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Are you considering a used Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra? You’re in luck, the experts at 1A auto went over the most common problems with the V8 engines available in the 2007-2013 Silverado/Sierra. Even though both the 5.3-liter and 6.0-liter V8s are relatively reliable powerplants—thanks to quality parts such as a timing chain instead of a timing belt—there are a few minor problems you’ll want to know about.

Failed oil pressure sender causing gauge inaccuracies

Promo photo of a red 2013 GMC Sierra 1500, a truck with relatively few engine issues, towing a boat down a rural road with trees in the background.
2013 GMC Sierra 1500 | General Motors

You may notice your Silverado or Sierra’s motor oil pressure gauge fluctuating up and down. Or perhaps it’s showing very low oil pressure. If you’re lucky, this is only a problem with the sensor (also called the sender) that reads your oil pressure and sends it to the gauge. Unfortunately, this sensor is tucked behind the air intake, so your best bet is to remove the air intake, then check out the sensor. One problem may be a clogged filter screen below the sender. Another may be a faulty sending unit.

A rarer cause of a fluctuating gauge can be a failing oil pump. If you ignore this problem, you may actually hear your engine get louder as your lifters get starved for oil. Eventually, this can cause severe damage to your engine. You’ll likely need to enlist a professional to take apart your engine, remove the oil pan, and replace the pump.

Burning oil and causing a drop in oil levels

The bed and in-bed toolbox of a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck.
2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | General Motors

Another oil-related issue you may experience in your Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra pickup truck is a drop in your oil level. If you don’t have a visible oil leak, then your engine is likely burning oil alongside gasoline. This sounds like a serious issue, and in some vehicles, it usually means a blown head gasket or even piston rings. But in the V8-powered Silverado/Sierra, it might be easier to address.

Like every engine, General Motors’ V8s have a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system. This one-way valve and tube allow excess gases to escape from the crankcase and then reburn them in the cylinders. When this valve wears out, engine oil leaks into the intake and gets burned alongside the gas. Fixing this problem is as easy as removing and replacing the valve cover.

Check engine light caused by a  malfunctioning knock sensor

A red GMC Sierra pickup truck driving up a dirt road, trees and a mountain ridgeline visible in the background.
2009 GMC Sierra 1500 | General Motors

An engine’s “knock sensor” is essentially a vibration sensor that detects irregular detonations in a misfiring engine. If it detects this issue, it sends a signal to the ECU to adjust the engine’s timing. But if that doesn’t work, it will illuminate a check engine light. If you have your check engine light read and find the problem is supposedly a misfire but never hear your engine misfiring, you might want to look into the knock sensor.

On older Chevrolet/GMC trucks, these knock sensors were tucked in behind the intakes and very difficult to replace. But on the 2007-2013 Silverado/Sierra, these sensors are at the bottom of the engine and easy to access once you jack up the truck.

The experts at 1A Auto called General Motors’ V8s—both the 5.3-liter and 6.0-liter “pretty much bulletproof.” But because every engine has components such as sensors and PCV valves that wear out eventually, it’s good to know what to double-check on your Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra.

Next, see the 4 top issues with the Silverado/Sierra overall or see 1A’s engine problems video for yourself here: