Best and worst Chevrolet Silverado years — which to avoid
We delved into the history of this model, examining common problems and leveraging feedback from owners to bring you a well-rounded view of best and worst Chevrolet Silverado years.
If you crave quality and superiority, the Chevy Silverado is one truck you would find most useful, but only if you buy one of the more reliable model years. Unfortunately, some Silverado models have received bad ratings, but at least avoiding those can help you with the buying decision. We have pinpointed Chevrolet Silverado year to avoid.
Our team of automotive experts wanted to help, so we reviewed NHTSA submissions and complaints made by real owners to evaluate the model. We also used the information provided by former Chevy Silverado owners, details behind the known Silverado recalls, and several other sources as you’ll be able to see by the rest of this guide.
Why you can trust REREV’s advice on which car model years to avoid: Our car experts look at official data, ask real drivers what they think, and talk to experienced mechanics to make sure our list is useful. This reliable info can make buying a car easier for you. Want to know how we do it? Find out more about our research methodology.
How we ranked the best and worst Chevy Silverado years
To bring you a detailed overview of the best-rated and slightly worse Silverado models, our team used information stated by industry experts and renowned automotive agencies. We crunched the numbers so that you won’t have to, starting with NHTSA complaint reports, and moving on to the known recalls listed on platforms like Cars.com and others.
Our experts didn’t want to just focus on numbers and records, so we also referred to review platforms with Chevy Silverado ratings like Consumer Reports to make sure we’ve counted on the genuine experiences of other drivers. For that sake, we also visited countless Chevy Silverado forums, and we also went ahead to scan the reports on known issues of the model over the years.
Finally, we went through the reviews and ratings on trusted automotive portals like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds to round up our research and give you proven information.
|Chevy Silverado Generation
|Best Chevy Silverado Years
|Worst Chevy Silverado Years
|2005, 2006, 2007
Most common Chevy Silverado problems
Every vehicle has a set of problems that are common to it. It helps to know these issues before you purchase the car so you have a fair knowledge of what you are up against and what you can do to prevent it.
For Silverado in particular, our team browsed the available sources to pinpoint model-specific concerns, so we’ll discuss each of the most common Silverado problems below.
1. Faulty transfer case
The transfer case is a part of the drivetrain that transfers power from the transmission to the front and rear axles through the drive shaft. It assists with a vehicle’s all-wheel, rear-wheel, and front-wheel drive functionality.
A faulty transfer case on a Silverado can get serious and cause the truck to lose power. If the vehicle is parked when this occurs, it can roll away and either start an accident or crash into something. It’s, therefore, crucial to check for symptoms of a bad transfer case and avoid buying a unit with this type of problem.
General Motors recalled 400,000 affected vehicles to arrest and correct the issue. Therefore, before buying a Silverado, especially a 4WD model, check if it is eligible for this recall and has benefitted from it.
2. Malfunctioning fuel tank sensor
The fuel tank sensor on the Silverado is prone to malfunctioning, leading it to give false readings and misleading drivers with the inaccurate information displayed on the gas gauge. You need not worry about your Silverado developing this problem while it’s still new.
With age, you would need to replace the fuel tank pressure sensor. In severe cases, you may have to replace the fuel pump. Still, owners have reported that it’s usually enough to replace the fuel tank pressure sensor to sort out these issues before they grow into bigger troubles.
3. Failed starting
Some models of the Silverado are best known for randomly failing to start. Even though the causes of this problem are easy to fix, it is still annoying as it has left many drivers stranded at odd places and times.
The first common reason your Silverado is not starting could be a dead battery. If you have enough power and the battery is in good shape, it could be an electrical problem. An essential fuse could be blown, preventing power from reaching the starter relay. If it is neither of the two, you may need to reboot your truck’s computer.
4. Failing door speakers
Many Silverado drivers have complained about the door speakers failing within a few months of purchase. The speakers are known to be pretty erratic, suddenly working again after some time only to fail again.
To deal with this issue, you need to have a professional inspect the speaker to know its primary problem and deal with it accordingly. You can upgrade the speakers or replace them with affordable but more reliable ones, eliminating the chances of this issue springing up on you again soon.
5. Random loss of power
Many Silverados have frustrated drivers with the unexpected loss of power, especially at awkward spots like a red light. The cause of this loss of power has been commonly attributed to these seven problems:
- A failed throttle position sensor
- Worn-out spark plugs
- Damaged fuel pump
- Malfunctioning mass air flow sensor
- Damaged alternator
- Defective crankshaft or camshaft position sensors
- Dirty or damaged fuel filter
Aside from these reasons, the power loss can also stem from a poor electrical connection, computer failure, transmission problems, symptoms of a bad torque converter, or a damaged shift solenoid.
It is best to have a professional handle this problem so they can adequately diagnose every possible problem and fix it accordingly. Still, it’s helpful to bear in mind the excessive oil consumption reported for the 2008 and 2009 models, so if you own one of these, it could lead to engine problems and power loss.
