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The 90s were the best times, especially for trucks. But not all trucks were created equal, especially some of the 4×4 pickup trucks that entered the market. Which trucks made the list of the most unreliable 4×4 pickup trucks of the 1990s, and what problems were reported?

The 1999 Chevrolet Silverado was deemed an unreliable 4×4 pickup truck

The most unreliable 4x4 pickup trucks of the '90s
Some 1999 Chevy Silverado trucks at the dealership | Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images

Even though the 1999 Chevrolet Silverado is almost out of the 90s, it managed to be one of the most unreliable 4×4 pickup trucks of the decade. MotorTrend gave the ’99 Silverado the “Truck of the Year” that year, but that’s where the good ends, according to Repair Pal. Chevrolet decided to change the wiring system to make it less complicated, which did the opposite. The gauges never worked, or only one worked at a time, causing chaos on the dashboard. The electrical in general had many issues, causing the heat and air conditioning to work only some of the time. The sensors occasionally worked when the pickup truck would turn on. But the big problem reported on Repair Pal was “4WD Transfer Case Position Sensor/Selector Switch May Fail” with 886 owners reporting this issue. Talk about unreliable!

1993 GMC Sierra 1500

When people visualize the 4×4 trucks of the 90s, the 1993 GMC Sierra 1500 is probably what comes to mind. While it is super similar to the Silverado, the ’93 Sierra was a work truck with towing capabilities, making it a good pick. However, the problems are plentiful. The door handles would fall off regularly, and the windshield wipers didn’t work very well. The GMC Sierra was constantly leaking from one place, from intake manifolds to failing fuel pumps. It didn’t have a good rep with sensors, either.

1996 Dodge Dakota

For the 1996 Dodge Dakota, life was good. It stood out from the “Big Three” options and had its own style. It was also larger than the others, plus it had a V8 under the hood. But the 1996 Dodge Dakota tended to leak oil from anywhere and everywhere. The cam sensors failed all the time on the Dodge Dakota, which would cause the truck to stall or not start at all. There were frequent engine problems and issues with fuses. It seems like Dodge wanted to make a good truck but made one of the most unreliable 4×4 pickup trucks of the 1990s.

1993 Dodge W 250/350

When the 1993 Dodge W 250/350 hit the market, Dodge still had a reputation for being a good truck. Made from galvanized steel body panels, it was one of the safer trucks on the market and helped with rust. That’s why you still see Dodge trucks on the road without as much rust as similar trucks. But the W 250 and W 350 had inaccurate fuel gauges, broken air conditioning, and engine knocking sounds from carbon buildup. Repair Pal also says the engine would fail for various reasons, as would the transmission.

1995 Mazda B-Series

Just looking at the 1995 Mazda B-Series catapults us back to the mid-90s. The B-Series trucks looked pretty much the same no matter what year it was produced, except for some striping on specific years. The owners reported liking the comfortable truck that felt more like a car. However, the main issue was the engine. It wouldn’t start, the dashboard would light up with problems, and the truck just ran poorly most of the time. The check engine light was always on. In fact, 47 people reported that the B-Series would “crank but not start,” which is quite a few reports. That made this one of the most unreliable 4×4 pickup trucks of the decade.

When it comes to pickup trucks, the trucks of the 1990s walked to the trucks of the 2020s could run, literally. The market might not have also produced the most reliable 4×4 trucks, but automakers had to start somewhere. Now, reliable trucks are everywhere buyers look. If you want reliability, buy a Toyota truck. If you want a bunch of problems and leaks, pick up one of these bad boys.


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