2017 GMC Acadia Top 3 Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Transmission, electrical system, and exterior lighting issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

In recent years, the GMC Acadia has become one of General Motor’s most popular models. The midsize SUV is exceptionally versatile, with room for up to seven passengers and available all-wheel drive. Sadly, it’s been plagued by low reliability since its introduction in 2007. First generation models suffer from transmission problems, timing chain failures, oil leaks – you name it. When GM introduced the redesigned, second-generation Acadia in 2017, the hope was that the SUV’s reliability would improve. But after just a year in production, the vehicle is already dogged by mechanical and electrical issues. According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, the main problem areas are the transmission, electrical system, and exterior lighting

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Transmission – Acadia Shift To Park Warning

When you park your car, you’re ready to exit and go about your business. But the 2017 GMC Acadia doesn’t understand that. The vehicle’s onboard computer fails to recognize when the transmission has been put in park. As a result, it keeps all of the interior electronics running – the dashboard, radio, etc.

On Edmunds.com, one owner complains, “2017 Acadia. Shift to park problem that does not allow the car electronics to turn off. Must restart several times and wiggle the stick forward and backward to eventually correct. GM knows the problem and does nothing to correct saying they are working on what to do. No concern for the continuous problem the customer must be frustrated with on a daily basis. No effort to replace the shifting mechanisms. So just wait and live with it. Unacceptable. Do not buy this car. Most all other cars stick shift mechanisms work properly.”

General motors has released a technical service bulletin (TSB) regarding the problem. In the TSB (PIT5616A), the automaker states, “Condition: Vehicle displays Shift to Park message on DIC when in Park. Vehicle may not shut off when put in Park or may not start.”

So, what’s the cause and subsequent fix? Right now, GM doesn’t have one (very reassuring). It lists the cause of the problem as “unknown at this time.”

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 GMC Acadia Transmission Problems

A MESSAGE SHIFT TO PARK KEPT APPEARING WHEN THE CAR WAS IN PARK AND SHUT OFF. THEN I PUT THE CAR IN REVERSE AND THE ENTIRE CARE LOCKED UP. (A MESSAGE FROM GMC -GENERAL MOTORS LLC (GM) IS RECALLING CERTAIN 2018 CHEVROLET EQUINOX AND GMC TERRAIN VEHICLES AND 2017-2018 GMC ACADIA VEHICLES. THE RIGHT FRONT INTERMEDIATE DRIVESHAFT MAY FRACTURE AND SEPARATE WHILE DRIVING.)

WHEN THE VEHICLE IS IN PARK AND YOU TRY TO TURN IT OFF WITH THE START/STOP BUTTON AN ON DASH ERROR CODE OF “SHIFT TO PARK” APPEARS EVEN THOUGH THE VEHICLE IS CLEARLY IN PARK. YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO TURN THE VEHICLE OFF. I TOOK THE VEHICLE IN FOR SERVICE ON 6/4/18 AND WAS TOLD THAT GM IS AWARE OF THE ISSUE HOWEVER THEIR ENGINEERS HAVE NOT FOUND A SOLUTION. THIS CURRENTLY IS FORCING ME RESTART THE ENGINE, PUT MY CAR IN REVERSE, SHIFT BACK IN DRIVE, TRY RE PARKING AND TURNING OFF AGAIN REPEATING THE PROCESS UNTIL IT EVENTUALLY TURNS OFF. I DO NOT KNOW IF MY CAR IS TRULY IN GEAR OR NOT. I’M AFRAID THAT IT MIGHT CAUSE A DANGEROUS SITUATION.

