2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Steering, brakes, electrical and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

The GMC Sierra 1500 boasts of having the best-in-class cargo box volume, best-in-class horsepower and torque plus best-in-class front head and legroom. It’s no wonder that the automaker listed this pickup truck as a model providing “Details with Distinction.” Yet, those that actually drive this GMC truck aren’t impressed with all the accolades. Instead, they continually battle against malfunctioning electrical systems, defective service brakes, a poorly engineered powertrain and faulty steering.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2018

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Electrical

Modern vehicles rely heavily on the electrical system to run correctly. Whether it is the infotainment system or the battery, everything has to be functional for the ride to be enjoyable. Yet, that’s not the case with the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500.

One Edmunds user says, “Stereo has already stopped connecting to Bluetooth. Dealer says it needs to get replaced. For some reason GMC only allows you to view text messages with android auto or apple car play and wait it gets better you have to plug your phone into a USB cord to do this? Which defeats the charger in the counsel that you just set your phone on? Either way I’ve been a Chevy/GMC guy for 30 years I put a lot of road miles on and buy a new truck every two to three years and for the first time I can’t wait to trade this turd in for something else. If you want tech this isn’t the truck for you.”

The company has nearly 90 manufacturer communications just dealing with the electrical system. That gives an insight into the problems faced within this truck. Among these documents, they discuss how the brake pad monitor life % counts down too quickly, defective fuses and the possibility of reduced power due to a potential throttle body issue. It’s clear after looking at these service bulletins that the company hasn’t paid any attention to the details, as previously claimed. Instead, all of these defects only add up to create a full-size lemon.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Electrical Problems

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2019 GMC SIERRA 1500. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE BACK UP CAMERA WAS FAULTY. THE FEATURES WORKED INTERMITTENTLY AND WOULD NOT COMPLETE ALL VIEWS OF THE REAR OF THE VEHICLE. THE SCREEN TURNED BLUE AND “SERVICE BACK UP SYSTEM” APPEARED ON THE CAMERA SCREEN. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE VEHICLE ALSO HAD A LANE ASSIST SENSOR; HOWEVER, THE SEAT WOULD NOT ALERT THE CONTACT OR VIBRATE WHEN HE DRIFTED OUT OF THE LANE. THE VEHICLE WAS DRIVEN TO HOME DALE SCHWARTZ GMC (145 WILLOW AVE, HONESDALE, PA 18431, (570) 253-4222) WHERE IT WAS DIAGNOSED THAT A NEW MODULE NEEDED TO BE INSTALLED IN THE REAR SEAT. THE CONTACT DID NOT KNOW WHAT SIDE OF THE REAR OF THE SEAT THE MODULE NEEDED TO BE PLACED. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE MECHANIC ORDERED THE NEW MODULE AND STATED THAT IT WOULD ARRIVE IN THREE WEEKS. THE MANUFACTURER WAS MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 1,800. THE VIN WAS UNKNOWN.

WHEN I AM DRIVING MY TRUCK, I WILL GET NOTIFICATIONS SAYING THAT THERE IS A TRAILER DISCONNECTION ISSUE WHEN I DON’T EVEN HAVE A TRAILER CONNECTED. IT ALSO FLASHES AN ALERT SAYING THAT THE LANE DEPARTURE SYSTEM AND PEDESTRIAN SENSOR ARE BEING EFFECTED. AS THIS IS GOING ON, THE INFOTAINMENT SCREEN FLASHES ON AND OFF AS WELL WHICH IS VERY DISTRACTING. THEY HAVE CONTINUED TO COME ON IN COLD WEATHER AFTER I HAVE TAKEN IT TO THE DEALERSHIP TO BE LOOKED AT. I DON’T KNOW IF THIS IS A HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE PROBLEM BUT IT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BECAUSE IT BECOMES BOTH A LARGE NUISANCE AND SAFETY HAZARDS WHEN YOU HAVE ERRORS MESSAGES AND LIGHTS FLASHING WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING.

WHEN THE TEMPERATURE DROPS BELOW ABOUT 20 DEGREES (FAHRENHEIT) THE CENTER INSTRUMENT CLUSTER STARTS DISPLAYING EMERGENCY CODES THAT REQUIRE CONSTANT CLEARING, ONLY TO HAVE THE ERROR CODES REAPPEAR. THE SAME THING HAPPENS ON THE INFOTAINMENT HEAD UNIT IN THE CENTER STACK — IT FLASHES, RESETS, CUTS THE SOUND IN AND OUT AND DISPLAYS TRAILERING CHECKLISTS. ALL OF THIS IS IMMENSELY DISTRACTING TO THE DRIVER AND CREATES A SAFETY HAZARD. I’VE HAD IT SERVICED AND HAVE BEEN TOLD GM ENGINEERS ARE AWARE OF THE ISSUE (ITS COMMON ON 2019 SIERRA AND SILVERADO 1500 TRUCKS) BUT HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO FIND A SOLUTION. 

