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

Suspension, structure, powertrain, engine and electrical system issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

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 maybe it’s just because there aren’t a lot of options on the market. Either way, the Chevy Silverado 1500 is a disappointment in many people’s eyes. With complaints about the electrical system, structure, engine, powertrain and suspension, there’s so much that could go wrong behind the wheel of this truck.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2017    2018    2019 2020

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Problems with the Electrical System

With all the Chevy Silverado 1500 has to accomplish, an advanced electrical system is a must. However, customers are positive that this technology isn’t what it should be.

Here’s one example from an Edmunds review. “I have a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado and I have been to the dealership 3 times with issues with my check engine light coming on with less than 3000 miles on the truck. Each time I go it’s the same code. They tell me we could not find any issues so we just reset the light. I am sick of this truck I will be going back to the dealership in the morning due to the fact my check engine light is back on for the 4th time in less than 3 months.”

It seems nothing much has changed from previous models. In fact, the electrical systems were so poor on 2019 and 2020 trucks that class-action lawsuits were filed against GM. The 7-inch in-dash infotainment systems have been a major source of complaints, and it looks like the 2021 models will continue down the same path. It seems that GM doesn’t learn, no matter how many times the company’s wrists are slapped.

Here is an actual complaint logged with the NHTSA regarding 2021 Chevrolet Silverado Electrical System Problems:

THIS 2021 SILVERADO HAND A COMPLETE ELECTICAL FAULURE LEAVING THE VEHICLE DEAD IN THE IN THE ROAD AT NIGHT. WE HAD NO POWER AT ALL, NO WARNING FLASHERS IN THE DARK AT 9:00 PM AT NIGHT. WE WERE ALMOST HIT BY A CAR COMING AROUND CONER AS WE BROKE DOWN AT THE INTERSECTION WERE NO STREET LIGHTS WERE. THIS TRUCK HAS LESS THAN 500 MILES ON IT AND HAS ALREADY HAD THE FULL ENGINE REPLACED, PROBLEMS WITH THE INFOTANMENT SYSTEM AND NOW A COMPLETE ELECTRICAL SHUTDOWN. WE WERE UNABLE TO GET THE VEHICLE TO DO ANYTHING AND WAITED FOR TWO HOURS IN THE ROAD FOR A WREAKER TO ARRIVE.

Problems with the Engine

When the time comes to tow or haul, it’s important to know that the truck can handle it. Without a solid engine, the journey becomes anything but enjoyable.

Yet, that’s what customers are talking about, such as in this Edmunds review. “Have a new 2021 Silverado and engine stared with a ticking sound then went to a knocking sound then every light on the dash came on Check engine traction control brakes transmission everything so we brought it to the dealer they said it was a bad lifter her car is been there for five weeks now I know there’s more issues with the car than that lifter the sound of the engine was so bad.”

GM is fully aware that there are engine problems. The automaker even issued Service Bulletin #PIP5776C, which discusses a misfiring condition caused by lifters that come apart. To fix the problem, the four lifters and the lifter guide must all be replaced. This shouldn’t be occurring on newer trucks, especially at this price point. Without a functioning engine, the Silverado 1500 is nothing more than a glorified wheelbarrow.

Here is an actual complaint logged with the NHTSA regarding 2021 Chevrolet Silverado Engine Problems:

The contact owns a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. The contact stated while driving at various speeds, the vehicle would not accelerate when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The contact also stated that a loud knocking sound was coming from the bottom of the vehicle while reversing. The contact stated that the check engine warning light was illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer where it was diagnosed with the timing belt needing to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer had not been informed of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 2,500.

Problems with the Powertrain

The powertrain is another system that works in conjunction with the engine to provide moving force to the truck. However, it’s also another critical area that is causing complaints.

Here’s one more Edmunds review worth mentioning. “Started noticing an intermittent vibration/shutter at about 4,000 miles when gently giving it gas. It has about 9,000 miles on it now and does it all the time. It’s a 2.7l 4cyl. Has been to 3 dealers, 1 dealer twice. They magically say there’s nothing wrong with it. One dealer did say yea I noticed it but, that’s because it’s a 4cyl.  Every person that rides in it asks me why it’s doing that. I feel like I’m being lied to by the dealers just so they don’t have to fix it. I absolutely hate driving this truck!”

Again, issues are being dealt with by GM, but not in the way owners wish. Service Bulletin #PIP5794A discusses the shudder that is occurring with the truck. However, GM states it is just coming from the camshaft actuator system and is “mistaken for a transmission issue.” Basically, the automaker is saying, “nothing to see here.”

Problems with the Structure

When it comes to getting heavy jobs done, the truck must be well-built to accommodate the added weight. However, everything about this Chevy pickup shows it wasn’t put together well.

One NHTSA complaint states, “The contact owns a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. The contact stated while in the vehicle, the contact had dropped his bank card in between their seat and center console. When they reached for the card, they felt a sharp object in between the seat and the center console which caused the contact to cut their right hand which caused the contact to receive 7 stitches. Medical attention was needed for the injury.”

It turns out that this isn’t the only seat-related issue. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V792000 talks about a recall where over 600,000 vehicles may have unsecured seat belt brackets that fail to restrain occupants. Shortly after that recall was issued, NHTSA Campaign Number 20V811000 was also released saying that affected vehicles include the wrong bolts in the seat belt fastening location, also making it more challenging to restrain passengers. To further prove how defective this truck is, just take a look at NHTSA Campaign Number 20V684000. This recall points to the overcuring of tires used on the Silverado, leading to tread and belt loss. Basically, there’s no part of this truck that can be relied upon. Maybe it’s time for the company to get back to what made it “like a rock.” Those were the good old days when trucks meant business.

Problems with the Suspension

When it comes to creating a smooth ride, the suspension system needs to be top-notch. Yet, this is another area where the Silverado trucks lack.

Read this NHTSA review, “The antilock brake system (ABS), brakes and electronic stability control system (ESC) might not illuminate. This could cause the driver to not know if any of these systems are inoperable.”

With previous Silverado models, class-action lawsuits were filed regarding the handling of the trucks. Many customers found that the vehicles would vibrate and shake when hitting higher speeds, such as those occurring on the highway. It became such a prevalent occurrence that the condition was named the “Chevy Shake.” Based on what is seen so far, the 2021 Silverado will be following suit and shaking all the way to more lawsuits.

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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.

See more posts from Brian Jones
2 COMMENTS
  • 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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