Trucks & SUVs

Lawsuit: GMC Acadia Owners File Class Action Over Shift-To-Park Problems

For months different forums have discussed problems GMC Acadia owners have had when they shift the crossover into Park. Hundreds of comments laid the basis for this Class Action lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Brandy Smith who had problems getting her 2017 Acadia into Park almost immediately after she bought it. This was in April 2017. Acadia owners say the vehicle does not recognize when it is in Park. Owners push the shift lever into “P” and once the problem occurs they continue to take it in and out of Park. Going through this process still does not fix the problem.

If owners leave their GMC Acadia without it being in Park it can roll away

A 2017 GMC Acadia interior and console.
2017 GMC Acadia interior | GM

Without the Acadia in Park owners can become stranded. If they leave the vehicle without it being in Park it can roll away. The other problem is that the Acadia is programmed to continue running until it recognizes it is in Park. So owners can’t turn the vehicle off. Some forum posts say when the problem occurs the Acadia is in Park even if it is not indicating it. 

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The Acadia lawsuit cites numerous times that Ms. Smith was left “stranded inside her vehicle at home, at work, at school, and at various other places away from home, unable to shut her vehicle off.” Right now the lawsuit only focuses on the 2017 and 2018 GMC Acadia. That’s odd because the Chevy Traverse is the same platform and has what appears to be an identical console and shift setup. Even the shift knobs look identical.

If GMC Acadias are exhibiting the problems Traverse owners should be too

There are some visual distinctions between the Acadia and Traverse console. But the controls, wiring, and ECUs would all be manufactured at the same place and time. And, the two models are built on the same assembly line simultaneously. So if Acadias are exhibiting the problem the Traverse should be as well. 

2018 Chevrolet Traverse is on display at the 110th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Chevrolet Traverse | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

According to the Acadia lawsuit owners “resort to all sorts of gimmicks to get their vehicles to detect that the shift lever is in fact in ‘Park’” when they experience the problem, including wiggling the gear level around in place and taking it in and out of Park.”

GMC recognizes there is an issue by posting several Technical Service Bulletins

GMC has recognized that there is an issue by posting several Technical Service Bulletins online. GM has stated in the past that the shift problem remains “unknown.” It says its engineering department “is still investigating the root cause.” 

An October 2018 Service Bulletin focused on the park switch in the transmission control assembly as a possible problem. It says “the cause of the condition may be the park switch in the transmission control (shifter) assembly not pulling BCM signal low to electronically show Park condition.” As a result it recommended dealers replace the transmission control shifter assemblies. 

Some owners say after the assembly replacement the problem still persists. Others insist once the issue was addressed the problem was solved. So there are definitely different outcomes being conveyed on the forums.