Crossover & Midsize

The Worst Buick Enclave Model Year You Should Never Buy

General Motors have produced many SUVs over the years. The Buick Enclave is one of their more popular models to date, and GM has sold well over 600,000 of them since the year 2007. Its popularity, however, doesn’t mean it’s immune to problems.

In fact, one particular year produced a whole slug of issues for owners. The 2008 model is the worst one to date and is the one that’s received the most complaints so far. CarComplaints.com shows the most common problems that Buick owners faced with their Enclaves.

2008 Buick Enclave transmission problems

People inspect the 2015 Buick Enclave on display at the LA Auto Show's press and trade day in Los Angeles, California on November 19, 2014
The Buick Enclave | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

One of the worst things that can go wrong with a vehicle is the transmission, and many people have reported that they dealt with this before – sometimes more than once in this version of the sport utility vehicle. While driving down the road, they suddenly find themselves with a vehicle that won’t shift out of one gear and go into the next. When taken in for an evaluation, they were told the transmission was bad and it would cost around $3,500 to fix it.

Some people reported that the cause of the transmission issues had to do with a broken wave plate, which was defective to begin with. Most people paid for the repairs out of their own pockets until GM finally sent out a service bulletin for the problem and rolled out an extended warranty that covered this issue for up to 120,000 miles. The problem with that is that many owners would encounter the transmission problem at 123,000 miles and up, so the warranty wouldn’t cover the repairs.

Buick Enclave power steering failure

View this post on Instagram

Your command center for summer fun. #BuickEncore

A post shared by Buick (@buickusa) on

Another common issue the 2008 Buick Enclave has concerns the power steering pump. Owners are suddenly finding themselves using major muscles trying to turn their steering wheels while driving down the road. When they take the SUV to the dealership, they’re told that the power steering pump needs replacing. However, many drivers have had to replace it several times while they owned their Enclaves – with many of them having under 100,000 miles on the vehicle.

Of course, the cost to replace the pumps is high. A lot of times, the repair technicians will report numerous other damages from the failed power steering pump, so the cost goes up to around $3,000. A lot of owners had just got done paying for the expensive transmission problems, so they couldn’t afford the price of the pump replacement. Some people just got lucky and had the repair cost covered under their warranty.

Buick Enclave engine issues

The motor on the 2008 Buick Enclave caused more problems than its worth. Owners who maintained their SUVs with regular oil changes would find themselves with a blown head gasket, a hole in the engine block, or busted internal parts of the motor. What’s worse is that most of these engine problems happened when the vehicles had less than 100,000 miles on them. In a lot of these cases, people couldn’t afford the high price tag for the repairs, so these broken-down SUVs had to sit in their driveways while they continued to make monthly payments on the loans they took out for it.

To resolve these issues, dealerships recommended replacing the engines in the Enclave. But the cost, which was more often than not the responsibility of the owner, was just too high. Some reported being quoted a price of $6,500 to $8,000 to replace the engines in their SUV. You can see how this would cause hardships for owners. After paying steep monthly payments for the vehicle, now they’re handed a repair bill for another $8,000, or so.

The 2008 model year proved to be the worst in the Buick Enclave lifespan. It was, however, one of the first years of its production, which people expect to see problems with, especially with the SUVs. As time went on, though, they seemed to learn from some of those mistakes and improved later model versions so that the newer ones today aren’t quite the headaches they faced back then.