The Chevrolet Equinox is a family crossover SUV that was first introduced for the 2004 model year. The 2nd generation of the Equinox came out in 2010 while the 3rd gen came out in 2018. The Equinox line was extended in 2022 when Chevy first offered the Equinox EV which is aimed at preserving the Equinox brand in the world of rapid automotive electrification.
In this article, we are going to focus on all the common issues the 2010 and later Equinox tends to suffer from. Therefore, if you are in the market for one, you’ve come to the right place as this comprehensive reliability assessment is all you will ever need!
The 2010 and later (2nd and 3rd generation) of the Chevrolet Equinox tends to suffer from excessive oil consumption, timing chain issues, EVAP system issues, PVC system issues, intake manifold cracks, transmission rebuilds, the ability to take the key out when the car is in park, transfer case problems, transmission oil leaks, and potential driveshaft fractures and separations.
The Equinox also tends to experience problems with the rear wiper, the car losing electrical power and stalling, door lock problems, heater problems, and various issues with the seats.
Now it’s time to go a bit more in-depth about all of these issues which include recalls, causes, and solutions.
The engine is arguably the most important part of every car which means that most engine-related issues are bound to leave you stranded. In the case of the Chevrolet Equinox, these include problems with excessive oil consumption, timing chain issues, the EVAP system, the PVC system, and cracks on the intake manifold.
Excessive Oil Consumption
The 2010-2016 Chevrolet Equinox suffers from a really bad case of excessive oil consumption, but these issues do happen with newer models as well. It’s worse than other Chevy models that have similar issues, like the Silverado 1500, both in terms of frequency and severity.
Countless owners have reported that the car burns through oil at an alarming rate. This eventually led to serious issues, some of which even reported catastrophic engine damage. The 2.4L 4-cylinder engine has problems where the oil easily finds its way into the combustion chamber.
The ring simply wears off too quickly and it can’t stop gaps from forming in the ring’s outer coating. These gaps eventually start letting more and more oil into the combustion chamber. Chevrolet came out with the 15285C service bulletin in 2016 due to a large number of reports where they recognized the issue, but no official recalls have ever been issued.
This didn’t stop numerous angry Equinox owners from filing lawsuits, some of which were settled for more than $40 million.
Timing Chain Issues
The 2010-2017 Equinox also tends to suffer from fairly serious timing system issues where the chain and the tensioner can fail and cause terminal engine damage. If you notice any rattling noises coming from the front of your Equinox, be sure to stop the car immediately to inspect if the chain is loose. If the rattling persists and you don’t notice it in time, the chain will break, and you are bound to notice that as it is usually quite loud.
By all accounts, this issue is also associated with the aforementioned case of oil consumption. A few owners even reported replacing the timing chain and the tensioner multiple times, but the engine keeps rattling and knocking which is why this issue is so difficult to solve permanently.
EVAP System Issues
The EVAP (evaporative emissions control) system is intended to prevent gasoline vapors from entering the atmosphere. Sadly, the 2010-2016 Equinox does experience issues with the EVAP system, mostly in two different ways. The first one is associated with the P0440 trouble code which typically leads to a leak in either the EVAP hoses, the canister, the fuel cap, or the fuel filler neck.
The P0455 engine code refers to pretty much the same thing, but the leak tends to be more severe with this code. In order to find the leak and solve the issue for good, you need to test the pressure of the fuel tank and inspect all the EVAP components one by one. Replace the faulty component, and pressure test it again until all is well.
PVC System Issues
The ECOTEC 2.4L engine found in the 2010-2017 Equinox is also prone to PVC system issues related to the oil consumption problem mentioned above. The problem here is that the PVC system not only draws gas fumes but also oil off the valve trains and sends it hurling to the combustion chamber.
Moreover, many 2010-2017 owners reported leaks near the positive crankcase ventilation main seal. To top it all off, 2010-2014 owners also reported issues where the PVC system tends to clog during cold weather for which Chevy released the 14882 service bulletin.
Intake Manifold Cracks
If you sense the 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox losing power or lunging, there is a great deal of chance that the intake manifold has cracks on top of it. It is said that this issue is due to the extreme heat the engine generates which takes a great toll on the manifold which starts cracking. This issue is often associated with an intense burning smell and increased fuel consumption.
To make matters worse, numerous owners reported that this issue can send dangerous gas fumes into the passenger compartment. The only way to fix this effectively is to replace the intake manifold whenever needed.
The Equinox also suffers from a wide variety of transmission issues and a few differential issues. The worst one requires you to rebuild the transmission entirely. Others include the ability to take the key out while the car is not in park, issues with the transfer case, transmission oil leaks, and potential driveshaft fractures and separation.
