2021 GMC Sierra Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Steering, seats, engine, and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Getting a job done right shouldn’t mean driving grandpa’s truck. With the 2021 GMC Sierra, customers are provided a little bit of luxury with the hard-working capability of a pickup. The automaker claims “command meets comfort” with this model, but customers aren’t impressed. This GMC appears to struggle with the steering, seats, engine and powertrain, leaving owners confused about what they have paid more for.

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Problems with the Steering and Seats

When it comes to controlling a vehicle, steering is everything. However, it’s even more important when driving a pickup truck that’s towing or hauling heavy items. Yet, this Sierra seems to fail.

Read this NHTSA complaint. “Started vehicle everything was normal, shifted vehicle into drive, proceeded forward. While driving, vehicle’s steering seized. I was unable to move the steering wheel. It was also very difficult to stop the vehicle, brakes were not working properly. Messages came up on [the] display, reading Service Power Steering and brief message about the brakes flashed quickly on the message board. At that point, turned the vehicle off after I got it stopped, turned it back on, same messages. Still unable to turn the steering wheel, repeated this several times. Approximately for fourth time, the message cleared and the vehicle was back to normal. This occurred on a city street.”

When a vehicle becomes uncontrollable, it is scary. However, the steering is only one system that keeps this truck under control. It must also be equipped with reliable, durable tires. Yet, NHTSA Campaign Number 20V684000 shows that’s not true. This recall says certain vehicles have overcured tires installed, which might lead to a break in the sidewall, creating sudden air loss, plus belt edge separation. All of these problems increase the chance of an accident, leaving customers feeling uneasy. While the GMC Sierra might exhibit command, there’s no comfort when the threat of an accident is always looming.

One key aspect of in-vehicle comfort is the seats, but this is another part of the truck that can’t seem to live up to expectations.

Another NHTSA complaint states, “Reached for a fallen object between the driver and middle front seat and there is a razor sharp piece that took a large chunk out of the hand which caused heavy bleeding and medical supplies to stop. The vehicle was stopped and just tried to retrieve fallen object between the seats. The incredibly sharp parts need to be cut or removed from this and other similar vehicles or covered with something. It was bare metal exposed out with sharp edges that cut the right hand so badly.”

It turns out that GMC might not have enough experience working with seats and seat belt construction. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V811000 says that incorrect bolts were used to attach the seat belts to the seat. If an accident occurs, the seat belts might not restrain passengers correctly, which could lead to larger injuries. However, the problem gets even larger when looking at NHTSA Campaign Number 20V792000. This recall states that the front center seat-belt bracket might not be secured correctly, causing a failure in restraining that passenger as well. This problem is apparent in more than 600,000 vehicles, leaving many people at-risk. If GMC was in “command,” these types of defects would never occur.

Problems with the Engine

The engine of a truck is what creates the power needed to haul and tow. With GMC, the engine simply wasn’t created to handle all of the jobs customers have.

Here’s one example of problems from the NHTSA website. “The vehicle was bought brand new and was only driven for a week. It was in motion on the freeway when the engine started to sound noisier than usual, like that of an older truck. It was hard to notice on higher speeds on the freeway, but upon slowing down on curves, it got more obvious that something was really wrong because the noise sounded like something was loose inside the engine. There was no ‘Check Engine Light’ or any other warning lights. Upon exiting the freeway, the engine shut off completely while in motion. Fortunately, I was able to pull in a parking lot and park it safely. The engine would not start safely after that, and ‘Check Engine’ activated. The vehicle is currently being diagnosed at a dealership. Last update was that the engine was being taken apart completely because they said it’s definitely inside it.”

Who wants to drive a rugged and tough truck with a failing engine? Not most customers willing to spend money on the GMC model. Even the automaker knows how many problems this engine is causing. Service Bulletin #N202319660 discusses a broken engine valve spring that leaves the motor running rough. It can also cause the Check Engine Light to come on, create a knocking or ticking noise and lead to stalling concerns. Surely there are better ways to haul goods than with this truck. At this point, even the back of a camel would be more reliable.

Problems with the Powertrain

Working in conjunction with the engine is the transmission. This part is required to provide a smooth-shifting drive, but the GMC Sierra seems to be equipped with faulty parts.

One Edmunds user states, “Bought a 2021 AT4 with 3.0L Duramax. Ordered it and waited 4 months for it to arrive. Love the ride & engine. Had to be towed to dealer with 1,236 miles due to a “transmission module issue.” Been 3 days haven’t heard back. Think transmission might’ve blown. Wouldn’t go in reverse, would go into reverse position but wouldn’t move. Engine power was reduced & check engine light came on. The 10 speed transmission was supposed to be solid…. be cautious.”

Again, these problems are not a mystery to GMC. Service Bulletin #16NA019 discusses how the transmission leads to harsh shifts, flares and slips, making any ride less enjoyable. With all of the problems bundled together, it’s clear that the Sierra can’t provide command nor comfort.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Cadillac pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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