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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
91,450 miles
Total Complaints:
16 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (11 reports)
  2. replace engine due to damage caused (2 reports)
  3. install deflector in oil pan (1 reports)
  4. needed valve lifters plus push rods (1 reports)
  5. repair per Service Bulletin doc# 3665309 (1 reports)
2008 Chevrolet Avalanche engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Chevrolet Avalanche Owner Comments

problem #16

Aug 202018

Avalanche LTZ 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


The low oil indication came on. Checked and added oil about every 2000 miles. One day, the plug fouled. Took it to the local dealer for service and he replaced the fouled plug #7 and the coil pack. This happen several times, about every 1500 miles. Finally went to a local engine shop and he told me oil was fouling the plugs. He advised it was a problem with this engine .

Soon after, the engine was running on 7 cylinders. When the shop looked into the problem the lifter on #7 was frozen push rod was bent. Pulled the head and found burnt valve. I had the valves on both heads push rods and lifters replaced.

Engine ran OK for about 20,000 more miles and # 7 plug began to foul. Added oil every 1500 give or take miles.. Finally I sold the vehicle. Estimated expense between the valve job plug replacements and old was close to $3000.

Considering the vehicles cost one would expect that when one adds a modification to an engine that enough testing would be done to ensure the customer of a safe and reliable product. Does not seem to be the case with GM or the cost to make a change to correct the impending issue was not worth the investment seeing how it would outlast most people's ownership of the vehicle.

- Ed M., Kingston, MA, US

problem #15

Jul 012017

Avalanche LT 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

In 2017 the original engine developed a serious rattle, it had had a knock from cold since we bought the Avalanche new in 2008. We had is serviced until the warranty expired by Rose Chevrolet in Hamilton OH, and we were where never told of any issues with this engine at any time. In 2017 the engine knock became so bad we took the truck of the road. Not knowing what to do we approached a local GM dealer for advise, several options where suggested, but still no suggestion that there was an issue with this particular engine configuration (flex fuel, turning of 4 cylinders). Of the options suggested we chose to go with anew Crate motor we like the vehicle we have had it since new and owned it out right. It made sense to bring it back to new condition. Again we were not told about the issues with this engine.

Within a few months we began to experience issues of smoking when the engine was cold, we told the dealer about it who installed the engine (Fiehrer Motors in Hamilton) who told us it was normal for these engines. The new engine has been service by this dealer since installation of the new crate motor. We are experiencing very high oil usage which has been verified by Fiehrer Motors and two others in several states.

On a recent trip to Louisiana my wife had a dealer add 3 quarts of oil after driving just over 1,000 miles, verified with paper work. We have been stone walled by the dealer for 3 years until now the warranty is expired. I have now begun to discover this is not an isolated case as was suggested by the dealer after several oil consumption checks. But a common problem with this engine.

I have no recourse now my only solution seems to be an aftermarket software fix to a new engine that was suppose to extend the useful life of this otherwise exceptional vehicle.

- Bill W., Hamilton, US

problem #14

Aug 162017

Avalanche LT 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

My daughter and I bought this 08 avalanche. We owned a 2002 before. No one told us of the problem using oil when we bought it. It seems there were a lot of people who knew about it but seems all the dealerships want to do is sell a vehicle. I would like Chevy to back their products and fix the problem. 2 quarts of oil in 3000 miles is not acceptable. I have always been a Chevy person but this may change my mind and recommend others not to buy chevys anymore.

