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Problems with the eight-speed automatic transmissions in Chevy Silverado pickups are well-known. Activity associated with the issue, including numerous lawsuits, has been in the works for years. But so many owners have come forward that a judge has now granted a class-action lawsuit regarding the Silverado transmission problems.

What is wrong with the Chevy Silverado transmission?

A 2019 Chevrolet Silverado at sunset
2019 Chevy Silverado | General Motors

Nearly 40 plaintiffs have filed lawsuits in 26 states over the Chevy Silverado transmission problems. They include “hesitation, shaking, shuddering, and jerking.” Hard shifting has been another complaint, the Detroit Free Press reports. The problem even has its own nickname: the “Chevy Shake.” The lawsuits claim the trucks become unsafe to drive when these issues happen. 

The Silverado transmission in question is the 8L90 or 8L45 eight-speed automatic, which General Motors introduced in 2015. Either transmission came in front-wheel, rear-wheel, and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Since 2015, GM has released 13 technical service bulletins over issues with the eight-speed, according to the lawsuits. But some reports have identified over 60 technical service bulletins since this transmission debuted. 

Why is there a class-action lawsuit regarding this Silverado transmission?

Chevrolet touted a “new and improved” eight-speed transmission in 2019 Silverado advertising. “Enhancements for shifting and a newly designed torque converter to reduce “vibrations to improve smoothness.”

Technical service bulletins and improvements can indicate that GM knew of problems and tried to fix them or have them corrected in the field. 

“General Motors knowingly sold over 800,000 eight-speed transmission vehicles, which they knew to be defective for years, and yet made the business decision not to tell its customers before purchase,” the court-appointed lead counsel said. “Dealers were directed to tell Silverado transmission customers that harsh shifts were ‘normal’ or ‘characteristic.’ Such decision-making is highly irresponsible and emblematic of what GM believes it can get away with.”

What GM vehicles have the 8-speed transmission?

2018 Sierra
2018 GMC Sierra HD | General Motors

Here are all the potentially affected vehicles listed in the class-action lawsuit:

  • 2015–2019 Chevy Silverado
  • 2017–2019 Chevy Colorado
  • 2015–2019 Chevy Corvette
  • 2016–2019 Chevy Camaro
  • 2015–2019 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV
  • 2016–2019 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6, and CTS-V
  • 2015–2019 GMC Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL, and Yukon Denali XL
  • 2017–2019 GMC Canyon

Unfortunately for GM, more vehicles might get roped into the legal wranglings. In the class-action statement, the lead counsel added that a “second action regarding GM vehicles with 8L transmissions is also underway in Battle v. General Motors, LLC, 2:22-cv-108783. That case features 8L vehicles with harsh shifts made after March 1, 2019 (MY19 to MY22), when GM replaced the automatic transmission fluid that caused the shudder problem.”

Where can vehicle owners learn more?

So that means GM’s exposure could be for all the models listed above but built between 2015 and 2022 or whenever the automaker began using the transmission. Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, a law firm representing some of the plaintiffs, has more details. 

We first reported on issues with the Silverado eight-speed automatics in 2020. Since then, we have expected GM to issue a recall, but that hasn’t happened.