2021 Chevy Colorado Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

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

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

GMC claims the 2021 Chevy Colorado is “such a showoff,” but most customers would be happy with a truck that is simply reliable. Owners are reporting deaths due to airbags not deploying and numerous other safety issues. There are also NHTSA complaints that relate to transmission issues, vehicles that shudder and shake, as well as a variety of electrical problems.    

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

Most Common Issues

In terms of numbers, complaints about the 2021 2021 Chevy Colorado to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are mainly about the engine, powertrain, and electrical system. But there are two very serious complaints that relate to airbags, both of which entail fatalities.

There are also a bunch of NHTSA complaints that relate to equipment, exterior lighting, the fuel (diesel) system, lane departure, seat belts, brakes, steering, structure, suspension, vehicle speed control, and visibility/wiper. A few of these are combined with engine, powertrain, and electrical system complaints.

One that is filed as an unknown or other issue tells how the hood of a truck with only 40K dropped on the owners head while he was “checking under the hood.” His hand was pinned under the hood and he had to be rescued by someone who was able to release the hood release lever. “I had a lump on my head and my hand/wrist was bruised. I am on blood thinners so I consider myself lucky. The stanchions that hold the hood open suddenly failed and will not hold the hood open.”

Lemberg Law has also received complaints about transmission problems that we will mention in the relevant section below.

Seat Belt Recall

There is also a seat belt recall that applies to the 2021 Chevy Colorado and a whole lot of other GM vehicles. While 18 models are listed, the recall claims that only 470 vehicles in all are possibly affected. The issue is that the seat belts may have been fastened to the vehicle using the wrong bolts. If the wrong bolt was used, there’s a good chance the seat belt wasn’t attached to the Colorado correctly. The reality of this is that if there is a crash, the seat belt may not restrain the occupant, increasing the risk of injury.

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2021 Chevy Colorado Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Air Bags
Electrical System
Electrical System: Instrument Cluster/panel

Airbag Problems

Any complaint to the NHTSA that reports a death is worth reporting. There is no proof, however, that the airbags caused the fatalities.

The first complaint stated that the father of a client from West Virginia was “attempting to turn around on a narrow road” when the vehicle “fell off a cliff and into a creek bed. The airbags did not deploy (and) the driver passed away due to a broken neck and fractured spine.” The failure mileage was only 950 and there was no reason for the failure given.

The second complaint, filed by the father of a man who owned a 2021 Colorado, tells how the vehicle crashed into a tree and caught fire. The complaint states that “the airbags may have failed to deploy. The fire was extinguished with the assistance of the fire department.” The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. He was “transported out of the vehicle with the assistance of emergency units and was airdropped to the hospital, where it was diagnosed that he sustained brain hemorrhage and third-degree burn on 65% of his body.”

Powertrain Problems

Two issues that appear to be common are loud “clunking” noises coming from the transmission and vibrations that also seem to be caused by faulty transmissions. If you scroll down, you will see that several complaints posted on this page highlight exactly these issues. They include reference to a truck that has “a knock or bang noise coming from the transmission area,” and a truck that “SHAKES.(BIG TIME).”

A similar complaint to the NHTSA states that the “truck has vibration when at highway speeds and during deceleration.”

An NHTSA complaint from Los Angeles states that “the transmission shifts weirdly at times, which is scary.”

Clunking Noises

An NHTSA complaint from an owner in California refers to issues with the transmission. The dealer did a software update that worked for a week. But then “it was making a clunking noise again when I put it in reverse.” They couldn’t replicate the issue and “tried to tell me that it is normal for the vehicle to make a clunking noise when put in reverse.”

An owner from North Carolina states that while driving at highway speed, “there was a clunk noise and the transmission acted as if it had been shifted into neutral. The truck would not accelerate, and the RPMs were very high as I was pushing the accelerator and the vehicle was not responding but the engine was revving. This was an extremely scary and unsafe situation as cars were behind me and I narrowly avoided being hit as I tried to get over to the side of the road without any ability to accelerate.” Again, the dealer couldn’t replicate the problem!

One of the complaints directed to Lemberg Law states that the dealer said, “we must hear the issue” before they can do anything about it.

Engine Problems

These are varied and they range from the check engine light coming on because oil was pushing through a solenoid actuator to the check engine light indicating that the DEF system needed to be repaired.

An owner from Montana states in an engine-related complaint the “Gear shifter won’t recognize the truck is in park. When attempting to turn off vehicle accessories stay on and (the) key will not come out. Dealer replaced my shifter today and the third time parking after being fixed, the issue remains.’

Another complaint states that a malfunction results in him not being able to turn off and remove the key when in Park. “This is the third time this has happened this week . The first two times I moved the shifter from park to drive and back and it released. The last time I had to sit in my driveway for twenty minutes with the truck running before I could turn the key to shut off the truck. This is a very dangerous situation.”

Electrical System Problems

Problems listed in complaints as being related to the electrical system are also varied. One that is listed as being a steering and electrical problem tells how the key doesn’t turn off, rather like the one mentioned as being an engine and powertrain problem. This owner’s solution is to turn the vehicle back on and then to try shifting to Neutral and back to Park. When he tries to straighten the wheel, eventually the key will go to the off position and he can remove it.

Other issues relate to crackling sounds coming from the wheel when going over humps. One complaint states that there is also no power while driving or changing lanes. An owner from North Carolina states that “the navigation system was inoperable,” but the dealer couldn’t identify the problem. And an owner from Connecticut states, “My radio volume goes nuts and the controls go unresponsive.” The complaint adds that “GM knows that there is an issue with the infotainment system, not sure why they have not done a recall on this unit.”

What Can You Do If You Have a Lemon

Do you think that your 2021 Chevy Colorado might be a lemon? Perhaps you have had a similar experience to those complainants have had. Maybe it’s because of a completely different issue. But if you are convinced, contact Lemberg Law and we will assess your problems. at no cost to you. The law makes Chevy pay legal fees for lemon law cases, and you may be able to get your lemon out of your life. After all, every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners. You could be one of them..

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
  • Rob

    I work for a Gm dealership in Canada. Bought a 2021 Colorado crew z71 new. Been with this company for over 20 years. three months into having the truck I notice that when I put it in reverse or drive for about 5 minutes there is a knock or bang noise coming from the transmission area. After 5 min the noise starts going away. Now today….. I am starting to get shiftier issues where when I put the truck into park the key will not deploy. I have to play around with the shiftier. This is just starting now. I have been in service at least 3 times and its the same thing ” we must hear the issue”. Sold over 2,500 vehicles for this company and they are excellent to work with. I’m just not happy with the trucks performance.

  • Ed G

    2021 Colorado owner. Bought used from dealer. Only 8800 miles. First time I drove it over 65mph the truck SHAKES.(BIG TIME) Took back to dealer. They told me they never heard of this. For me to bring in to service department to have checked out. Bullcrap. I know several people with same problem.

  • Steve

    2014 Chevy Impala Lt 4 cylinder with 8 speed transmission. The issues I have started after my 100000 tune up. I have no warning lights or codes that come up. The issues I am having feels like the car shifts speracrly and loses power. Sometimes it does not accelerate correctly step on gas RPMs go up but car does not respond. Also encountered shaking jerking and a loud bang from engine compartment. Dealer changed front motor mount fuel pump cleaned injectors.They are currently looking at the transmission. Car has been at dealership on and off since July.
    Any ideas?

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