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GMC Sierra 1500 Reliability: How Long Will It Last?


Although the GMC Sierra 1500 may be outmatched and outperformed by the F-150 and Silverado, the competition for the longest-lasting truck is much tighter, with the GMC offering decades of service and low maintenance costs.

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 - Picture of GMC

Key points

  • With proper maintenance, a GMC Sierra 1500 should have at least 200,000 miles, with some units over half a million.
  • Annual maintenance costs average about $700, with major problems less frequent than most pickup trucks.
  • The 2014 Sierra suffers from some electrical and steering problems, but quick recalls made it almost a non-problem.

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 - Picture of GMC

Expect a minimum of 200,000 miles from a GMC Sierra 1500, but don’t be surprised if you double that

Among major full-size trucks, Sierra ranks third in longevity. But third is not a bad place to be in this case.

Of all Silverados on the road today, 2.2% have exceeded 200,000 miles. For the F-150, the figure is 2.1%, with the Sierra trailing behind at 2.0%, so you really can’t go wrong with any of the three.

The Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 also share the same platform; a win for Chevy is a win for GMC. The platform is also shared with several other 10 durable trucks and SUVs, including the Tahoe, Suburban, and Yukon, making it the most represented non-Toyota platform on the list.

With decent care, you’ll get a base mileage expectation of 200,000 miles, but many Sierras, just start at that number. It is not uncommon to find them with 400,000 miles on the odometer, with the original transmission and engine.

If Sierras and Silverados don’t last as long as Tahoes and Suburbans, it just depends on how they are used.

A Suburban is generally used as a daily driver. Maybe that’s a little light off-road riding, but you’re mostly riding on paved roads and probably aren’t towing anything heavier than a dirt bike or the occasional jet ski.

A Sierra, on the other hand, is a dedicated extractor, conveyor and tower.

Simply put, a work truck experiences more wear and tear than an SUV. So while most of the major mechanical components are the same, the SUV will outlast the full-size pickup.

2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali - GMC

Saws are fairly easy to care for, but a little extra care will be worth it

To get the most out of your Sierra, you must first make sure you follow the maintenance schedule. GMC recommends a regular check-in every 7,500 miles, with transmission fluid changes between 50,000 and 100,000 miles.

If you use your Sierra as a work truck and/or do a lot of mud and off-road driving, you’ll want to err on the side of caution. In other words: better to register a few kilometers before than a few kilometers later.

Sierra owners should expect an annual maintenance cost of around $727. Maybe a little less for newer models, a little less for older ones.

In terms of severity, the Sierra is on par with other full-size trucks for breakdowns and major repairs. But, you see noticeably fewer problems on average. So, all things considered, the Sierra is one of the cheapest trucks to keep running.

2014 GMC Sierra 1500 - Picture of GMC

2014 Sierra’s longevity was threatened by electrical, and steering issues, but GMC was quick with recalls

For the most part, the GMC Sierra falls within the expected range for a full size when it comes to recalls, complaints, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigations.

However, the 2014 model year was a particularly problematic year, with more than 700 complaints filed with NHTSA and 21 recalls, plus three investigations still open to date.

The good news is that engine and drivetrain complaints are relatively few, with just 52 each.

The big concerns here are exterior lighting and electrical issues. Many drivers report that the headlights can be a little dim at night. A random failure of the power steering assist has resulted in over a hundred complaints.

Fortunately, the truck’s electrical and steering problems were resolved through a series of recalls.

2013 GMC Sierra

With Proper Care and a Little Luck, GMC’s Work Truck Could Last Until You Retire

Whether you’re looking for a daily driver or a dedicated work truck, the Sierra is built to go the distance.

The F-150 is still the best-selling truck in America, but the GMC Sierra 1500 is still in the top five, thanks to the brand’s reputation for tough, durable pickup trucks, with many units selling in the 200,000s. miles and keep running for another 200,000.

The key to hitting those big numbers on the odometer is simply maintenance. It’s always important to follow your maintenance schedule, but it’s doubly important if you’re putting your vehicle through its paces.

Anyone who uses their Sierra for more than just grocery shopping would be wise to manage their oil changes and tire rotations a few miles earlier rather than a few miles later. That little extra care could be the reason you pass that truck on to your grandkids one day.

Photos: GCM


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