- Lynn S., Becida, US

problem #13

Mar 132016

Avalanche LX 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles


In February of this year we purchased a 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche. In March we experienced the engine light, stability lights, traction light, and other lights coming on. We took the truck back to where we bought it. They put in a new spark plug, changed the valve cover and added oil which cost us $400. They did not explain why they needed to do this. We drove it for 6 weeks and all the same lights came on suddenly again. We took it to our own mechanic and he looked up our truck info and it came up that it has sludge buildup on cylinder 1 and 7. He replaced the spark plug again, plus advised us to use dexos oil, and to add a sludge build up remover to the oil, and to the gas. We followed his instructions, and in a 6 weeks all the lights came on again. We do not have a warranty on it, we bought it as is. We regularly change oil, and we check the oil frequently, due to at our first oil change they said the oil was over a quart low. We started checking the oil every other week, and it was a quart low each time. Every 6 weeks we are changing the spark plug on cylinder 1. On Saturday we went to buy our kids Christmas presents, and the truck started running weird. The oil pressure slowly started dropping. We turned around and went home and by the time we got home it had very low oil pressure. Our mechanic picked it up. I have contacted Chevrolet about the issues we have had with the truck. I got an email explaining that due to the trucks age it is beyond control of the manufacturer, and if anything was going to happen to it that was the result of the manufacturer it would have happened early in the life of the vehicle. We have only owned this vehicle for 9 months and feel it wont make it any longer. We are currently waiting for our mechanic to get a hold of us about the cost.

- nicoleia, Nashua, IA, US

problem #12

Jan 012016

Avalanche LTZ 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

If you have an Avalanche get the AFM device that keeps the car in V8 mode always. The problem with this engine is when it switches from 4cyl to V8 the lifters go bad. So when your car is in 4cyl the oil literally drains out the pistons. This is why you have massive oil consumption. Chevy knows about the problem but will not fix it for us. Try and ask a service tech and they will act dumb and not point you in the correct direction. I myself know firsthand from hours and hours of research and a new $7000 engine.

- Chris E., Knoxville, TN, US

problem #11

Jan 212016

Avalanche LT 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This is the second time this has happened in less than six months where the vehicle has warned me to shut the car off because of the oil pressure.

- Thou C., Omaha, NE, US

problem #10

Sep 302014

Avalanche LT 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,107 miles



- petroskij, East Brunswick, NJ, US

problem #9

May 012015

Avalanche LTZ

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Dealing with Chevy and the dealership is the worst part. Neither will accept the fact that several others have had the same issue. Neither will budge at all on parts cost. I have to admit, I expected more after spending 45k on a vehicle.

- cohiba76, Vista, CA, US

problem #8

Mar 212015

Avalanche LS 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

The fact that this seems to be a common issue and known by GM is extremely frustrating. I have notice that my oil consumption has been getting worse over the last year, and then the engine light came on followed by the oil pressure dropping to 0 and getting a warning to shut off the engine. Had the oil changed and the lights went off and seemed to be okay, but then a few days later, while on the highway, the engine started making a loud banging noise, oil pressure dropped off again, and lights came back on. Had to have it towed to a repair shop on a Saturday, now awaiting the wonderful news on how much this is going to cost me.

This is ridiculous since I still haven't hit 100k yet! I have taken extremely good care of this vehicle and always had all the maintenance performed as scheduled and necessary.

- rdwheeler80, Broken Arrow, OK, US

problem #7

Feb 112014

Avalanche LT 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,389 miles

My Avalance had been using a quart of oil every 900-1200 miles and the service people had been telling me this was normal, but I did not believe this. My Chevrolet dealer at first said I had to conduct an oil consumption log, having a GM dealer add oil and fill out the log whenever oil was needed. But they later said they had discovered a Service Bulletin that described excessive oil consumption with this engine, so they did the listed repair work on 2/11/14 but said they (GM) would only pay half and that I had to pay the other half. I personally felt GM should have paid for the entire work that was done.

