The GMC Sierra proves to be one of the most robust pickup trucks to exist. It has a mountain-load of performance features perfect for your off-road adventures, from its strong exteriors to top-of-the-line interiors. With spacious cabins and tech features that make it the safest off-road truck, it seems you can’t do anything wrong with the Sierra. Not to mention, it also has impressive towing and hauling capacity.
Since its launch in 1999, the Sierra has sprung a number of variations over the years, including the GMC Sierra 1500 and Sierra 1500 hybrid, as well as the Sierra 2500 and 3500. With these variations and the strong offers from the basic model, it’s no surprise that this model is General Motors’ top-selling truck to date. Plus, its powertrain makes it stand out among trucks of its kind.
There’s nothing like an off-road trip with this truck. However, along with the good comes the bad. So, if you’re considering buying a used Sierra, then this list is for you. Here we’ll discuss all the GMC Sierra years to avoid considering buying for yourself, including the most common issues this model has had over the years.
2005 Model Year GMC Sierra (2nd Generation)
Of all the GMC Sierra cars available, the 2005 model seems to be an experimental piece from the whole series. As a part of the second-generation Sierra, it was sold in three cab lengths: regular, extended, and a crew cab with three cargo beds. GMC also introduced the Sierra C3 in 2001, a luxury version of the Sierra 1500. This later became the Sierra Denali.
With a 5.3L V8 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission, the 2005 Sierra proves to be a great choice for a car, even when used. With 300 HP at 5200 RPM, you can’t go wrong with this car. However, this model year still features one of the most critical problems among GMC Sierras: the speedometer.
A common complaint about the speedometer—as seen on consumer reports—is its inaccuracy due to what appears to be caused by electrical issues. It will not be easy to spot at a glance; it would only be noticeable if you have a separate speed monitor on the side of your car or anywhere else apart from the one built into your vehicle. With a defective speedometer, you can get ticketed for speeding without knowing; a worse scenario would be if you lose control after taking on a curve at the wrong speed. An even bigger problem could arise when the speedometer completely stops working.
If any of these does happen to you, you can always use your phone to monitor how fast you’re going until you get to a mechanic for a fix. Other fixes to the speedometer issue include replacing the sensor or tackling it at the wiring. The latter method is more expensive, but to stay safe in this car, it’s a worthy fix.
This model year has received a lot of complaints from its users, putting it at the top of our list. However, that doesn’t mean that this model year is entirely bad; it just means that other models work comparably better than this.
2007 Model Year GMC Sierra (3rd Generation)
GMC seemed to have hit a rough patch between 2007 and 2013. The third-generation Sierra models were quite the newsmakers, from excessive oil consumption and air conditioning problems to transmission issues and complete engine failure. Some of the most common problems presented themselves between these years—so much so that recalls were even made for these model years.
If you’re looking to buy a used GMC Sierra, it’s best to avoid the 2007 model. The same issues show, especially around 80,000 miles. But it doesn’t stop there; the 2007 GMC Sierra also has issues with excessive oil consumption, fuel level sensor failure, and its battery. Worst of all, this model year has a history of engine failures that resulted in a recall. You wouldn’t want to compromise your safety, so consider buying other GMC Sierra model years available instead.
2014 Model Year GMC Sierra (4th Generation)
Of all GMC Sierra years to avoid, the 2014 GMC Sierra proved that a promise of updates doesn’t always hold up. GMC shared that this version is an upgrade from the 2013 GMC Sierra model but failed with complaints of numerous faulty components and vehicle malfunctions.
Among the third and fourth-generation GMC Sierra model years, 2014 was controversial for its poor headlights. Consumer reports show that its headlights were too dim, making it an unsafe vehicle overall, especially if you’re out on an off-road adventure with poor visibility.
Air conditioning issues that could cost owners more than $1,000 just for repairs are another common problem among 2014 Sierras. It is also worth mentioning that electrical malfunctions caused GMC to recall the trucks of this model year. Around 20 trucks of this model year were recalled for transmission issues, airbag deployment issues, and even overheating. Other minor problems, such as electrical component malfunctions, were also common with this model year.
While there are specific GMC Sierra years you should avoid, the common problems present themselves across the whole lineup regardless of its release year. Even models such as the Sierra 1500, Sierra Denali, and Sierra 1500 HD, as well as newer models, get these problems:
- Faulty air conditioning system
- Issues with the heater turning on randomly
- Fuel level sensory issues and fuel pump issues
- Steering problems and strange sounds due to misaligned wheels
- Electrical issues that show in faulty dash gauges and interior lights, as well as malfunctioning locks
Consumer reports show that while some model years prove to be better than others, you should still keep an eye on them, especially if you’re looking at GMC Sierras on used car lots.
GMC Sierra: At the Peak of Off-Roading
There will always be risks when buying a used truck—or any used vehicle for that matter. Your best bet in buying these types of cars always relies on low mileage and the lack of issues such as transmission problems. If the problems in the older GMC Sierra models turned you off, you might as well go for a new model or its competitive counterparts like the Chevy Silverado and the Nissan Titan. You can also go for the less problematic Sierra 1500 series or the even better Sierra Denali.
No matter what vehicle you prefer, research beats any existing problems. So, take your time researching which GMC Sierra is best for you.