Best and Worst Chevy Silverado Years (6 Models You Should Buy!)

Let’s look at the highs and lows of the Chevy Silverado. Our guide, “Best and Worst Chevy Silverado Years,” offers essential insights for truck buyers and enthusiasts. Discover which Chevy Silverados excel and which fall short in this iconic pickup truck series.

Image for: Best and Worst Chevy Silverado years shows a blue Chevy 1500 against a forested road

When looking for the best years for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, we use valuable information such as Consumer Reports, JD Power, Kelley Blue Book, and Car Complaints. So, you can rest assured that this is the most reliable information to make the best decision. 

The best years for the Chevy Silverado are 2006, 2009, 2011, 2018, 2020 and 2021. On the other hand, the worst years for the Chevy Silverado are 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2014, 2015, and 2022. 

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At the same time, other years are average in reliability. After all, Chevy Silverados has existed since 1999 and is one of the most popular trucks on the market.

Read on to find out what makes the best years stand out and what’s behind the years you should avoid. As a side note, we’re focusing on the Chevy Silverado 1500, so if you want to know more about the heavy-duty models, check out this article.  

Chevy Silverado: A Brief History

The Chevy Silverado entered the market in 1999, replacing the Chevrolet C/K GMT400 platform. Not only did the Silverado come with a rounder, more refined look, but it also had significant technological improvements. 

The Silverado came with four engines and even a hybrid option, which entered the market in 2004. Plus, there was an SS line, one of the most coveted variants today, and several body options. 

The Silverado has existed as a standalone truck since 1999 and has gone through four generations. So, it’s common for people to ask how each Chevrolet Silverado varies. 

Understanding Each Generation of Chevy Silverado

The following is a chart that shows how long each generation has lasted. It’s important to note that the GMC Sierra, the Silverado’s mechanical twin, has existed for one more generation. 

Therefore, you might find that the GMC Sierra’s first generation is older. With that being said, here are all the Chevy Silverado 1500 years. 

Chevy Silverado Generations and Model Years
First generationSecond generationThird GenerationFourth Generation

When these trucks came out, they caused quite a stir in the market. The Chevy Silverado provided a considerable upgrade from its predecessor and indicated how the market shifted to more upscale trucks. 

People didn’t want rudimentary vehicles. Now, they wanted a truck that could provide them versatility and comfort. The Silverado provided precisely that. 

Engines have also gone through several changes. While Chevy continues to provide the legendary Vortec V8 in all its variations, it has also included newer powerplants for better fuel economy, such as the EcoTec3 lineup. 

Though more economical, these engines could play against the Sivlerado’s reliability. We’ll explain in detail later. 

What’s the reliability of Chevy Silverado pickup trucks?

Overall, the Chevy Silverado is very reliable. iSeeCars rates it as having a 31% chance of reaching 250,000 miles, 2.6X the average. 

At the same time, we’ve all heard of the legendary Vortec V8 reaching one million miles. However, that becomes increasingly rarer as people change their vehicles over time. 

As a work truck, the Silverado is reliable, and people love it. Chevy has sold more than 500,000 Silverados yearly in the past 10 years. 

Some years are more reliable than others. The following section identifies the best and worst years for the Chevy Silverado. 

Identifying the Best and Worst Chevy Silverado Years

Several factors can help you identify any truck’s best and worst years. The Chevy Silverado is no exception. 

Most often, the end-of-generation models are better. This is because the manufacturer has managed to finetune its production and develop an excellent vehicle.

As you’ll see here, there are plenty of choices for the best years, including the end-of-generation option. Another excellent way to identify good years is by including (or absent) technology. 

Chevy included new powerplants and systems that were prone to trouble. Therefore, the first year these vehicles had such features is usually less reliable. 

Finally, another aspect that makes for a better choice is the generation altogether. Some generations are not reliable, and we’ll explain which. 

Best Chevy Silverado Years

We’re covering the best and worst Chevy Silverado years, which is valuable information, but we must with the positive.

This section will cover the best years per each Chevy Silverado generation. Plus, we’ll explain some of the deciding factors. Let’s start with those ranging from 1999 to 2006. 

2006 Chevy Silverado

The 2006 Chevy Silverado was the last model year for the first generation, and many loved it. As with most end-of-generation vehicles, the manufacturer has sorted out most of the issues. 

Some features might be included in the following generation. The 2006 Silverado went through precisely this, resulting in one of the best trucks in the market. 

