3 Most Common GMC Sierra 1500 Problems Reported by Hundreds of Real Owners
Many consumers view the GMC Sierra 1500 as the standard in luxurious full-size trucks. But no vehicle is without issues. However, Sierra steps into higher levels of driving, which could make its problems more costly than most other trucks. With that in mind, let’s examine the three most common GMC Sierra 1500 problems that owners report.
The most common GMC Sierra 1500 problems
Hundreds of real owners have reported similar problems with the GMC Sierra. The automotive repair and maintenance site RepairPal shows that the top three issues you might experience with a Sierra 1500 are the following:
- Four-wheel-drive transfer case position sensor/selector switch failure — reported by over 450 owners
- A/C temperature and air delivery mode door actuator failure — reported by over 260 owners
- Fuel level sensor failure — reported by over 170 owners
What should owners do when the ‘Service 4WD’ message appears?
The 4WD transfer case encoder motor position sensor or the selector switch might fail in the GMC Sierra 1500, requiring a visit to a service department. A diagnostic test typically runs $88 to $111, but expect to spend more if the selector switch needs replacing.
Air delivery in the A/C system is among the most common GMC Sierra 1500 problems
When the air delivery mode door actuator fails, the HVAC system can’t deliver air to cool or heat the Sierra’s cab. This issue should appear as a fault in the A/C control module, which requires a diagnostic visit and potential repair costs for this full-size truck.
How can erratic fuel gauge operation be fixed in this GMC truck?
It’s common for the fuel level sensor in the gas tank to read the fuel level incorrectly. When this happens, the sensor must be replaced. RepairPal technicians recommend replacing the entire fuel pump module on high-mileage GMC Sierra 1500 models. The repair costs about $1,000.
What are the GMC Sierra 1500’s maintenance and repair costs?
The GMC Sierra 1500’s average annual repair and maintenance cost is $727, lower than the $936 average for all trucks in this class. This GMC truck’s frequency of unscheduled repairs is 0.2 times per year, compared to the average of 0.3 times for the class. Finally, the severity of these unscheduled repairs is 15% for the Sierra 1500, compared to 18% for most full-size trucks.
Although the GMC Sierra 1500 is a premium truck, it’s more affordable to repair than the average full-size truck.
Is the GMC Sierra a reliable truck?
Despite this GMC truck’s problems, RepairPal ranks it high on a list of full-size pickups. The Sierra 1500 places third among 17 models. It has an above-average reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0, whereas the class average is 3.0. That score is based on three factors: cost, frequency, and severity of maintenance and repairs.
Another opinion regarding the GMC Sierra’s reliability comes from U.S. News & World Report. The site’s experts rate all vehicles and provide a list of the top pickup trucks, including their overall scores and reliability ratings. The trucks for the 2022 model year, ranked from best to worst, are as follows:
- Toyota Tundra
- Ram 1500
- Nissan Titan
- Jeep Gladiator
- Ford Ranger
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Chevrolet Colorado
- Toyota Tacoma
- GMC Canyon
- Honda Ridgeline
- Ford F-150
The full-size GMC pickup falls in the middle of the pack in the U.S. News rankings, which is different from what RepairPal data shows. This disparity has to do with each source using differing criteria.
U.S. News uses reliability data from the market research firm J.D. Power, which also collects information from owners. However, J.D. Power’s quality scores are “based on initial owner response and feedback of their new purchase, whereas dependability scores focus on longer-term ownership experiences of three years.”
On the other hand, RepairPal uses data from a greater range of model years.
What are the worst GMC Sierra model years should you avoid?
Some of this GMC truck’s most problematic model years are 2014, 2015, and 2017. The 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 has the most owner-reported complaints on CarComplaints.com. One of the most severe issues is excessive oil consumption. Another major problem is the lights could fail, posing a safety risk.
How long should this GMC truck last?
With proper maintenance, the GMC Sierra 1500 should last at least 200,000 miles. Some trucks will travel much farther and still require only a few repairs. This is a truck you could easily own for more than 15 years and enjoy many miles of worry-free driving.
Is the GMC Sierra a good truck?
This full-size truck does many things well. It brings an upscale feeling, making it equally appealing for hauling families, friends, and work crews. The GMC Sierra 1500 provides several trims, powertrains, equipment levels, and options packages for various tastes and budgets.
If you’re searching for the most lavish model, the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate has no equal. However, if you want the highest towing and payload numbers in a full-size truck, consider the Ford F-150. It can carry 3,325 pounds of payload and has a maximum towing capacity of 14,000 pounds. That beats the GMC Sierra 1500, which can haul 2,270 pounds and tow 13,300 pounds.