GMC Sierra 1500 Model Years You Should Avoid Buying

The GMC Sierra 1500 has been mostly a reliable pickup truck throughout its lifecycle. However, if you’re in the market for a used Sierra, there are some model years you should avoid altogether. There aren’t very many, but these model years receive a massive number of complaints. Furthermore, the issues are so bad that we recommend avoiding them at all costs. Here are the GMC Sierra 1500 model years you should avoid buying.

The 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 is the worst model year ever

A 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 at an autoshow. It's one of the model years to avoid buying.
2014 GMC Sierra 1500 | By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Not only does the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 receive a ton of complaints, but they’re also usually significant problems. Having minor issues with any vehicle is normal, but expensive ones can ruin the ownership experience. For the 2014 model year, the GMC Sierra 1500 experienced loads of problems with lights, AC and heating, interior accessories, electrical, brakes, engine, and more. Most significantly, the NHTSA reported a whopping 182 complaints about brake problems alone.

Subsequently, 140 lights problems are reported, 125 steering problems, 97 electrical problems, and many more. It’s easy to see that this particular model year is riddled with issues. So many are present that potential buyers should avoid them altogether. It’s easily the worst model year across the board for this pickup truck. There aren’t many model years that have many issues, so it’s easy to avoid the worst of the bunch.

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 only got a little better

2015 GMC Sierra 1500 is one of the model years to avoid buying.
2015 GMC Sierra 1500 | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

The automaker attempted to improve its pickup truck as with every model year. However, it only got minimally better, according to Car Complaints. In-site complaints went down, as did the reported issues with the NHTSA. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough improvement for the truck to be worth buying. Moreover, most of the problems with this model year are the same as the previous iteration. That means for two model years in a row; you should avoid buying the GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck.

As with the 2014 model, brakes have the highest volume of reported problems to the NHTSA. Next are lights, electrical, steering, drivetrain, and engine. Not only are these issues far too frequent, but they’re also expensive to repair. There’s nothing worse than buying a used model, then needing to pour money into repairs, especially in the current used car market, where a 2015 truck like the Sierra 1500 is going for around $25,000 for a cheaper model.

Which GMC Sierra 1500 model years to buy

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If you’re set on buying used GMC Sierra 1500, there are plenty of choices out there. For the most part, model years other than 2014 and 2015 aren’t plagued with problems at all. If you can afford newer models, those will be your best bet if saving on maintenance is vital to you. More specifically, the 2016 through 2021 model years are virtually unproblematic.

For those searching for something much cheaper, models older than 2013 aren’t bad either. From 2001 to 2013, even the most problematic model year (2011) has roughly a sixth of the reported issues the 2014 Sierra 1500 received. Fortunately, if you can find a well-maintained older model, it’ll last a long time. For the most part, the model as a whole has not had consistent issues.

The GMC Sierra 1500 is a great pickup truck with plenty of utility and reliability. It seems like the worst model years are one-off situations, and the newer ones are better than ever. While we recommend avoiding the 2014 and 2015 model years, the most recent iterations are wonderful options. The all-new 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 is coming soon, and it’s better than ever.

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