How many miles can a GMC Sierra 1500 last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand Sierra 1500, that’s a very reasonable question. After all, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck. In this blog, we’ll look at this question in great detail but first, let’s start with a quick answer:
On average, a GMC Sierra 1500 lasts between 270.000 – 290.000 miles. A Sierra needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.2 times per year, with a 15% chance of severe problems. Furthermore, Sierra 1500 owners spend an average of $727 per year on repair costs.
Having said that, we’re certainly not done. Below, we’ll explain how many miles a GMC Sierra 1500 can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a Sierra 1500 costs annually and which production years are the most and least expensive. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have. Read on!
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How Many Miles Can A GMC Sierra Last?
Knowing how many miles your next possible truck will last is essential, especially if you are looking at a high mileage one. We conducted extensive research on this matter, and the following analysis will give us a better understanding of the reliability you can expect from the Sierra.
Our research showed that out of 32,121 Sierra 1500s for sale on autotrader.com, 6.44% had crossed the 150k mile mark. This is a higher-than-average number, given that, after analyzing more than 100+ models on this blog, we expect a percentage between 3 – 5%. The Sierra ends up well above this range which is a good initial signal that the Sierra is capable of higher mileage.
|Amount Of Miles
|Percentage Of Cars
|Cars With 150.000+
|Cars With 100.000 – 149.000
|Cars With 45.000 – 99.999
|Cars With 0 – 44.999
12.45% of these trucks are between 100k-150k miles. This suggests that a relatively large number of them have crossed the 100k mile mark, which is a plus for the Sierra.
However, this number merely gives us an initial understanding of the reliability of the Sierra. It’s also essential to compare the Sierra to other vehicles to see how reliable it is and how many miles you can expect.
How Reliable Is A GMC Sierra Compared To Its Competitors?
The first test wasn’t so great for the GMC Sierra, but the next will give us a better insight into the reliability of the Sierra. The competitors set benchmarks for each other, striving to be the best. This rivalry gives us better vehicles, so let’s see some of the best trucks and where the Sierra ends up.
Keep in mind, for almost all these vehicles, we’ve written a separate article, so we’re confident about the results of this table.
The GMC Sierra’s competition includes Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, and RAM 1500. It turns out that GMC Sierra is good, but it’s not the best. Some competitors have shown better numbers than the Sierra 1500. These include the F-150 and the Silverado, as well as the Tundra.
However, we also see that the Sierra beats the Nissan Titan and the RAM 1500. Furthermore, it’s not even that far off from the F-150. Overall, we would say the Sierra 1500 is a worthy competitor in the pickup truck scene, and the same can be said for practically all trucks involved.
This analysis shows where the Sierra stands among its brethren. This data also tells us how reliable the GMCs are in general.
After the data analysis, it turns out that the Sierra is the best GMC vehicle in terms of potential mileage. In the second place, we find the Acadia with a potential mileage of 230.000 miles. Furthermore, we have to say that all GMC vehicles seem to be capable of reaching higher mileage.
However, that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Other factors need to be considered, such as maintenance cost and the number of problems a car can have during its lifespan. Let’s continue.
How Much Does Maintenance Cost Per Year?
Knowing how much you are supposed to spend annually on maintenance is essential. GMCs are relatively expensive to maintain because these are sizeable vehicles that have to withstand a heavy workload. For this reason, simple repairs like replacing brake pads and changing the oil can add up quickly.
In the table below, we’ve compiled data from repairpal.com and caredge.com. On average, you will have to spend $727 annually to keep a Sierra on the road. This is less than the average $963 for full-size trucks.
|Annual Maintenance Cost
What we see in the table above is that the Sierra 1500 is relatively consistent in terms of its annual maintenance costs for all model years. No model year stands out negatively. Furthermore, the newer model years have lower maintenance costs, which is expected because newer models have fewer problems overall.
Owners’ Reviews Of The Sierras Reliability
Besides knowing all the data, it’s, of course, also essential to see how owners experience the Sierra 1500. For this, we went to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Truecar.com. All three platforms have gathered hundreds of reviews from actual car owners. We summarized our findings in the image below.
We found that the reviews of the fifth-generation Sierra 1500 (made from 2019 onwards) are incredibly mixed depending on which platform you look at. Kelley Blue Book owners are typically satisfied, although they do mention flaws. Edmund’s reviews are incredibly critical, with the 2020 version of the truck even scoring 2.7 out of 5 stars. On the other hand, owners on Truecar are more than happy with their purchase.
Why this is, that’s hard to say. However, it does seem to signify that the Sierra 1500 is either an incredible truck or that it will most likely have significant reliability issues if you’re unlucky. We’ll look more at the problems of the Sierra 1500 in the next subheading.
Furthermore, we want to quote a 2019 Sierra 1500 owner. This owner has had significant problems with his truck at around the 1,000 miles mark (engine stalling and high gas consumption) and was very displeased with its purchase. However, after the car was fixed, he did seem to be quite happy:
I have owned my 2019 GMC Sierra now for about 7 months now and have almost 5,000 miles on it. We have taken it on several more short road trips and one long road trip. It has done great!