Kelley Blue Book rates it at 4.5 out of 5, and JD Power ranks it 81 out of 100. Moreover, it has the second lowest complaints of its generation. 

A challenge might be finding a first-generation Silverado with low mileage. Still, if you find one, it’s definitely a good purchase. However, if you’re looking for a second-generation Silverado, we’ve got the candidate for you. 

Image for the Best and Worst Chevy Silverado years: the 1500 was the predecessor to the Silverado

2009 Chevy Silverado

The 2009 Chevy Silverado saw a considerable improvement in the complaints department as Chevy sorted out several issues regarding excessive oil consumption. It came with mechanical and technical improvements as part of the second generation. 

It’s important to note that the 5.3L Vortec V8 came with improved technology, including the Active Fuel Management system. While this system offers more power, it can be prone to trouble. Therefore, it’s best to stick with powerplants that don’t have this technology. 

JD Power gives the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado an 82 out of 100, and Kelley Blue Book rates it 4.5 out of 5. Therefore, this is one of the best Chevy Silverado years.

2011 Chevy Silverado 

Another excellent option from the second generation is the 2011 model year. Chevy continued improving the truck; by 2011, it had developed a superior product. 

The 2011 Chevy Silverado has few complaints; most reviews love its durability and comfort. Again, it rates highly in Kelley Blue Book and JD Power, yet, ironically, the complaint is that buyers could have too many choices. 

Sticking with a tried-and-true recipe always works. So, the 5.3L Vortec V8 is an excellent choice. Interestingly, the 2012 Silverado doesn’t have as high a reliability rating as this year, though it still ranks high. 

The 2012 Chevy Silverado also has the benefit of having a redesign fascia, which appealed to many, for its boxy looks. 

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2018 Chevy Silverado

Let’s jump to the third generation, which brought massive technological improvements. The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado had an interior that could now battle international brands, but it still had a rugged construction. 

The bulkier look was also a plus, as buyers well-received it. In JD Power, this Silverado has one of the highest ratings across the platform’s history, with an 85.  

Not only that, but Kelley Blue Book rates it highly, with a 4.3. While slightly lower than its predecessors, it’s still high. 

This model year follows the same path as others on this list, as it’s the final production year for the 1500. Therefore, you’ll find that most of the technological issues have been sorted out, leaving you with a reliable option. 

Another interesting option is the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado which, though ranking lower, is still reliable. 

2020 Chevy Silverado

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado is an excellent option for a newer, all-rounder option. Sites such as JD Power and Kelley Blue Book rate it as one of the best full-size trucks in the market. 

Some of its strengths include a comfortable ride, excellent towing, and an excellent interior. Plus, with an assortment of engines, there’s definitely an option for everyone. 

One of the most noticeable features is that the fourth-generation Silverado marks the first time this truck has a four-cylinder engine. While powerful (making 310 hp), it might be better for only some uses. 

2021 Chevy Silverado

Following along the lines of the 2020 model year, the 2021 Chevy Silverado is an excellent choice for those who want a complete truck for slightly less than a new one. This truck has earned praise from many sources, and owners love it. 

Granted, it could be better. A large part of the complaints revolve around technology and how it might not live up to par with other competitors. 

These are the best years for every generation. If you get these, chances are you will enjoy your truck for miles to come, which is one thing that has made the Chevy Silverado stand out. 

However, as with any vehicle, there are some years that you should avoid. The following section will investigate the most unwanted Chevy Silverado years and what makes them bad. 

Worst Model Years To Avoid For Chevrolet Silverado Trucks

Part of writing the article “best and worst Chevy Silverado years” is covering the bad side. So, what makes a bad Chevy Silverado? Many factors are at play, including new tech, faulty engines, and deficient production.

Let’s find out the worst model years for each generation, starting with those produced between 1999 and 2006. 

2003 Chevy Silverado

The 2003 Chevy Silverado was one of the worst years due to the severity of its problems. While many owners loved this generation, the 2003 model year specifically had plenty of mechanical issues, ending up with 13 recalls. 

These problems include faulty steering, which demanded a change in steering rods, though this didn’t solve the problem in all cases. Some owners reported difficulty steering at highway speed. 

Other problems included excessive oil consumption and even total engine failure. Overall, this model year has the highest number of complaints of all Silverado trucks, leading Car Complaints to give it the Beware of the Clunker. 

2004 Chevy Silverado

The 2004 Chevrolet Silverado, unfortunately, managed to outdo its predecessor by having the second-highest number of complaints, with more than 400. Steering problems continued, as well as deficient quality interior components, where most broke quickly. 

