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For months now truck production has been halted due to an international semiconductor shortage. A few months into this production dilemma, GM announced it would start producing and selling Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks without the fuel-saving technology that relied on the semiconductors. This week they said that some of these trucks would have one more piece of tech missing: The 2021 Chevy Silverado radio would lose HD radio capabilities. The same goes for the 2021 GMC Sierra radio and all the radios in the 2022 HD trucks.

What is HD radio and do I really need it?

HD radio is a free service that basically boosts and digitizes you local AM/FM radio station’s offerings so you get a clearer, crisper listening experience. It can also enable the player to display artist information, song titles and more. Plus, it allows for up to three additional digital radio signals, so one station can rebroadcast three different programs within the same frequency allocation. The two extra signals are kind of like “hidden” radio stations because you can only access them on HD.

Sounds amazing, right? It is, but it isn’t used by every radio station. For example, there are many radio stations in my home town, and only three of them offer HD radio and none of them are the stations I listen to on a regular basis. So, I’m not really getting to experience HD radio, even if my vehicle has the ability to play it.

Sierra and Silverado radio changes

It looks like GM is going to do away with HD radio in the 1500 pickup trucks for the foreseeable future, and there doesn’t seem to be any plans to bring it back according to this report from gm-trucks.com. However, it won’t affect every single 2021 truck, so if the lack of HD radio technology matters to you, talk to your dealer about the truck you intend to buy (if produced on or after July 12, 2021), and pay attention to the window sticker, looking for the RPO code RG0 – Not Equipped with HD Radio. It seems a $50 MSRP credit will be offered for these vehicles as well.

The bottom line on the Silverado Radio

After a really long year for truck buyers, we’re excited to see GM doing everything it can to get new trucks on the lots for its customers, even if it means a few compromises have to be made. And, really, of all the things that could be omitted so truck production can resume, is HD radio really that big of a deal? We don’t think so. Do you?

Erica Mueller

Erica Mueller is a Texan, which means she believes that trucks are family vehicles and giant SUVs make good second cars. As part-time auto journalist for almost a decade, Erica enjoys driving all kinds of vehicles and sharing her experiences with others. Erica is the secretary of the board for the Texas Auto Writers Association as well as a contributor at A Girls Guide to Cars.

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  1. WM November 5, 2021

    I have a 2021 Silverado RST version and have had many of these over the years. The radio in the 2021 is the worst one by far. I took it into the dealer because the rear speakers (I thought) were not working properly because I have to move the fader to approx 80 rear and 20% front in order to hear equal volume between front and rear speakers. I was told by the dealer that this was normal and there is nothing wrong with the radio. PS Each time you restart the truck the fader defaults back to factory setting so you have to adjust it again and again if you want to be able to actually hear anything from the rear speakers.

    1. Erica Mueller December 9, 2021

      Oh, that sounds super annoying. I would not be OK with that. It should remember your settings for sure.


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