How Long Do GMC Sierras Last? (9 Important Facts)

A GMC Sierra is a pretty comfortable place to be in. Other than its comfy seats and great shock absorbers, it has wonderful gas mileage for a truck its size.

We’ve recently looked at common problems with the GMC Sierras, now let’s turn to how long they last, on average.

It sports a confident look and comes in three main distinct models, namely Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500. The major difference among them is their payload and towing capacities.

The Sierra line is the luxury sister of the popular Chevrolet Silverado. This article discusses how long these powerful trucks last.

Here’s the short answer to how long the GMC Sierra lasts:

GMC Sierra trucks can last an average 250,000 miles before requiring expensive upgrades. Considering that many owners use these trucks as workhorses and daily drivers, if you average 20,000 miles per year, the vehicle may serve you for 12.5 years. 

How Many Miles Can You Expect From a GMC Sierra?

GMC Sierras may live lives as short as 200,000 miles and as long as 300,000 miles or even more. However, an average of 250,000 miles may be expected.

The major determinant of the truck’s longevity is maintenance and use.

Heavy duty tasks such as hauling oversized cargo and towing trailers can stress the Sierra’s engine and transmission, and they can reduce its lifespan in the absence of diligent maintenance and proper use.

How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a GMC Sierra?

The GMC Sierra seems to have average rust protection. A common complaint drivers made about the Sierra was on frame rust. The frame appeared to rust faster than the body itself.

This usually occurred after over five years of production or ownership (if bought brand new). Worst-case scenario, you should have a rust-free truck for at least five years.

Pickup trucks are particularly more prone to rust than regular cars.

A good reason for this is that water is likely going to get stored in the truck bed. This can occur due to rain, snow, or dew. If not properly cleaned out, rust would likely occur.

You can protect the truck bed by using a truck bed cover or simply by parking indoors. In short, keep your truck moisture free to keep rust at bay.

How Long Do GMC Sierras Last Compared to Similar Pickup Trucks?

The Sierra seems to be a long-lasting truck.

However, let’s compare its lifespan to that of similar trucks.

GMC Sierra vs. Chevy Silverado

When you think of rivals for the Sierra, the Silverado quickly comes to mind. General Motors produce trucks and they have similar qualities in most areas. The Silverado lasts 200,000 to 300,000 miles on average.

That’s an impressive figure and anything less from the Silverado would be frowned upon. When compared to each other, both pickups perform well.

Read more: How Long Do Chevrolet Silverado Last? (Solved & Explained!)

GMC Sierra vs. Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is the most popular truck in the United States, with an estimated lifespan of 300,000 miles. This is no doubt a contributor to why it has so much sales.

The Sierra and the F-150 have similar longevity.

While the Sierra has an average annual maintenance and repair bill of $727, the F-150 costs an average of $788 to repair and maintain annually.

Read more: How Long Do Ford F-150s Last? (8 Important Facts)

GMC Sierra vs. Nissan Titan

The Sierra and the Titan also have equal service lives, each amounting to 250,000 miles with regular servicing and routine maintenance. However, the Titan’s $555 average annual maintenance and repair cost is $172 cheaper than the Sierra’s.

So, the Titan might be cheaper to buy and own compared to the luxurious GMC Sierra.

Read more: How Long Do Nissan Titans Last? (9 Important Facts)

How Reliable Is a GMC Sierra?

The Sierra has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 from RepairPal. This ranks it 3rd out of 17 for full-sized trucks.

From the data we’ve gathered, the Sierra is more reliable than similar trucks.

For the last 10 years, the Sierra 1500, for example, has received stellar ratings from J.D. Power. The agency rated most model years from 75% to 89% in terms of quality and reliability.

The 2017 model has the least rating with a 66% rating. We interpret this as fair, which is less than average.

The Best and Worst Years for GMC Sierra

Let’s begin with the 2017 model. It has the least rating in quality and reliability from J.D. Power. This puts it in our sights as one of the worst Sierra to have.

The 2014 Sierra has a high number of complaints compared to the other models. The 2015 model was a close second in complaints.

In fact, Car Complaints called the 2015 Sierra the worst model year.

We, however, have a different opinion.

Although other models have complaints, they aren’t mostly associated with major parts. That’s why the 2014 model still takes the cake as the worst model to have. The year has several expensive issues, like:

  • lights;
  • AC/Heater;
  • interior accessories;
  • electrical and engine problems.

Check a full list here of the good and bad years for the GMC Sierra models.

Other problems dominant with the 2014 Sierra include transmission, paint, suspension, brakes and steering issues.

The 2012 model year is the most reliable and the most durable model to have. It also has the highest rating of 89% in quality and reliability from J.D. Power.

