Trucks & SUVs

The 1 Big Problem People Are Having With the Chevy Silverado

When you think of pickups, one of the most popular names that come to mind is the Silverado from Chevy. It’s known for being a rugged truck that can handle just about anything you can throw at it. Many drivers praise General Motors for rolling out some of the best trucks on the market.

But, some automotive websites are full of Chevy Silverado owners who weren’t praising these trucks at all. They showed their disappointment in the design and build of this pickup. There’s at least one problem that the Silverado had a tough time overcoming and it angered these Chevy truck owners.

What the biggest reported problem with Chevy Silverados?

According to CarComplaints.com, several drivers have had excessive oil consumption issues for a while from 2007 to 2011. Most of the complaints show up in the 2009 to 2011 model years. A lot of drivers reported losing 2-4 quarts of oil in between oil changes.

All claim that there were no signs of leaks, and they didn’t detect smoke in the exhaust. Most said that they kept up with regular maintenance at proper intervals and some even used high-quality full-synthetic oil.

Some say they complained to their local dealers only to get told that burning a quart every 1,000 miles was normal. Other dealers reportedly said they considered a quart loss every 2,000 miles standard.

Silverado owners became upset because they disagreed with those statements. Another interesting fact is that these drivers were seeing the issues at 60,000 miles or fewer on their expensive pickups.

What caused this issue?

The culprit for the excessive oil consumption issue lies with a defect in the 5.3-liter V8 engine. Back in 2007, GMC introduced a feature for its motors, called the active fuel management system, or AFM. The company implemented it to increase fuel economy, get better horsepower, and more torque.

However, it appears that the AFM causes the oil to get past the pistons, so it enters the combustion chamber. There, it will get burned out, or it will harden and accumulate in the cylinders. If not handled quickly, the pistons or cylinders could get damaged.

How was the problem with the Silverados handled?

Some Silverado owners have had their engines rebuilt or replaced to fix the problem. Others reported overhauling their engines, replacing worn parts, including the AFM active valve lifters. They had the AFM feature turned off for their engine. They documented no more complaints.

General Motors has not issued a recall, but they’ve recognized a problem. A few service bulletins have since surfaced that explain how maintenance should deal with the issue.

The instructions are to install a deflector over the valve and perform a cleaning of the top engine components. Chevy would cover the process under a powertrain warranty, provided you have one, and you meet its requirements.

In a few cases, some drivers received a fix with only a percentage of the repair cost covered by GM. They were held responsible for the rest, which, on average, cost about $1,500.

In 2016, a lawsuit came about, alleging that GM had a defective 5.3-liter V8 engine placed in several vehicles during the years of 2010 to 2013. However, a judge dismissed it in 2017 because there wasn’t enough evidence.

But, the plaintiffs appealed, and the case is on again. This time, they accuse Dodge of having a faulty oil level monitoring system that doesn’t warn drivers of low oil levels soon enough.

Another lawsuit surfaced regarding the Terrain and Equinox SUVs and the defective 2.4-liter Ecotec engines with the same kind of problems. This one is still ongoing but expected to end soon. GM doesn’t agree with the points in the lawsuit, but claims it wants to end the case.

The Chevy Silverado went through many years with an excessive oil consumption problem, but the most serious appears to be within the 2009 to 2013 model years. If you choose to purchase a used Silverado pickup, within those model years, see if the previous owner made the necessary repairs so you don’t get stuck dealing with oil loss in the engine down the line.