Service Brakes

One of the most important things a vehicle must do is stop properly. With the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500, owners continue to find that the service brakes aren’t reliable.

One Edmunds reviewer puts the situation perfectly. “I leased a 2019 GMC AT4 Crew Cab. Factory 2 inch lift with 18” rims and the Goodyear Wranglers. After driving the truck for approx. 100 miles there was a horrible whirling or whipping sound from front driver side. Also, a disturbing rumbling sound under the passenger seat. As usual, the dealer said it was tire noise! It was more of an axle, front end noise. They allowed me to return the truck..So I got the 2019 Sierra Denali. I hit 5000 miles and lost my brakes!!! Similar to other forums. I had no braking power unless I pushed the pedal to the floor. UNACCEPTABLE GM!!! I also have a check engine light on. When I opened the hood, I heard a hissing sound from the driver side.”

No one wants to deal with brakes that don’t work, especially when using a truck to tow with. Still, among the many communications found from the automaker, one is especially disturbing. In Service Bulletin #18319, GMC states that some vehicles might be missing the cotter key clip retainer from the front brake pad guide pin. This sounds like recall-worthy material, but nothing has been issued. Maybe the engineers were too busy focusing on other “details” that they couldn’t be bothered ensuring every part of the brake system was installed.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Brake Problems

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2019 GMC SIERRA 1500. WHILE PULLING OUT OF THE PARKING LOT, THE BRAKE WARNING INDICATOR ILLUMINATED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO DEALERSHIP. THE DEALER TESTED THE BRAKES, REPLACED THE MASTER CYLINDER, BLED THE BRAKES, PERFORMED A ROAD TEST, AND DECLARED THAT THE FAILURE WAS REMEDIED; HOWEVER, THE FAILURE RECURRED DURING A ROAD TRIP 200 MILES AWAY FROM HOME. DURING THE FAILURE, THE BRAKE PEDAL TRAVELED ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOORBOARD AGAIN AND THE WARNING INDICATOR TURNED OFF. THE CONTACT MANAGED TO DRIVE HOME SLOWLY. THE MANUFACTURER WAS CONTACTED AND PROVIDED A CASE NUMBER. THE MANUFACTURER STATED THAT A CASE MANGER WOULD CALL BACK WITHIN TWO DAYS. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 3,930.

 I FILLED MY 2019 GMC SIERRA DENALI AT THE LOCAL GAS STATION. AS USUAL I TURNED THE VEHICLE OFF. AFTER FUELING, I STARTED THE VEHICLE AND BEGAN PULLING OUT OF GAS STATION. UPON EXITING I LOST ALL BRAKING POWER AND THE PEDAL WENT TO THE FLOOR. I WAS GOING APPROX. 5 MPH. I PULLED OVER AND HAD TO STEP ON THE BRAKE PEDAL UNTIL IT WAS ON THE FLOOR WITH EXTREME FORCE. THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT ALSO APPEARED ON THE DASHBOARD. AT APPROX. 4:41PM I RECIEVED AN ONSTAR EMAIL WITH AN ANTILOCK BRAKE PROBLEM. EMAIL SUGGESTED I TAKE THE VEHICLE FOR SERVICE WITHIN 7 DAYS. I HAD GMC ROADSIDE TOW THE TRUCK FROM MY HOME TO THE NEAREST DEALER(STATEN ISLAND BUICK GMC) I LEASED THE VEHICLE FROM COLEMAN BUICK GMC AND WHEN I CONTACTED THEM I WAS TOLD THEY COULDN’T HELP AND THE DEALER THE TRUCK WAS TOWED TO IS STILL GM. I ALSO CONTACTED GM CUSTOMER SERVICE. RECEIVED A CASE # AND WAITING TO BE CONTACTED. AS PER COLEMAN THE VEHICLE HAS RECALLS FOR A TRAILER BRAKE MODULE AND PARK ASSIST. AS PER SI BUICK GMC THEY COULD NOT FIND ANY COMPUTER CODES. THE HYDRAULIC TEST SHOWED NO ISSUES. THEY CLAIM TO HAVE UPGRADED THE COMPUTER AND THE TRUCK WAS SAFE TO DRIVE AS OF 5/30. THEY WANT TO TEST DRIVE AGAIN ON 5/31 AND I ASSUME I’LL BE ASKED TO PICK UP MY TRUCK. I FIND THIS TO BE UNACCEPTABLE AND A MAJOR SAFETY ISSUE

Powertrain

Based on the name, it’s clear that the powertrain is responsible for supplying much needed power. When the engine or other components don’t work correctly, it’s difficult to get the pickup to move anywhere.

We see this illustrated by an NHTSA complaint. “While driving down road, sudden message of No Oil Pressure, Turn Off Engine Immediately. Was able to pull over with no power (luckily it was safe to do so at the time). Left a large puddle of oil underneath the front of the vehicle. Also, left large cloud of smoke from oil splashing on hot components underneath vehicle (exhaust, etc…) Behind me. Vehicle was undrivable and had to be towed. Large oil leak was the result of a burst oil cooler line. Dealer did not show me the failed part. Unable to confirm nature of burst.”

