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

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

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.

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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:


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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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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  • 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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