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2023 Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon problem highlights bigger issue


A 2023 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon problem has owners fired up up, for good reason, and it is highlighting a bigger industry issue. Many owners are facing dead batteries, trucks operating in limp mode and weeks with their trucks at the dealership. This sad reality could have been easily avoided if automakers just followed the well-established tech-company playbook.

2023 Chevy Colorado problem

What am I talking about? After scrolling through various Facebook groups and talking with my brother, who bought a 2023 GMC Canyon, I see a clear problem affecting a majority of new buyers.

The issue: General Motors pushed out an over-the-air update on these new trucks, and this update is not installing like it should. Instead, the software update freezes, and it won’t let the truck turn itself all the way off. This leads to dead batteries and, in several cases, ordering a completely new infotainment system. Yikes.

Currently, there is no real way to stop an over-the-air update without taking drastic steps — like disconnecting the battery every time you stop.

GM says it has resolved the issue, and owners shouldn’t experience any new problems. But what about the problems that have already occurred? My brother, for example, is one of the owners who has to have his entire infotainment system replaced.

“We’re aware and can confirm that the error has been contained and resolved,” said Anisha SredzinskiChevrolet Trucks & FSSUVs, Communications Manager. “A dealer message went out earlier this week to assist dealers with troubleshooting the error, which was essentially to jumpstart the truck and check the battery for any leaks.”

Problem fixed then, except this shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Tech companies figured it out, why can’t automakers?

It is easy to call this a GM thing, yet it isn’t. Most automakers offer over-the-air updates for the convenience of the customer. Convenience? Not when your truck is dead.

However, there’s an easy fix to this problem — one that cell phone makers and computer software companies already have figured out. The easy fix? Ask the owners if they want to install the update. OMG it is that simple?

Think about it. You just bought a new truck. GM says there’s a software update you need to install. Yet, you want to enjoy your truck or maybe you’re getting ready for a road trip. Having the choice of waiting until you get back? Priceless. Being forced into accepting the update and being stranded? You become a never-will-I buy-this-brand-again customer.

Plus, if you said yes to the update and the truck had an issue, you would have a clearer understanding of what happened. Instead, with stealthy updates you walk outside, and it is a mystery why your truck won’t start.

Why is this so hard? All other technology companies do it, and if you don’t think your vehicle is now more than a rolling computer, you are being foolish.

Oh, and here’s one more idea: How about you tell owners what was in the update? Apple and Microsoft tell you what’s in their updates. Why can’t automakers? Is it some gigantic secret? Nope. But it’s not currently an available feature. I know this because I wanted to do videos of my 2022 Toyota Tundra doing an update and showing what was in the update, and Toyota told me it wasn’t possible. That’s just dumb. Someone knows what’s in the update or else they wouldn’t be doing an update, so why does it have to be so hush, hush?

The bottom line

For me, these common sense ways of doing business are no-brainers. Why is this so hard for automakers to do then? They aren’t reinventing the wheel, for crying out loud. Just follow the best practices that have already been established. It really isn’t that hard.

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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  1. Marc September 12, 2023

    Nop problem is not contain Last week my truck ask for a update and next morning it was down …. issue not resolve as per 2023 september 8

  2. Anonymous September 17, 2023

    same here, went to take my son to work yesterday 9/16/23 DEAD BATTERY!!!! Not contained at all,

  3. Becky Howell September 17, 2023

    Went to let my son drive his truck that he just got for his 16th birthday and come out and the doors would not unlock, the key fob would not even work. Jumped on the internet to see what was going on and come to find out that they tried to do some kind of update and said that it was fixed. Well not my sons truck. It won’t do anything. My husband tried to charge the battery and it still won’t do anything. Here it is Sunday and no one is open on Sundays. All we have is a 2023 Chevy Colorado sitting in the drive way. The screen also said new update failed, see dealer.

  4. Jake September 18, 2023

    On 9/19/23, I had the same issue + after jumping, my screen, charger, turning signals, and dash are not working. The worst-case scenario for me when buying this truck. Fuses are fine, which makes it even more concerning. As someone who works in tech, I am very disappointed to see how careless they are with an update like this. If done right, with the level of engineering QA that should have been done before this, it should have made this impossible to happen.

  5. Katie Cree September 18, 2023

    Not contained- truck won’t start again this morning. 3rd time it’s gone to the dealer since we purchased it in July

  6. Mario September 28, 2023

    09/28/23 – Purchased a ’23 GMC Canyon Denali on 09/15/23. After a few days, had the Infotainment screen went black. Reset itself after a short time. Then had the app screen freeze a day later. After stopping for a few hours, everything came back Then the next day, infotainment screen began flickering with the instrument cluster going dim to bright and back several times. Did a reset and since then have not had any problems (fingers crossed). This morning I received a message onscreen about 3:00am when I arrived at work about a update. So not knowing any better, let the update start. After doing some reading regarding problems with the updating, I went back out to my Denali (3hrs later) to check it. So far, so good. Started up with no problem, checked my battery status (still at 13+ volts) and it was fine. But will go out later to check again. And it would be nice to know what was updated.

  7. Mike October 2, 2023

    my 23 Canyon Denali is having same issues – the screens go black and then come back after a few seconds while running down the road – this has occurred at least 8 times now – took truck to dealer – they assured all updates were good – took truck on a trip this weekend and again screens went black three different times – have not had any battery issues – will say that I notice sometimes the truck seems to still be operating ( electrically) after turning it off and getting out of the truck ( sounds like switches and relays turning on and off ) noticed the other night once shutting the truck off and closing the door – the screens were still in a blue screen mode for several seconds and eventually shut off one at a time. Taking it back again to the dealer – have the truck for only a month


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