It appears that the company is dealing with many oil leaks considering that they issued Service Bulletin #18NA150, which shows technicians where to look for the leaks. There are two issues found with this document. First, how many oil leaks are occurring that documentation about it is needed? Secondly, why do the technicians require a diagram of the engine to find an oil leak? This isn’t rocket science. Considering that the word distinction means “excellence that sets someone or something apart from others” it’s clear to see that the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 doesn’t live up to its tagline. It is set apart, but not by excellence.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Transmission Problems

RECENTLY PURCHASED A 2019 GMC SIERRA AND IT SHIFTS HARD AT LOWER SPEEDS OR WHEN MOVING FROM A STOPPED POSITION AND THEN ACCELERATING, OR WHEN DECELERATING. WHILE PARKING THE CAR AT ONE POINT THE SHIFT WAS SO HARD THAT IT FELT LIKE A HIT, AND THEN THE KIDS CONFUSEDLY ASKING “WHAT WAS THAT?”. GM IS GIVING US THE RUNAROUND AND UNWILLING TO FIX WHAT I HAVE NOW FOUND OUT, HAS BEEN A KNOWN PROBLEM. THEY BASED EVERYTHING OUT OF WHAT THE MODULES REPORT WHEN THE CAR IS HOOKED UP TO THE COMPUTER. BASICALLY, IF THE MODULES ARE OK THEN THE CAR IS REPORTEDLY OK. NOT THE CASE.

TRANSMISSION JERKS INTO GEAR WHEN SLOWING DOWN. WHEN SPEEDING UP TRUCK WILL JERK. SERVICE MANAGER SAID IT WAS NORMAL. TRUCK FEELS LIKE IT THE REAR END FALLS OUT WHEN STOPPING.

Steering

The last thing anyone wants to deal with when driving a full-size truck is trouble with the steering. Whether the owner is hauling cargo or a trailer, no one needs more hassle while trying to maintain a straight path.

Again, we see this is something many owners are struggling with. One Edmunds reviewer says, “Own a 2019 Denali with the ultimate package. I have had it in the shop 4 times for ride quality and vibrating gear shift. Was recently in the shop for 3 weeks, and all that was done was changed one tire. The truck rides like the tires are out of balance. This is the most expensive vehicle that I have ever owned, and it’s my 3rd and worst Sierra. The gear shift vibration is so bad, it draws your eyes to it. Talking about distracted driving!”

As far as the steering and suspension on this truck, GMC can’t seem to get it right. These systems are riddled with service bulletins discussing noises, leaning vehicles and vibration. Considering that owners put out extra money to get behind the wheel of this truck over the comparable Chevy Silverado, one would assume that all of these kinks had been worked out during production. What exactly are the details that GMC worked on during manufacturing because they surely aren’t seen in the electrical, braking, powertrain or steering systems?Looks like they were only focused on becoming the best-in-class with equipment without giving any thought to how well it all worked.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Steering Problems

TL THE CONTACT OWNS A 2019 GMC SIERRA 1500. WHILE DRIVING VARIOUS SPEEDS, THE BRAKE FAILURE INDICATOR ILLUMINATED AND THE VEHICLE WOULD NOT IMMEDIATELY STOP WHEN DEPRESSING THE BRAKE PEDAL. ALSO, SEVERAL WARNING INDICATORS ILLUMINATED, INCLUDING THE POWER STEERING, ABS, AND TRAILER TOWING WARNING MESSAGE INDICATING THAT THE VEHICLE WOULD NOT ACCELERATE ABOVE 62 MPH. IN ADDITION, THE STEERING WHEEL BECAME DIFFICULT TO TURN IN EITHER DIRECTION. THE FAILURE OCCURRED ON TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO DEALERSHIP, BUT WAS NOT DIAGNOSED OR REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT NOTIFIED. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 1,400. THE VIN WAS INVALID.

ELECTRONIC POWER STEERING WENT OUT WHEN TAKING AN OFF RAMP, TRANSITIONING FROM A CRUISING SPEED OF 65 MPH. VERY DIFFICULT TO NAVIGATE THE TURN AND COULD HAVE EASILY RESULTED IN AN ACCIDENT IF IT HAD OCCURRED IN A HEAVY TRAFFIC SITUATION OR IN ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. TURNED THE VEHICLE OFF, SAT FOR 15 MINUTES, STARTED AND THE CONDITION WAS GONE. TOOK VEHICLE STRAIGHT TO DEALER FOR REPAIRS.

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1 COMMENT
  • Chet S

    I’m having transmission problems with a jerking shutter problem when coming to a stop or slowing down. Feels like I’ve been rear ended by a another car from behind…I have a 2019 gmc sierra crew cab x31 offroad edition

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