Used Chevrolet Silverado: Introduction
Technically, the history of GM pickup trucks goes back to 1902 when the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company (a forerunner of GMC) sold its first Rapid truck in Detroit. The first true Chevrolet pickup truck was the 1918 Chevrolet Model 490 Light Delivery - the direct ancestor of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks we know today.
Closely intertwined with their GMC siblings, pickup trucks from Chevrolet and GMC typically differ only in trim levels, with the latter generally offering more luxury features. Basically GMC pickups are the “Cadillacs” while the Chevys are, well, the "Chevys." The Silverado name was first applied to a Chevrolet light duty truck in 1975 as an upper trim-level designation. However, in 1999, all Chevrolet pickups were tagged “Silverado,” which carries forth to this day.
While Chevrolet divides their pickup trucks into weight classifications with the three designations - 1500 denotes half-ton models, 2500 for three-quarter ton and 3500 for a one ton - this article will focus on the half-ton versions of the Silverado.
Used Chevrolet Silverado: 2007 – 2010
The current iteration of the Silverado was introduced in 2006, as a 2007 model. Completely reworked, the truck featured new styling for improved aerodynamics and more spaciousness. The suspension system, interior and frame were redesigned as well. Cab configurations include Regular (two-door), Extended (four-doors with back doors opening opposite the front doors) and Crew (four-doors with back doors open same direction as front).
Available with either rear- or four-wheel drive, five engines have been offered to power the current generation Silverado 1500 to date. A 195-horsepower 4.3-liter V-6, a 295-horsepower 4.8-liter V-8, a 315-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8, a 367-horsepower 6.0-liter V-8 and a 403-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8.
Four-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions send power to the drive wheels — although the manual transmission was discontinued in 2008. For 2009, Chevrolet also offered a six-speed automatic transmission as well as a second-generation hybrid powertrain for the Silverado.
In deference to the fact more buyers are now using their trucks as daily transportation, Chevrolet did a considerable amount of civil-ization within the cab of the Silverado. New door panels added cupholders, while niceties such as air conditioning, power operated accessories and a CD audio system were bundled into a package. The current generation truck even offers a GPS navigation system.
Used Chevrolet Silverado Buyer's Guide: 1999 – 2006
This generation of the Chevy truck debuted the Silverado moniker—as well as the first ever hybrid pickup truck for Chevrolet. Pairing an electric motor (housed in the transmission), with a 5.3-liter V-8, the Silverado hybrid offered four 120v AC outlets. This was seen as a real boon for contractors as they could use the truck to power their electric tools. Introduced in 2005 primarily for the commercial market, this model was also available in limited numbers to the consumers in Alaska, California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Canada; the hybrid Silverado went mainstream retail in 2006.
Six engines were offered to power the Silverado between 1999 and 2006 including:
-a 195-horsepower 4.3-liter V-6 from 1999 to 2001 before being discontinued
-a 4.8-liter V-8 that made 255 horsepower in 1999 and was upgraded to 270 horsepower in 2000
-a 5.3-liter V-8 that made 270 horsepower in 1999 and was upgraded to 285 horsepower for 2000 before getting another bump to 295 horsepower in 2004
-a 345-horsepower 6.0-liter V-8.
Chevrolet also introduced a pair of special-edition, extended-cab Silverado Super Sport models during this generation. The base Silverado SS ran a 6.0-liter, 345-horsepower V-8 with the four-speed automatic transmission. Available with both rear- and four-wheel drive, the SS had 20-inch tires and wheels and a suspension system designed to improve its handling on the road. The Intimidator SS model, largely based on the standard Silverado SS, ran the same engine and transmission with a lowered, high-performance suspension system and a special gauge cluster graced with the late Dale Earnhardt’s signature.
For 2002, GM introduced a four-wheel steering system called Quadrasteer to the Silverado lineup. Turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction as the front in response to steering inputs at low speeds decreased the turning circle of the Silverado considerably. It also made the truck more maneuverable in towing situations. At highway speeds, the system turned the rear wheels in the same direction as the front to improve stability and steering response. Quadrasteer was dropped after 2005.
Used Chevrolet Silverado Buyer's Guide: Summary
As one of the best-selling vehicles in America, over the years there have been a number of recalls associated with the Silverado. If you’re considering the purchase of one, you’d do well to run a “Chevrolet Silverado Recalls” Internet search with your intended model year. Make sure the required updates were performed on the truck you’re considering, and, as always, subject any used vehicle you plan to purchase to a thorough inspection by a trusted professional mechanic — one well versed in that vehicle.