Why 2013 is the Worst Chevy Equinox Model Year You Should Never Buy

The Chevy Equinox has received excellent reviews since its 2018 redesign. The third-generation Equinox has great technology, one of the best fuel economy ratings in its class, and even received a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for the 2020 model.

Unfortunately, the Equinox has not always had such a stellar record. In fact, the first and second generation were riddled with problems, particularly with the engine. Although 2006 received the greatest number of complaints, according to CarComplaints.com, 2013 was actually the worst year for the Chevy Equinox.

Problems at lower mileage

Overwhelmingly, issues encountered by owners of the 2013 Chevy Equinox centered around engine trouble. Since 2005, CarComplaints has recorded a bevy of complaints about excessive oil consumption and engine failures.

The problem cropped up so frequently it was in the top three complaint categories for the Equinox are “Excessive Oil Consumption”, divided into three separate years: 2013, 2012, and 2010.

The average mileage for this problem decreased from 77,800 miles in 2012 to only 69,150 miles in 2013, which explains one of hte main reasons for ranking 2013 as the Equinox’s most problematic year.

Higher repair cost

The cost of repair for reported issues further highlights the differences between the 2006 and 2013 models. The 2006 Equinox received 197 complaints about the climate control system; however, repairs were only $800 on average.

By comparison, there were 111 complaints about oil consumption on the 2013 model, with a much higher repair price point of $3,000. That’s not to say that the 2006 model is without its problems.

The second most common complaint about the 2006 Equinox is engine failure, with an average repair cost of $3,500, but there were only 14 reported complaints about this.

More serious problems with the Chevy Equinox

The severity of the issues facing the two models further explains why the 2013 Equinox ranked worse than the 2006. The 2013’s oil consumption could result in engine failure, a much more serious issue than problems of 2006. 

In addition to the oil issue, 2013 Equinox owners reported engine stalling while in operation and windshield wiper failures. While not expensive to fix, both problems present serious safety concerns. While the 2006 engine failure is serious, the number of complaints reduces the severity.

Furthermore, the third most common 2006 problem was with the temperature blend door control. It requires a complex repair but is hardly life-threatening.

Lack of solutions

Surprisingly, the majority of drivers who complained about oil consumption found no clear solution. 13 out of 111 complainants resolved the problem through the replacement of rings and pistons, and a smaller number replaced other components or the entire engine. A notable 51 of 111 reported that they did not have any solutions.

A quick glance at the same issue in previous years shows the same disturbing trend. Customers frequently indicated that solutions were unavailable from either mechanics or General Motors.

To date, no recalls have been issued for excessive oil consumption, according to the NHTSA. This could be because GM performed a complete overhaul of the Equinox in 2017, but it may give some of their dedicated customers second thoughts. There was, however, a recall for the much less expensive windshield wiper defect.

The Chevy Equinox has improved over the years

It appears that GM did correct the oil consumption issue in later versions, and engine complaints thereafter were significantly reduced. So, even if GM isn’t issuing a recall for earlier models, it seems to have pinpointed and fixed the problem.

What’s more, the 2018 Chevy Equinox introduced a brand new engine, and overall customer complaints have remained low. While there are reports of a small number of minor issues with electrical components and accessories, the Chevy Equinox seems to have left its troubles behind.

That said, anyone who considers purchasing an Equinox would be well advised to avoid models from 2013 and earlier.