6. Headlights burning out
The headlights, taillights, and interior lights burn out after extended use. On the Silverado, however, the headlight might need to be replaced sooner than later. Unfortunately, many drivers get to change it often as it keeps burning out frequently.
A bad alternator often causes the headlights to burn off quicker than they ought to. If you use the wrong headlight for the truck, it will burn out quickly, too, as it often cannot handle the voltage. Too much moisture around the headlight can also cause the headlight to fail.
Worst Chevy Silverado years to avoid
It is essential to research before purchasing any vehicle off the market to know which would be more productive for you. We’ve done the drill for you, including checking Silverado reliability reports and ratings to narrow down the list of worst-rated years. So, here’s what we were left with in terms of the worst Chevrolet Silverado model years:
Naturally, we’ll also delve deeper into each of these to give you more of a reason to avoid certain Silverado model years and go for more reliable options.
Second-generation Silverado (2003-2004 model years)
The second generation of Silverados started on a good foot until the 2003 model came along. Along with the 2004 model, it received the most complaints and negative reviews. To be precise, the 2003 Silverado had over 1,000 submission records among NHTSA complaints, making it one of the worst-rated models to date.
The most serious issue is engine fault which was reported to cause stalling and rough idling, or “check engine” light coming on. Power steering issues and electrical problems were also among the commonly reported concerns.
Third-generation Silverado (2005-2007 model years)
Among the third-gen Silverado models, several were rated pretty badly including the 2006 and 2007 models with over 600 driver submissions respectively. Interior accessory problems were pretty common at this point, as well as A/C heater faults and drivetrain problems.
For the 2007 model alone, six recalls were scheduled in Chevy’s effort to handle electrical system faults, airbag problems, and issues with interior equipment.
Fourth-generation Silverado (2011 and 2014 model years)
When the 2014 Silverado appeared, all focus shifted to it as it gained the reputation of having the most complaints in the entire lineup. Most complaints concerned heating defects and air conditioning problems, with the more severe ones hinged on engine stalling.
The worst model of the Silverado you can own is the 2014 model. It has myriad problems, mostly stemming from or leading to transmission failure. The 2011 model had plenty of engine problems, from stalling and cooling issues to clicking noises coming from the engine bay.
What are the best Chevy Silverado years to buy?
If you are in the market for a Silverado, you won’t have to worry due to all those badly rated years – there are plenty of great models that turned out to be more than reliable. That leads us to the tough part the question – what are the best Chevy Silverado years?
The best Chevy Silverado years are 1998, 2012, and 2021, but you can check out the complete list of best years to buy below:
We’ll briefly discuss the benefits of buying Chevy Silverado years that we recommended as the top three picks, just to make sure you’ll know which the best options are based on model years.
1998 Chevy Silverado
The 1998 model is the most reliable first-gen Chevy Silverado with less than 350 submission records made to NHTSA ever since the model was released. That alone speaks for the reliability of this model, as well as the fact that the most serious issue this model has faced was an interior accessory issue.
2012 Chevy Silverado
Among more recent models, the 2012 Silverado stands for the epitome of reliability in this lineup. It faced some complaints regarding interior accessories and brakes, but the general driver impressions were positive which led to a rating of 4.5 out of 5 based on Kelly Blue Book reports.
2021 Chevy Silverado
The 2021 Silverado received less than 10 NHTSA complaints, making it one of the most dependable models up to date. Along with that, it also received positive feedback from drivers who praised the quality of interior parts and increased tow capacity.
Among the minor issue list, interior accessory faults and electrical issues persisted as the most common, but at least there weren’t any major complaints.
Is the Chevy Silverado worth buying?
The Chevy Silverado is one of the most reliable trucks on the market. On average will last you about 200,000 miles. The proper maintenance and care can extend its lifespan and serve you well above its average mark.
If you enjoy investing in cars, the Silverado is one investment you stand to gain much profit from. It has a great resale value which is higher than that of most of its competitors. It is one of those few trucks that keep their value even after long periods.
Furthermore, it delivers excellent performance, whether it is factory-new or from the used market. You only have to ensure that you do not pick any problematic models to get the whole Silverado experience.
What year Silverado has transmission problems?
All Silverado models produced between 2012 and 2019 had some transmission issues. The model with the most transmission issue was the 2015 model, followed by the 2016 and 2017 model years.
Which Silverado engine is most reliable?
The Silverado 4.3L V-6 engine is one of the most reliable engines in the market. It is very durable and can last more than 400,000 miles.
Which Silverado is the best to buy used?
If you want a used Silverado, consider getting the 2020 model, which has few complaints. However, if you are looking for a later model, consider the 2011 model, as it is affordable and still modern.
What is the worst year for the Silverado?
2015 was the worst year for the Silverado. Though it did not have the most complaints, it had a lot of severe issues which cost much to repair.