Consumer Reports: Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Have Major Engine Problems

There is bad news to report coming from Consumer Reports alleging problems with the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. It says that there are engine and reliability issues cropping up. Both of the trucks are tied for most likely to see major engine problems in CR’s latest tally covering all 2021 vehicles. 

What are the “engine and reliability issues?”

2021 Chevrolet Silverado
2021 Chevrolet Silverado RST | GM

The two pickups are tied because they’re “the same trucks sold under different brands” says CR. It also says that four percent of Silverado and Sierra owners listed major engine issues as past problems. These included replacing the entire engines and cylinder head issues. Those included problems with the valvetrain, head gasket failures, issues with either superchargers or turbochargers, and timing chain or timing belt problems. 

Out of a possible five points for reliability, both the Silverado and Sierra received one point, which is the worst score. The survey covers ownership over the last 12 months. CR notes that “because these are all fairly recent vehicles, it doesn’t take a large percentage to stand out. After all, cars are expected to be problem-free during their first few years.”

The refresh released this year should have taken care of these issues. And before that, GM did a pre-refresh with 2022 Silverado 1500 Limited and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited releases. But while the new 2022 models may have addressed these problems, that still leaves the previous models with potential issues.

Sierra and Silverado offered six engines in 2021

2021 GMC Sierra
2021 GMC Sierra | GM

A 2.7-liter LB3 turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 3.0-liter LM2 I6 turbodiesel Duramax engine were available for 2021 along with four naturally aspirated engines. These included the 4.3-liter LV3 V6 engine, the 5.3-liter L82 V8, the 5.3-liter L84 V8, and the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter L87 V8 gas engine.

The consumer watchdog group listed models most likely to have problems over 17 key trouble spot categories. Besides Major Engine issues, the group included Engine Cooling issues, Transmission issues, Drive System issues, Electrical System issues, and Climate System issues. The data’s source is reliability data that Consumer Reports member surveys for one to three-year-old vehicles. 

In 2021 these trucks saw four recalls issued.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado
2021 Chevrolet Silverado High Country | GM

The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 Is Surprisingly Unreliable

For 2021 Silverado and Sierra trucks there were four recalls, none of which involved engine issues. Over 300,000 2017-2019 Silverado and Sierra trucks with the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine were recalled. But this was for the engine block heaters having the potential for causing fires. So nothing in terms of recalls has happened for engine issues listed by CR. 

Are these incidental issues, or will they become more pronounced as these trucks age? Typically, problems early on are a precursor to what lays ahead. Since the Sierra and Silverado are General Motors’ best-selling brands, we hope these problems are outliers and not indicative of future concerns. We’ll keep you posted if there are any further developments.