2005 - 2007 Chevy Colorado LT Crew Cab

Hi, good evening.

I am looking to purchase a Colorado in the 10 -12 yr old range. I know that with this age it really depends on previous owner’s maintenance. I get that. Hoping to find a private sale but those are proving to be hard.

Prior to purchase will get an inspection…maybe even different mechanics to look it over.

For this vehicle, what sort of questions should I be asking the mechanic? Areas to focus on?

I have been told the 3.5L inline 5 was not a good engine but I am not sure what years that may have applied to.

Thanks for any insight!!

The 3.5L I5 was available from 2004-2006. It’s basically an Atlas I6 out of the Trailblazer with a cylinder lopped off (The I4 in the Colorado is an Atlas I6 with two cylinders missing). The later 3.7L is a bored out 3.5L. I always felt that the Atlas I6 was an underrated engine, it’s shame it was never used in anything but the GM mid-sized SUVs. The I5 variant was noticeably less powerful than the I6 variant, even when accounting for their reduced displacement. The cylinder heads on the I5 variant have design a flaw. From what I understand the mating surface on the head can get overheated by the nearby exhaust manifold, which warps the surface and creates a coolant leak.

If I were looking for Colorado, I’d go for the more reliable 5.3L LS-based V8, But they were only available for the later years of the first generation Colorado/Canyon.


To be honest, I would avoid that generation of Colorado entirely

We have lots of them in our fleet, ALL of the engine combinations except for the V8 . . . and they’re all terrible

Even the 3.7 liter, which is supposedly the improved version, has cylinder head problems, valvetrain to be specific

The build quality is nothing to brag about, either

I’d spend a little more money and get a Nissan or Toyota truck, instead

However, if you’re dead set on getting one of these, here are some thoughts . . .

Make absolutely sure the mechanic performs a compression test on all cylinders. The spec is 215 psi. Don’t let anybody tell you 150 psi is okay. It isn’t. I’ve worked on engines that had 180 psi, and it was low enough to cause severe misfires, and it was due to severely pitted seats. If low, the answer is a new head or having a machine shop do their thing

Have the guy check if the hubs have excessive play. The parts aren’t that expensive, but it’s a bit of work

Have the guy use his borescope to look inside the evaporator housing. Make sure the evaporator isn’t leaking. I’ve done them, and believe me, it’s a LOT of work. No shortcuts here

The front brakes are okay, but the rear drums aren’t the greatest in my opinion. they quickly get out of round, at which point when you apply brakes lightly, they’ll grab hard, and you’ll just about smack your head onto the steering wheel

The cloth seat fabric wears out very quickly

Seat back release handles tend to break

The A-pillar, where the front door check bolts, up is very weak. I’ve seen the sheet metal crack

Problems with front lights out is often due to melted pigtails


On the 2006 w/3.5L engine, the intake valves and engine cooling fan appear to be weak spots. For the 2.8L engine, the intake valves and engine cooling fan again look to be a weak spot. For both engine configurations, the A/T looks to be much more problematic than the manual trans, but that’s pretty much consistent with comments we get here comparing A/T to manual trans of most any make. My recommendation to increase your odds of a hassle free drive, choose a 2wd version w/manual transmission.

Hi all, thanks for the input!

I am not married to the 2005 - 2008 Colorado…but I do like the look of them. And this age gets me in the 9 - 13k range.

I have 2 boys, 11 and 7. We do a little bit of tent camping, bikes in the bed. Want just throw the sports gear in the bed (muddy cleats, uniforms, etc.) I have a decent sized yard with quite a few trees. So limbs and such g haul off. Maybe haul some mulch, and canoe/kayak. Maybe very light towing.

I don’t need a lot truck. Happy w/ a 4 cylinder with some mostly cosmetic issues. And don’t want something so new that if we scratch or ding I will get uptight about it. I think a big year will be 12k miles, most years 8 - 10k miles. It will be a 2nd vehicle for mostly local driving.

I can certainly price up some but if I get to $20k range then I may as well start looking at 2015 or so and try and get CPO. But want to toe the line with price/reliability vs. not being concerned if it gets nicked.

With that in mind, what years Colorado should I look focus on? You all mention 1st generation. What is a good Colorado generation to look a? I have driven the Tacoma and just think I will be happier w/ the Colorado.

And it may be just a bridge until the new look Ridgeline gets some age on it and starts to come down. I like that the best but don’t want to drop 28k+ on it.

Thanks for the thoughts!!

I second what @db4690 says above. I don’t know who designed that front brake system but a simple rotor and pad swap is a pain, having to remove the front hub assemblies to do so.

We do service work for a local fleet, and they have slowly disposed of all their Colorados due to the maintenance costs and the fact that these trucks don’t seem to age very gracefully.

No, George

On ALL of the 4- and 5- cylinder engines, the valve train is a huge potential problem . . . a risk I wouldn’t be willing to take

My recommendation is to choose a different truck, perhaps a Tacoma or Frontier

Yeah, when I first encountered those Colorados, I was taken aback that GM decided to use a trapped rotor setup. Not exactly progress, more like a step back

I remember several manufacturers used a trapped rotor setup . . . in the 1980s

If something was a pain to work on in the past, why go back to it, if everybody else went to a more conventional design . . . ?

I just checked Craigslist (SF Bay Area), and see a 2003 Mazda pickup for less than $1,000, 1991 Toyota 4wd w/22re engine for $6000, 2004 Tacoma 4banger for $6000, 2006 Nissan Titan $9,900, 2005 Silverado $9100, 2012 Colorado $11,000, several of those in fact at the same price range just here in the San Jose area. If you aren’t married to the Colorado idea, suggest to expand your search to include Toyota, ford, Nissan, and other chevy models, esp the Silverado which seems to be a very popular choice in these parts for the construction crew set. Best of luck. I’m not sure how to check on the sales volume, but sticking with a make/model that sells a lot will make things easier for you down the line, buying parts, re-selling, etc. I see very few Colorado’s on the road here.

I suggest you consider a full sized pickup with a crew cab. Youmight get by with an extended cab for a short while, but your sons will grow quickly and won’t easily fit in the jump seats of an extended cab. Unless you go offroad much when camping, a RWD version will be just fine. Consider an older Rdgeline. My neighbor owns one and is very happy with it.