2018 Chevrolet Equinox Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical System, Engine and Transmission issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

GM wants you to believe the Equinox is “all about the journey,” but what happens when the journey is miserable because of reliability issues? Owners of the Chevy Equinox know far too well the trouble that this SUV can bring. Between faulty powertrains, glitchy electrical systems and unreliable engines, this crossover lacks in several areas. Many Equinox models suffer from vehicle movement while in park and a false illumination of the malfunction indicator lamp. In addition, diesel models are prone to a turbo exhaust leak. These conditions cause 2018 Chevrolet Equinox owners to question their choice of SUVs.

 

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Powertrain

No one wants their car rolling away while it is in Park. Still, 2018 Chevy Equinox models might rock or move slightly while in Park, especially immediately after a cold start. Sometimes, this also occurs at the same time as a clunking noise. What’s interesting is that most people don’t feel the movement, but notice it from outside the vehicle. When starting the SUV with the auto-start, owners see a slight movement occur.

This difficulty can lead to an accident. Take this owner who wrote on Car Complaints. This account states, “While the vehicle was parked, it independently rolled away and rear-ended another vehicle. A police report was filed and there were no injuries. [Repair shop] was contacted and stated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 17V516000(power train) and advised the contact to use the emergency brake when parking the vehicle.”

While GM did issue Service Bulletin # 08-07-30-026E, there is little done to correct the problem. The automaker states that the condition is caused by residual transmission fluid in the clutch packs which create a partial apply when starting up. They call the situation “normal” and request that no repairs are made.

It appears you now must be careful where you park your vehicle. Considering it might move slightly when you start it, you might not want to use the auto start feature. Instead, it is wise to apply your foot to the brake. So much for new technologymaking life easier.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Equinox Transmission Problems:

MY 2018 CHEVROLET EQUINOX HAS NOT BEEN SHIFTING INTO HIGH GEAR (6TH) FOR SEVERAL WEEKS NOW. I BROUGHT IT INTO A CHEVY DEALER NEAR ME, AND THEY INFORMED ME THAT THIS IS A NORMAL CONDITION FOR THIS VEHICLE, WHEN THE AMBIENT TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 14 DEGREES.. THE SERVICE MANAGER CITED A GM TSB #18-NA-035. THIS TSB INSTRUCTS THE DEALER TO INFORM THE OWNER THAT THE VEHICLE IS OPERATING NORMALLY, AND INSTRUCTS THE DEALER NOT TO ATTEMPT ANY REPAIRS.

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 CHEVROLET EQUINOX. WHILE THE VEHICLE WAS PARKED, IT INDEPENDENTLY ROLLED AWAY AND REAR ENDED ANOTHER VEHICLE. A POLICE REPORT WAS FILED AND THERE WERE NO INJURIES.

Electrical System

For most people, when the Malfunction Indicator Lamp is illuminated, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong. This isn’t the case with a 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. In fact, the automaker states that you might very well see this alarming light when there’s nothing wrong at all.

Read what this one driver went through with the Equinox, according to the NHTSA site. “I purchased my vehicle October 31, 2017, and within the first two months, the check engine light came on at 1,400 miles. I took my vehicle into the dealership it was purchased from immediately and was told nothing was mechanically wrong and it was okay to continue driving with the light on. It eventually went out on its own just to come back a month later. I again took it to the dealership this time to be told I needed a new vacuum brake booster pipe. After the part was replaced, the dealership then told me I needed to have the brake booster pressure sensor replaced. Three days after the sensor was replaced, the check engine light was back on at this point the dealership had no more answers and was reporting my issue to GM and having one of their technicians look at my vehicle. I brought my vehicle back in for a fourth time because the light continues to turn off and on intermittently and due to my knowledge of the law on a brand new vehicle GM is now interested in purchasing my vehicle back.”

GM issues Service Bulletin # 18-NA-300 in response to this issue. The trouble indicates a DTC P050F set in the ECM. This code points to a Brake Booster Weak Vacuum issue caused by a software anomaly. Technicians test the brake vacuum system to ensure there are no leaks and that the brakes work appropriately. If there is no leak, the technician is to reprogram the ECM with the newest calibration.

Hopefully, after that, the light goes out. Otherwise, you may never know when there truly is a problem requiring your attention.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Equinox Electrical Problems:

2018 CHEVROLET EQUINOX. CONSUMER WRITES IN REGARD TO FAULTY RADIO SCREEN THAT BLACKS OUT AT NIGHT AND DOES NOT COME BACK ON. * AS *TR

THE DRIVER INFORMATION CLUSTER DIC GOES BLANK AND FLICKERS ON AND OFF INTERMITTENTLY WHILE THE VEHICLE IS IN OPERATION. THIS IS A OCCURRENCE THAT HAPPENS FREQUENTLY WHEN THE VEHICLE IS IN OPERATION AND AT IDLE/STOP.

