Silverado 1500s have caught fire and been destroyed suddenly, for no obvious reason. These are filed in the Unknown or Other, Engine and Engine Cooling, and Electrical categories.

There are 5 recalls for the 2021 Silverado 1500, but none are designed to fix any of the problems mentioned above. Instead, they relate to airbags, seat belts, and tires. The recall issues covered can increase the risk of a crash or risk of injury if the truck crashes.

Silverado 1500s That Catch Fire

Imagine your truck catching fire and exploding or blowing up in your driveway! These are both scenarios described by owners of 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500s.

Trucks Exploding & Blowing Up

An owner from Massachusetts says in a complaint that witnesses saw small flames and embers flying up from the truck bed … and then there was a “big explosion.” This car fire started at the rear of the cabin between the cabin’s rear window and the truck bed. It engulfed the area around and inside the fuel tank. “The fire engulfed the inside cabin within seconds and caused a total loss of the car.”

An owner from Michigan states in an NHTSA complaint that about 3 minutes after parking his Silverado 1500 in his driveway, a neighbor ran “to tell me my truck was on fire.” It then “blew up” and was “a complete loss.” He said there hadn’t been any issues while driving. But the fire department personnel who put the fire out told him it was the fourth 2021 Chevrolet Silverado that had burst into flames in the past 6 weeks! “The fire started in the engine compartment and quickly raged out of control. The hood and engine disintegrated from the heat.”

The complaint goes on to say that if the Chevy had been stuck in traffic, “I would have been in the vehicle and may not be here typing this report right now. It went up that fast. This is a major safety issue that needs to be thoroughly investigated before somebody loses their life.”

Fire Spells Destruction

An owner from Iowa had a similar experience. About 35 minutes after parking and turning the vehicle off he was notified that the vehicle had caught on fire. The fire department was called to the scene and (they) extinguished the flames. They also determined that the fire originated in the engine compartment. Like the truck that blew up, it was also destroyed.

Another truck caught fire while driving down the interstate in Florida. Passengers in the vehicle smelled smoke, “and within seconds the truck was on fire.” Investigations by General Motors and the insurance company didn’t reveal how the fire started. But, “it did come up from both sides of the cab, and very quickly.”

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Malfunctioning Lifter Problems

There are multiple complaints to the NHTSA about lifter failure. More often than not, these complaints are linked to other issues. When the lifter fails, vehicles commonly stall and lose power on the road. Ultimately, lifter failure can lead to substantial engine damage and sometimes complete engine failure.

An owner from Texas had lifter issues twice. Eventually, the dealer installed a new engine, and the owner was without the truck for about 6 months. A new complaint from the same owner states, “I have recently begun getting the check engine light along with sputtering sensation while the truck is on idle.”

“Strange loud random clicking sounds” alerted an owner from Florida that something was wrong with a 2021 Silverado RST, 5.3. It would lose power when taking off or when unsuccessfully accelerating. There were no check engine lights or other warnings displayed on the dash. The owner discovered loose, broken bolts in the engine compartment. But the Chevy dealership “acted like there was nothing wrong with it.” Convinced it was a lifter issue, the owner did some digging and discovered that lifters had already been replaced around 4,000 miles. Only when the dealership discovered multiple problems including misfiring, a rocker arm that wasn’t moving, and broken bolts in the cylinder heads did they agree to replace all the left and right side lifters.

But quite often, dealerships will only replace one of the defective lifter banks. Also, there appears to be a shortage of parts. For instance, an owner from Alaska’s #3 Cylinder failed in July 2022. The complaint states that an all-new lifter kit needed to be installed. The “truck was knocking violently and died.” But the parts were on back order nationwide and the dealership had “no clue when replacement parts will arrive.”

Dealers Often Replace Just One of the Lifter Banks

An owner from Oregon experienced engine valve lifter failure at 20,000 miles. There was also “engine hesitation and power loss,” as well as problems with the parking brake and electronic stability control (ESC). Chevrolet was to replace the damaged lifters, “but refused to replace both banks of defective lifters.” As a result of the malfunction, the owner was stranded 1,200 miles from home and for more than 2 weeks waiting for the Silverado 1500 to be repaired.