(…) The 6.2L engine and 10-speed automatic transmission are awesome. Love this combo! Finds the perfect gear every time and never short on power. I put a drop in K&N filter and a tonneau cover recently. I’m now averaging about 18.5 MPG on the highway, so I’m happier with the gas mileage now too.Source
This is probably the most critical section of this article. When looking for a Sierra in the used market, you need to know the common problems it faces; it’ll help you find the best deal with presumably no issues at all. Or, if your potential next buy has some of these problems, you will be able to negotiate a good bargain.
NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.
Fifth-Generation (2019 – Present)
The fifth generation of the GMC Sierra 1500 isn’t without its problems. Especially the 2019 and 2020 model year have had quite a few of them, with each of these model years receiving ten official recalls. The most mentioned issues are random electrical problems caused by a poor alternator connection. This poor electrical connection caused a lot of engine stalling, which created a lot of dissatisfaction, as well as locking of the steering wheel or loss of power steering.
Another widely complained about problem was the loss of braking or unexpected braking by the ABS, for which the Sierra 1500 received two separate recalls.
Furthermore, hard shifting or jerking while shifting are often mentioned in the 2019 – 2020 model years, but a solution or a recall hasn’t been offered for this problem. Finally, the 2019 – 2021 model years with a V8 engine have failing valve lifters which can cause complete engine failure.
Fourth Generation (2014 – 2018)
To be honest, this whole generation is most likely worth skipping. For example, on the website of the NHTSA, we see that the 2014 and 2015 model year got a total of 21 and 20 recalls, respectively. Furthermore, they both received well over 600 complaints each.
It’s difficult to mention what isn’t wrong with this generation. The 2014 and 2015 model years had widespread problems with the exterior lighting, recurring electrical problems, difficulty with the brakes, and problems with the steering, powertrain, and engine. Each of these areas received well over 50 complaints each per model year.
These problems were fixed slowly throughout the generation but definitely not quick enough. Therefore, they persisted in one way or another until the 2018 model year, after which the fifth generation was introduced.
Third Generation (2007 – 2013)
Like the other generations of the Sierra 1500, the third generation definitely wasn’t without its flaws. However, we found that the problems this generation had were much less severe than the fourth generation one.
The third-generation Sierras mainly had problems with the airbag, which were recalled, but some of them were installed incorrectly, which again caused the illumination of the airbag light.
Furthermore, the whole generation had noticeable electrical problems caused by the battery cable and attachment to the frame and fuse panels. Furthermore, the 2011 model year definitely had engine and transmission problems (mainly the vehicle stalling and/or jerking).
Whether or not the Sierra 1500 is a truck that’s worth getting now depends on our conclusion from all the data that we’ve gathered.
First of all, we saw the Sierra could reach higher mileages. We expect the truck to reach an average mileage of 280.000, which is in line with most of its competitors (although a little less than the Tundra, F-150, and Silverado).
Furthermore, the vehicle has a very reasonable maintenance cost, and, on average, you can expect to pay $727 per year on maintenance costs which are less than the average for a full-size truck and compares well to other GMC models.
However, there are some drawbacks. Owners of the Sierra 1500 are either delighted with their purchase or wish to get rid of it as quickly as possible. This means there are proper Sierras on the market, but there are lemons as well, and you’ll have to perform a thorough inspection before being any of them.
Furthermore, we saw that all the model years between 2014 – 2020 have significant problems in one way or another. The 2014 – 2015 and 2019 – 2020 model years are the worst. However, all model years in between carry the same problems in some form.
If you’re in the market for a second-hand Sierra, we advise you to go with a 2013 model year. This was the last model year of the third generation which means most problems of that generation were fixed already. Furthermore, the third generation didn’t have that many severe problems to begin with.
Buying a newer GMC is a gamble. If we had to choose, we would put our money on the 2018 model year. Again, the fourth generation had significant problems, but the 2018 model year was the final model year of that generation, and it had the most minor problems.
No matter how you put it, a brand new Sierra will be a gamble because these vehicles haven’t been all that reliable for many owners in the past decade or so. However, the diesel version of the Sierra is typically considered more reliable so that’s another consideration.
Are you in the market for this GMC? Don’t forget to check out our extensive list of the largest GMC dealers per state!
Maintenance is essential for GMC Sierra to reach a higher mileage and perform at its best. If it is cared for and maintained wisely by keeping everything in check, it will go a long way before it goes to heaven. Below is the maintenance schedule that describes what should be done and at what mileage.
- Change Engine Oil
- Replace the oil filter.
But it’s better to change these before/on 7500 miles for best performance and long-lasting protection.
- Replace the passenger compartment air filter
- Inspect the tires
- See if there’s any prevailing rust
- Check for any fluid leaks
- Tire replacement
- Replace the air intake filter
- Replace the transfer case fluid
- Inspect the evaporative control system
- Change the automatic transmission fluid
- Inspect the spark plugs
- Inspect the ignition coils
- Have an engine diagnosis with a scanner tool and see for any abnormal reading.
- Inspect the electronics system
- Inspect the brake pads and rotors
- Drive belt replacement
- The manufacturers recommend changing the first coolant at 60k miles and the later ones after every 30k miles. It depends on different factors; you should check the color of the coolant to tell which one it is. If it’s the silicated one, you would have to change it after every 30k miles, and if it’s the extended drain coolant, you can change it after 100k miles.
- This is where the suspension components start to wear, and you might have to replace the worn-out ones.
- Inspect the transmission fluid and replace it if necessary.
- Service the radiator core
- Service the AC condenser
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!