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9 Common Problems Of A Chevrolet Express

9 Common Problems Of A Chevrolet Express

What are some of the problems that Chevy Express owners have to deal with? In the blog below, we have identified and summarized all the main issues of Chevy Express. But first, let’s start with a quick answer.

Common problems of the Chevy Express are braking and ABS issues, along with excessive oil consumption. The braking issues warranted recalls and TSBs for several 1999 – 2011 models. Excessive oil consumption was an issue for the 2010 – 2014 models. Other problems include faulty passlock systems (1995-2003), electrical short (2013-2018), and tire failures (2018-2021).

I’m the sections below, we’ll discuss all the main problems summarizing essential details such as how to identify them, fix them, and the cost of repairing them. But before we get started, it’s important to remember that any vehicle, whether it’s a Chevy or not, will have problems. So remember that we’re talking trade-offs here and there’s no vehicle that’s without issue.

Let’s begin.

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1. Excessive Oil Consumption

Chevy Express models with 5.3L Vortec 5300 engines may burn a lot of engine oil. The main concern here isn’t the excessive oil consumption but the damage this problem can cause to the engine and it’s not the only Chevy vehicle that suffers from this problem.

These engines have low tension piston rings that allow oil to leak from the crankcase into the combustion chamber where it’s burned off. To make things worse, the Active Fuel Management system (AFM) sprays oil onto the pistons to reduce friction. Unfortunately, this oil also finds its way into the combustion chamber, increasing the amount of oil burned.

As one would expect, the oil levels will run dangerously low. However, the oil monitoring system fails to alert you in time, which can cause severe damage to the engine. The replacement of piston rings is an expensive task costing anywhere from $1000 to $25000, but pairing that with engine damages and your expenses skyrocket.

The problem mainly concerns 2010 – 2014 Chevy Express owners with the engine as mentioned above. A good measure is manually checking the engine oil to ensure safe oil levels and getting your vehicle checked if your consumption is excessive. Some Chevy Express owners opt to get expensive fixes such as piston ring replacement. In contrast, others live with the problem and manually check the oil levels instead of relying on the oil monitoring system. After 2014 the engines were updated with an improved sealing ring package which resolved the problem.

2. Electrical Short and Fire Risk

Two main recalls were dealing with an electrical short risk. The first one was for the 2013-2014 model years, addressing a potentially contaminated chassis electronic module that could short and cause the vehicle to stall. Following the recall, the electronic module will be replaced free of charge. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 14V614000.

The second recall regarding the electrical short risk was for the 2016-2018 model years, and it addressed the Climate Control Module (CCM) that may overheat, resulting in an electrical short. As part of the recall, the electrical insulation from a wiring connecter will be removed to terminate the fire risk. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 18V655000.

A third recall was made for a high electrical resistance fire risk. This recall was issued for the 2014-2017 model years regarding a possible leak into the driver’s power window switch, causing corrosion and increasing the fire risk due to high electrical resistance. The recall requires the driver-side window switch to be replaced free of charge. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 18V295000.

3. Tire Failure

Multiple complaints about tire treads coming off and similar tire malfunctions increased the risk of a crash for the 2018 – 2021 model years of the Chevy Express. These tire failures include sudden air loss or belt edge separation and can be traced back to a production flaw: prolonged tire curing.

Fortunately, a recall was issued to fix the problem. The tires will be inspected and replaced as necessary at the dealership. This will be done free of charge. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 21V115000.

Braking and ABS Problems

Chevrolet issued multiple recalls and technical service bulletins (TSBs) to tackle the braking and ABS problems in its Chevy Express. We’ll summarize the main recalls and TSBs below.

4. Power Steering Cooler Hose

The 1999 – 2000 model years of the Chevy Express have issues with the power steering cooler hose. The cooler hose can become detached, affecting the steering and the vehicle’s braking capability, increasing the risk of a crash. If the fluid from the hose flows onto hot engine parts, there’s also a risk of engine compartment fire.

