GMC Sierra Years To Avoid and The Best Years

GMC Sierra Years To Avoid – When it comes to the GMC Sierra, there’s a lot to admire and appreciate – from its powerful performance to its reliable build. However, just like any other vehicle, some model years may not live up to expectations, and it’s essential to be aware of these potential pitfalls.

In this informative article, we’ll explore the GMC Sierra years to avoid, highlighting common problems associated with these specific models.

Moreover, we’ll explore which alternatives are more reliable and could be excellent options for those considering a used purchase.

Before we begin, it’s essential to clarify that the GMC Sierra comes in several variations, including the Sierra 1500, Sierra 1500 hybrid, and the Sierra 2500 and 3500.

For the purpose of this discussion, we’ll be focusing solely on the basic Sierra model.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that many design similarities extend across different Sierra versions, making some of our insights applicable to those models as well.

GMC Sierra Years To Avoid

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and take a closer look at the GMC Sierra years to avoid, identify more reliable alternatives, and discover which model years present a prudent option for prospective used buyers.

Let’s get started!

GMC Sierra Years To Avoid

The GMC Sierra has been a staple in the automotive market for a considerable time, offering robust performance and dependability.

However, with various versions of this vehicle available, the number of distinct production years for the GMC Sierra is not as extensive as one might think.

As a result, the list of GMC Sierra years to avoid is relatively short, consisting of just three specific model years: 2005, 2007, and 2012.

While these years have garnered more complaints and performance issues compared to their counterparts, it’s crucial to note that they are not inherently bad vehicles.

Other models of the Sierra generally outperform these three concerning reliability and performance.

Identifying the GMC Sierra’s Worst Years to Avoid

When it comes to making an informed decision about purchasing a used GMC Sierra, it’s essential to understand which model years may present more challenges than others.

Based on data analysis and user feedback, the following three model years have shown higher complaint rates and performance problems:

2005 GMC Sierra

The 2005 GMC Sierra, though not an outright poor choice, has a higher rate of complaints and failures compared to the other two mentioned years.

It’s worth noting that the complaint rate remains relatively conservative for a modern vehicle, but prospective buyers seeking an older used vehicle might consider exploring alternatives.

Read Also: GMC Yukon Years To Avoid

2007 GMC Sierra

Similarly, the 2007 GMC Sierra faces increased complaints and performance issues, making it another year to approach with caution. While it may still have some attractive features, it falls behind other model years regarding reliability.

2012 GMC Sierra

The 2012 GMC Sierra also finds itself on this list due to reported complaints and performance problems. While not entirely without merit, buyers may be better off exploring other options from the Sierra lineup.

Best Years for GMC Sierra

When it comes to the GMC Sierra, finding a reliable model year is a relatively straightforward task.

While the vehicle doesn’t boast an overwhelming array of different models, the good news is that most of the production years have proven to be dependable options.

We’ll explore the best years for GMC Sierra, highlighting model years with a track record of reasonable complaint levels and overall performance.

Before we delve into the shortlist of reliable GMC Sierra model years, it’s important to understand what reliability means in this context.

Best Years for GMC Sierra

It doesn’t imply perfection or the absence of complaints; rather, it refers to the fact that the number of complaints and problems falls within acceptable levels.

Let’s proceed to uncover the most dependable GMC Sierra options for prospective used buyers.

The Shortlist of Reliable GMC Sierra Model Years

As we’ve already covered the GMC Sierra years to avoid, the remaining model years can generally be considered reliable choices.

Read Also: GMC Terrain Years To Avoid

Here’s a shortlist of the most dependable GMC Sierra model years:

1987-1995 GMC Sierra

These model years, spanning from 1987 to 1995, have showcased robust performance and earned a reputation for reliability. Despite their age, well-maintained Sierra models from this era can still be viable used options.

2009 GMC Sierra

The 2009 GMC Sierra is another model year worth considering for its reliability. With fewer complaints and well-established performance, this year’s Sierra offers an attractive option for used buyers seeking a dependable pickup.

2017 GMC Sierra

Best Years for GMC Sierra

The 2017 GMC Sierra stands as a testament to the vehicle’s evolution, offering improved features, enhanced technology, and solid reliability.

Buyers can find this model year as a reliable used option for their driving needs.

Considerations for Choosing a Used GMC Sierra

While the majority of GMC Sierra models can serve as suitable used vehicles, even the years we previously identified as problematic can be viable options under certain conditions.

For instance, if you have access to comprehensive maintenance records and confirmation that any known electrical issues have been rectified, a model from one of the less reliable years could still be a viable option.

However, we generally recommend exploring GMC Sierra models released since 2000.

These more recent models are likely to have lower mileage and better fuel efficiency compared to their older counterparts.

Read Also: GMC Acadia Years to Avoid

Among the options available, the 2009 and 2017 GMC Sierra models stand out as the best choices for buying used.

When searching for a used GMC Sierra, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Relatively Low Mileage: Look for vehicles with relatively low mileage, as this can indicate less wear and tear on the engine and components.
  2. Complete Maintenance Records: Access to complete maintenance records allows you to gauge the vehicle’s history and how well it has been cared for.
  3. Accident History: Opt for vehicles that haven’t been involved in any serious accidents, as prior damage can affect the truck’s performance and safety.

GMC Sierra Problems

The GMC Sierra is a popular choice among truck enthusiasts, boasting performance and reliability.