- John M., Seymour, TN, US

problem #6

Jun 042013

Avalanche LT 3.5L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


I bought my 2008 Silverado 1500 crew cab new in May of 08. (Most expensive vehicle I've ever purchased) It currently has 82,500 miles on it. Everything seemed fine with it until I changed oil around the 70,000 mile range, when I checked it before changing it was over a quart low! I started wondering (Why?) & what would make this happen, never used oil before?? Then I decided it must have been while I was pulling boat during hot summer months, up & down hills. Truck seemed to labor during trip when it shouldn't have. So I just assumed I ran it too hard. Then on next oil change it was again over quart & half low, no trips to strain engine any & I could find no leaks. Now I' am getting worried, & I also noticed definite valve ticking during start up with cold engine. I presumed this 5W 30 oil maybe to thin, so I decided to put heavier weight 15W 40 to aid in reducing oil consumption & try to protect engine from wear. Needless to say this didn't help, I kept eye on oil level & before next change period it was quart low again,so I added oil & took it to straight to dealer. After explaining all this to service manager, he stated they have had 100's of repairs on same problem, with GM paying ( if still under factory warranty, which mine is not) since they knew they had a problem with some item in oil pan they referred to as a (cover) that was causing this. Stated they had to replace engine pistons & rings. Stated GM would cover most costs, but still I would have to pay around $400.00!! I was a little upset since my 5 yr warranty expired & that they (GM) know about this problem & should repair it! Luckily, when I purchased this truck (my first GM & maybe last) it was supposed to last me through retirement, so I bought a 8 yr. total coverage warranty. (also expensive) Now they say since I have a warranty, the warranty company has to buy off on problem, prior to authorizing paying for repairs. Will let you know outcome. I also have problem with cruise control sporadically working or not.

Update from Mar 5, 2014: GM dealer resolved all problems by re-building engine with pistons & rings, fixed cruise, & also replaced transmission lines that were leaking. But I'am upset that GM knowing there is a problem even with expired warranty and with less than 100K miles on engine refused to acknowledge & fix problem. Luckily since I paid $1,700.00 for a third party warranty, they, GM made warranty company cover repairs, that they should have done. I ended up having to pay out of my pocket little over $300.00 (not even happy about this). I realize I have basically a new engine for $300.00, but I think GM should actually reimburse me for warranty cost & out of pocket costs for "THEIR" problem. GM dealer stated they have done hundreds of these re-builds at about $5,000.00 each, with GM paying some, warranty's some & consumer some depending on time since warranty expiration. I hope my problem has been fixed, I will be closely monitoring engine oil for ANY indications. (ALSO!!), make sure you have all oil change receipts to verify its NOT your fault engine is using oil or they may charge you more to fix it. Overall I'am glad I have problem fixed, but pissed that GM doesn't stand up to fix their problem. I can't afford another new vehicle but I'am sure there will be a lot of used chevy's out there that were sold or traded that are using oil that consumers couldn't pay to fix. That is what I was going to do if dealer didn't fix at cost I could afford. Be sure to get a 3-5,000 mile warranty on used chevy, or Don't buy any used chevy products. If I ever have to buy another truck, I'am going back to Ford or Toyota.

- tracker2003, Lebanon, OH, US

problem #5

Oct 172012

Avalanche 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Part #2 to an ongoing issue with my 2008 Avalanche's excessive oil consumption.

As stated with my last complaint, oil deflection plates installed Dec of 2010. Still changing oil every 5K, but this time the lifter started ticking with our normal local city/hwy use of the truck. I again had to scheduled oil consumption test, my 3rd time with this truck. Took it back to the same dealership to start the process.

In 2010 GM advised the next step was to replace pistons, rings and some other parts I don't recall. Oil consumption test came back and we were low almost 3 quarts. Ok, I'm thinking, it's time for step two, but the service manager advises the consumption is within specs?? I chuckled, thinking he was pulling my leg, and said so what's next, rings, pistons...?? He looked at me and said again, the oil consumption is within specs.

Not happy with the situation, I asked to speak with the general manager. Long story short, he said he would speak to the regional GM rep, but in the mean time he would send me the spec sheets GM sent the dealership. GM rep said to complete another oil consumption test, 4th one in 4yrs!! General manager sent me the spec sheets and, sure enough, GM advised of how oil consumption takes place and that 1 to 1.5 qts low every 3K is within spec.

I have one more check to complete the 4th consumption test before talking with the general manager and GM rep. So far, each time I've brought the truck in, every 500 miles, the oil has been low, but doing the math, I'm still within specs.

