The Chevy Silverado has been in the news recently, and not in a good way. This time, the line has seen yet another recall for problems with the tires. It seems like the brand can’t escape the manufacturing errors and inconsistencies dogging its heels.
Silverados haven’t always had their current problems, though. In fact, just a decade ago, these trucks were trusted workhorses. What changed? That’s a good question. Here’s what you need to know about why Chevy Silverados have had problems in recent years, how to spot if yours is a dud, and what to do about it.
The History of the Chevrolet Silverado
The Silverado line has been around for decades. They originated with the 1999 models, a collection of light-duty trucks built to compete with other light-duty trucks released by Ford and Toyota. Since then, the Silverado name has been attached to multiple overhauled designs. The second generation was released in 2007, the third in 2014, and the fourth in 2017.
It’s the third and fourth generations that have had the most problems. The third generation of Chevy Silverados was renowned for the sheer number of issues it faced. While many manufacturers try to keep model changes to a minimum to avoid the expensive task of revising and safety testing new designs, it was clear almost immediately that Chevy couldn’t keep releasing third-generation Silverados. As a result, that generation only lasted three years.
The fourth-generation came out to repair the damage to the brand’s reputation. However, because of the short turnaround between the third and fourth generations, the fourth-generation 2017 model didn’t receive the same amount of dedicated attention as many new generations do.
Unfortunately, that was obvious once the 2017s made it on the road. These trucks saw even more complaints than the 2016 model. Chevy continued to put effort into the design, though, and problems decreased immediately once the 2018 model was released.
The most recent year models don’t appear to have the same pervasive issues as the 2017 trucks, which is good news for anyone buying new. However, it may be that these trucks are too new to have experienced the failures noticed by owners of the 2017 vehicles.
The Dangers of Chevy Silverados Between 2014 and 2018
So what made these trucks so dangerous during the third and the beginning of the fourth generation? The problems were wide-ranging, including everything from simple AC malfunctions and paint issues to significant issues with the vehicles’ electrical systems and engines. These problems made many Silverados lemons from the start.
Focusing on the dangerous issues, many drivers reported that their Silverados would simply stall or shut down while driving. This is obviously incredibly unsafe, especially if the driver is traveling at highway speeds. The problem appeared to stem from electrical issues with the car that may have been linked to the battery wiring.
Another major defect was found in the engines. The trucks burned through oil at an alarming rate, and multiple drivers reported that their engines literally exploded after catching on fire while driving. This problem was most often found in the 2014 model. The explosions may have been connected to faulty engine rods.
Others found that the transmission failed too quickly, with clunky shifting, slipping gears, and even engine stalls in trucks just a few years old. Transmission failures haunted the entire third generation as well as the 2017 trucks.
Not even the Silverados’ brakes were safe. 2017 models, in particular, saw many complaints connected to failing brakes and low brake pressure. With trucks as heavy-duty as the Silverado line, a brake failure isn’t just dangerous for the driver but also for everyone on the road with them.
Any one of these problems would be enough reason to worry about a car. With all of them combined, any Silverado owner should be wary about their truck’s behavior on the road.
Spotting if Your Chevy Silverado Is a Dud
If you’ve bought one of these trucks new at any time in the past decade, you likely bought one with some significant flaws. Just because your truck hasn’t been recalled doesn’t mean it’s free from the issues plaguing models made in 2013 or later. If you want to stay safe on the road, you need to be alert for signs that your Silverado may be unsafe so you can get it resolved as soon as possible.
- Grinding or humming noises at high speeds: This is a sign that your wheel bearings may be going bad. If the sound is coming from underneath the car, you should get your vehicle checked immediately.
- Surging or jerking when on the road: If your Silverado faces transmission problems, it may surge or jerk when you’re trying to accelerate or maintain highway speeds. This can be a precursor to your transmission failing entirely.
- Brakes hesitate or feel stiff: Your brakes should always feel smooth. If they take a lot of pressure to begin working or there’s a delay between hitting the brake and slowing down, take your truck to the mechanic right away.
- Engine knocking or pinging: Some Silverado engines will fail entirely or throw a rod. Knocking or pinging noises from your engine block when you’re driving are a sign this may be about to happen. Have your truck towed to the mechanic as soon as possible to have it checked out.
Getting the Safe Chevy You Deserve
Chevrolet trucks can be excellent vehicles. You just need to find one without manufacturing defects or the fundamental structural issues that plagued the cars between 2014 and 2017. However, if you do have one of those models, you may be able to get the truck repaired or replaced, so you have the safe vehicle you deserve.
You can start that process by consulting with the team at Johnson & Buxton to learn more about whether you have a lemon law claim. The expert attorneys will help you understand your case and determine whether your truck’s problems fit California’s lemon law definitions. Schedule your consultation today and stop potentially risking your life in a dangerous vehicle.