GMC Sierra Denali Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the GMC Sierra Denali 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 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali uses a throttle position sensor (TPS) which commonly fails and causes:

This issue is related to the throttle position sensor, and can be caused by faulty wiring to the TPS, bad connection at the TPS, or a failed TPS.

To correct this issue, the wiring harness, connector, and throttle position sensor must be inspected, tested, and/or replaced. The most common cause is a faulty TPS.

The headlight switch used on the GMC Sierra Denali 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. 

Illumination of the Check Engine Light can be caused by a loose or worn gas cap.

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

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

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

The fuel pump may fail causing the engine to stall and not restart.

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

It is common for the fuel level sensor in the fuel tank read the fuel level incorrectly. The sensor must be replaced to correct the condition. Our technicians recommend having the complete fuel pump module replaced on high mileage vehicles.

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

The muffler heat shield may become loose on the muffler causing a rattle or popping noise. Our technicians tell us there is a kit available from GM to correct this problem.

The battery may leak acid at the battery cable connections. As a result corrosion may form on the battery cable ends. Leaking batteries should be replaced and the cables need to be thoroughly cleaned or replaced if necessary.

A poor electrical ground under the battery tray may cause the ABS warning light to illuminate. Our technicians tell us that cleaning and properly securing this ground and also the main ABS ground on the frame rail below the drivers door may be necessary.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) pump may stay running after the ignition is turned off causing the battery to go dead. Our technicians tell us that the ABS control module should be replaced to correct this fault.

One or both secondary air injection check valves may become restricted causing poor air flow resulting in illumination of the Check Engine Light. It is often recommend to replace both check valves even if a fault code is set for only one bank of cylinders. Replacing only one valve may result in a return trip to the repair shop.