Since 2010, I have spoken to several owners of GM trucks from 2007 to 2011. All of them have some kind of issue with oil consumption. I have owned several vehicles and never had any issue with oil consumption when the mileage was this low. GM identified the issue in 2010, but the spec sheets that the general manger sent me came out in 2011.
My opinion...GM realizes that there's an issue and instead of addressing the issue correctly, they are taking the low road, the least expensive, and just increased the spec numbers.

I've been a loyal GM buyer since my first car 25 yrs ago. Pending the results of this, I will be making a switch and my '08 Avalanche will be my last GM. Don't worry GM, I'm sure the US government will buy your vehicles or just bail you out. What a shame and shame on you GM!!

- kevinrwi, Appleton, WI, US

problem #4

Dec 202010

Avalanche 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,500 miles

Per instructions from this is a two part issue. Change oil every 5K without fail, truck is driven both city/hwy daily and this was the first long trip we took the truck. Trip was 400 miles one way, about 320 miles I began to hear a ticking noise from the engine. Next day I took the truck to a local Chevy dealership for a checkup and oil change. Mechanic advised I was almost 3 qts low??? No oil was found under or around the engine. Mechanic suggested I do an oil consumption test when I get back to my home town.

The day after I returned home, I scheduled an inspection at the dealership where I purchased the Avalanche. The weekend prior to taking my truck in, I used the remote start and noticed blue smoke coming out the tail pipe right after starting the engine. Classic sign the engine is burning oil.

I told the service rep what was going on and said that GM is aware of an excessive oil consumption issue and that the 1st corrective action is to install oil deflection plates in the valve covers and oil pan. I asked the service rep how deflection plates would keep the engine from burning oil that is seeping into the cylinder. I was given some talking points that GM had passed around to the dealerships. NICE!!

I was without the truck for 3 days and though skeptical, was hopeful the plates were going to work. They haven't, but read the second complaint.

- kevinrwi, Appleton, WI, US

problem #3

Oct 312011

Avalanche LT 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,402 miles

I purchased this vehicle brand new in 9/27/2008 and up until recently, I have had no major problems with the vehicle other then replacing the brakes, receiving a service notice about the heated windshield washer (which they disconnected and is no longer in use, but I paid for when I purchased the vehicle),and a couple of months ago, I had to replace a Throttle Body to my surprise at a cost of around $550.00. Back in October i went in for a oil change and found out that the damn thing was 2 quarts low on oil. I couldn't believe it. Well I just got my oil changed again today and you guessed it, two quarts low again. You cannot tell me that this is normal! I am going to go to my dealer and complain but I am sure that they will not pay much attention to my complaint.

Has other Avalanche 2008 owners had the same problem?

- bleazer, Remington, VA, US

problem #2

Jun 012011

Avalanche LT3 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

I change my own oil since the dealer left the oil filter loose once & I lost about a quart of oil before I saw the puddle. When I changed the oil at about 44,000 miles I was shocked to see that it was 1.5 quarts low! It had never used any oil at all before. I also noticed a new loud ticking noise in the engine when cold which the dealer mechanic described as piston slap. He said this was perfectly normal although I questioned the coincidence of the new noise and sudden oil consumption. The dealer has performed an oil consumption test which showed it using about 1 qt in 3000 miles. Like the other people with this complaint, I was told that GM consideres 1 qt oil usage in 2000 miles normal. The truck is now using about 1 qt in 2000 miles so I will try the oil consumption test again. I certainly don't have a good feeling about this. It seems:

A. The dealer won't do anything or

B. they don't know what to do, or

C. they will just give me the run-around hoping I will give up & go away.

None of those possible resolutions are very good. Although I am the 1st to register an oil consumption complaint on the 2008 model year, my experience sounds identical to to those on the 2007 model year. Another coincidence??????????

