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401 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Adios folks!

I finally got rid of my 2009 Buick Enclave, bittersweet so to say. This was the nicest car I have owned, but the most troublesome and costly to keep on the road by far. I spent more time in a repair shop and cost more to fix all the problems than all previous cars I owned combined! This is the car that made me vow to never, ever buy another GM made vehicle. I really liked the vehicle during the first 8 or 9 years, up to the point where I had to spend $8K in one year for repairs to keep it running.

My problems started with just under a year of ownership and 6,000 miles and continued until the very last day that I sold it. Didn't get much for it but was happy to rid myself of this headache. It caused me way too much stress and I wouldn't wish this on anyone. A car shouldn't break down as often as this one did, especially an SUV that is meant to be a family car. I noticed from this forum and knew other Enclave owners who had many of the same issues that I did.

So, here's a summary of what went wrong (I had just under 100,000 miles when I sold it), excluding normal wear and tear. GM's Ivy League MBA cost accountants went overboard on cheapening every single part, and it shows in the multitude of problems (and repeat problems) I had with major components. GM did step up and cover a lot under warranty, but no one compensated me for all the time I had to take off of work and be without my car. I got to know the service managers very well.

Steering Rack
Steering rack replaced 3 times. All of them leaked. I just got used to it and checked the fluid when I changed oil.

Brake booster leaking and replaced. I never, ever replaced a brake booster on any other car I've owned, even used ones.

Air Conditioning
I replaced the thermo expansion valve, front and rear evaporators, HVAC case, condenser, and one of the cooling lines and sealing washer. Everything but the condenser was covered under warranty. I was truly surprised the compressor still worked fine and was expecting this to go next.

Cooling System
Water pump replaced three times; heater hose cheap plastic connection broke leaving me stranded with an overheated engine. This happened about two months before I sold it.

Ignition System
Various coils failed well before their time. The first failed at 22K miles. The AC Delco OEM set installed by the dealer worked the best.

At less than 40K miles, the TCM failed. GM replaced it and the wave plate (which wasn't broken at the time) under warranty the first time. At 72K the TCM failed again, and I had to get the transmission rebuilt and foot the bill. Cost me $4K. At 96K miles, it started delaying again when shifting into drive, so it looks like some problem may have begun to show itself. GM transmissions are junk!

Braking System
Front rotors were warped at less than 20K, but I lived with it until I replaced the front rotors and pads at 77K.

Misc Engine Parts
Engine mount - at 39K it failed and was failing again when I sold the vehicle.
ECM - failed at 77K, leaving my wife, 4-year-old son (at the time), and me stranded at night.
Catalytic converter - when the engine was misfiring, it eventually took out the catalytic converter, so I had to have it replaced once.
I replaced various relays to fix an occasional no-start issue that never was fixed. It continued until the day I sold the vehicle. The starter checked out fine, so I'm not sure what the problem was. The engine died several times in the middle of an intersection.

I did other routine maintenance like changing the shocks, struts, sway bar links, etc., but this was normal maintenance and easy to do.

Again, I really did like this vehicle. I did oil changes every 3,000 miles and changed the transmission fluid every 25,000 miles. I replaced the coolant and hoses and anything else with OEM parts. Basically, I "babied" this car and I still had all these problems.

I will never ever step in another GM showroom again as I really got burnt with this Enclave. It's too bad GM never learns that their customers want reliable vehicles. I guess their business model is building 3yr/36,000-mile disposable vehicles for leasees, not long-term ownership. I wish all of you the best of luck on your Enclaves. They truly are nice vehicles when they work, but when they don't, they will cost you. And it cost me a lot to keep running. Had this been a reliable vehicle, I would have purchased a new Enclave. But since it was not reliable, I didn't want to take any more chances on a GM vehicle and moved on. The $3000 GM card points wasn't enough to sway me.

495 Posts
That's quite a list, but I haven't heard of other owners having that many issues. The newer models don't seem to be having nearly as many problems as you described. As of now, I would buy another Enclave without hesitation.

I hope you have many good years with whatever new vehicle you decide on.

2021 Enclave Premium AWD Dark Slate Metallic
219 Posts
First off, sorry to hear of all the problems you have had with you Enclave. I had an 09 Traverse LTZ that was the same way. We both made the same mistake. Bought the first year model run, will never do that again. But in the meantime have owned a15 Enclave that i never had back to the dealer once i drove of the lot. Now I own a 2021Enclave that is 16 months and 16000 miles and almost as good. I traded the 15 with 50000 because i got a boat load of money for it. One thing i do with any modern car is never let the warranty lapse. We also own a 14 Lacrosse with 60000 miles that we also have had good luck with. I hope with what you bought your luck improves.
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