MY 2017 GMC ACADIA 6 CYLINDER AWD HAS EXCESSIVE VIBRATIONS THAT OCCUR AT 1400-1600 RPM AND AT VARIOUS SPEEDS.IT SEEMS LIKE THE TRANSMISSION REFUSES TO SHIFT AND IT LASTS FOR UP TO A QUARTER MILE.VIBRATION IS MOST PRONOUNCED AT SPEEDS OF 55-60 MPH THE DEALER DIAGNOSIS SAYS IT IS FUNCTIONING NORMAL. THE STRUTS WERE REPLACE AT1390 MILES AND MOTOR MOUNTS ADJUSTED, PROBLEM REMAINS, AUTO BROUGHT TO DEALER FOR RECALL AS PER BULLETIN 17109 BUT IT STILL VIBRATES EXCESSIVELY. THE LEAD MECHANIC AT THE DEALERSHIP SAID THE AUTO ADJUSTS TO THE DRIVER AND SAID THE VIBRATIONS WILL STOP AT ABOUT 2500 MILES. THE CAR NOW HAS 2900 MILES AND IT STILL FEELS LIKE THE TRANSMISSION IS GOING TO FAIL. THE VIBRATION IS UNCOMFORTABLE AND ALTHOUGH THE DEALERSHIP SAID THE CAR IS SAFE IT DOES NOT FEEL SO.IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE FOR A VEHICLE TO BE FUNCTIONING PROPERLY WITH THIS CONTINUAL ERRATIC VIBRATIONS..

Electrical system

Today’s vehicles have dozens of computers and miles of wiring onboard. With such complexity, electrical gremlins are bound to pop up when vehicles aren’t engineered to perfection. Case in point: the 2017 GMC Acadia. Although the SUV is only about a year old, it’s electronics are already on the fritz.

Of all the digital devices found on the vehicle, so far, the electronic parking brake seems to be one of the most problematic.

One owner, from Great Falls, MT, wrote into the NHTSA website, “After releasing electronic parking brake, the service parking brake light comes on and the parking brake light flashes. Parking brake is no longer operational.”

GM has released a TSB (17-NA-002) to address the concern. It reads:

“Some customers may comment on one or more of the following conditions: amber electric park brake light is on, amber electric park brake light is flashing, parking brake is inoperable.The technician may find the following DTCs set:C028F 04, C1586 04.”

According to the automaker, the problem is software in the parking brake’s computer (referred to as a module). Re-flashing the unit is supposed to cure the concern.

Another problem area is the horn. According to owners, it takes an excessive amount of effort to depress and activate.

On the Edmunds website, an owner complains, “Horn does not operate with normal driver pressure. Requires two hands. Try that when you NEED it. A definite safety issue that the dealer recognized but could not fix. No fix from GM. Needs to be recalled. Other Denalis on the lot were the same, and this problem has been reported by several others and also to the NHTSA.”

There is a supposed fix now– GM has a TSB (17-NA-367) regarding this issue. The document states, “Some customers may comment on the high effort required to sound the horn.”

Dealers have been instructed to replace the steering wheel wiring harness with an updated unit to correct the concern.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 GMC Acadia Electrical Problems

HORN IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO OPERATE UNDER ANY CONDITIONS. IT TAKES TWO HANDS TO MAKE IT WORK AND ONLY WITH EXCESSIVE FORCE, AND IN ONLY ONE SPOT ON THE STEERING WHEEL. RECENTLY I WAS ALONGSIDE OF A BIG RIG AND THE DRIVER DID NOT SEE ME. HE STARTED TO MANEUVER INTO MY LANE AND THE ACADIA HORN WOULD NOT WORK. NEARLY CAUSED A MAJOR ACCIDENT ON A 70MPH POSTED HIGHWAY. THE DEALER KNOWS ABOUT THE PROBLEM AND IT HAS BEEN REPORTED TO GMC AND NHTSA BY MANY 2017 GMC ACADIA OWNERS. TO DATE, GMC OFFERS NO FIX FOR THIS PROBLEM. A RECALL OR AT LEAST A REPAIR BULLETIN NEEDS TO BE ISSUED BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT, OR WORSE. THIS IS A WIDESPREAD SAFETY ISSUE WITH THE 2017 GMC ACADIA, AND POSSIBLY THE 2018 GMC ACADIA IF THE SAME HORN ACTIVATION HARDWARE IS USED IN THE NEWER MODEL.