There are lots of complaints that the dealer would only replace one bank. Another example comes from an owner in Pennsylvania who states that “a lifter went bad. GM will not replace all of the lifters, just one side of the engine, due to the vehicle having over 8000 miles. Mine currently has 12,500. I no longer feel safe knowing that GM is replacing only half of the known defect with new parts that have the same issue.” This is what he was told at the repair facility. His concern is that the engine of the vehicle could fail again, resulting in a loss of acceleration.

An owner from Georgia also had only the lifters on one side of the engine replaced. This was done after “the truck began to cut out, shake, and misfire. My dash began to flash and state I had a parking brake failure. I had no choice but to be towed.” The diagnosis was 2 lifters and 1 rod failure. So, “they replaced the rod and all lifters on one side of the engine. I took the truck home for one night and it broke down again. The dealership stated it was fixed for a second time. When I picked it up again, I made it 1 mile down the road before the truck had the exact same symptoms with shuddering and misfiring. It is at the dealership for a third time.”

Stability and Brake Control Problems

Most of the electronic stability control (ESC) and electronic brake control (EBSM) problems are regarded as being either related to issues with the electrical system, brakes, or powertrain of the truck. Sometimes the automatic braking system (ABS) is also mentioned. Basically, the EBSM software has the ability to disable the ABS and ESC systems, which may result in ABS and/or ESC warning lights flashing. They may also be a symptom of lifter failure.

Both the ABS and ESC are vital for the stability of vehicles, and if they malfunction, there will always be an increased risk of crashing. EBCM software issues can also lead to brakes wearing prematurely and drivers having to use more effort to brake. In these cases, the check engine light also comes on quite often.

A typical example comes from an owner in South Carolina who describes how “the whole truck started shaking and check engine light, service ESC light and service parking brake light came on. Thankfully I was near an exit ramp and got off as I had almost no power. I limped my truck back to the dealership where they diagnosed it as lifter failure and (they) replaced both banks of lifters. This is a known problem with General Motors and (it) is simply a matter of time before a terrible accident occurs.”

An owner from Tennessee who had only 72 miles on the odometer, reports a warning light stating “service brake assist.” The dealer confirmed that the brake control module was faulty, but said that the vehicle was safe to drive until the new part arrived. The owner submitted the complaint “because of previous significant vehicle recalls on record for the same issue in 2018-2020.”

Shuddering & Shaking Issues

Despite the fact that there aren’t any recalls for these dysfunctional trucks, there are lots of manufacturer communications. These include technical service bulletins (TSBs) that guide dealerships that are faced with customers needing problems fixed on their 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 vehicles.

For example, there have been several TSBs between March 2022 and January 2023 that try to address complaints about shudders and surges. From the start, GM said that these may be caused by various transmission and engine concerns! Clearly, they aren’t sure what the problem is. But what has become clear is that many Chevrolets and GMC vehicles, including 2015-2022 Silverado 1500 models, are affected.

Then there are also several TSBs that deal with chirping noises that go back to 2019 Silverado models. At first, dealers were told not to try and repair vehicles until a solution had been found. An owner from Michigan indicates in a complaint that the dealer said they couldn’t repair the truck because of this instruction. It states that there “is a huge population at risk for possible loss of control and/or loss of steering to be supported by a simple GM comment. There must be a fix.” But there wasn’t!

A year later, GM told dealers there was a fix, but that the necessary parts were out of stock. They said that it didn’t matter because it wouldn’t affect the “durability” of vehicles.

By 2022, GM’s instructions changed, stating that the problem wouldn’t affect the durability or operation of the vehicle but may be annoying! They also warned dealers that the new repair was “different than previous repair attempts.” Furthermore, “any vehicle that has had a previous repair attempt and the condition repeat before 1/27/2022 should have this repair performed.”

What to do if your 2021 Silverado is a Lemon?

If you think you have a lemon that doesn’t mean you need to be stuck with it. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of people who have bought lemons. Don’t worry about legal fees because, when it comes to lemon law, the law makes Chevrolet pay the legal fees.

Lemberg Law will assess your problems free of charge and help you determine whether you have a claim against Chevrolet for a 2021 Silverado 1500 lemon. All you have to do is call our Helpline or fill out a contact form right here.

