1996 Chevrolet 3500 Pickup Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1996 Chevrolet 3500 Pickup as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The headlight switch used on the Chevrolet Silverado 3500 is known to fail through normal operation. Since the headlight switch is also integrated into the interior lights, a malfunctioning switch can cause issues with interior lights as well.

  • Symptoms of a failed headlight switch include:
  • Headlights and taillights failing to turn on or off
  • Interior lights flicker, or fail to turn on or off
  • Gauge cluster lighting off or flickering with headlights on
  • Parking light malfunctions  

This issue is well known with General Motors Trucks and SUVs, and is solved by testing and, if needed, replacing the headlight/dimmer switch. Bad grounding wires at the tail-lights, and dirty/corroded tow package wires can also lead to some of these issues. 

The engine may develop a misfire due to worn valve seats. This fault will cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. Our technicians tell us the misfire may or may not be felt while driving. They further recommend that both cylinder heads be removed and thoroughly inspected and repaired as necessary.

A Loose or worn gas cap may cause Check Engine Light to illuminate.

One or more fuel injectors may become stuck closed causing an engine misfire  and the Check Engine Light to illuminate. Our technicians tell us that this problem can be caused by some fuel additives. There are special procedures which may be able to restore the affected injector. If this fails the affected injector must be replaced.

The spark plugs should be replaced every 100,000 miles. Our technicians recommend replacing the spark plug wires also at this time.

The alternator may fail causing the battery to go dead, or an abnormal noise may develop. The dash warning light may or may not illuminate. A failed alternator will require replacement.

The engine idle may be lower than normal due to deposits built up on the throttle body, which can restrict air flow at idle. To low of an engine idle can result in a stalling condition. Performing a throttle body service will generally correct this concern.

Extended life coolant may become contaminated and require cooling system service before the recommended 100,000 miles.

Our technicians highly recommend that the transmission is serviced every 30,000 miles to avoid problems and maintain optimal operating order.

The air conditioning compressor may develop an abnormal noise and require replacement. We recommend that whenever an AC compressor is being replaced for a noise condition, a filter kit should be installed to prevent any metal particles in the system from damaging the new compressor.

An engine vacuum leak may develop from the throttle body gasket causing a higher than normal idle speed. Failed gaskets should be replaced.

The fuel pump may fail causing the engine to stall and not restart. Our technicians recommend replacing the fuel filter every 30,000 miles to help prevent undue strain on the fuel pump.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) front wheel speed sensors are prone to failure. When a sensor fails, the ABS warning light may illuminate and/or the ABS system may activate erratically.

Power brake systems using "hydro-boost" may leak power steering fluid from the hydro-boost unit located behind the brake master cylinder. Replacement of the hydro-boost unit is the common repair to correct this concern.

Our technicians recommend flushing the brake fluid every 60,000 miles.  Brake fluid that is dirty may cause problems in the brake system.