NEW 2017 GMC ACADIA DENALI FWD. LESS THAN 100 MILES. HORN DOES NOT OPERATE WITH NORMAL DRIVER PRESSURE UNDER ANY CONDITIONS. REQUIRES EXCESSIVE PRESSURE TO OPERATE, REQUIRING USING BOTH HANDS AND THEN ONLY IN ONE SPOT. GM IS AWARE OF THE PROBLEM AND HAS DONE NOTHING TO CORRECT, CALLING IT IS OPERATING “AS DESIGNED”. THE DESIGN IS FLAWED AND GM FAILS TO ADMIT IT AND TAKE CORRECTIVE ACTION. IT IS PAST TIME THAT THIS PROBLEM IS FIXED, AS IT HAS BEEN REPORTED MANY TIMES BY OTHER GMC ACADIA OWNERS AND IS ON RECORD WITH THE NHTSA. DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO BE KILLED BEFORE A FIX IS RELEASED? DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO BE KILLED BEFORE THE NHTSA ACTS ON THIS POTENTIALLY LETHAL DEFECT?

AFTER RELEASING ELECTRONIC PARKING BRAKE, THE SERVICE PARKING BRAKE LIGHT COMES ON AND THE PARKING BRAKE LIGHT FLASHES. PARKING BRAKE IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL.

Exterior lighting

Functional headlights are an important feature for a vehicle to have. Yet, many owners complain the 2017 Acadia’s lamps either aren’t bright enough or don’t work at all.

An owner from Baldwinsville, NY, says on the NHTSA website, “Headlights are dim to the point of being dangerous. Dealer confirms that all 2017 Acadia are like this. This is by no means the first complaint about this issue. An accident waiting to happen.”

Another, on Edmunds, states, “Driving at night the headlights are not bright, need the fog lights to help, and you have to always turn them on. I’m try to get out of this lease now. Will never by a GM product again.”

So far, there has been no TSB or recall from GM addressing the headlight concern.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 GMC Acadia Exterior Lighting Problems

HEADLIGHTS ARE DIM TO THE POINT OF BEING DANGEROUS. DEALER CONFIRMS THAT ALL 2017 ACADIA ARE LIKE THIS. THIS IS BY NO MEANS THE FIRST COMPLAINT ABOUT THIS ISSUE. AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN.

AS MUCH AS I LOVE THE VEHICLE AS A WHOLE, IT UNFORTUNATELY HAS THE WORST HEADLIGHTS I HAVE EXPERIENCED IN ANY VEHICLE THAT I HAVE EVER DRIVEN. AS SOMEONE WHO HAS PERFECT VISION, I OFTEN FIND MYSELF SQUINTING TO SEE THE ROAD AHEAD OF ME AND VARIOUS SIGNS. IT HAS GOTTEN TO THE POINT WHERE I HAVE RESORTED TO DRIVING WITH MY HIGH BEAMS ON, JUST SO I CAN SEE WHERE I’M GOING IN CITY STREETS, HIGHWAY DRIVING, AND MAKING TURNS. I’VE NEVER HAD THIS ISSUE WITH ANY OTHER VEHICLE THAT I HAVE DRIVEN AND THE UNFORTUNATE THING IS THAT MY FATHER HAS NEARLY THE SAME IDENTICAL VEHICLE AS ME AND IS EQUALLY DISSATISFIED WITH THE HEADLIGHTS. I WOULD CONSIDER THESE AS DANGEROUS AS ANYTHING TO DRIVER, PEDESTRIAN, AND PROPERTY RELATED SAFETY. I WOULD STRONGLY URGE THAT IF GM DOES NOT STEP UP AND CORRECT THIS DANGEROUS OBSTACLE TO MY LIFE, THEN I WOULD STRONGLY URGE AN INVESTIGATION AND AN IMMEDIATE RECALL OF THIS VEHICLE BY THIS ORGANIZATION