Brian Jones

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
  • Ron

    I have 2021 Silverado custom trail boss 50k miles having issues with shift to park. Its been at the dealer now 4 times for the same issue. They replaced 2 parts and now the dealer is going to talk to the gm engineer. It sometimes takes me 5 to 10 minutes to get me key out after I have shifted to park. It’s getting old. Going on a month and 3 weeks now.

  • Bill G

    Chevrolet replaced the lifters on one side and would not replace the other side. They told me to drive the vehicle with it jumping and missing and that it would not be a problem. I thought the universal joints would come out of the vehicle. I was without a vehicle for 30 days and they refused to give me a vehicle to drive from their lot or rental for me.
    My question is if I file this class action suit does it affect my 100,000 limited power train warranty if the lifters on the other side go out?

  • Jettie

    I have 2021 Silverado LTZ. I smell gas in the cabinet. At first I though maybe I had gotten gas on my hand or clothes. But one day my daughter and I were out in about, she asked if I smell gasoline. Just to be sure I took to the dealership. Now I have to wait two weeks for appointments. With all the issues mention now I’m wondering if I should just get rid of its.

  • Martin J

    I have a 2021 Silverado Z71 RST at 19,000 miles had a miss in it check engine light came on-Service Parking Brake and Service ESC light came on read the code said misfire #1 cylinder called dealer I bought it from they said it would be 3 weeks before getting it in found a dealer that would take it in 1 week 3 days later they text me and said all lifters on drivers side had to be replaced but said nothing about the Service Parking Brake or Service ESC sounds like I may have a lemon after reading everyone’s comments!

  • Chris f

    2 days after picking up my 2021 Silverado Z71 from the dealership the truck lost power, dash was blank and all electrical systems were gone. Tried to restart the truck and wouldn’t fire. I jumped the battery and managed to drive it back to the dealership with no dash or touchscreen powered. The dealership said it was a bad cell in the battery and replaced it. Now i am hearing a squeaking noise coming from the drivers side front wheel. Mind that the truck has only 8,900 miles on it and sits in my driveway 5 days a week since and only use it as a weekend driver. So what could that be and should i be concerned?

  • Robert S

    Purchased a 2021 Silverado brand new last year. At 8,800 miles the engine started backfiring with various codes. We were on our way to Texas to visit a terminally ill brother. After returning to California the dealer told us it’s a common problem and would cost over $10,000 to fix if the truck was not under warranty. They did not even provide a rental car! After a little research I really wish we never purchased this truck.

  • Rich

    I have a 2021 Silverado with 8,800 miles and have no issues. Remember that these motors have a plastic intake on them so you will here lift noise more than if it had an aluminum intake on it. I have towed with this truck with no issues. This truck has been very reliable.

  • C.Williams

    I have a 2021 Silverado TrailBoss I bought brand new in late May last year. Since then I have had taken it in 5 maybe 6 times for multiple issues. Several miss fire codes, the steering box rack and pinion replaced, A/C unit repaired once and now the A/C evaporator needs replaced. My truck will be at the service department for a week. I’m sick of this Truck
    Help me!!

  • Matthew P

    I purchased my 2021 Silverado brand new in February 2021. To date, its been to two different dealerships on seven different occasions for non-working auto start stop. Each time, they “diagnose” my truck with different issues, meanwhile my non-working auto start stop issue still persists. Second to that, since March of 2022, I’ve been advised that my truck has had a litany of trouble codes, some active/some history: Driver Steering Wheel Air Bag Deployment Loop Stage 1/Stage 2 Open; ECU Security Software Code Not Programmed; LIN Bus 1 Lost Communication with Device 8; Control Module- Internal Malfunction; Lost Communication with Power Steering Control Module; and Lost Control with Body Control Module. In spite of all these troubling codes, GM still can’t resolve my issue, or the trouble codes for that matter.

    At this point, GM can just buy this thing back from me, and deservedly mark it as a LEMON!!

  • Elisabeth A

    Chevy Silverado 2021 15000 miles blew a head gasket and so did I. Loss for words right now.

  • Gordon N

    My 2021 z71 Silverado my wife put the truck in drive and it went backwards. They had to go into the transmission at 4000 miles. Chevy said they could not help us with another truck so when it was fixed we traded it in on a Ford.

