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13 Common Problems Of A Buick Encore

13 Common Problems Of A Buick Encore

What kind of problems does a Buick Encore usually have? In this blog, we’ve outlined the most important things you should watch for when you’re in the market for a Buick Encore (which are made in South Korea). In the rest of the article, we’ll discuss every single problem in detail. Furthermore, we’ll tell you how to identify it, fix it and how much it costs to fix. Read on!

Common problems of a Buick Encore are problems with the 1.4 gas engine because of rough idling caused by excess air in the system and reduced engine power because of a failing throttle body. The turbo on the 1.4L has numerous critical problems, the brakes make screeching noises, and the transmission can stutter.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. In the rest of the article, we’ll discuss every single problem in detail. Furthermore, we’ll let you know how to identify it, fix it and how much it costs to fix. Read on!

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Interior Issues

Dashboard Chrome Trim Peeling/Blistering

The older Buicks with the chrome panels around the center console tend to peel off little by little. The newer ones also have this problem, unfortunately. We have seen flaking issues on these chrome trims, even on the 2018 model Buick Encores. However, it’s mainly a problem for the 2013 – 2016 Encore.

You have a lot of options to make it look better. The best remedy will be to get an OEM replacement if you want to keep your Buick Encore close to stock. However, if you are okay with spraying or modifying, you can also do that.

After prepping the surface, you can spray the trim with chrome spray, making it much better looking. Another option is to use vinyl wrap—With a sea of options available in the vinyl wrap, you can get whatever look you prefer.

Exterior Issues

Squeaky Brakes

The brakes tend to make screeching noises when you are backing up. This is kind of normal behavior for old brake pads. If your pads are relatively new and still face this issue, you can choose the kit option that most dealerships know about. They would replace a couple of parts, and the noise should decrease considerably.

This is also the problem that happens to some Encore models and not others. Dealerships would say it happens due to moisture; however, how would they explain that some have this while others don’t.

Engine Problems

Rough Idle And/Or Wheezing Noise With Engine Code 0171

This is a widespread problem that happens with Buick Encore. There could be several reasons why you have this code. You first need to check the engine codes you will get from a scanner tool.

You might get engine codes 0172, 0131, 1101, and 0106 on the scanner tool. When your engine is running lean, it means excess air in your system. You might have some vacuum leak that leads to air access, making the system think your engine is running low on fuel or causing high RPMs even without your foot on the gas.

The best way to check for the culprit is to look for leaks around the intake manifold. Check the areas that connect two hoses—these areas are more prone to leaks. You can check the valve cover or the front crank seal if there are no leaks. If there is still no luck, we are putting a list of things you can check.

  • EVAP/Purge/canister solenoid
  • Ignition coils
  • Spark plugs
  • MAF sensor
  • Air filter
  • Both O2 sensors

Oil Filter Can Be Confusing

With each facelift, some minor changes are made, and one of the changes includes the oil filter. You might put the wrong oil filter, potentially causing a severe engine failure. You should compare the original and the replacement side by side to ensure that you put the right one.

To let you know where it differs—the 1.4L (LUV) uses the #55594651 while the 1.4L (LE2) uses the #12640445 oil filter supplied by GM. If you are not sure which engine type you have, you can check the VIN; if you have a “B” in the middle, it means you have the LUV, and if your VIN has a letter “M” in the middle, you have the LE2 type engine.

Coolant Level Leaks

The coolant problem is common on Buick Encores, and owners have complained about the coolant level going down to about half every 5000 miles or so. There have been reports that the dealerships can’t find an actual leak making it a pain to deal with.

Luckily, there are things you can check and would probably be able to find the culprit behind the coolant decrease. The first thing to check is the area around the turbocharger, which tends to lose coolant. You won’t be able to find any drips under the vehicle as the coolant would soon evaporate after leaking under the hood.

If you are still unable to find the leak after checking the turbo, you can ask the shop or dealership to go for the dye test. You could see the area that loses the coolant with the polarized glasses that come with the kit. You can then find the leak with a black light under the polarized glass.

The culprit often tends to be the coolant line that goes to the turbo—the area between the turbo and the engine. The replacement hose wouldn’t be expensive; it’s the labor that goes in as the work is extensive.

You would have to remove the turbo to be able to replace the hose; the estimated cost is $600+, so make sure to inspect that area properly if you are looking for one in the used market. If you are replacing the hose outside of the dealership, you might get a bargain and pay less than $600.

Reduced Engine Power With Check Engine Light And Stability Light

When the power is reduced along with the check engine light, the system tries to protect itself from a potential issue. This is a fairly common thing in Buick Encores. It is called the limp mode.

The dealerships might go with the throttle position sensor replacement or the ECM replacement. They might go with the accelerator pedal position if it doesn’t solve the problem.