I ALMOST HIT A PEDESTRIAN WALKING ACROSS THE STREET IN FRONT OF MY CAR AT NIGHT AS I DID NOT SEE HIM DUE TO,THE HEADLIGHTS BEING TOTALLY INADEQUATE TO SEE IN FRONT OF THE CAR AND THE LIGHTS HAVE A BLIND SPOT WHEN ILLUMINATED AS THE DO NOT SHINE HIGH ENOUGH. THERE IS LIKE A SHELF EFFECT THAT WON’T ILLUMINATE ABOVE FOUR FEET OF THE ROAD IN FRONT OF YOU. ALSO THE LIGHT DOES NOT ILLUMINATE THE ROAD ENOUGH ESPECIALLY IN WET CONDITIONS. IT IS LIKE HAVING NO,LIGHT AT ALL.

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28 COMMENTS
  • albert

    I have a 2019 Arcadia. The first problem was water accumulating, in the spare tire pocket after a rain storm. It took 3 attempts to make the repairs and 30 days in the shop. The new problem is the car won’t turn off when prompt to do so. The car is currently in the GMC shop.

  • Carla M

    GMC knows this car is a lemon can I get my money back so I can buy the new car I expected to own. One that runs and operates the way it should, and the manufacturer knows what is wrong with the vehicle, and how to fix the problem. I want to own a safe, and dependable vehicle.

  • Teri

    Shift to park light coming on while gear shift is in park. Car will stay on with headlights and rear lights. takes multiple tries and wiggles with the gear shifter and then the car will finally shut off. I have a 2017 GMC Acadia with 16,500 miles.

  • Kristin

    I have a 2017 GMC Acadia on a lease. It has been in the shop multiple times. Current issues include shifter problem and radio pre set stations come and go on the screen. Drive side does not always blow cool air was told it needs a new sensor already replaced one at $170. Unable to get parts for all the problems. My car did not even have 10,000 miles on it and the gas line had to be replaced. I am currently stuck in my lease with 10 more months to go. I have had to pay out of pocket for some repairs. I have also had to put 4 new tires on my Acadia that was around $800. GM customer service or financial will not help to get out my lease besides to eat the $7,000 worth of negative equity. Of course the issues will not be fixed unless I pay 100% of charge because they are out of warranty and no recall yet. I was told GM is on strike by the customer service rep. OH and my Acadia has 34,000 miles on it. How to get out of this mess. My dealership is no help at all besides maybe get me into a new Acadia still with negative equity. I would appreciate any help or insight on these issues.

  • Harold J

    Our 2017 has many of the same issues. Horn is almost impossible to blow. Remote not detected is coming on now yet the remote is present. The problems continue to worsen.

  • Paige

    My ’17 Acadia was in the shop for a month while I waited on a new shifter, which was on a suspiciously long back-order, to replace the faulty one, which causes the “Shift to Park” message we all hate. At stop signs or stop lights, it hesitates and then lunges forward when I start to accelerate. When I asked the dealership to look at it, “it couldn’t be replicated”. I hope they can replicated my odd engine sound and jerky, sputtering acceleration when they have it again next week. My AWD is less than wonderful. I spin my (new) tires when trying to climb my steep-ish driveway, but our Ford Escape doesn’t have an issue making it up the road. I can’t wait to get rid of this car! Nothing but issues.

  • Brianna

    I have a 2017 Acadia, nearing 50k miles. I have the shift to park issue, the rear access never works with the door button, it unlocks itself saying the keys are in the car, and today I turned it on and every warning light came on and I lost power steering.

  • George

    I have a 2018 GMC Acadia SLE2 4WD and 4 cylinder engine. Love this car, but I’m having a different problem with the shifter. I do not have the “Shift to Park” problem. However, about 80% or the time when I put it into Low, the transmission the +/- button on the shifter does not work. The display on the dash sometime shows just an “L” other times it shows an “L” with the number. In either case, the +/- button has no effect. If I shift back to D and then back to L it might work properly.
    Has anyone else seen this problem?