However, like any vehicle, it is not without its share of problems.

We will explore some of the most common GMC Sierra problems that have left consumers less than fully satisfied with their trucks.

GMC Sierra Problems

While the first three issues we’ll discuss are relatively common, we will also touch on a more serious and rarer problem.

Let’s take a closer look at these challenges and gain insight into potential solutions.

1. Incorrect Speedometer: A Frustrating Electrical Issue

One of the most prevalent issues with the GMC Sierra, especially in the 2005 model, revolves around the speedometer.

Some vehicles seem to experience problems with their speedometers, which stem from electrical and wiring issues.

Identifying this problem can be tricky, especially if you don’t have speed monitoring on the roadside in your area.

The most noticeable version of this problem occurs when the speedometer stops working entirely, but the more common issue is an inaccurate reading.

This can lead to speeding tickets or even loss of vehicle control during turns.

Resolving the speedometer issue varies, depending on the root cause.

Read Also: GMC Envoy Years to Avoid

In some cases, simply replacing the sensors might suffice, but other times, it may require addressing wiring or power source problems, which can be more challenging and expensive to fix.

2. Miscellaneous Electrical Issues: Annoying and Variable in Severity

Unfortunately, the speedometer problem isn’t the only electrical issue that plagues the GMC Sierra.

Users have reported various problems, such as malfunctioning dash gauges, interior lights giving out, and the vehicle randomly locking or unlocking.

These miscellaneous electrical problems can range from mildly inconvenient to more severe disruptions.

Repairing these electrical issues comes with a wide variation in cost, depending on the complexity and accessibility of the problem’s source.

If the source is easy to access, the repair may be relatively straightforward and less expensive.

However, more complex issues might require additional time and effort to diagnose and fix.

3. Heater Malfunctioning: Unwanted Temperature Surprises

Another problem GMC Sierra owners have faced relates to the heating system.

Some trucks experience issues where the heater may turn on randomly, even during the scorching summer months.

While the opposite—sudden heater shutdown during winter—doesn’t seem to happen, dealing with a malfunctioning heater can still be frustrating.

Heater malfunctions may also be connected to electrical issues or other underlying problems within the vehicle’s systems.

Identifying and resolving the root cause may involve troubleshooting and, in some cases, seeking professional assistance.

4. Engine Knock: A Serious and Costly Concern

One of the more serious issues that can occur in the GMC Sierra, though fortunately rarer than the previous problems, is engine knock.

Engine knock can be a cause for concern for any car owner, as it signals potential internal engine damage.

Diagnosing engine knocks can be a challenging task, and even obtaining a proper diagnosis may come with significant expenses.

Addressing engine knock often requires extensive repairs and might involve costly replacement of engine components.

Regular maintenance, attentive driving, and promptly addressing any unusual engine noises can help mitigate the risk of engine knocks.

What year is bad for GMC Sierra?

The 2014, 2015, and 2017 model years are considered problematic for the GMC Sierra due to issues such as dim headlights, excessive oil consumption, and air conditioning problems. Despite these drawbacks, the GMC Sierra still offers an exceptional combination of power and quality, making it one of the most luxurious trucks of 2022.

What year Sierra is the most reliable?

For those seeking a reliable GMC Sierra that can withstand long-term use and accumulate high mileage, the 2011 model or newer is recommended.

According to the best list, the most reliable Sierra model years are 2011-2012, 2016-2018, and 2021, making them suitable options for buyers planning to keep their truck for an extended period and drive it to 200,000 miles or beyond.

What years did the GMC Sierra have transmission problems?

GMC Sierra owners, particularly those with automatic transmissions, have reported transmission problems in later models from 2014 to 2021.

Many have complained about issues with the transmission occurring before their vehicles reached 100,000 miles.

What is the best generation of GMC Sierra?

While every vehicle may encounter some issues at some point, the 2020 and 2021 model years are highly recommended for the GMC Sierra.

GMC seems to have addressed numerous issues in these newer models, making them a top choice for potential buyers.

Is a GMC Sierra a good truck?

Yes, the GMC Sierra is regarded as a good truck, as evidenced by J.D. Power’s recognition of the 2020 GMC Sierra as America’s Most Reliable Full-Size Truck after three years of ownership.

J.D. Power’s study examines the dependability of 2020 model-year vehicles and showcases Sierra’s performance and reliability in comparison to other trucks in its class.


When considering the GMC Sierra, it’s essential to be aware of the model years that may present potential problems.

The 2014, 2015, and 2017 GMC Sierra models have been associated with issues like dim headlights, excessive oil consumption, and air conditioning problems.

While these drawbacks are worth considering, it’s important to note that the GMC Sierra as a whole offers an exceptional combination of power and quality, solidifying its position as one of the most luxurious trucks of 2022.

While no vehicle is entirely exempt from issues, the 2020 and 2021 GMC Sierra model years are highly recommended due to GMC’s efforts in addressing various problems, resulting in improved overall performance and reliability.

In summary, despite the specific problem years mentioned earlier, the GMC Sierra remains a highly regarded truck, with the 2020 model receiving recognition as America’s Most Reliable Full-Size Truck.

The key to a satisfying ownership experience lies in thorough research, diligent maintenance, and choosing the right GMC Sierra model that meets your needs and preferences.

Remember, knowledge about GMC Sierra years to avoid can be valuable in making an informed decision when looking to purchase a used GMC Sierra.