WHEN DRIVING AT NIGHT, IF YOU PUT THE CAR IN REVERSE THEN PUT IT BACK INTO DRIVE THE RADIO DISPLAY IS REAL BRIGHT, LIGHT IS IN DAYTIME MODE. AS LONG AS YOU DON’T PUT IT IN REVERSE THE DISPLAY IN IN NIGHT MODE. THE LIGHT IS REAL ANNOYING WHEN DRIVING AT NIGHT.THE DEALER SAID THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT. GM TECH SAY I WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT. IT IS LIKE SOMEONE SHINING A LIGHT IN YOUR EYES. WOULD LIKE TO SEE IF SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT. THEY SAID ALL 2018 EQUINOX WITH 7 INCH SCREEN IS THAT WAY

Engine

Many people were excited at the thought of owning a 2018 Chevy Equinox with a diesel engine, but it turned out to be a nightmare for them instead. While it does save on fuel, the trouble might not be worth the savings, especially if your SUV spends more time at the dealership for repairs.

One driver filed a complaint with Car Complaints stating, “Traveling on a very cold night to a small town in Saskatchewan, turbo freezes, mother-in-law tenses and we limp the last 40 km to her house. Had to change plans and stay a couple of days until we could get a tow to the city. GM wanted to tow to another small town because it was closer but the dealership wasn’t going to be open until the 27th. Had to pay for extra mileage to get to a dealer that was open. Left vehicle there and took a loaner (also an equinox). Returned home 400 km from the dealership.Had to return a couple of days later to pick up my vehicle where they explained that the turbo had frozen. Interesting thing is that about 200km in to the return trip with the loaner, the loaner Equinox also froze up. Limped the last 200 km to the dealership on a double lane highway. Vehicle is not designed for very cold temperatures.”

While that is important to note, especially while driving in cold temperatures, this isn’t the only noticeable trouble with the turbo diesel engine. In fact, GM released Service Update # 18209. The problem points to a diesel engine leak caused by an improper alignment of the clamp and gasket assembly from the turbocharger to the catalytic converter. Smoke is often seen coming from under the hood and the check engine light might set with DTC P0421. To repair the issue, dealerships must replace the turbocharger to catalytic converter clamp/gasket.

If you want to drive the turbo diesel engine, you might want to live in Florida or another warm climate. Also, you need to be on the lookout for smoke coming out from under the hood. Sounds like a journey waiting to happen.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Equinox Engine Problems:

CAR ENGINE LIGHT IS COMING ON NOW ON 3 SEPARATE OCCASIONS ONCE ON HIGHWAY ONCE IN. SIDE STREET AND THEN IN AFTER JUST STARTING CAR . HAS BEEN SERVICE NOW ALL 3 TIMES AND EMU SYSTEM WAS FULLY REPLACED . IT WILL GO INTO SAFETY MODE AND THERE IS A VERY STRONG SMELL OF GAS. THE ENGINE THEN RUNS HIGH AND CAR LOCKS UP. THE CAR IS FEELS LIKE IT IS STRESSING AT EVEN 35 MILES BEFORE THE ENGINE LIGHT APPEARS. I HAVE SERVICE PAPERWORK FROM THE FIRST TWO SERVICES AND PICTURES OF THE CAR IN SAFETY MODE. IT IS CURRENTLY IN THE SERVICE DEPARTMENT AGAIN FOR THE 3RD TIME NOW. PURCHASE THE CAR ONLY 5 MONTHS AGO . ONSTAR PICKED UP ON HIGHWAY 5.30.18 , PICKED UP FROM SERVICE THEN ON 6.2.2018, HAD CAR FOR 2 HOURS CAR WENT BACK INTO SERVICE SAME DAY 6.2.2018 BACK TO DEALERSHIP, PICKED BACKUP 6.5.2018 AND THEN BACK IN DEALERSHIP 6.6.2018 FOR ON GOING ISSUES AND STILL THERE WITH NO RESOLUTION AT THIS POINT

LESS THEN 10,000 MILES IN THE CAR AND THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT HAS COME ON. THERE HAD NOT BEEN AN ISSUE WITH IT AT ALL UNTIL TODAY WHEN I STARTED MY CAR AFTER WORK.

OIL LEAK NOTED ON GROUND AFTER BEING DRIVEN. STARTED OUT BEING SMALL DROPS BUT GRADUALLY WORSENED. DEALERSHIP STATED “WELD AROUND OIL PAN WAS NOT PROPERLY SEALED”

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1 COMMENT
  • Brent H

    My wife and I just bought a 2018 Chevy Equinox with 30k miles. We purchased it in Saturday and returned it on Monday because all if the audio in the car was out…includiing blinker and door chimes. We were told it was a leaking heater core. The cost to replace this was covered under mfg warranty, but now we are getting shifting and general sluggish issues with car. We have had the vehicle only 3 days. We haven’t even made the first payment yet and the car has spent more time in the shop than in our possession. I would like to return the vehicle.

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