The recall requires the dealers to inspect the hose and its clamps and replace them if needed. This will be done free of charge. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 00V085000.

5. Defective Relief Valve

In the 2003 and 2004 Chevy Express, a recall was issued to rectify a defective housing relief valve that could result in an ABS failure. The housing relief valve did not meet the specifications required, and the O-ring seal was at the risk of fracturing. This could cause complete ABS failure or make ABS activation difficult by requiring more pressure on the brakes.

As part of the recall, the vehicle must be taken to the dealership, where the relief valve will be replaced free of charge. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 04V045000.

6. ABS Warning Lights Issue

There were two TSBs issued for the 2007 Chevrolet Express that tackled the ABS warning light problem. The ABS warning light can light up randomly and so becomes unreliable. This makes it challenging to identify when an actual problem has occurred with the ABS. The problem is chalked up to electrical issues that affect the console or warning lights. The vehicle should be taken to the dealership to resolve the problem under the TSB.

7. Brake Hose Problem

In the 2011 Chevy Express, a recall was issued addressing the damaged brake hose that reduced the effectiveness of the rear brakes. The right rear brake hose could have improper clearance and may come in repeated contact with the tire or wheel rim causing it to wear out. This reduces the rear brakes’ effectiveness and increases the crash risk.

As part of the recall, the vehicle must be taken to the dealership, where the brake hose will be secured to ensure sufficient clearance. This will be done free of charge. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 11V275000.

8. Faulty Passlock Security System

The passlock security system prevents anyone without a proper key from starting the vehicle. The system successfully does this but also prevents someone with the appropriate key from starting the vehicle. In short, the problem lies with the sensor that becomes defective.

A system fault code B2960 may be observed when the sensor defect starts. One solution to this annoying problem is replacing the ignition lock cylinder, which will cost you around $450. The other, cheaper solution is to bypass the sensor, which will void the warranty, but since the problem is found in older models of the Chevy Express, it’s not something to worry about. The problem is mainly found in 1995 to 2003 Chevy Express with some complaints in model years up to 2010.

9. Soy-Coated Wiring

Soy-Coated wiring has become a common issue for most brands, including Chevrolet and it’s a common problem in the 2017 Chevy Colorado especially. Most automakers switched to soy-based coating for their wiring because it was more biodegradable and eco-friendly. Although it’s better for the environment, it’s also better for the automaker as these soy-based coatings are cheaper than their plastic counterparts.

The problem with these soy-based coatings is that they attract rodents which then like to chew on them and use them as nesting material. This could cause an array of problems, any system that utilizes wires accessible to these rodents is at risk of failing. This has become quite the problem since there is no easy solution, and it’s a problem found in most vehicles by most automakers.

Some simple steps to include into your routine to try and catch these rodents before they cause an expensive problem. This includes regularly opening the hood and looking for rodent activity, shredded pieces of wire where you park your cars and cleaning out all the food in your car.

What’s The Worst Year Of The Chevrolet Express

The Chevy Express is a reliable vehicle that should last around 250,000 miles and could even last up to 300,000 miles. The Chevy Express started in 1995 and has over two and a half decades under its belt. With such a vast selection of model years, we’d like to make it easier for you by giving you an idea of what years we think are the best and worst for the Chevy Express.

The worst years of the Chevy Express would have to be between 1999 and 2003. These years are the most complained about and encompass problems such as passlock system issues and braking or ABS issues.

The 2013 and 2014 model years can also give you a tough time with their excessive oil consumption and electrical short risks, and recalls.

The remaining years are all great choices with relatively few complaints. If you’re looking to get a Chevy Express from the 2018-2021 model years, watch out for the tire recall since it’s still pretty new. The 2015, 2012, and 2009 model years stand out as great options as they have fewer complaints and fewer recalls to worry about.

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