  • Adi R

    I bought my new 2021 custom 4 cylinder after driving it for say around 300 miles I been hearing loud noises either coming from the suspensions or transmission? The loud noise occurs when applied the gas pedal and when coming to a complete stop.
    Other issue is the GPS keeps logging off , and sometimes between acceleration and braking, the truck like jerks or kicks back not happy with it.

  • Shannon B

    I have a 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 Custom Trail Boss I bought it brand new October 25th 2021. Today is February 22nd and the 2nd time in a week that I have had a complete brake system failure. The truck only has 6300 miles on it. Sent back to the dealership the first time don’t know what they did, they said it was a computer issue, I got it back and now a week later it happens again. I was told by the service department that they may have to order a part and that he had to talk to the technician, that was at noon, and I still haven’t heard anything back. This is a pretty serious problem to have and luckily both times it’s happened the truck has been in my drive way and not going down the road.

  • Richard R

    2021 Silverado 2.7L. It has 16000 miles and been taken back to the dealer 4 times. Brakes periodically grind like metal on metal, suspension popping and rattling like the bed is loose, hard shifting, bad vibration on the road as if there is a knot on a tire (but not), vehicle jumps forward when coming to a stop to park or at stop signs, when starting the vehicle it jumped forward while in park, and vehicle transmission slips on first drive of the day every day. All 4 times taken to the dealership they inspect and tell me they can’t find any problems. Not sure what to do except sale it. I’ll never own another gm product…ever.

  • Alberto

    My last 3 trucks were Fords. Thought I would try a Chevy so bought a 2021 Silverado with 16k miles. Now it has 18K miles and while driving on hwy I got all the same lights mentioned come on and lost power. Dealership said it was a problem with lifters. After reading all these comments, my truck is just another example of the same. 🙁

  • Denise S

    I have 2021 Silverado 1500, less then 11,000 miles. Surprise…I have the same problem. Check engine, Traction control, engine light, service parking brake, service ESC and then the horrible engine knock. Took it to Chevy dealer I bought it from even after they said they didn’t have an appt for me. Pin damaged and absolutely no ETA to get it fixed. I think this is BS, they no this happens and what because of a bulletin they send kits to fix it? This was my first Chevy and will be my absolute last. What a scam to sell $50,000+ vehicles knowing this is going to happen and what GM says oh well. They were not going to get a loaner. Do they actually care how this affects there customers? I am a single female and this problem started at 5:30am on an interstate. I have heard alot of crap about GM in the past and I thought they got better. Surprise again…THEY DID NOT! I will never own another GM product and as soon as my truck is fixed I’m getting rid of it. You suck for thinking this is ok!

  • Ray O

    I bought my 2021 Silverado duramax diesel engine on July 2021, it had great power and great mileage. On first month, blew heater hose and overheated the engine. On Nov 10, 2021 I saw two streaks of oil on my garage payment & took it to dealer. They said their was no problem I must have gone thru an oil spill with only 3000 miles. I got rid of it because it smells like an expensive lemon.

  • James R

    My 2021 Silverado had lifters replace at 8500 miles and took more than month. I got it back and the following day took it out for a ride and within 25 miles began loosing power and skipping along the highway. If contacted the dealer once again to see what might be next. Wish me luck.

  • William R

    Dashboard electronic problems

  • Jeff m

    I have a 2021 Silverado it had to have lifters replaced at 7500 miles it took them over a month to fix it and it still has a ticking noise I know that there is issues with this vehicle now and I wish I would not have bought this truck if I could I would have them buy it back at no cost to me

  • Jarett

    I have a 21 silverado with the 5.3L i was driving i noticed the truck was ticking and losing power it only has 17k miles on it

  • Roberto G

    Bought a new 2017 Silverado and I barely have 62,000 miles on it and already have to replace the transmission. I don’t pull anything or haul anything heavy with it. I know it dissent have enough miles to replace the transmission, parts are back ordered so it will take a while before I get my truck back

  • Alyssa

    At 12,000 miles my engine’s 8th cylinder blew in my 2021 Silverado 1500. The dealership has had my car with no call as to how long the parts will take to come in . (Been five days)

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