However, the real culprit behind these problems is often the throttle body itself. You can clean it with a throttle body cleaner, and the problem should disappear. Sometimes you would have to replace the whole throttle body when cleaning doesn’t solve the problem. The throttle body replacement is going to cost about $300. 

Turbo Problems

P0299 Code

The infamous code that may cause PTSD. This is the kind of code that haunts the owners once it pops up. The standard protocol from every other GM/Buick dealership is to clear it and let the customer go. However, the right way is to replace the turbo, as simply resetting the system would never solve the problem.

If your Buick is under warranty, have the turbo replaced impromptu. If you don’t have a warranty, consider selling it as a new turbo would cost a fortune. If, however, you can find it used from a totaled vehicle, you can replace it with that. Note:— Chevy Trax is basically the same vehicle; it widens your options.

When buying a used Buick Encore, bring a scanner tool and see if it reads any code before and after driving a couple of blocks. If the scanner reads the code P0299, stay away from it—it will only cause you trouble. GM described a host of problems that could cause this fault code in their communication with dealers.

Turbos are always a pain to deal with—they can go south without warning, you might be carrying out all the required maintenance, and the turbo would still bail on you. If you are buying a high-mileage Buick Encore, you can see if the turbo has already been replaced; if it has been replaced—good; if not, consider another option.   

Transmission Problems

Rear Differential Randomly Engage

If you are encountering this rear differential problem that would randomly engage—often making a popping sound, you need to address the rear differential fluid and the sensors involved. If the issue is unchecked, it could lead to irreparable damage, and you would have to resort to using AWD assembly.

There are plenty in the junk yards with totaled titles, and you can get the AWD assembly out of a low-mile Encore. Finding one with low miles with the rear intact shouldn’t be that hard as there are many with front-end damage. So you should be able to replace the whole AWD assembly and say goodbye to the issue.

The fluid replacement is going to cost you about $200. If you have to replace the whole assembly—that is going to cost $500+

Transmission Stutters When Driving From Standstill

There have been several reports from Buick Encore owners that the vehicle would give you a slight jerk as if the gear engages when you put your foot on the gas. It wouldn’t do that when accelerating at a slow speed. The dealerships would say that it’s normal, while it only happens with every 6th or 7th Buick Encore out there.

From our research, the problem is likely related to the updated software. The same transmission is used in several other models under the GM, but none showed this behavior. If you can have your dealers install the software update of a Chevrolet Trax, you might get away with this stutter.

The software on the Encore tends to put the neutral every time it comes to a stop, and when it shifts into gear after you place your foot on the gas, you feel the thud. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Trax remains in gear even when you have come to a complete stop with your foot on the brake.

Overall, this problem is not considered a problem but rather an inconvenience or frustration, as some would say.

Electronics Issues

USB Won’t Work

This is one of the most common problems seen in Buick Encore. There have been numerous reports of the USB not working. The problem is that the Buick Encore electronics system is outdated, even in the 2020 models. The problem with these old systems is the inability to run 3.0 USB devices. The older 2.0, however, will work fine.

If you are running an old 2.0 and still the system won’t recognize the USB, try formatting the USB to FAT32 on your PC. The size shouldn’t be a problem as we have seen 128 GB USBs working just fine. 

The Bluetooth Problem

If you are having issues with pairing your phone to the system, you can try removing it from the Encore and re-paring it anew; it should solve the issue. A similar pairing problem would cause you to have a problem making calls from your steering inputs, and repairing should solve the problem.

If you are having problems with the voice input while answering calls—you can hear their voice, but they can’t listen to yours; you are looking at a fuse problem. This problem is mainly caused by a malfunction in fuse #34 located under the dashboard. Replacing the fuse should solve this issue.

If you are unsure how to delete devices from the Buick Encore computer, remove any USB device currently connected to the system—Put the key on, turn it once, don’t crank, and turn it off. Open the door of the driver’s side for about 5 minutes—leave it open, don’t close it.

With these steps done, you will now be able to delete those old devices and pair them again without a problem.

Sound System Stuck On Voice Volume

This kind of problem happens due to the connectivity settings issue with your iPhone. Check your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings and click on the blue ‘I’ next to the Interlink. From ‘device type’, you can select car stereo—it should solve the problem.

Back-Up Camera Is Too Bright

It is a common concern, and it has been seen in several Buick Encores. The feature itself is pretty unique and is not available in most vehicles. You can adjust the brightness of these cameras. If your camera appears too light, you can adjust the brightness level, and this problem should be solved.

You can use the silver ring around the large dial to reduce the brightness. Put your Encore in reverse and push it in (hold), and you will see the magic happen.

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