Used vehicle review: 1998 to 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Model: 1997 to 2007 Chevrolet Silverado
Vehicle Type: Pickup Truck
Competing with the Ford F150, Nissan Titan Toyota Tundra and Dodge Ram, the Chevrolet Silverado remains a popular pickup truck choice that offers heaps of selection, options and configurations to suit a variety of needs.
The 1997 to 2007 generation of this truck offered numerous engine and driveline combinations — including six and eight cylinder power, automatic and manual transmissions, and two or four-wheel drive. Numerous body and box combinations were also available.
Feature content included heated leather, premium audio, remote start, air conditioning, power seats, automatic climate control, remote access, power heated mirrors, and power adjustable pedals. LS and LT models were the more highly-equipped models, though more basic or ‘work’ trucks could also be had.
What Owners Like
Silverado owners note a roomy cabin, great looks, confident passing and towing power, pleasing ride and handling, and a solid, heavy-duty feel. Some owners even rate mileage highly, particularly on the 4.8L and 5.3L-powered models. Many owners say their Silverado’s ‘tow like a dream’.
What Owners Dislike
Silverado owners mention wishing for a more positive and precise brake-pedal feel, a better standard audio system, and higher-quality interior trim. Some models are reported to deliver a stiff or even jarring ride.
Standard used pickup truck checks apply to any used Silverado you may be considering. As a bare minimum, a Chevrolet-trained mechanic should check the underside of your potential used truck for signs of excessive rust, dents or holes, leaking differentials, transfer case leaks, and oil or coolant leaks from the engine.
Ensure the vehicle’s four-wheel drive system (if equipped) can be shifted between its various modes as outlined in the owner’s manual. A bad actuator in the 4x4 system, or an electronic problem, may be to blame if that’s not the case. Do not buy a Silverado with a non-functional four-wheel drive system until the problem has been identified or repaired.
Check the engine oil level and condition, as some owners have reported oil consumption issues. Avoid a model that’s low on oil, or with engine oil that looks dirty or burnt.
Also, ensure the engine hasn’t been ‘warmed up’ before your test drive. Some sellers will pre-warm their engine to conceal signs of oil smoke or an unwelcomed sound on engine start-up. Start it cold—noting any ‘slapping’ or ‘knocking’ noises that may be present. Also, check for signs of oil smoke from the tailpipe. If any of the above issues are present, move to another model.
A vibration in the steering column, particularly on earlier models in this generation, could indicate a problem with the front-end, alignment or the steering system itself. Ensure the Silverado you’re test-driving goes straight and smooth down the road.
Double check for proper operation of the fuel gauge and speedometer, abs brakes and all interior accessories, noting any check-engine lights or warning messages illuminated in the instrument cluster.
The last-generation Silverado seems an ideal candidate for the used pickup shopper after proven performance, comfort and confident towing.
Though large mechanical issues seem fairly unlikely, there are numerous reports of sensor-related issues, failing interior accessories and front-end vibration problems.
A careful test-drive followed by an inspection from a GM-trained mechanic familiar with the Silverado’s potential issues should be considered mandatory. A certified used model with extended warranty is the safest bet if your budget allows for it.