  • Louise R

    Bought my 2017 GMC Acadia June 2019, all WAS good…August the shift to park issue started after I turned the car off. I had to restart the car and mess with the shifter. (even tried wiggling it), as many as 10 times before finally being able to leave the car. I noticed that on a very few occasions first park and shut off worked. What was different? Releasing the seat belt!!! Closing and or shutting everything off & putting it in park BEFORE I release the seatbelt has allowed me to get out of my car on the first park & shutoff 6 times in a row now. My little experiment may help you…try it???? PLEASE let me know if it works for you.

  • Amy

    Had shift to park
    problem on 17 GMC Acadia fixed it. Replaced all wheels for peeling now since fixed to park running rough at stop signs and when apply gas doesn’t go then jerks forward. In park runs rough too not a good car don’t buy it!

  • Kristin

    My car will be in park but the computer screen says I need to shift to park. I called the dealership and they stated my car just over 32,000 miles is out of warranty and I need to pay for it out of pocket. My Warranty was out on 08/01/2019. I have a 2017 GMC Acadia that I leased in 2016.

  • Robert H

    Acadia Denali V-6 FWD. 30,000 miles. Have had the shift to park several times. Thought it was my mistake. Trans. seems to stumble on 2-3 shift randomly. Horn pushes way too hard. Dealer said they all do that and GM doesn’t know how to fix it. Denali Alum. wheels clear coat peeling off, supposed to be replaced by GM but no word yet.

  • Adeoye A

    My 2017 GMC Acadia steering gets stiff intermittently while on motion and particularly while negotiating bends or corners. The steering glitches i. e. hard to turn in the middle of turning. It has now happened several times.

  • Kathy

    So far have really liked my Acadia……….got into my 2017 Acadia this morning, warning lights: service all wheel drive system and service Stabilitrak. Took to dealer they are trying to figure out. I have noticed before the parking issue. Put in park and get warning to shift into park. Another note, when on an incline the transmission takes a minute to go into gear.
    Afraid I have a lemon. Have owned the vehicle since Dec. 2018.

  • Mel

    I have a 2017 Acadia Denali, I’ve had the shift to park issue, which the dealership did fix, no further problems with that, then the AC wouldn’t come on with the remote start feature, now the AC is blowing hot air, it’s going to the shop today and then I’m trading it off on a new Ford Edge, should never have traded my Edge in on this, it’s a beautiful car, but 3 problems in 2 yrs makes me worry about when the warranty is up in another year what will happen then, on my dime.

  • Sasha

    I have a similar problem as the other complaints in regards to my horn. Also my radio is temperamental and the touch screen does not always work. I have brought my vehicle into the dealership a few times to try to get the car rectified.

  • Charris

    I too just also start experiencing the “shift to park” error with my 2017 GMC Acadia. I have a call in to the dealer for service but I am almost to my 36,000 mile mark. Since this is a known issue, I hope they dont make me pay to correct the issue.

  • Michelle

    I have a 2018 Acadia and have recently started dealing with the shift to park issue. The warning alarm stays on If you don’t play around with the gears to get it to realize the car is already in park so that the warning will go away. GM needs to fix this problem! But I know I will never buy another GM vehicle. They can count on that!

  • Jen

    My 17 Acadia had the shifter replaced and now when it auto stops at sign it wont turn back on and runs rough. Had the cylenoid replaced but still doesnt want to restart when auto stop.

