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When you buy a used vehicle, whether it has low or high miles, you want it to last until the mileage rolls over to a couple hundred thousand. Back in the day, it wasn’t all that hard to see that happen, but the cars we drive now, it can be very difficult to just reach 100,000 miles without dealing with some kind of major repair problem. 

Finding diamonds in the rough can get quite difficult, though. Consumer Reports helps out by listing some of the more problem vehicles that you can cross off your list and avoid because of major repair problems, and one of them is the 2010 Chevy Equinox. The GMC Terrain is also on it because of the two much so much alike. 

Why was the 2010 Chevy Equinox/GMC Terrain on that list?

The model years of 2010-2013 should be avoided. An oil consumption problem occurred with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines. This issue was costly, happened at lower mileage ranges, and its owners often reported that it occurred again later on. 

Equinox drivers would have their check engine light come on and the diagnostic codes would indicate that there was misfiring in the cylinders. Also, the engine would burn through oil excessively, sometimes burning through one to three quarts of oil in between oil changes. 

The dealerships told them that there was piston-cylinder wear, broken guides in the timing chain, or they simply told them that the engine needed either rebuilding or replacing. 

The most frustrating part of the problem on the Chevy Equinox, besides the cost, was that it was happening in vehicles with an average mileage of 84,000-108,000 miles.

But some owners reported that theirs occurred in the 32,000 to 52,000-mile range. Then the unthinkable happens, which is having the problem come back again after 50,000 to 70,000 miles later. 

What did Chevy do about it?

The warranty covered it in most cases, but some owners had to dig deep into their pockets when theirs expired. Eventually, Chevy acknowledged that it was a manufacturing defect in the 2010 Equinox.

At first, they sent out bulletins to replace the pistons and rings, since the pistons weren’t getting sealed properly. But some owners needed their engines replaced since the one in their vehicle had become damaged because of the sealing problem. 

Other issues started showing up too, like broken timing chain guides and those had to be replaced as well. It appears that no recall was ever made concerning the problem, despite the number of complaints they received. They did, however, extend the warranty to 125,000 miles for those who met their strict criteria.

What were the alternative vehicles Consumer Reports suggested?

For vehicles with some of the same features and built in the same time frame as the 2010 Chevy Equinox, Consumer Reports suggested two similar SUVs.

One of them is the CR-V from the 2008-2010 models found in the third generation of Honda SUVs. Prices remain relatively in the same ballpark as the Equinox, and their SUV had a score of 4 out of 5 for reliability, making it a much safer choice, especially when it comes to the engine.

The other option they gave as an alternative is the Toyota RAV4 from the 2008 to 2010 model years. Like the CR-V, the RAV4 has much of the same features as the Equinox, but its reliability ratings are much higher. It also scored a 4 out of 5 from the Consumer Reports reliability section.

If you’re looking to get an SUV from the 2010 era, then pass on the Chevy Equinox/GM Terrain. Even if the engine issues were taken care of, there’s an excellent chance more problems will continue to surface down the road, and without good warranty coverage, you’ll get stuck with the bill. 


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