Problems With the GMC Sierra

GMC Sierra is one of the best pick-up trucks. It comes with a spacious and modern cabin, ideal for a family or business transportation. In addition, it offers a smooth ride, comfort features, and an intelligent infotainment system

Although the manufacturer advertises the GMC Sierra as a reliable vehicle, it falls short. Consumers have registered numerous complaints about airbags, engines, exterior lighting, and propulsion systems.

Consequently, they spend hefty amounts on repair and service in an attempt to solve the defects. What’s more, driving a problematic GMC Sierra exposes you, your family, friends, and other road users to the risk of road accidents.

Fortunately, California lemon laws were enacted to protect consumers with problematic vehicles under the manufacturer’s warranty. A California lemon law attorney can help you seek compensation from a dealer or manufacturer.

Here are the common problems with GMC Sierra.

Faulty Airbags

The role of airbags is to reduce the risk of injury in a car accident. However, they can be highly disruptive if they deploy randomly. GMC Sierra owners reported several incidents where airbags would rapture randomly.

According to complaints from affected vehicle owners, the roof-air-bag inflator deploys without a collision and throws parts into the cabin. General Motors made an investigation into the matter and determined the origin of the matter was a defective inflator.

During the manufacturing process, moisture was accidentally introduced into the inflator, leading to corrosion over time. The defect has become more prominent due to temperature changes, especially in hot zones.

Registered NHTSA Complaint

2015 GMC Sierra 2500 PU/CC 4WD NHTSA ID:10865359

The incident occurred on May 14, 2016, when the contact was driving on a dirt road when the side bags were deployed. The vehicle did so involuntarily with no impact or damage to the exterior or vehicle’s undercarriage.

In addition, the vehicle failed to restart for several minutes after the airbag deployment. 

Manufacturer’s Recall

Over the years, GMC has made several airbag recalls, including the November 2020 recall. The recall potentially affected over 9,000 vehicles. Some of the affected models include the 2015-2016 GMC Sierra 1500, 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500, and Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 trucks.

GMC notified the owners, whereas dealers took up the responsibility of replacing RRAB modules on the left and/or right side free of charge.

A Faulty Fuel Sensor

A faulty fuel sensor is a common problem with a few Sierra models. Being unaware of your car’s fuel level is a nuisance that may also bring safety issues. In addition, a faulty fuel sensor can send inaccurate signals to the computer resulting in a hard engine start.

The symptoms of a faulty fuel sensor include:

  • Check the engine light coming on
  • Difficulty starting the engine
  • Weak acceleration
  • Engine stalling
  • Reduced fuel economy

A defective sending unit is the leading cause of a faulty fuel sensor. As the vehicle is in motion, the sending unit concurrently moves, which creates friction with the variable resistor. Over time, the constant motion causes wear and tear and, eventually, an open circuit.

The fuel sensor is located in the fuel tank, so accessing it requires extra work. In addition, most mechanics recommend that customers replace both the fuel pump and fuel sensor, which makes it expensive.

The faulty fuel sensor has affected 16 model years of GMC 1500 from 1999-2014.

Exterior Lighting Problems

Several GMC Sierra owners have complained about defective exterior lighting.

Here’s a sample of the complaints:

  • 2014 GMC Sierra 2500 NHTSA ID 10870438: As the contact was driving at night in the rain, the headlights didn’t provide enough illumination. The dealer was only willing to replace the bulbs and not the lamps.
  • 2014 GMC Sierra 2500 NHTSA ID 10840105: The contact reported that the headlights are too dim and unsafe. Considering the contact lives in rural areas without enough street lights, poor lighting makes driving cumbersome. Already, the contact has experienced near misses and feels an accident can occur anytime.
  • 2010 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended CAB NHTSA ID 11060814: The contact experienced numerous occasions where headlight bulbs burned. Despite numerous efforts to change bulbs, wiring, and housing, the defect persists. Unfortunately, it becomes expensive when cops are involved, and you have to pay for tickets.

GMC Service Bulletin on Exterior Lighting Defects

GMC issued a service bulletin in June 2021 that covered 2022 models and prior GMC passenger cars. According to the bulletin, some of the headlight issues are traced to condensation.

