The Worst GMC Terrain Problems Are Unreasonably Expensive to Fix

The GMC Terrain SUV first appeared for model year 2010, offering a similar option to the Chevrolet Equinox. Speaking on the GMC Terrain, the first generation received a pretty lukewarm review from Consumer Reports, calling it a “decent enough offering.” The first four years, running from 2010 through 2013, also faced a number of reliability problems. Here’s a look at some of the most common issues for the GMC Terrain. They are pretty serious and unreasonably expensive to repair.

Information from Car Complaints is one spot to see what sorts of issues other owners have been having with their vehicles. With information organized into graphs, it’s easy to see the biggest problems and the model years with the most submitted issues.

The GMC Terrain has the most complaints for its early years, with 107 submitted for 2010; 128 for 2011; 72 for 2012; and 46 for 2013. The three biggest problems across all the model years are excessive oil consumption (in 2011), transmission failure (in 2010), and excessive oil consumption again (in 2010).

Excessive oil consumption in the 2011 GMC Terrain

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The worst issue for the GMC Terrain is excessive oil consumption in the 2011 model year. The problem has been submitted by 34 owners to date. A class-action lawsuit was filed against General Motors in 2019 stating that the excessive oil consumption is caused by faulty piston rings. Due to the faulty design, the engine burns about one quart of oil every 1,000 miles, causing damage and eventually engine failure. A settlement was reached allowing owners of 2010–2013 GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox vehicles to have repairs done if needed (or reimbursements for work already completed).

On average, repairs cost owners about $5,160. Owners submitting this issue rated the problem with a severity of 8.6, or “pretty bad.” There were even nine owners who had to replace the engine to fix the problem. The problem first started to appear around 88,300 miles on average.

Transmission failure in the 2010 Terrain

The second-worst problem for the GMC Terrain is transmission failure in the 2010 model year. There were 19 owners who experienced this problem, and 14 of them had to replace the transmission. Owner comments that have been submitted to Car Complaints sound understandably upset, ranging from “My worst nightmare.” to “I am so angry with this vehicle.” and “This is the last straw on a series of failures for this vehicle.”

Typical repair costs have been around $3,650. Owners gave this problem a severity rating of 9.2, or “really awful.” On average, the problem appeared around 79,900 miles.

Excessive oil consumption in the 2010 Terrain

Excessive oil consumption returns as the third-worst problem submitted for the GMC Terrain, this time for the 2010 model year. Of the 15 owners who submitted complaints, four had the engine replaced and two had the engine rebuilt. The repairs are covered under the same class-action lawsuit that takes care of the excessive oil consumption faced by the 2011 model year. One owner mentioned, “Had nothing but problems since I drove it off the lot.” Another said, “Thank you, General Motors. I’ll never buy/recommend any of your vehicles again.”

The repairs were typically around $4,020. Owners rated the problem with a severity rating of 8.7, or “pretty bad.” The problem began to appear on average around 94,400 miles, which is at least a bit later on average than the same problem in the 2011 Terrain.

Engine problems continued to be the top issue for the GMC Terrain between 2010 and 2013. The problems were serious and cost owners quite a bit of money in repairs. Since then, complaints have decreased. In 2014, the top complaint category currently is for interior accessories problems.