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GMC Acadia Problems | What To Know & Model Years To Avoid

The GMC Acadia entered the midsize crossover SUV market in 2006 as the model year 2007. The Acadia has been a market leader in many categories, and most Acadia owners are pleased with their vehicles. However, the Acadia has not been totally problem-free since its introduction. There are a few common problems that seem to plague many Acadia owners, and some of those problems are fairly serious. If you are considering a GMC Acadia, you will want to read this article first. We will tell you the most common problems with the Acadia as well as which model years to avoid. Keep reading to get all the details.

Common GMC Acadia Problems

General Motors usually produces quality vehicles, and the GMC Acadia is no exception. However, some problems are reported over and over again, especially in certain GMC Acadia models. So, which problems are the most prevalent? Here are the GMC Acadia issues that are reported the most.

— Check Engine Light

One of the most common complaints from Acadia owners is that the check engine light will illuminate often. The issue seemed to plague Acadia models from 2007 through 2012. The 2014 model also may experience this issue. The cause of the light can vary, but here are some of the most common causes. First, a loose or faulty gas cap will cause the light to come on. This is a simple fix in most cases, but some dealerships have reportedly charged $150 or more to diagnose the problem as a loose gas cap.

Next, the cause of the problem could be a result of moisture in the throttle body or a problem with the camshaft. These repairs are not as cheap, and it could cost over $1,000 to repair the problem with the camshaft positioning. Finally, failed oxygen sensors or a bad catalytic converter might cause the check engine light to illuminate. Replacing the O2 sensors will cost you a few hundred dollars, while a catalytic converter replacement usually runs about $1,000.

— Transmission Issues

GMC Acadia transmission problems seem to be the most common issue owners experience, especially during the early years of the Acadia. The 2007 and 2008 models of the Acadia had big transmission problems. Many owners of those year models experienced a total failure of their transmissions, and some of those failures occurred with as few as 70,000 miles on the vehicle.

In some cases, owners would see a check engine light before the failure of the clutch wave plate inside the transmission. In other instances, the vehicle would come to a stop and not move on its own any farther. Unfortunately, a transmission rebuild or complete transmission replacement is usually the only solution, and transmission repair costs are not cheap. This repair will cost you over $3,000 in most cases, so this is not a minor issue.

Thankfully, the GMC Acadia transmission has improved vastly in recent years. The number of transmission failures reported in Acadias within the last few years has significantly declined, and the number of problems is in line with other vehicles of similar age. If you are considering buying a used Acadia, you will definitely want to avoid the early models of the vehicle.

— Leaking Engine Oil

Seeing fluid under your vehicle is never good, and that’s especially true when you see engine oil on the ground underneath. Leaking engine oil is a problem that has been reported by Acadia owners, and the problem is mostly in the 2007 and 2008 models. A faulty timing cover gasket may begin to leak. While it might sound like a simple fix, the repair will likely cost you over $1,000 due to the labor required to complete the job. Sadly, avoiding the repair is not really an option. Once the leak begins, it will only worsen until it is fixed.

— Timing Chain Malfunctions

In addition to leaky timing chain covers, there were problems in the early Acadia models with the timing chains themselves. Some models had timing chains that would stretch and cause engine problems. Since the timing chain keeps the internal engine parts in sync, problems with the timing chain can have catastrophic effects on your GMC Acadia engine. This problem usually occurs with no warning lights, so the driver has no warning that a big problem is about to happen.

These timing chain problems were present in the early models of the Acadia, but they again returned in the 2012 and 2013 models. When it comes time to fix this problem, be prepared to pay for it. Replacing the timing chain may cost you $1,500. If the problem caused other damage to your engine, then your repair cost could exceed $4,000.

— Air Conditioning System Failure

Nobody likes riding in a hot car in the summertime, but that’s exactly what some Acadia owners have experienced. Problems with the A/C system are present in several models from 2011 through 2016. The most common complaint with the air conditioner is that it blows hot air into the cabin. Other drivers have reported that the system makes a hissing or whining noise. Typically, this signals a leak somewhere in the system.

Unfortunately, most vehicles are no longer under warranty when this problem occurs. That means you will be stuck paying for the repair out of your own pocket. The repair usually involves replacing the piping or other components of the A/C system. This fix could cost you up to $1,000, depending on the specific parts that must be replaced.

— Power Steering Pump Failure

The power steering system presented many problems on the first-generation Acadia. From 2008 to 2012, the power steering pump was known to fail without warning. This sudden failure could even cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle as the steering wheel suddenly becomes extremely difficult to turn. Some drivers also experienced power steering leaks that caused the system to operate improperly. Lastly, the power steering rack was known to fail frequently as well.

In most cases, the power steering pump must be replaced to fix this problem. In some cases, the pump and the power steering rack must both be replaced. These repairs can range anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the nature and severity of the problem.

