The Worst GMC Terrain Problems Are Unreasonably Expensive to Fix

The GMC Terrain SUV first appeared for the 2010 model year, 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 six models, the 2010 to 2015 model years, are the GMC Terrain years to avoid, having faced several reliability problems. Here’s a look at some of the most common issues found with the GMC Terrain that are also pretty serious and unreasonably expensive to repair.

GMC Terrain information from Car Complaints

2022 GMC Terrain SLT compact SUV in red driving on a strip of highway
2022 GMC Terrain SLT | GMC

Car Complaints is one top 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. That brings us to its data collection on the first generation of the GMC Terrain.

The GMC Terrain has the most complaints for its early years, with 117 submitted for the 2010 model year; 139 for the 2011 model year; 82 for the 2012 model year; 60 for the 2013 model year; 64 for the 2014 model year; and 57 for the 2015 model year. The three biggest problems across all the model years are excessive oil consumption (2011 Terrain), transmission failure (2010 Terrain), and excessive oil consumption again (2010 Terrain).

Excessive oil consumption in the 2011 GMC Terrain

The worst issue for the GMC Terrain is excessive oil consumption in its 2011 model year. The problem has been submitted by 39 owners to date on Car Complaints. A lawsuit was filed against General Motors in 2019, stating that the excessive oil consumption is caused by faulty piston rings, according to ClassAction. Due to the defective 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 provided for work already completed).

On average, repairs cost owners about $5,470. Owners submitting this issue rated the problem with a severity of 8.6, or “pretty bad.” There were even 12 owners who had to replace the engine to fix the problem, which first started to appear around 92,700 miles on average.

Transmission failure and oil problems in the 2010 Terrain


750,000 GMC Terrain Models Need a Recall for Blinding Other Drivers

The second-worst problem for the GMC Terrain is transmission failure in the 2010 model year. There were 20 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 9.1, or “really awful.” On average, the problem appeared around 81.650 miles.

Excessive oil consumption returns as the third-worst problem submitted for the GMC Terrain, also for the 2010 model year. Of the 19 owners who submitted complaints, five had the engine replaced, and two had the engine rebuilt. The repairs for this issue 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 8.6, or “pretty bad.” The problem began to appear on average around 102,900 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 first-generation GMC Terrain 2010-2015 model years. The problems were severe and cost owners quite a bit of money in repairs. Since then, complaints have decreased, with the 2016 GMC Terrain seeing a considerable drop in customer complaints and improved reception from owners.