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6 Common Chevrolet Equinox Problems + Best Model Years

The Chevy Equinox has been around for many years, so there is a lot of information out there about potential problems. The Equinox was first introduced in 2005 and has been sold every year thereafter. Chevrolet sought to capitalize on the compact SUV market when it brought this crossover to buyers. Overall, the Equinox is a very reliable vehicle that gets great reviews. However, there are a few issues that drivers commonly report. We’ll give you all the details on the most common problems that drivers experience with their Equinox. In addition, we’ll tell you which model years are the best ones to purchase.

Common Problems With The Chevrolet Equinox

There are a few problems reported by Equinox owners that are much more common than others. Some models have multiple recalls, while others have none. Here are the most common problems reported across all Equinox models.

— Excessive Oil Consumption

Excessive oil consumption is one of the biggest problems related to the Chevrolet Equinox. Unfortunately, this problem spans both the first and second generations of the Equinox. It can affect models from 2010 to 2017. Thankfully, the issue is limited to just the four-cylinder engine. The 2.4-liter engine is notorious for consuming a large amount of oil. Some owners reported their Chevy Equinox engine using as much as four to six quarts of engine oil between oil changes. This engine problem has not been reported in V6 engines.

The issue with the four-cylinder could be related to bad piston rings, and your dealership can help assess the root cause of the problem. Some owners have been frustrated that the problem is so bad that Chevrolet has issued a Technical Service Bulletin but not a recall. Nearly all complaints to the NHTSA about the Equinox are related to this engine problem. If you are looking to purchase an Equinox, you should avoid the four-cylinder engine at all costs. However, you should be fine if you purchase the six-cylinder model.

— Faulty Ignition

Early models of the Equinox had several complaints related to ignition problems. Mostly, the issues were around the ignition key sticking. These problems are mostly confined to the 2005 to 2008 models. In some cases, the owners were unable to remove the key from the ignition. You can imagine how this could be a huge problem. A sticking key or malfunctioning ignition could prevent the vehicle from being started or from being shut off.

— Fuel Pump Failure

Some first-generation Equinox models had fuel pumps that would fail without warning. These fuel pump problems could lead to engine stalling and dangerous situations in traffic. You could also see reduced fuel efficiency due to these fuel pump problems. You could think you have a symptom of a bad fuel filter, but it might actually be your fuel pump failing. This common Chevy Equinox problem was so bad that a recall was issued for the fuel pump on these vehicles. Your local dealership can check your vehicle to determine whether it is affected by the recall. If it is, the repair will generally be performed at no cost to you, just as if the vehicle were under warranty.

— Bad Airbag Sensors

Another problem that plagued the first-generation Equinox was a faulty airbag sensor. This problem can present a safety problem. Most airbag issues are related to the passenger airbag sensor, and this issue could prevent the airbag from deploying in the event of an accident. In some cases, the vehicle’s airbag light may illuminate periodically. Generally, the light is caused by the faulty sensor. This problem should be addressed and repaired as soon as possible since it presents a big problem with an important safety feature.

— Timing Chain Failure

Although the V6 engines in the Equinox do not suffer the engine oil consumption problem that the four cylinders have, some of the V6 engines have problems with the timing chain. The earlier 3.0L V6 engines have problems with the timing chain, while the later 3.6L engines sometimes have their timing chain snap. As anyone with automotive knowledge knows, a broken timing chain causes big problems with your engine. A broken timing chain could cause damaged spark plugs, a blown head gasket, engine overheating, and other issues. Unfortunately, the timing chain problem often occurs without warning, like a check engine light or other symptoms. Timing chain or timing belt replacement costs are also very high because of the amount of skill and labor required for the job.

— Heater & Defroster Problems

Some early Equinox models have issues with the heater and windshield defroster. This can present an uncomfortable and even dangerous situation in colder weather. When you turn on the heater, only cold air blows from the vents. The issue appears to result from a broken blend door near the heater core and not a problem with the A/C compressor or electrical system. Even though the problem seems minor, the repair can cost nearly $1,000 due to the amount of labor required to access the blend door.