— Various Warning Lights

We have already discussed the check engine light being a problem on the Acadia, but owners also have problems with other warning lights on their vehicles. This problem was mostly present in the 2011 Acadia. Drivers reported seeing the check engine light, traction control light, park assist light, airbag light, and others. Sometimes, the lights would all come on at once, while the lights were more sporadic at other times.

While you might think the issue with the warning lights sounds like an electrical system problem, the root cause often seems to be faulty catalytic converters. Replacing a catalytic converter is not cheap, and this repair will usually cost you about $1,000.

GMC Acadia Model Years To Avoid

Are you wondering, “What are the GMC Acadia years to avoid?” In general, you should avoid any of the first-generation Acadia models. Between the engine issues, transmission issues, power steering problems, and air conditioning problems, you want to stay away from the 2008 to 2016 models. These problems seem to be significantly reduced in the second-generation models. If you are searching for a used car, you might need to find something a little older due to financial considerations.

If you must buy a first-generation Acadia, you should avoid the 2008 to 2012 models at all costs. The issues seemed to improve in the 2013 to 2016 models, although there were still reports of engine issues and a few other problems in those models. To get the most reliable GMC Acadia, you should purchase a 2018 or newer model if at all possible. Issues with these models are much more in line with industry averages.

Important GMC Acadia Recall Information

General Motors has been forced to issue quite a few recalls relating to the Acadia. In fact, the automaker has issued 20 recalls on various items. Several of the items pose serious safety hazards, so you should visit your dealership to determine whether your Acadia is affected by any open recalls. Here are some of the most notable recalls of the Acadia.

First, an electrical system problem in some of the early Acadia models could pose a fire hazard. GM used the same heated washer fluid module in many of its vehicles, and all of those vehicles were affected by the recall. For instance, the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, and several others were affected by the same recall.

A recall also had to be issued for a faulty fuel pump that could pose a fire hazard. This recall affected 2017 and 2018 models, and the fuel pump could potentially leak and start a fire. It is unknown whether any fires have been reported to the NHTSA as a result of the fuel pump, but the problem is a serious issue that should be fixed as soon as possible. Those same Acadia models were affected by another recall because the driveshaft could separate from the vehicle while driving.

A separate recall addressed an issue with faulty welds on the third-row seats. The welds were in the wrong place, and the seats could completely detach from the vehicle during a crash. Other recalls related to essential safety features, like the airbags and seat belts, have also been issued for the Acadia.

In addition to the recalls mentioned above, GM has issued nearly 2,000 technical service bulletins about the Acadia. These bulletins help GM technicians diagnose and resolve common problems seen in the Acadia.

Cost To Repair Common Issues With The GMC Acadia

The cost to repair some of the common issues seen in the Acadia varies, depending on the specific issue encountered. Engine failure is likely to be a very expensive problem to repair. Repairs for Acadia engine problems can cost $4,000 or more since engine rebuild costs are so expensive. Likewise, transmission problems are a common issue in the Acadia. You can expect to pay at least $3,000 for a transmission rebuild and even more for a transmission replacement.

Power steering pump replacement may cost you $1,000, and the bill will increase if you need to replace the power steering rack at the same time. Similarly, replacing the A/C evaporator coil can also cost you nearly $1,000. The cheapest repair you will likely find is a check engine light caused by a loose gas cap. Repairing the problem usually costs less than $100, and you can even fix it yourself if you only need to tighten the cap.

The Bottom Line

The GMC Acadia has been around since 2007, providing many benefits of a larger SUV without the cost and difficulty of driving. The Acadia offers third-row seating, plenty of cargo space, and a decent towing capacity, but there have been many consumer reports of big problems with the Acadia. Engine and transmission problems plague the first-generation of the Acadia, and you might also have problems with the power steering system, electrical system, and some safety features. Overall, GMC Acadia’s reliability is slightly below average, and you should absolutely avoid the first-generation models if you plan to purchase a used car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the GMC Acadia have a lot of problems?

GMC Acadia owners have reported quite a few problems with their vehicles. Engine stalling, transmission failure, and warning lights, like the Shift to Park message, have been the most common issues. Overall, the older models of the Acadia seem to have a higher than average number of complaints and problems. Newer models of the Acadia have improved, as there are not as many issues reported with them.

Is the GMC Acadia a reliable vehicle?

The GMC Acadia typically scores slightly below average in reliability ratings. Most industry experts relate the reliability of the Acadia as subpar. The older models of the Acadia tend to score worse than the newer models. If you are looking for a more reliable crossover SUV, you should look at other models besides the Acadia. While the newer models are more reliable, they still get an average score for reliability.

What year did the GMC Acadia have transmission problems?

The Acadia had the most transmission problems in 2007 and 2008. You should avoid those models altogether. The 2009 model had similar transmission problems. Lastly, the 2013 – 2016 models had transmission problems reappear. In all of these models, complete transmission failure is often the end result. Improper shifting, stalling, and other issues with the transmission appear first, and then complete failure often follows soon after.

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