The Worst 2004-2012 Colorado Problems

  1. 5.3L Vortec 5300 Engine Oil Consumption

    From 2010-2014 GM's Vortec 5300 engine had multiple design flaws that led to an excessive oil consumption responsible for soiled spark plugs, bent pushrods, and timing chain wear to name a few. The problem was compounded by an inadequate oi…

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  2. Passlock Security

    One of Chevrolet’s solutions for stopping thieves from driving away with a car is, coincidently, doing the same thing to the actual owner.

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What Owners Complain About

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

What Breaks

Years to Avoid

1st Generation Colorado Key Numbers

  1. 9 model years

    Grouping all models by their year can reveal some baddies.

  2. 378 complaints

    Running tally of owner grievances filed to CarComplaints.com.

  3. 48th in reliability

    Overall reliability rank out of 80 eligible generations.

Recent 1st Generation Colorado News

There's a lot of news out there, but not all of it matters. We try to boil down it to the most important bits about things that actually help you with your car problem. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. A new class-action is accusing General Motors of knowingly selling vehicles that consume abnormally high quantities of oil.

    It's not the first time GM has been sued for oil issues in the Vortec engine. Specifically (and stick with me here) the Generation IV 5.3L V8 Vortec 5300 LC9 engine.

    As with previous lawsuits, the plaintiffs say low-tension piston rings, oil spray from the Active Fuel Management (AFM) system, and agressive vacuuming from the engine's positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system are to blame.…

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  2. GM owners are still trying to convince a judge that Vortec 5300 engines have oil consumption problems and don’t give owners adequate warnings when oil levels are dangerously low.

    According to the lawsuit, the Vortec 5300 engines in the vehicles consume extreme levels of oil because of defects in the oil rings that allow oil to invade the combustion chambers … The plaintiffs claim the oil pressure warnings can fail to activate in time to prevent engine damage, something GM has allegedly known is a problem with the Vortec engines.

    The judge had previously dismissed the lawsuit and doesn't seem too interested in complaints about fires, oil rings, or inadequate warnings.

    The plaintiffs have a small, uphill chance if they can amend their complaints.

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  3. There's something funky going on inside GM's 5.3L Vortec 5300 engine causing it to use a higher-than-normal amount of oil.

    Some might even say it's excessive. A lawsuit filed in Minnesota says the problem is multi-faceted.

    1. GM used low-tension piston rings that allow oil to leak out of the crankcase and into the combustion chamber.
    2. The rings, which are already leaking, are then overloaded by a spray of pressurized oil from the Active Fuel Management (AFM) system.
    3. Even more oil is being burned off after being sucked into the intake by the engine's positive crankcase ventilation (PCV).

    That's a recipe for disaster, but the cherry on top is the somewhat useless oil monitoring system. Instead of measuring the volume of oil left in the crankcase, the system measures environmetal variables to determine the quality of the oil.

    Sure, there's only a pint of oil left in the engine but don't worry ... the oil quality is great.

    The lawsuit mentions GM has tried to improve the situation by updating the vehicle's crankcase ventilation and active fuel management system, but it never really helped. Eventually GM just updated the Generation IV Vortec 5300 engine and replaced it with a redesigned Generation V Vortec 5300 that stopped using low-tension oil rings and reintriduced an oil level sensor.

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