  • Lora H

    Shift to park issue and also while driving the rpm’s go up and it’s like the car is down shifting on its own

  • Debra

    Remote not detected in vehicle message….when remote is in vehicle. Has Locked me out and in the car. Gives message to put remote in reset slot…did this many times. Finally cranked….btw…the alarms are going off in the vehicle like crazy….
    Contacted and brought in vehicle to dealerships they could not fix it, nor find a bulletin for the fix from gm….have brought it back 2 times on this issue….still no fix.
    Please help with the actual bulletin, we have read there is one out…we just can’t find it.
    Please help.

  • CarolynS

    Reply to Mr Finkelstine 20 February 2019 comment. Today makes the 3rd time my car has COMPLETELY shut off while driving. This is so extremely dangerous! 2017 GMC Acadia

    And it vibrates terribly. Dealership says everything is ok.

  • Marko

    2018 GMC Acadia took to the dealer just inside the 36k warranty and had head rest on farthest aft seat replaced due to mechanical failure. I mentioned to the dealer if they knew about a shift to park problem as it happened to me once and they said they were unaware of the problem. Of coarse the 2017 model has the same problem and GM is putting their head in the sand and refusing to do anything to correct the problem. I can only hope we the taxpayers don’t have to bail out GM again and keep this totally worthless corporation afloat, I will never purchase a GM (Government Motors) vehicle again!

  • Jade

    I have a ’17 acadia and its a piece of crap. I got it with 10 miles and within 3 months the AC/Heat went out and has gone out a total of 3x, then the parking break, keyless entry, the dash display changes on it, the radio display has been changed twice and still has issues. I have taken it to the GM dealership 9x in less then 2 years and Im constantly getting the run around from GM and the dealership. I WILL NEVER BUY A GM PRODUCT AGAIN IN MY LIFE!! GM needs to pull their heads out their butts and call my car a freaking lemon. Everyday i drive my car with my kids and worried something else is going to go wrong.

  • Chris M

    Just sent my 2017 GMC Acadia to the shop today for the shift to park issue. Hopefully they know how to fix it!

  • EDWARD B

    WHEN THE VEHICLE IS IN PARK AND I TRY TO TURN IT OFF WITH THE START/STOP BUTTON AN ON DASH ERROR CODE OF “SHIFT TO PARK” APPEARS EVEN THOUGH THE VEHICLE IS CLEARLY IN PARK. I AM NOT ABLE TO TURN THE VEHICLE OFF. THIS CURRENTLY IS FORCING ME RESTART THE ENGINE, PUT MY CAR IN REVERSE, SHIFT BACK IN DRIVE, TRY RE PARKING AND TURNING OFF AGAIN REPEATING THE PROCESS UNTIL IT EVENTUALLY TURNS OFF. I’M AFRAID THAT IT MIGHT CAUSE A DANGEROUS SITUATION. BTW…. I TOOK THE VEHICLE IN FOR SERVICE ON 3/7/19 BUT WAS NOT ABLE TO SIMULATE THIS CONDITION AT THE DEALERSHIP. WITH THIS BEING THE CASE, THE DEALERSHIP SAID THEY COULD NOT FIX WHAT THEY CANNOT SEE. i SHOWED THEM ARTICLES WHERE THIS IS AN ISSUE ACROSS THE U.S. WITH THIS VEHICLE.
    WHAT I WANT: I WANT GM TO PUT OUT A RECALL NOTICE.

  • Eric F

    My 2017 GMC Acadia completely shut off while driving 70 on the highway. Thank god it turned back on within seconds. Service depends told me they have never heard that happening and that its impossible for that to happen. I have had nothing but problems with this car.

  • Brandy

    My 2018 Acadia has multiple issues. The main problem is when the sensor in the shifter starts to go out because this is the second time that it’s gone out. New steering control uses power the gauges start to go up and down and all phone telling me that I need to get my power steering check my parking brake check that I’m losing power steering stability control traction control. On top of all the happening while I am driving when i park or kill the car it doesn’t go off the electrical system stays on saying that the car is not in park wont start or shift. And the radio freezes up I cant turn it off down change the channel sometimes longer than 5minutes. I have taken it to multiple places an no one knew what was wrong.

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