Typically, buying a used SUV can present substantial savings over buying a new model. But of course, you’ll want to be mindful of the vehicle’s history, including past owner reports of problem areas. Generally, there are three mechanical components or systems that tend to translate into high-cost repairs, and worth avoiding — anything transmission-related, head gaskets, and the engine.
If you see a GMC Acadia in your future, there is one model year that not only falls into one of these problematic categories but also could bring you a lot of headaches.
The source of most mechanical nightmares
A vehicle can be dependable in a variety of areas, like safety or electronics. But if there’s a problem with the engine, none of those other features really matter.
Engine issues are typically revered as the most nightmarish of concerns because of associated expense to repair, time to repair, and overall inconvenience. Catastrophic under-the-hood failures can mean thousands of dollars in rebuilds and replacements.
For the GMC Acadia, while most model years seem to be sound, there is one worth avoiding for this very engine-related issue.
The GMC Acadia model year with the most headaches
According to both Consumer Reports and CarComplaints.com, the 2010 GMC Acadia is wrought with engine troubles. Both of these resources calculate their findings based on the reports of actual ownership experiences, too.
The details suggest that Acadia models within the 106,000 and 130,000-mile range tend to suffer the most. CarComplaints.com shows the average repair cost for the engine failure, usually due to complete rebuild or engine replacement, is nearly $9,000. Consumer Reports says avoid the engine headaches and instead consider a 2008-2010 Toyota Highlander.
Failing engine, components, and replacements, too
Even the officials with GM Authority highlight issues with the 2010 GMC Acadia. They share owner reports of other engine-related problems, in addition to or exception of the engine failing directly. For the 3.6L LLT V6 engine, Acadia owners experienced timing belt issues, sometimes as early as 50,000 miles.
Some of these timing problems led directly to engine failure, while others were remedied before more engine damage could be done. However, even in some of the replacement engines, there were reports of ongoing timing belt failures that led to even more engine repairs.
So, even the fix might not repair what ails the 2010 Acadia. There is one report that a dealership admitted to a set of car buying customers looking to trade in their Acadia that 2010 was a bad year for the popular SUV, and trade-in values would be reflective of it.
Imagine having a problematic SUV, having spent thousands to repair it, only to be told it would be worthless upon trade-in because it tripped out of the gate that production year.
Less risky alternatives to the 2010 GMC Acadia
Instead of buying a pre-owned 2010 GMC Acadia, you might be better off considering some less risky alternatives. Knowing that even some folks, who opted to replace their faulty engines, were still experiencing engine trouble, is enough to steer your gaze in other directions.
Like the Consumer Reports gurus suggested, maybe a used Toyota Highlander would be a better fit. Or, you might consider a newer model year for the GMC Acadia, with engine design improvements. If you need that third row, the Honda Pilot usually comes highly recommended as well.
Some common problems with older vehicle models are worth considering. But if the used Acadia you’re looking to buy is a 2010 model year, you might want to head back to the classifieds. It’s the year that many other owners would tell you were beyond problematic.
In most cases, ownership experiences with these were costly. Be mindful of past reports of any engine, transmission, or head gasket-related failures, as you continue your search. Avoiding these issues can also mean avoiding headaches in vehicle ownership down the road.