Chevrolet trucks are famous for durability and service, but this doesn't mean there won't be a time when something goes wrong. Modern trucks, with internal computerized diagnostic systems, shut down to prevent engine damage or prevent the engine from starting if a system is not operating properly. This article highlights the most-common problems and some simple steps to get your Chevy truck up and running.
Things You'll Need
- Gloves Flashlight Truck manual Computer Pencil Scratch paper Filters Spark plugs Replacement fluids Belts
How to Troubleshoot Chevy Truck Problems
Check Recall Announcements:
Faulty parts may be the cause of your problem. All trucks, regardless of manufacturer or model, have had parts recalled. Some recalls are more critical than others for keeping the truck in service. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the official U.S. government office in charge of recalling trucks and issuing technical service bulletins. Check the model Chevy truck from the free NHTSA service available at nhtsa.dot.gov. Investigate the "Defect Investigations" section, since a recall may soon be issued. Read additional details regarding the recall at AutoRecalls.us (see links in Resources).
Note Engine Lights:
Chevrolet trucks are constructed with a quick diagnostic system that runs when the engine is started. If lights come on (or do not go out after the start up), note the shape of the light or the code that is shown. The most common problems indicated by the lights and translations for the codes are listed in the Chevrolet owner's manual. If manual is missing, check online by searching under "Chevrolet Truck" and "Error Code (and the number)." If nothing comes from this search, the problem is most likely something a mechanic will need to repair.
Pay Attention to Engine Noises:
Turn the engine off and restart the engine to determine if the sound is a regular feature or just a one-time event. If the sound is still there, open the hood and listen to see what part of the engine is making the noise. Sounds from belts are easy to hear and locate. Radiator noise is also obvious. If you are not familiar with the engine structure, use the engine schematic chart located in the back of the truck owner's manual.
Isolate the Specific Problem:
A few of the most common problems include:
- Truck Won't Start: Check the gas gauge to make sure there is fuel. Check the instrument panel to see if gauges register. If these are flat, the problem is in the electrical system or the battery. The problem may also be in the fuel system. Look also at the truck distributor and clean off the spark plugs and wires.
- Shudder or Hesitation When Accelerating:
Avoid inexpensive fuel in extremely cold weather since the octane rating isn't high enough for the truck to function properly in freezing temperatures. Allow time for the engine to warm up before quick acceleration. The shudder may also be caused by obstructions in the fuel line. Try changing the fuel filter to correct this problem. Also, confirm that the problem is not with the catalytic converter. Many states require checks every year or two, but if the truck is new or over four years old, this unit may be the cause of this problem.
- Acceleration Surge While Driving or with Starting:
Pull over to the side of the road and examine the accelerator. Check the floor mat to make sure it hasn't moved up under the accelerator pedal. Some trucks have been recalled as a result of acceleration surge problems; confirm the truck is not in this group by checking the website listed in Step 1 of the first section of this article.
- Problems in Manual Shifting between Gears:
If this problem happens when the engine is warm, install a new filter and change the transmission fluid. For shifting issues while starting, avoid driving the truck as regular transportation but take it in for a diagnostic test.
Change the spark plugs and wires. Check the sensors to make sure the data sent is correct.
Tips & Warnings
- Several national parts chains offer free diagnostic testing that provides the engine problem code. If the truck runs, check to see if one of these stores is located nearby and take it to be diagnosed. The code will offer a starting point to correcting the problem.
- Never drive your truck when serious problems are suspected. Severe engine damage can quickly occur. When in doubt, have the truck towed for diagnostic tests.
- Photo Credit Library of Congress
Chevy 350 Engine Problems
The Chevy 350-cubic-inch engine has perhaps been General Motors' most popular engine since its introduction in 1967. It's no longer produced for...
Problems With Chevy TrailBlazers
The TrailBlazer was a mid-size SUV produced by American automaker General Motors through its Chevrolet division. The TrailBlazer was produced between 2002...
Chevy Silverado Troubleshooting
The Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck has a long history of being used as both a consumer and commercial grade truck vehicle. However,...
Chevy Truck Troubleshooting Information
As with all vehicles, Chevy trucks will periodically require maintenance and repair. When troubleshooting the problem with your Chevy, begin with basic...
Chevy Truck Starting Problems
Chevrolet trucks may not start for a variety of reasons. When troubleshooting Chevrolets, there are a few areas where multiple problems can...
Volvo Truck Troubleshooting Help
Volvo, based in Sweden, manufactures a line of heavy-duty trucks. Volvo trucks can experience various problems that can impair operation, but they...
How to Troubleshoot Dodge Truck Problems
Like all vehicle brands, Dodge trucks require periodic repairs. Before spending money on repairs for your truck, examine the battery and fluid...
1999 Silverado Heater Control Problems
The Chevrolet Silverado, a full-size pickup available in rear-wheel and front-wheel drive, was introduced in 1998. Edmunds.com contends that the Silverado is...
Chevy Engine Troubleshooting
Your Chevy engine is not much different from many other makes and models you see on the road. An internal combustion engine...
How to Troubleshoot Car Problems For Free Online
I have used these tools to save a lot of time and money when fixing my vehicle. This is also a great...
How to Troubleshoot a Chevy S10 Truck
The Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck is a relatively easy vehicle to repair. Manufactured on a platform dating back to 1982, the basic...
How to Troubleshoot the Chevrolet Silverado
The Silverado is a full-sized pickup truck made by Chevrolet, which is owned by General Motors. These pickup trucks are considered "heavy...
How to Troubleshoot Chevy Truck ABS Diagnostic Codes
Accessing the ABS brakes diagnostic system in a Chevrolet Truck is a lot like accessing the On-Board Diagnostic system. The brakes undergo...
How to Troubleshoot 1994 Chevy Truck Problems
Two of the trucks manufactured by Chevrolet in 1994 were the C1500 and the S-10. The regular cab C1500 came equipped with...