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The One Model Year of Chevy Silverado You Shouldn’t Buy, According to Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports rates vehicles every year based on reliability. This is a comprehensive listing of how each model compares in 17 potential problem areas. Reliability scores take into consideration the engine, transmission, brakes, power equipment, and electrical system. For the past 10 years, the Chevy Silverado 1500 has been receiving a fairly average reliability score. That is until one model year drastically changed that rating. 

History of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The 2014 model marked the beginning of the third generation Chevy Silverado 1500. GM changed to a K2XX platform and began offering three gas engine options that included a 4.3L V6, 5.3L V8, and 6.2L V8.

These modifications helped the 2014 model earn the North American Truck of the Year award. In 2016, an 8-speed transmission was offered on the Chevy Silverado V8 engines. This provided a higher first gear ratio and was supposed to improve acceleration when towing.

Changes to this model also included a lower rear axle ratio to reduce engine rpm and improve fuel efficiency on the highway. Then, along came the 2017 model.

The Chevy Silverado model you shouldn’t buy

The 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 tanked in Consumer Report ratings. Not only did the reliability rating drop to the lowest score possible, but the 2017 model fell to the bottom 20% of other trucks in its class. That means it had 80% more problems overall than other models that year, based on the number of reported issues in the 17 potential problem areas. CarComplaints.com awarded this truck the “Beware of the Clunker” badge.

Problems with the 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 

In 2017, GM added a low speed mitigation braking system to the Silverado 1500. A teen driver mode was installed and the audio system upgraded. GM improved the heated seats and steering wheel. None of these changes should have caused such a drastic decline in scoring. The online forums became flooded with complaints about the 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500. So, what happened?

Transmission and powertrain

Consumer Reports received many complaints about a slipping transmission, defective sensors, leaks, and problems with downshifting. There were reported clutch adjustment and gear selector issues. Consumers claimed they heard clunks and clanks when the transmission was changing gears. 

During acceleration, they would feel a surge and experience loud sounds coming from the rear of the vehicle, feeling like they had been rear-ended. Consumers became frustrated with GM dealers who told them the vehicle was operating normally. One consumer stated, “It is difficult to maintain a constant speed because the truck can’t seem to decide which gear to be in”.

Suspension and body integrity

An overwhelming number of consumers experienced problems with shocks, struts, ball joints, tie rods, and wheel bearings. Alignment became a major concern with reported issues of improper wheel balance. Rack and pinion steering, as well as power steering, had leaks and damaged pumps and hoses.

Electronic or air suspension problems were reported, along with issues with the springs and torsion bars. There were also reported issues with the integrity of the body. Consumers reported hearing excessive wind noise, squeaks, and rattling sounds. Air and water leaks were also found. The cracked weather stripping and seals may have been the culprit. 

Improvements made to the Chevy Silverado 1500

It is unclear whether the changes made to the 2016 model contributed to the extensive problems with the 2017 truck. What is certain is that the 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 is one model year that drivers should avoid.

There were minimal changes made to the 2018 model, yet it faired better with Consumer Reports. It seems GM may have addressed some of the issues. The 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 received a complete redesign, but despite this fourth-generation overhaul, Consumer Reports is still receiving complaints about transmission and body integrity issues. Let’s hope this isn’t a trend that continues, and the all-new 2020 Chevy Silverado has a better performance record.