Best Model Years For The Chevy Equinox

The best model years for the Chevy Equinox seem to be the newer models. The 2018 and newer Chevy Equinox have far fewer problems reported than in earlier years. In addition, these models have better fuel economy and a great Infotainment system. Time will tell whether these newer Equinox models start to have additional problems as they age.

If you need to purchase an older model due to cost considerations, you should consider a 2013 to 2017 model with the 3.6L V6 engine. These engines do not have the oil consumption issues that the four-cylinder engines have. Overall, the second-generation vehicles have fewer problems than the first-generation models.

How Reliable Is The Chevy Equinox?

Overall, the Chevy Equinox’s reliability is fairly high. Generally, the first-generation models should be avoided as the bulk of the Equinox complaints come from the 2005-2008 models. Excessive oil consumption and faulty ignitions were the biggest problems with the early models, but the reliability has improved greatly over the last few years. Most customer satisfaction surveys rank the Equinox high on the list of crossover SUV models, and the vehicle is ranked third in sales in this market in the United States.

The Equinox performs on par with the reliability seen from the GMC Terrain, although the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V typically outperform the Equinox in most rankings. The Toyota and Honda models tend to have better overall reliability scores than the Equinox. On the other hand, the Equinox is known for its exceptional legroom in the second-row seating and high safety marks from industry experts. The Buick Enclave is also a popular choice in the compact SUV market, but the Buick model ranks lower in terms of reliability than the Equinox.

Chevrolet Equinox Recall Information

Surprisingly, one of the biggest complaints registered about the Equinox — the excessive oil consumption of the engine — has not led to a recall. Chevrolet has issued a service bulletin about the issue, but they have not issued any recalls. The Equinox has had its fair share of recalls since its inception. Some year models have had no recalls, while others have had several. Here are the recalls that have made the most headlines.

The 2007 model has had the most recalls, with four recalls for major items. Recalls for this model include problems with the windshield mounts, a recall for the fuel pump, and two separate recalls for airbag problems. The 2010 – 2012 models had three recalls. Problems with the defrosting system, the seat adjustment bolt, and the ignition key led to these recalls. The ignition was again a problem in 2013, as another recall was issued that year for ignition problems. The 2013 model also saw a recall for faulty wiper blades.

The 2015 Equinox model had airbag problems that caused a recall. This issue was related to the side passenger airbags. The side impact module could malfunction and cause the airbags not to deploy in the event of a crash. Lastly, the 2016 Equinox has a recall for displaying incorrect tire inflation information.

The Bottom Line

The Chevrolet Equinox is a crossover SUV that has risen to prominence in the market since its introduction in 2005. It is available with either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine, and the vehicle comes with available all-wheel drive. The Equinox is quite reliable, although there are a few common complaints registered about the vehicle. Excessive engine oil consumption is the most widespread problem, although that issue is confined to the earlier four-cylinder engines. The V6 engines have some timing chain problems, and the vehicle has issues with the fuel pump. Overall, the Equinox is a good car, but you should make sure that you stick to the year models with the fewest issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Chevy Equinox have a lot of problems?

Overall, the Chevy Equinox does not have many major problems. A few models have engine problems, and those models should be avoided. Other problems include timing chain problems, fuel pump problems, and issues with the airbag sensors. However, the vehicle does not have as many problems as some other makes, like the Hyundai Santa Fe.

What year does the Equinox have engine problems?

The years with the biggest engine problems are the 2010 to 2017 models. You should avoid the 2.4L four-cylinder engine at all costs. This engine problem is the most widespread and most reported issue with the Equinox. Some customers state that they must add several quarts of oil to their engine between oil changes. The 2018 and newer models have not had this issue reported.

What are the pros and cons of the Chevy Equinox?

The Equinox is an affordable SUV that ranks high in customer satisfaction. The vehicle is known for its styling and for having plenty of room in the second-row seats. Overall, the reliability of the vehicle is better than average. Some cons of the car include the fact that the resale value is not as high as some higher-end models. Likewise, the reliability is still below that of the Toyota and Honda competitors.

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