- James M., Rockford, IL, US

problem #1

Apr 012011

Avalanche LTZ 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,600 miles

During one of my oil changes, at around 30,000 miles, I noticed that there was only approx. 3.5 quarts of oil remaining when the pan and filter were drained. I began checking the oil level every 1,000 and 1,500 miles between the next two oil changes. At every check the oil level was at or over 1qt low and oil was added. I maintained a log of mileage and oil used during this time. At 44,000 miles I took the truck to the dealer and showed them my records. After having the truck for a couple of day's the service manager called and said that they would be installing some sort of baffle in the oil pan and would be cleaning the carbon from the cylinders. When the work was complete and I picked up the truck I was told to keep checking for oil consumption and maintain a log. The 1st check I made was approx. 1300miles after the work was performed and the engine was over 1qt low. After keeping records, and adding oil, for the next 9,000miles I again took my truck and records to the dealer to show them that the original work they performed did nothing to reduce the engines oil consumption. I was told by the service manager that I needed to put at least 10,000 miles on the truck after the original repair work before they would be authorized by GM to further look into the issue!! I asked him if GM really believed that the problem would go away after another 1000miles and was told this was simply their policy. I will be returning to the dealer next week, after I have over 10,000 miles on the truck since the original repair work, and see what the next thing is they try. I can only hope that what ever it is they do works and I am not into another 10,000miles of excessive oil consumption before the next try!!

Update from Dec 21, 2011: OK - I took my truck back to the dealer yesterday to again report the excessive oil consumption concern. The engine is still consuming 1qt+ every 1000miles. After researching the problem and finding oil in the intake I was told that they would be installing a redesigned valve cover on the left bank of the engine. Since this was in conflict with TSB #10-06001-00B, which states the redesigned valve cover is only to be installed on the '09 engines, I contacted GM to find out why this was being done to my '08. The service rep with GM said there was a new TSB out that now has this being done to the '08. I asked why step #2, piston and ring replacenment, called for in the previous TSB was no longer required. The GM rep replied that this suggested fix did not resolve the problem - thus the new TSB. The GM rep and/or the dealer rep could not/would not give me the new TSB #. This has me concerned. I will continue monitoring the oil level and report my findings in a couple weeks. NOTE: ANYONE CONSIDERING PURCHASING A GM PRODUCT WITH THE AFM, (ACIVE FUEL MANAGEMENT), SYSTEM BEWARE!! THEY HAVE BEEN HAVING OIL CONSUMPTION ISSUES WITH THESE VEHICLES SINCE 2007 AND TO DATE HAVE NOT FOUND A FIX. ALL THE WORK BEING DONE TO THESE MOTORS IS NOT BEING DONE TO STOP OIL CONSUMPTION. IT IS ONLY BEING DONE TO GET THE CONSUMPTION REDUCED TO 1QT EVERY 2000MILES, A RATE DEEMED ACCEPTABLE BY GM!!!

Update from Mar 8, 2012: OK here we go again. My truck has now reached almost 59K miles and is continuing to use approx 1 qt of oil every 1000 miles. Neither of the last two visits to the dealers service department, (as described above), have made any difference to the amount of oil that this engine is consuming. I will be taking the truck, along with my latest oil usage log, into the dealer again this week. I wonder what they will try next!! I really wish that GM would step-up and admit that there is a design flaw, related to the AFM system, that can not be corrected and disable the AFM to see if the excessive oil consumption would stop. I will post a follow up as to GM's next fix and whether or not it reduces the oil consumption. Wish me luck, I know I'll need it!!!

Update from Jul 5, 2012: Well they decided to install new rings and pistons. While the motot was apart the service rep noted that one of the lifters and rocker arm was "galled" so they replaced ONE LIFTER & ROCKER ARM only! Once again trying to only do the minimum to get the engine to stop consuming oil. I've since driven the truck approx 5K miles with no signs of oil consumption. The clattering noise at start up has since returned however - probably more lifters going out! I'm done GM - ordered my new FORD F150 yesterday. Will be getting rid of this bad experience for good!

- Ken N., Seattle, WA, US

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