The model tops it all with an 87% rating overall and is the 2nd consumer rated truck of the year and is next only to the Chevrolet Avalanche.

The 2021 model may be one of the best because it has fewer complaints compared to other models, but it is still relatively new.

You should also note that the Sierra models are excellent towing machines. You can tow up to 13,000 pounds with a GMC Sierra!

What About Recalls for These Models?

The table below reveals details about recalls for the Sierra for the last 15 years:

Model Year Number of Recalls Reason for Recall
2021 2 Wrong seatbelt bolts and over cured tires.
2020 6 Over cured tires; driveshaft; airbag; brake calipers; alternator and seatbelt problems.
2019 6 Driveshaft; alternator; seatbelts; airbags and software problems.
2018 1 Vacuum pump.
2017 3 Missing instructions from owner’s manual and airbag problems.
2016 4 Airbag and control arm problems.
2015 5 Airbag; steering and seatbelt problems.
2014 6 Fire extinguisher; airbag; steering; seatbelt; exhaust parts problems.
2013 1 Fire extinguisher problems.
2012 1 Fire extinguisher problems.
2011 3 Fire extinguisher and rear axle problems.
2010 1 Fire extinguisher problems.
2009 1 Fire extinguisher problems.
2007 1 Replacement wheel hub assemblies.
2006 2 Aftermarket hub and replacement wheel hub assemblies.

GMC Sierra Model Year List

The Sierra is still going strong after four generations. Here is a list of the vehicle’s model years:

Generation Model Years
First 1999-2006
Second 2007-2014
Third 2015-2018
Fourth 2019-Present

Are GMC Sierras Expensive to Maintain?

RepairPal estimates that it comes $727 per year to maintain and repair the GMC Sierra.

Compared to the $936 average for fullsize trucks, the GMC Sierra is quite affordable to maintain. However, cost of maintenance can depend on the age, trim model, mileage, type of activity, and other variables. 

How Long Do the Brakes Last?

GMC Sierra brakes can last as little as 25,000 miles and as long as 70,000 miles. Even though they can last 70,000 miles, inspect them more often. 7,000 miles is a good start.

Your rotors and brake pads are the key things you should inspect. If they’re maintained, you wouldn’t have much of a problem regarding brakes.

Besides regular checks, go easy on your brake pedals. Abrupt stops and sudden acceleration is a great way to decrease brake lifespan. Always speed up or decelerate gradually to reduce the wear on your brake pads.

How Long Do the Tires Last?

Tires may last up to 60,000 miles if they’re rotated at the right time. Rotation helps to prolong the overall life of the tires. It ensures they all age together.

You should rotate your tires every 7,000 miles. Maintaining proper air pressure can also help your tires last longer.

How Long Does the Transmission Last?

Having Sierra transmissions last over 150,000 miles isn’t uncommon. Thus, as long as you take care of your tranny, it can exceed 150,000 miles.

Taking care of your tranny involves sticking to routine maintenance, transmission flushes, and being gentle on your gear lever.

The transmission fluid change, which is included in the routine maintenance, may be done every 40,000 or 50,000 miles.

Your mechanic might tell from the old oil if your transmission has certain problems.

Don’t force your gearshift into a new gear if it gets stuck. Have it checked and fixed instead. It is usually just because of a simple mechanical misalignment. You can usually fix this with a simple nudge in the right direction.

How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?

Replace your spark plugs when they get to 60,000 miles. Though some types may last longer, others would last a shorter time.

Don’t replace the spark plugs without inspecting the plug wires. Worn out spark plugs can cause engine surges, which isn’t good for the health of your Sierra.

What About Insurance Cost?

According to Insuraviz, it costs $1,480 or $123 to insure a GMC Sierra year and monthly, respectively.

NHTSA and IIHS ratings for the model you drive may affect your premium. If they have poor ratings, especially in safety assessment, you can expect to be charged higher rates.

The average car in the United States costs $1,674 to insure annually. This makes the GMC Sierra cheaper to insure than the average vehicle.

Bankrate advises you should review your insurance policy yearly. This will help you pick the best rates for yourself.

Tips to Prolong the Life of Your GMC Sierra

Here are ways to improve the longevity of your GMC Sierra truck:

  •  You should change the engine oil every 7,000 miles to ensure smooth running of your truck.
  • Also, replace your transmission fluid at 50,000 miles. However, since most transmissions fail because of overheating, you can perform inspections regularly to be on the safe side.
  • Other fluids to look out for are your brake fluids, engine coolant, and steering fluid. You should also inspect your air filters at intervals and eventually change them.
  • Clean your car thoroughly, inspect and report any issue to your mechanic.
  • If a problem develops, fix it as soon as you can.


GMC Sierra 1500 |

GMC Sierra 1500 |

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