The condensation may also occur on the turn signal, tail lamps, backup, or cornering. It may occur when fine mist, white fog, and small droplets of water condense inside the lens, reducing brightness. According to the bulletin, the exterior lighting uses a vented design that expels moisture through the vents.

Fine mist or white fog is likely to form during periods of high humidity, resulting in defective lighting. However, the condition should clear in a dry environment or after driving for a long distance with lights on.

Structural Defects

Several vehicle owners of GMC Sierra have expressed concerns about damage to the vehicle structure. The main vulnerable areas include internal components like the dashboard, door handle, and body.

Here’s a brief discussion about certain defects.

Broken Door Handles

Some vehicle owners have encountered door handles that break inside out on some Sierra models. It occurs due to extreme temperature changes. Usually, the door handle expands and splits. Alternatively, the chrome coating may break and injure the driver’s hand.

Broken door handles were first noted in a 1999 GMC Sierra. The problem has been recorded in the 2008, 2010, and 2013 models.

Registered NHTSA Complaint

2010 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab NHTSA 10653881

The contact has experienced three broken door handles since 2013. In one incident, the passenger back door handle became loose and easy to pull out of the door. Unfortunately, every time the handle breaks or becomes loose, it’s difficult to latch the door properly, which is a risk when the vehicle is in motion.

Cracked Dashboard

Several GMC owners have had trouble with a cracked dashboard. Typically, a dashboard is made of PVC(Poly Vinyl Chloride. Although it’s made of durable materials, a dashboard can crack due to extreme heat or exposure to UV rays. 

Ultraviolet rays are not friendly to the chemical components of plastics or PVC. The continued exposure of UV rays to the dashboard can evaporate oils or break down plastic molecules triggering cracks.

Registered NHTSA Complaint

2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid NHTSA ID 10956809

The contact’s vehicle has two dashboard cracks— each 2 inches long. One crack is located 12 inches from the steering wheel, and another is on the top-left corner outside the airbag area. If the airbag was to deploy, the sharp end of the cracked dashboard would create an injury risk.

The crack didn’t develop from aggressive driving or excessive weight being placed on it.

A Defective Steering Wheel

The steering wheel is a vital part of your vehicle that controls the direction of the vehicle. It converts the rotational prompts of the driver into swiveling movements of the front wheels. The steering wheel can malfunction because of the following reasons:

  • Pump malfunction
  • Fluid leaks
  • Worn-out steering power steering belts
  • Contaminated power steering fluids

Vibrations are one of the main steering wheel complaints raised by car owners. You may note vibrations while braking or at low speeds. In other instances, vibrations occur at certain highway speeds and disappear when the vehicle speeds up beyond those speeds. 

It’s difficult to diagnose the problem because it has similar characteristics to wheel imbalance. Other examples of defective steering wheels include stiff electric steering, stiff hydraulic steering, and hydraulic leaks.

Registered NHTSA Complaint

2018 GMC Sierra 1500 NHTSA 11491315

The power steering failed as the contact was pulling off to park the vehicle at 2 mph. The driver needed to use extra force to successfully navigate the vehicle and park. As this happened, the power steering light illuminated. The dealer advised the contact to replace the steering wheel assembly and gear.

Help Available Under Lemon Laws

If General Motors or your dealer hasn’t fixed a defect that’s covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, you can pursue compensation. According to California lemon laws, a manufacturer should refund or replace your vehicle, after failing to repair your vehicle after a ‘’reasonable number of attempts.’’ Our attorneys can review your situation and advise whether your repairs constitute a reasonable number, making you eligible for a lemon law claim. 

Speak to an Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney

A problematic vehicle means less convenience, hefty repair costs, and regular downtimes. It also implies you can’t be 100% sure, your truck will be ready when you need it. That said, you should consider pursuing a refund or replacement from your dealer or the manufacturer. 

LemonLaw123 is your best bet; we’re highly experienced and knowledgeable in lemon law, which explains our impressive success rate.

Contact us online or call us at 657-220-6877 for a free case review.    

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, known as The Lemon Law Lady, has dedicated her entire legal career to the specialized field of Lemon Law, a journey that began immediately after her
graduation from UCLA School of Law.

With a 99% success rate and a policy of no fees unless you win, her practice stands as a testament to her expertise in California’s Lemon Law, her commitment to her clients, and her unwavering dedication to justice and consumer rights.

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