Today´s article will look at a few of the top problems of the Canadian/Mexican-made, American-sold GMC Terrain. The GMC Terrain is a mid-size crossover SUV, and if the marketing blurb is to be believed, the vehicle is promoted as an agile SUV with a livable fuel economy and a basket of upgrades that can be added on.
The GMC Terrain SUV is known for experiencing problems with defective, exploding airbags. Problems with both the wiper blades and exterior lights compromise visibility while driving. As well as the numerous electrical power train problems where the vehicle has not met Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements.
Today’s article will look at least ten issues for you to look out for before deciding on the 210.000 miles-lasting GMC Terrain. Let’s look closely at the problems and determine whether the marketing blurb is believable. Knowledge is power.
Want to save money on gasoline? earn up to $0.25/gallon every time you fill up? GetUpside is a free-to-use cashback app for US gas stations. Use coupon code “THEDRIVERADVISER25” and earn an additional $0.25/gallon the first time! Click here to download the app for Android or iOS.
1. Airbag Failure and Recalls
This is not the first recall for airbag failure across the GMC range, and we do expect these airbags to pass stringent safety standards. An exploding airbag with metal shards blown into the vehicle or the sensing diagnostic module not shutting down are safety problems you want to avoid.
The first recall was issued in 2015 under General Motors recall number 01320 and the NHTSA campaign number: 22V137000. According to the recall, the 2015 Terrain SUV developed a problem with the front side Takata airbags rupturing on deployment, which increased the risk of metal shards being blown around the inside of the vehicle, resulting in a high risk of injury.
In a later 2018 Terrain SUV, the sensing diagnostic module (SDM) that deployed airbags in a crash did not shut down correctly when the vehicle turned off, causing the SDM to fail when the car restarted. This failure increased the risk of injury or death, resulting in GM issuing a second recall under GM recall number: 18179 and the NHTSA Campaign number No:18V340000.
GM committed to resolving both problems at no cost to the owners of over 88 800 affected vehicles by replacing the faulty inflator and reprogramming the SDM. That being said, airbag failures should raise a red flag when considering the Terrain, especially as the NHTSA continues to receive various airbag complaints.
2. Defective Electronic Park Lock Lever Recall
GM has been plagued by various Power train problems across its range, and the GMC Terrain is no exception.
GM had noted with various other models in the range that the electronic park lock lever was defective. GM service departments reported that various Terrain SUV 2013 – 2018 models had been serviced with the exact faulty electronic park lock lever replacement, with potentially disastrous consequences.
The defective electronic park lock lever allowed the driver to remove the ignition key without being in PARK, resulting in the vehicle not passing the Federal Motor vehicle Safety Standards. This increased the risk of vehicle rollaway, injuring passengers and other road users.
GM issued a recall, numbers 50490 and 50491, and NHTSA campaign 16V502000, which affected 8367 vehicles. The recall began in 2016, with dealers committing to inspect and replace the key cylinder lock housing.
3. Driveshaft Fracture and Recall
There seems to be no end to the power train problems affecting the GM range, including the 2018 Terrain, available in both the FWD and AWD versions. A faulty right front intermediate drive shaft assembly may separate while driving, meaning no power will be sent to the right front wheel, affecting your ability to control your vehicle safely.
The second and perhaps more severe safety concern will be a loose shaft rotating, causing injuries to passengers or other road users’ vehicles. Simply put, the rotating shaft can fracture while driving under a load, fly out from under your car, and become a flailing whip.
GMC issued a recall, 17329, and the NHTSA campaign number: 17V516000, in 2017 to inspect and replace the faulty right front intermediate drive shaft assembly, free of charge. Added to this is a caveat that all new and used involved vehicles must not be delivered to customers before being inspected and the faulty assembly replaced.
4. Missing Bolts in the Stop/Start Accumulator End Cap
Missing bolts seems to be a relatively insignificant problem facing a car manufacturer. GM recalled vehicles fitted with BorgWarner accumulators used in their start/stop transmission system. Two bolts were missing on the supplied units fitted in the Terrain 2018 – 2020 models.
The consequence of the stop/start accumulator endcap missing bolts is a transmission oil leak, which is a big deal for the GMC. This fault would need to be repaired to prevent damage to your vehicle. To add insult to injury is the increased fire risk if the transmission oil leaks onto the hot exhaust or engine.
A recall, issued under the GM recall number: N202313440 and the NHTSA campaign number: 20V668000, was issued in October 2020, when GM notified dealers to inspect and replace the faulty stop/start accumulator endcap.
As a potential 194,105 vehicles were affected, I would consider this if you are in the market for a GMC Terrain.
5. Tire Tread Separation Problem and Recall
Tires can be one of the most crucial parts of your vehicle involved in keeping you safe while driving, and while recalls remove faulty tires, the risk of potential injury remains.