It seems like the Equinox suffers from peculiar transmission issues which can lead to terminal damage and thus will need to be rebuilt. As it so happens, these issues mostly affect the 2010 and the 2011 Equinox. It is said that this issue is likely due to wave plate, the valve body, or the reverse drum issues, and is tied to the 6T40 transmission.
The Ability To Take The Key Out In Park
The 2010-2013 Chevrolet Equinox suffered from an issue in which the car sometimes enables you to take the key out of the ignition even when the car is not in park. This eventually led to a recall in July 2016 (16V502000) when Chevrolet recalled certain 2010-2013 Equinox models due to the ability to take the key out while the car is not in park.
Transfer Case Problems
The 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox also suffers from certain differential transfer case issues which tend to cause the car to start rattling and sometimes even cause a loud bang. The problem here is that these can cost a few thousand dollars to replace. Moreover, these can happen on both lower mileage and higher mileage Equinox models.
Transmission Oil Leaks
Transmission leaks seem to be most common with the 2018-2020 Chevrolet Equinox which is likely why Chevrolet recalled it back in October 2020 (20V668000). Apparently, missing bolts on the start/stop accumulator endcap could lead to a severe transmission oil leak. This can later lead to loss of movement within the transmission which can stall the car. Moreover, if the oil finds its way to nearby hot components, it can even lead to a fire.
Transmission oil leaks have also been reported for older generations of the Equinox, but most of those were associated with high mileage and poorly maintained examples.
Driveshaft Fracture And Separations
To round up our list of the most common Chevrolet Equinox problems, we also need to talk about potential driveshaft fractures and separations that can lead to an accident. This also led to a recall in August 2017 (17V516000) when Chevrolet recalled a few thousand Equinox to replace the front-end intermediate drive shaft and all its associated components.
There are many potential electrical issues the Chevrolet Equinox suffers from, some of which are really serious. The most common ones include problems with the wipers, the car shutting off, the door locks, and issues with the heater.
A huge number of 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox owners complained about the rear wipers failing whenever the car encounters severe rain or hailstorm. It seems like the 2014, and the 2015 Equinox suffers from these issues the most, and the problem is due to high corrosion on wear that tends to settle on the rear windshield wiper ball joint sockets.
Chevrolet recalled more than 600,000 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles back in March 2022 (22V165000) to inspect and replace the wiper module if necessary.
The Car Loosing Power
The 2012-2013 Chevrolet Equinox also suffers from a peculiar issue where the car loses all of its power without apparent warnings and therefore stalls. This issue is associated with several warning messages on the dashboard which often include many of the car’s most essential safety systems. At the moment, no one is 100% sure what is causing the issue, but most symptoms point toward a faulty wiring system or a faulty battery.
Door Lock Problems
Door lock problems aren’t all that surprising for a GM as many GM models from the past used to suffer from similar issues. In this case, the 2010-2017 Equinox also suffers from power door locks either refusing to engage in regards to the driver’s door or all four of the doors. However, the newest 2017 and later Equinox models also sometimes suffer from similar issues, most of which are due to a faulty door lock switch.
The 2nd generation of the Chevrolet Equinox is also used to having problems where the heater only blows cold air. It is said that this issue is due to the coolant finding its way into the heater core or that the heater core itself is faulty. However, many of these are down to a faulty thermostat that fails to engage the correct temperature which is why the vents only blow cold air.
However, check the surrounding hoses and potentially even the water pump as these can also experience problems.
Seat-related issues don’t seem to be something most car owners these days need to worry about, but the Equinox is not such a car. As such, Chevrolet recalled the Equinox five times due to seat-related trouble, especially with the latest models. These go as follows:
- 14V447000 – Chevrolet recalled certain 2010-2012 Equinox models back in July 2014 due to the seat height adjuster bolt failing which can cause the seat to suddenly drop to its lowest setting and distract the driver.
- 19V184000 – Chevrolet recalled certain 2019 Equinox models back in March 2019 due to insufficient welds on head restraints which can cause additional injuries if the car ends up in an accident.
- 20V811000 – Chevrolet recalled certain 2020-2021 Equinox models back in December 2020 due to the seatbelt assembly not using the correct bolts which can hamper how the seatbelt restrains the occupant in an event of an accident.
- 22V724000 – Chevrolet recalled certain 2022-2023 Equinox models back in September 2022 due to the seats missing a bolt which can cause the seat to move in an event of an accident.
- 22V359000 – Chevrolet recalled certain 2021-2022 Equinox models back in May 2022 due to an improperly welded seat frame which may not adequately restrain the occupant in an event of an accident.
Marko´s interest in cars runs in the family. His father was a car trader and regularly took him to car dealerships when he was younger.
These days, when he isn´t watching Drivetribe or Doug DeMuro videos, he´s building up quite a resume as an automotive writer since he´s also a regular contributor on Cararc.com, Tirehungry.com, and Luxurycarsa2z.com.