When you need the transportation abilities of a truck and the comfort of a sedan, the GMC Sierra brings it all. It ages well and boasts one of the highest resale values around, making it a popular choice for American consumers. Whether you have your own or not, it's impossible not to notice this large and in charge pickup making its way down roads in every state. And with its powerful four-wheel drive, you may find it anywhere wheels can take you.

Still, like every vehicle, the GMC Sierra has its issues. StockWise Auto's guide to GMC Sierras will introduce you to the truck's reliability score and common problems real drivers experience with this model.

How Reliable Is the GMC Sierra?

The GMC Sierra's reliability score is 3.5/5 stars. As suggested by this score, the GMC Sierra falls right in the middle of the pack on most matters compared to other vehicle models. However, it tends to score above average compared to other full-size trucks in its class.

Reliability scores are based on three criteria — cost, frequency and severity. Let's take a closer look at where this make falls in this three-part breakdown. Note that reliability scores combine the average ratings of all year models of a particular vehicle. Your truck's specific rating may vary slightly based on the year it came out.

Maintenance Costs

In a reliability score, cost refers to how much you can expect to spend per year on maintenance and unscheduled repairs. For the GMC Sierra, this number averages about $730. This cost is slightly higher than the overall vehicle cost of $650 but significantly lower than the full-size truck category, which averages about $930.

At first glance, a high cost can make many buyers balk and shy away from a particular model. Try to ignore this instinct until you look at the rest of the vehicle's reliability features. There are many very reliable vehicles with high repair costs but low frequency and severity scores that make them much more appealing.

Unscheduled Maintenance Frequency

Frequency can often negate high costs — or make a certain car unattainable. It tells you how often GMC Sierra owners found issues with their vehicle that made them take it to the shop for repairs. Like cost, frequency is measured per year, and it does not count visits for routine maintenance, such as an oil change.

The GMC Sierra has a frequency score of 0.2, lower than both the average car at 0.4 and full-size trucks at 0.3.

Major Maintenance Needs

The severity score ties everything together, indicating how often GMC Sierra problems are major issues instead of normal repairs. “Severe” issues are any repairs that cost at least three times the average for a certain model. For luxury brands, this threshold is even higher.

The average vehicle has a severe problem 12% of the time you take it in for repairs. For your everyday full-size truck, this percentage jumps to 18%. The GMC Sierra holds its own in this regard with a reasonable 15%.

Common Problems With the GMC Sierra

Despite the GMC Sierra's above-average reliability, there are some issues worth noting if you're considering buying one or you've invested in one already. Below, you'll find eight of the most common malfunctions to watch out for or repair before they become a problem.

1. 4WD Transfer Case Failure

Model years most likely to have this problem: 1999-2013, 2015-2016

The disruption of the Sierra's transfer case, position sensor and selector switches is by far the most common issue drivers have. When any of these parts fail, you may not be able to tell when the truck is in four-wheel drive mode. Thankfully, this issue will send you an error code, and your mechanic can see what's wrong immediately and repair or replace the fixtures.

2. Fuel Pump Failure

Model years most likely to have this problem: All years

While not the most common GMC Sierra issue, this does stand to be the most expensive at an average of $900-$1,000. In this case, the electric fuel pump inside the gas tank goes out, leaving it unable to deliver fuel to the engine. This problem can result in engine misfires, overheating or a complete failure to work. While this failure can happen with new and well-used models, it usually occurs around the 150,000-mile mark.

3. Inaccurate Fuel Sensor

Model years most likely to have this problem: 1999-2014

The fuel sensor is what tells a Sierra it has enough fuel to operate, and a faulty one may leave you “running out” of gas regularly, even when you have plenty in your tank. When you get your fuel sensor replaced, your mechanic will likely suggest you replace your fuel pump too, since they're both inside the fuel tank. If you haven't already taken care of your GMC Sierra's fuel pump issue, this is an excellent time.

4. Broken Actuator

Model years most likely to have this problem: All years

The actuator controls your truck's HVAC, opening and closing the flaps for the heating and cooling systems. When it's not working correctly, you won't be able to regulate the temperature inside your cabin.

5. Steering Shaft Noise

Model years most likely to have this problem: 1999-2009, 2012-2014, 2017

Some drivers report a clunking sound coming from their steering wheel, an issue originating from the upper intermediate steering shaft. While lubricating the steering shaft can help with the sounds, the best fix for this concern is to replace it outright.

6. Inaccurate Gauge Cluster

Model years most likely to have this problem: All years

The gauge cluster delivers valuable information to the driver, including speed, RPM and oil pressure. Some Sierras' gauge clusters become inaccurate, giving you false readings that leave you unable to measure crucial data.

This is a well-known GMC Sierra issue, and your local GM dealer can offer you a discount if you need this replacement.

7. Broken Door Handles

Model years most likely to have this problem: 1999-2008, 2012-2013

Certain Sierra models have chrome-coated door handles. After prolonged exposure to the elements, the chrome starts wearing away, leading to sharp parts on the handle or the handle breaking altogether. Plus, the inside handles on some models are faulty. You can remedy these issues with door handle replacements.

8. Daytime Running Light Burnout

Model years most likely to have this problem: 1999-2009

If you're a DIY enthusiast, fixing the daytime running lights in your GMC Sierra is a great project to take on. The original bulbs in Sierra daytime running lights are known to burn out quickly and even cause heat damage. Because changing the bulbs can take as little as a few minutes, it's best to address this concern as soon as possible — even before you notice anything wrong.

Shop GMC Sierra Parts at StockWise Auto

All in all, the GMC Sierra offers enough dependability to set itself firmly in the middle of the pack of all vehicles — and above average when it comes to full-size trucks. While these statistics show you what to expect from any GMC Sierra, your truck is no statistic — certainly not when it's enhanced through the best OEM parts and optimizations from StockWise Auto.

Our catalog features dozens of options to repair and improve your GMC Sierra. All you have to do is filter our stock by your truck's year, and you'll have GMC Sierra parts from the most reliable manufacturers in the world at your fingertips.