While interior components aren’t as critical, Chevy had a severe issue with door handles. As they broke, passengers could not exit their vehicle safely, which can be a hazard. 

There were so many complaints that, once again, it earned the dubious honor of Beware of the Clunker. 

2005 Chevy Silverado

The 2005 Chevy Silverado managed to, yet again, earn the Beware of the Clunker badge due to its continuing problems with the steering. This model year also had other issues, such as braking and transmission, leading many to avoid the year altogether. 

Consumer Reports rates it as one of the lowest in reliability and owner satisfaction. What’s interesting is that you might find other sources that indicate otherwise. 

For example, Kelley Blue Book gives it a 4.5 out of 5 in consumer satisfaction, but the truck faced 14 recalls. Therefore, this is one of the top Silverado 1500 years to avoid. 

2007 Chevy Silverado

This model year marked the beginning of a new generation and one of the most troublesome Silverado trucks. It was so bad that it caused a considerable drop in sales for the brand. 

The 2007 Chevrolet Silverado has more than 400 complaints, most involving the engine. The most frequent problem is that the vehicle consumes excessive amounts of oil.

The problem was so bad in the 2007 Silverado that some people had to replenish oil weekly, which was a nuisance and a potential for mechanical failure. Other engine problems include unexpected loss of power and power surges when idling. 

If you’re really interested in these years, you can opt for the slightly better 2008 Silverado, which has fewer complaints when compared to the 2007 model year. However, the 2008 model year still isn’t as good as others. 

2014 Chevy Silverado

This model year disappointed many, as it came riddled with issues. Consumer Reports gave it one of the lowest reliability and satisfaction ratings of the entire Silverado model history, mainly due to its underwhelming fit and finish and other issues. 

It’s common to see the first model from a new generation perform poorly, and the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado was no exception. The problem is that Chevy had trouble upping its game, and the 2014 Silverado marked a very troublesome time, making it one of the worst years for the Chevrolet truck. 

2015 Chevy Silverado

Another candidate for the worst Chevy Silverado is the 2015 model year. This has one of the lowest ratings in Consumer Reports and ranks low in Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating, placing it near the end of the full-size truck segment. 

Like its preceding model year, the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado was plagued with recalls, including power steering, braking, and transmission issues. As a result, it’s better to avoid the 2014 and 2015 Silverado model years, as they’re some of the worst used Chevy Silverado trucks you can buy. 

2022 Chevy Silverado

The fourth generation isn’t perfect, by no means, even if it comes with heaps of technology and a comfortable interior. The 2022 Chevy Silverado has low consumer ratings in Kelley Blue Book and Consumer Reports, with problems plaguing the three main areas of all Silverados: steering, braking, and transmission. 

At the same time, this model year faced a recall for airbags not deploying in an accident, a significant hazard. Therefore, it’s best to avoid this model year. 

Common Issues in Worst Chevrolet Silverado Years

The Chevrolet Silverado has suffered from three main issues throughout its life. These are the following:

  • Engine oil consumption: many Silverado trucks suffer from excessive oil consumption, especially those from the second generation. 
  • Steering issues: many Silverado owners have complained of unresponsive steering and other problems
  • Interior components: Chevy engines might be reliable, but the interior isn’t. The Silverado suffers from deficient quality, which can be frustrating.

Closing Thoughts On The Best and Worst Chevrolet Silverado Years

In closing, the journey through the highs and lows of the Chevy Silverado’s history is enlightening and crucial for potential buyers and enthusiasts. We wanted to provide a thorough and objective lens, meticulously sifting through decades of consumer data and expert opinions. 

The best years for the Chevy Silverado are 2006, 2009, 2011, 2018, 2020 and 2021. On the other hand, the worst years for the Chevy Silverado are 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2014, 2015, and 2022. 

There’s a common factor for the best Chevy Silverado years: some of the best ones come from the later models of each generation. This is a good tip that you can follow whenever buying a used Silverado. 

At the same time, this also applies to the bad years. The first models of every generation are likely to be riddled with problems as manufacturers have yet to weed out issues. 

Ultimately, this guide serves as an invaluable compass for navigating the rich history of the Chevy Silverado. Whether you are a seasoned enthusiast or a first-time buyer, the insights provided equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions. In the ever-evolving world of pickup trucks, the Chevy Silverado is a testament to resilience, innovation, and the enduring quest for excellence.

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