GM has begun to recall the 2021 -2022 Terrain vehicles due to a problem experienced with factory-fitted Hankook tires. Drivers have been experiencing tread separation or delamination at high speeds. Simply put, the tread is tearing itself apart, with the inner and outer layers separating. Not something you want to happen while driving at high speeds.
According to Hankook Tire America Corporation, this has resulted from a manufacturing error where an insufficient amount of curing agent was used during the manufacturing process. The recall began in 2021, with dealers inspecting the DOT number and barcode information on all original factory-fitted tires. Even though the dealers replaced the tires with the DOT number 0521, this is a safety issue for potential owners considering a 2021 – 2022 Terrain SUV
6. Insufficient Coating on Rear Brake Caliper Pistons and Recall
Any potential owner should take note of a recall issued due to a brake failure. The ability to brake safely cannot be overestimated, as is the risk to other road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
In 2018 GM issued a safety recall under the GM recall number 18279 and NHTSA campaign number: 18V576000, affecting a potential 210 628 vehicles, including the 2018 – 2019 Terrain SUV.
The problem lies with the rear brake caliper pistons having an insufficient coating which is essential to prevent an unwanted chemical reaction between the caliper piston material and brake fluid. This increases the risk of pockets of hydrogen gas forming in the brakes, which would reduce the efficacy of hydraulic fluid in brake systems and result in reduced braking ability, in other words, spongy brakes.
As part of this recall, the GM-approved DOT 3 brake fluid was recalled and replaced with the GM-approved DOT 4 brake fluid. As a potential vehicle owner, this is a critical severe safety issue and one that should deter owners from considering the 2018 – 2019 Terrain SUV.
7. Windshield Wiper Failure and Recall
Visibility is always a big issue in any moving vehicle, and one cannot underestimate the consequences of poor visibility. This should be something to consider when purchasing any new or used vehicle, not just those affected by the recall of a potential 681,509 GM vehicles.
GM issued a recall in 2020, under GM recall number: N212352530 and NHTSA campaign number: 22V165000, for the 2014 – 2015 Terrain SUV FWD due to corrosion of the ball joint of the windscreen wiper. An associated investigation was opened in 2019, under NHTSA ID: EA19005, to assess the success of the 2016 recall, 16V-582, for the windscreen wiper failure on the 2013 Terrain SUV.
The windshield wiper assembly ball joints corrosion was caused by water and debris getting into the joints and was fixed by installing an improved windshield wiper assembly. Though the 2013 recall successfully resolved the ball joint’s excessive wear and eventual detachment. It is concerning that the 2014 – 2015 Terrain SUV has since been recalled for the same reason. This should be something a potential owner should consider before any purchase is made.
8. Fuel Pump Flange Weld Fracture and Recall
Again we are looking at the 2018 Terrain SUV AWD, and this time the focus is on the high-pressure fuel pump. GM found that during the manufacturing process, the joint that connects the outer housing of the high-pressure fuel pump to the flange was not properly welded, which caused this to crack over time and separate. This potential movement of the fuel pump in the engine compartment led to a damaged fuel line, leaking fuel, and an increased risk of an engine fire.
Though the number of vehicles affected by the recall was 895, a correctly working high-pressure fuel pump is essential. The high-pressure fuel pump, located in the engine compartment, supplies fuel to the fuel rail and, lastly, to the fuel injection system. Simply put, your car stops working if this fuel pump stops working. Though the problem was solved by replacing the high-pressure fuel pump and fuel lines under GM recall number 18188 and the NHTSA campaign number: 18V358000, this is still a vehicle I would hesitate to purchase.
9. Insufficient Weld On Head Restraints and Recall
This is the third recall that involves the 2019 Terrain SUV AWD and should encourage any potential owner to take a closer look at the pitfalls of this model.
A recall was issued in 2019 under GM recall number N192209550 and NHTSA campaign number: 19V184000 because the head restraint bracket was poorly welded on the rear right head restrain. While this affected a minimal number of vehicles, 120 in total, these minor niggles should not be ignored. During a crash or high-speed/sudden braking, the head restraint could break off, resulting in a whip-lash or head injury to passengers.
10. Headlight Reflection Recall
We have one final recall to talk about with regard to the 2010 – 2017 Terrain SUV. Though these are slightly older models, the recall was issued in March 2022. GM is still working on a remedy to resolve the overly bright reflection from the headlamp housing unit illuminating the area above the vehicle with an excessively bright light. This means the vehicle fails to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements.
The concern and reason for the recall are that this overly bright glare caused oncoming drivers to be potentially blinded, increasing the accident risk. The recall was issued under the GM recall number N222363740 and the NHTSA campaign number: 22V137000.
So while the marketing blurb is nicely worded, scratching deeper has revealed that the recurring problems GMC have been plagued with in the past continue to raise their ugly heads.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!