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Should reports of failing lifters stop you from buying new Chevy Silverado?


One of the ongoing areas of concerns for the Chevy Silverado are reports of failing lifters on the small block engines. Should these reports cause you concern?

Before I get into the concern, let’s first discuss the issue of failing lifters. Failing lifters have been associated with GM V-8 engines using active fuel management systems (AFM), and there are some early reports of the same failure for the new dynamic fuel management system (DFM). These systems turn off cylinders to conserve fuel when your driving doesn’t demand all eight cylinders.

More specifically, the GM lifter problems affect both the 2019-2021 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups as well as their GMT T1XX platform SUV siblings — the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

Lifters help open up the valves on the engine, and when they fail, you are looking at between $1,000-2,500 to fix the truck.

Should you be concerned about buying a Chevy Silverado?

Naturally spending a few thousand dollars on top of the already expensive new truck prices can make new owners like Stephen M. nervous.

He sent me this email:

    I recently bought a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT, 5.3 Litre engine from Champion Chevrolet of Reno, Nevada on 01/03/2022. I have concerns about defective valve lifters that GM has not yet issued a recall about, yet there is a Class-Action Lawsuit filed against GM as of December 2021 in Michigan, for defective AFM/DFM valve lifters, and I would really need to know if my truck falls into this category based upon the manufactured/production date.
     The inside sticker on the driver’s side door jamb reads: “Campaign Completed No.N202294820,” and the truck VIN # is 1GCRYDED———. 
     The current mileage on the vehicle reads 13,950 miles, and so far there has not been any significant engine noise, engine check light, or valve lifter failure since owning this truck. I have changed the oil and filter once with premium grade 0-20 weight full synthetic (DEXOS) motor oil since I bought the truck with 11,619 miles on it from the dealership and used ownership to the present date.
There is a lot to unpack from this email and it seems like he bought the truck, then researched it online and found a slew of posts about lifter failure. This likely lead to some stress and a bit of buyers remorse.
Here is my response:

Hello Stephen,

Looks like the lawsuit is still in the early stages, and it may or may not ever make it to court or be settled at this time. According to the court filing, they are declaring all GM vehicles to be defective with the 5.3L and 6.2L engines. That’s pretty broad as most lawsuits tend to do. 
The exact verbiage: Discovery will show that a partial list of the vehicles equipped with these engines includes the following models and model years: 2014-present Cadillac Escalade, 2016-2019 Cadillac CTS-V, 2014-present Chevrolet Silverado and Silverado 1500, certain 2014-2019 Chevrolet Corvette, 2014-2016 Chevrolet Avalanche, 2014- present Chevrolet Suburban, 2014-present Chevrolet Tahoe, 2016-present Chevrolet Camaro, 2014-present Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2014-2016 Chevrolet Corvette, 2014 to present GMC Sierra and Sierra 1500, 2014-present GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.
As far as your truck, the VIN doesn’t tell you what date it was built and the campaign number is for a recall.
VIN decoded:
So, what we have are some owners who have experienced issues filing a class action lawsuit, which is in court. It doesn’t mean there is or won’t be an issue with your truck, it just means it is still too early in the legal process to tell.
Personally, I would keep an eye on the lawsuit and drive your truck like normal. I find the chatter online can cause people to freak out over phantom issues sometimes.

The bottom line on failing lifters

There are certainly pros and cons to living in a more digital age with information available at the touch of your finger tips. This can lead to many people swearing off one brand of truck for another based on other people’s problems. However, it is wise to take all of these reports with a grain of salt. It is more likely that for every truck with a problem, there are a dozen without problems.

Plus, if you look hard enough, you’ll find a problem with every brand of truck on the market.

Instead of building up a problem into a massive stress ball, it is far better to educate yourself on the issue, and then file it away in the back of your mind. I think Stephen did the right thing here by educating himself on a potential issue and is better prepared to deal with it if his lifters ever do fail.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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