Purchasing a vehicle is a long-term and costly venture with many practical needs and wants to be considered. When looking at an American-made GMC Acadia, it is always good to ask yourself what the most common problems experienced by the GMC Acadia are. The article below will outline the most common issues and concerns affecting the GMC Acadia and help you make an informed purchase.
2017 – 2019 GMC Acadia had problems with the vehicle not recognizing it was in Park, causing shut-off difficulties and battery drain. Furthermore, 2017 – 2020 had drivetrain problems, and 2020 – 2021 models had failing rear-view cameras. Transmission and electrical issues were problems in the 2007 – 2016 model years.
To date, the NHTSA has issued 31 recalls for the GMC Acadia range, and this article will discuss at least six issues that purchasers should look out for when deciding if they should buy a long-lasting Acadia.
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.
Second-Generation Problems (2017 – Present)
¨Shift To Park¨ Issue
By far, the most complained about problem of the 2017 – 2019 Acadia was a problem with a faulty Park switch. For one reason or another, this switch wasn´t signaling to the transmission control module that the vehicle was in Park. This made it impossible to shut the car off, leading to battery drain and potential rollaway risks. The solution is as follows:
install a new shifter harness, then upon reinstalling the transmission control, install an In-line Shifter Wire Harness Jumper between the shifter base connector and the console harness connector.Source
However, repair sometimes took a long time, or the parts weren´t available. For this reason, people found a quick solution that temporarily fixed the problem. Watch the video below for this.
One problem affecting the 2017 – 2018 Acadia was the right front immediate driveshaft assembly that fractured and separated while driving. This is pretty serious as not only will your car come to a stop, but this increases the risk of an accident.
GMC issued a recall, 17V516000, in 2017, and the right front immediate driveshaft assembly was replaced in affected vehicles.
Another problem with specific 2019 – 2020 GMC Acadia models was that the stop/start accumulator endcap was missing bolts, resulting in a transmission oil leak. A transmission leak is never a good thing as not only will you not be able to drive your vehicle, but there is also the risk of fire if this is anywhere near an ignition spark.
A recall, 20V668000, was issued back in October 2020, where GM notified dealers to inspect and replace the faulty stop/start accumulator endcap.
Also read: The Exact Towing Capacity Of A GMC Acadia (And More..)
Rear-View Camera Malfunctions
2020 – 2021 Acadia are currently under investigation because of failing rear-view cameras. According to complaints, the rear-view camera goes black, sometimes accompanied by a red triangle and a circle with a line through it. NHTSA investigation number: PE22006. The investigation was opened in July 2022, and soon after, in September 2022, GMC issued a recall for this, stating:
The rearview camera coaxial cable connectors may have been crimped improperly, causing the rearview camera to fail or function intermittently.Source
GMC Acadia did have problems with the tire. Therefore, GMC issued recall 21V115000 in February 2021 for aftermarket Continental tires fitted to the 2019 – 2020 Acadia to be inspected and replaced. The tire had over-cured, which caused the sidewalls to break, resulting in a sudden loss of tire pressure and a belt edge separation. In a moving vehicle, this can lead to loss of control and an increased risk of an accident.
First-Generation Problems (2007 – 2016)
Faulty airbags are something any prospective vehicle owner wants to avoid. Airbags are designed to protect you during an accident, and you don’t want the heartache of defective and inoperable airbags. The GMC Acadia seems to have its fair share of airbag problems affecting their 2007- 2016 models and the face-lifted models from 2016/2017. Numerous customer complaints were received across the range, resulting in GMC issuing recalls.
The 2007 Acadia experienced a failure with the sensing and diagnostic module, the SDM, which controls the front airbags. This means that the front airbags may not activate during a front-end accident, resulting in an increased risk of injury or even death to the occupants in the front seats. The illuminated lamp of the dashboard also failed to indicate that the system was inoperative, which is an area of concern.
GMC issued a recall, NHTSA campaign number: 07V062000, after the SDM on specific models was left in manufacturing mode and not activated in the plant before shipping. The recall affected a possible 13 032 vehicles and began on 22 February 2007. GMC contacted affected customers to have their cars returned to the plant to reprogramme and activate the SDM.
A second issue we need to discuss is the Takata airbag manufacturing defect, which caused the driver’s airbag inflator to malfunction and explode during deployment. Airbags have a steel tubing structure and contain an inflator, which, if this does its job correctly, inflates the airbag during a collision. The inflator is a chemical compound that can become unstable due to moisture and temperature changes, resulting in an inflator explosion. During an explosion, metal shards and fragments are blown into the vehicle, increasing the risk of injury and death to the occupants.
GMC issued a recall, NHTSA campaign number: 22V246000, for the 2015 Acadia model. GMC issued letters to all affected customers informing them of the risk and that dealers would replace the driver’s airbag unit at no added cost to the customer.
Seatbelts are essential safety equipment for all vehicle passengers as they reduce the risk of death or injury in a car accident. Airbags alone cannot prevent severe injury and can cause further harm if you are not correctly buckled up. Seatbelt problems are something to investigate and need to be considered before purchasing a vehicle, and the GMC Acadia is no exception.
The vehicle experienced a failure of the flexible steel cable fitted to their vehicles. Over time, the flexible steel cable connecting the seatbelt to the front outboard seating position became fatigued and separated. Passengers were no longer effectively and safely restrained in the vehicle, resulting in an increased risk of death or injury. This failure affected cars from 2008 to 2014.
