Crossover & Midsize

Buick Enclave: The Most Common Problems You Should Know About

The Buick Enclave is a midsize SUV with seating for seven and sleek design language. It’s a great model for family road trips or the daily commute. However, just like any other vehicle on the market, this versatile SUV does have its weak points. Based on reports from consumers, here are the most common problems with the Enclave that you should be aware of.

The Buick Enclave’s transmission problems

The top complaint among Buick Enclave owners is transmission problems. It’s usually noticed when the car begins to shake or clunk while increasing speed or switching gears. According to Car Complaints, Enclave owners report this issue around an average of 91,000 miles.

2008 models have the most complaints regarding transmission problems. After that year, it appears that Buick made some changes because it became less of an issue in 2009 and newer models, though it is still reported as an occasional problem. 

Repairs to the transmission can be serious and expensive, so it’s important to have the vehicle checked at the first sign of an issue. Some transmission problems can be fixed with a simple repair, but other issues will need to have the whole transmission replaced, which can be rather expensive. According to Car Complaints, the average transmission problem with the BuickEnclave cost the owner $3,500. 

A stretched timing chain

People watch the new Car Buick Enclave Avenir after it was revealed on April 11, 2017 in New York
The Buick Enclave Avenir | KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

Another common problem with the Enclave is a stretched timing chain. An essential part of every internal combustion engine, the timing chain is stretched around the camshaft and the crankshaft, and regulates their turning so that the engine’s valves open and close at the appropriate time. When the timing chain becomes stretched, it’s no longer able to successfully perform this function and can lead to costly repairs. 

All timing chains will eventually wear and need replacing, but this normally occurs between 150,000 and 200,000 miles. With the Enclave, consumers have reported a stretched timing chain as early as 40,000 miles. 

When the timing becomes thrown off because of a stretched timing chain, a check engine light should appear on the dash once the sensors realize the problem. Other signs to watch out for include a rattling or vibration sound when the engine is running, the engine misfiring, or metal shavings found in the oil.

According to Repair Pal, the average price to repair a stretched timing chain is between $1,703 and $2,051. Although it may just need a new chain slipped into place, the repair cost can be rather expensive because of the serious labor it requires to reach the chain, which could include taking out the engine or transmission. If a stretched timing chain caused further damage to the engine, this could substantially increase the repair cost as well. 

The Buick Enclave also has power steering problems

Intermittent power steering failure is another common problem with the Buick Enclave. Luckily, this one is usually easy to notice and diagnose because the steering wheel will become hard to turn while driving. Earlier models of the Enclave seem to have the most power steering problems, with the 2009 through 2011 models having the highest number of reported complaints

The average cost of repair for power steering problems with the Enclave is $1,700 and it occurs about 79,000 miles into the car’s lifespan. 

Is the Buick Enclave a reliable car?

The most common and serious problems with the Enclave seem to occur mostly with the older models. 2008 was the first year that Buick made the Enclave, so it makes sense that it is the model with the most reported problems. As Buick learned what to improve, the later models became better quality vehicles. If you’re in the market for an Enclave, 2012 and newer seems to be the best bet for the most reliable models.