The Worst 1996-2019 Savana Problems

  1. Vortec Excessive Oil Consumption

    Leaking coolant from a cracked intake manifold gasket is an extremely common problem on most GM vehicles made from the late 90s to the mid-2000s. Most experts agree that the problem stems from GM's 'DexCool' coolant which erodes away at the…

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  2. What Are We Missing?

    We know there's more problems than this. Let us know which one you'd like to see us cover next.

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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 Savana Key Numbers

  1. 17 model years

    Grouping all models by their year can reveal some baddies.

  2. 31 complaints

    Running tally of owner grievances filed to CarComplaints.com.

  3. 7th in reliability

    Overall reliability rank out of 32 eligible generations.

Recent 1st Generation Savana 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. GM is urging owners of the 2021 Savana to park outside and away from anything that could burn until the vans get repaired.

    Late last year they said the van's batteries could drain when the positive battery cable accidently came in contact with the fuse block assembly. Now they're saying it's less drain, more flame—as in at least four vans have gone up in smoke due to the batteries short-circuiting.…

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  2. Plaintiffs in the case regarding excessive oil consumption in GM's 5.3L Vortec 5300 engines have switched gears.

    The original case was tossed out by a judge last year, but the plaintiffs were given a chance to ammend their complaints. So they've switched their focus into a potentially defective oil pressure warning system that doesn't properly monitor oil levels and can lead to early engine failure.…

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  3. The judge looking into last year's Vortec excessive oil consumption lawsuit does not seem to buying claims that the engine is defective.

    The case has been tossed out. Concerning owner-reported complaints, the judge found those owners talk about excessive oil consumption but they don't specifically say what is causing the oil consumption. As for the bulletin sent to dealerships, it doesn't say anything about the oil rings and sending the bulletin doesn't mean GM believed the Vortec engines were defective.

    So ... the judge says the plaintiffs don't specifically say what's causing the problem. But in the next breath, the judge says there's no mention of the plaintiff's claims of defective oil rings in TSBs sent by GM to dealerships.

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.…

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  4. A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of certain 2010-2013 GM owners with 5.3L V8 Vortec 5300 engines.

    According to the plaintiffs, changes to the engine design allow oil to enter the combustion chamber, leading to excessive oil consumption and premature engine failure.

    The lawsuit says GM 5.3L oil consumption problems are caused by defective piston rings, PVC systems and "active fuel management" (AFM) systems that cause the spark plugs to wear out prematurely and the engines to experience all kinds of malfunctions.

    The problem may be due to low-tension oil rings and a new PVC system, both of which are allowing too much oil to enter the combustion chambers to burn off early.…

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