A total of 1,339,355 potential vehicles were affected, and a recall, NHTSA campaign number: 14V266000, was issued. GMC committed to contacting owners of the affected vehicles to bring their cars into a dealership for an inspection with a repair and replacement of the lap pretensioner. This recall began on 11 July 2014.
A second seatbelt problem affecting various Acadia 2009-2010 models was second-row seatbelt interference, with occupants not being to buckle up safely during travel.
The side seat trim hindered the upward motion of the seatbelt buckle after the seats had been folded flat. More effort was needed to reposition the seat if the buckle contacted the seat frame, causing the buckle cover to be pushed down and partially depress the exposed red release button. The seatbelt buckle then needed to be replaced due to this damage.
GMC issued a vehicle recall, NHTSA campaign number: 10V375000, in August 2010 as a potential 207 210 vehicles were affected. Dealers modified the side seat trim and replaced the damaged seatbelt buckles at no charge to the customer.
The 2007 – 2012 GMC Acadia models experienced problems with liftgate struts wearing prematurely, which could have resulted in severe injury if the open liftgate fell.
Most vehicles have pneumatic struts filled with inert gas to hold open liftgates, engine hoods, tailgates, and hatches. Gas struts usually fail due to gas pressure loss. The seals deteriorate over time from wear and dirt, causing the strut to leak the pressurized gas reducing its ability to hold up bonnets, and the result can be a painful knock on the head and scattered groceries or worse.
The affected Acadia vehicles with the power liftgate option have gas struts designed to hold up the open power liftgate. These vehicles have a prop rod recovery system designed to close the liftgate in a controlled and slow manner if the liftgate’s gas struts fail. The problem experienced by drivers was that this system’s software could not detect prematurely worn gas struts, resulting in a failure of this critical safety component.
GMC issued a recall of affected vehicle models, NHTSA campaign number: 15V415000, with 691,144 vehicles potentially affected. GMC advised owners to take their vehicles to the dealerships for the software of the power liftgate actuator motor control unit to be updated to ensure that faulty gas struts are detected. This update seems to have solved the issue going forward.
Electrical System Failures
The GMC Acadia has had its fair share of electrical problems over the years, including its 2007 – 2009 models. The initial recall was for the heated wire washer system, and a further recall was issued to repair this fix, which is not a very good sign for sure and something we need to discuss.
In August 2008, GMC issued a recall, NHTSA campaign number: 08V441000, for 2007-2009 vehicles equipped with a heated wire washer system. Overheating of the control-circuit ground wire was caused by a short circuit on the printed circuit board for the washer system. Which, in short, resulted in an increased risk of an electrical fire.
The recall began on 12 September 2008, with 857 735 vehicles affected. GMC notified owners that the dealerships would remedy this failure by installing a wire harness with an in-line fuse to address the printed circuit board electrical short at no cost to the client.
This fix did not solve the overheating electrical issue as a secondary recall was issued in June 2010, NHTSA campaign number: 10V240000, due to a failure of the 2008 recall. Owners have since picked up further problems with their vehicles fitted with the heated wire fluid system (HWFS). The HWFS thermal protection system had failed, causing the plastic around the HWFS to melt again, thus leading to an increased risk of electrical fires.
The safety recall began on 11 June 2010, and the HWFS was permanently disabled and removed. Hopefully, this resolves the issue, and a third recall is not issued.
Power Train Problems
Power train problems have plagued the GMC Acadia and are not what you want to experience as a vehicle owner.
One power train problem affecting the GMC Acadia 2009 model was caused by the transmission shift cable clip not fully engaging. The problem is that if the clip is not fully engaged, the shift lever will not line up correctly with the actual position of the transmission gear. This non-alignment results in the cable clip not pushing the transmission into place and engaging park. You cannot remove the ignition key or restart the vehicle if the transmission shift position is in reverse or drive. This problem increased the risk of a stationery vehicle rolling away or causing an accident as the park also acts as a handbrake.
In March 2009, GMC issued a recall, NHTSA campaign number: 09V073000, to address the problem by contacting owners and advising them to take their vehicles to a dealer inspection to ensure that the transmission clip was fully engaged. The dealership then replaced faulty shift cables at no cost to the driver. The recall began on 24 March 2009 and affected a possible 276 729 vehicles.
Multiple Problems With Tires
A gentle tire hum while driving is a good sound, but when this hum gets louder, this is a sure sign that there is a problem. When deciding what vehicle to purchase, looking at the manufacture-fitted tires and their fault history is good.
A recall was issued for the 2015 GMC Acadia in January 2015 for tire tread cracking. This cracking is a sure sign that the rubber in your tires is breaking down. While this does occur naturally over time due to oils, UV light, and chemicals causing the rubber to lose flexibility, this was not the case with the Goodyear P255/65R18 Fortera HL tires fitted to the 2015 Acadia. Goodyear issued a recall of this tire as they had noted cracking of the tread during the tire endurance inspection. This is a critical safety issue as a cracked tire tread results in the loss of tire pressure and increases the risk of an accident occurring.
Based on this, GMC issued a recall, NHTSA campaign number: 15V044000, for all affected vehicles. GMC committed to replacing all tires manufactured within a specific date range as per Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The recall began in March 2015, and 9074 cars were affected.
Also read: Types Of Gas A GMC Acadia Takes (All Generations)
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!