2021 Chevy Silverado: 3 Most Common Owner Reported Trouble Spots According to Consumer Reports

The Chevrolet Silverado is one of America’s favorite workhorses, with over 12 million sold since its debut in 1998. While buyers can configure a pickup from bare-bones contractor spec to a well-trimmed office on wheels, one characteristic the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado doesn’t have is well-documented reliability.

Consumer Reports (CR) has compiled a myriad of complaints on the Silverado. The three most common problems Chevrolet Silverado owners have encountered are as follows.

2021 Chevy Silverado’s feeble in-car electronics 

With below-average ratings on the various systems drivers and passengers can use, buyers are unhappy with the Silverado’s in-car electronics. Consumer Reports claims the CD or DVD players, radio and media interface, speakers, GPS, OnStar communication system, and various display screens will freeze or go completely blank. Moreover, Bluetooth capabilities, voice control command modules, the HVAC system, and even steering buttons fail to work consistently, as do the backup camera and the pickup’s wide range of sensors.  

Entries on CarComplaints.com also detail that warning lights in the gauge cluster may malfunction and cause drivers to be unaware of problems with the anti-lock braking (ABS) system and electronic stability control (ESC). Unfortunately, there are also issues with the trailer brake light system, making it illegal to pull a trailer on a public road.

Chevrolet Silverado electrical problems

A 2021 Chevrolet Silverado RST driving at dusk
2021 Chevy Silverado RST | Chevrolet

If issues with in-car electronics weren’t enough, buyers also report failures with the Silverado’s electric system as a whole. CR states the Chevrolet has below-average reliability with—for the most part— everything under the hood.

While the Silverado’s reworked 5.3-liter V8 has excellent power, electrical malfunctions with the alternator, starter motor, battery linkages, ignition switch, distributor, spark plugs, and engine wiring harness will keep the truck immobile.

According to entries on CarComplaints.com, these issues can begin within a few hundred miles after leaving the dealer with a brand-new truck. One user details that their 2021 Silverado had a complete electrical failure on the road at night, even with less than 500 miles on the clock, after an entire engine and infotainment system replacement.

Chevrolet Silverado engine problems are significant


The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 Is Surprisingly Unreliable

Rated even worse is the Chevy Silverado engine reliability. This is separate from powertrain electronics and deals with the mechanical components themselves.

One user on CarComplaints.com reports that the engine in his 2021 Chevrolet Silverado began “knocking and lagging” while driving down the road. The dealer reportedly told him that he and three other customer Silverados had “lifter failure.” Another user claims he had total engine failure after just 371 miles.

CR confirms that its respondents have reported being forced to get complete engine rebuilds or replacements after issues with leaks from the cylinder head and malfunctions with the timing belt and chain. GM Authority reports that General Motors (GM) announced last year a “Customer Satisfaction Program” for certain 2021 Silverado 1500s and its cousin, the GMC Sierra 1500. The ploy was to replace the eight-speed automatic transmissions after continuous complaints of hard shifting from a broken reaction carrier, which is part of the unit’s rotating assembly.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado recalls

Over the last one-and-a-half years, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Board (NHTSA) has placed five recalls on the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500. The NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) has also launched a probe into one of the recalls, which may result from “missing tabs” that prevent driver frontal air bags from deploying, based on six incidents of crashed Silverados, according to CarComplaints.com.

Nevertheless, the NHTSA has also announced recalls for overcured tires that may separate at the belt edge, ABS that does not function properly, an unsecured seat belt bracket in the front-row center seat position, and malfunctioning seat belt assembly. These issues can either cause an accident or increase the severity of injuries during an accident.