Here Are Chevy Equinox Years To Avoid, Engine Problems and Best Years Worth to Invest On!

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Let’s say this fact upfront – not all Chevy Equinox models are created equal! So it would help if you accepted that some family and commercial vans’ model years are better in reliability and performance than others.

When you carefully read this guide, you’ll discover Chevy Equinox years to avoid and the best year for Chevy Equinox to buy to have every benefit this beautiful van offers, including proven fuel efficiency, powerful engine, and safe driving experience.

Our in-house researchers and writers discovered that some of the worst years with mechanical issues and safety hazards are 2005-2007 period and 2010 and 2012 models, plus ones bearing 2.4L I4 engines from 2013-2017.

The Worst Chevy Equinox Years to Avoid

Chevy Equinox Years To Avoid
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Now let’s talk about the nightmarish years with recurring problems you must try to avoid committing your money to.

If you don’t want to deal with nagging engine issues, poor fuel efficiency, and other common concerns, then steer clear of:

  • 2005-2007 (First Generation Models),
  • 2010-2017 (Second Generation Models).

The first generation years (2005-2007) often face engine problems, such as blown engines, excessive oil consumption, transmission failures, electrical issues, and many safety hazards.

While those models 2010 and 2017 were much better, there reported problems experienced, such as poor fuel efficiency, multiple safety recalls, and a poor LATCH review.

Generally, the 2nd generation productions 2010-2013 and 2015-2016 have problems like high oil consumption and gas cap issues causing less efficient driving experience.

Common Issues and Repair Costs

Oil leaks:

One of the most frequent issues with a Chevy Equinox is oil leaks, often caused by a faulty rear main seal, allowing oil to leak near the part of the oil pan that touches the transmission and may eventually damage your engine if not checked timely.

Excessive oil consumption:

Another prevalent problem is enormous oil consumption. Specifically, 2010-2017 models with the 2.4L I4 engine are notable for this issue, possibly leading to hefty replacement repair bills.

Faulty timing chains:

Several engine issues may arise in a Chevy Equinox, particularly in the 2010-2012 models with the 3.0L V6. Faulty timing chains can potentially stretch and break, requiring expensive repairs. When you hear some strange noises, it indicates a timing chain problem.

Transmission and electrical issues:

Besides engine problems, Equinox may also experience transmission faults, electrical issues, and control arm bushing problems. Be sure to address these concerns promptly to prevent further complications and expenses.

Chevy Equinox Best Years

It’s essential to know the best years for the Chevy Equinox, though reputed for scoring good reliability ratings and favorably competing with popular SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

The most reliable years for Chevy Equinox are 2009, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Let’s go through the reasons why these years stand out among the rest:

  • 2009: This year marked the end of the first-generation Equinox, providing improved reliability and fewer complaints than its earlier counterparts.
  • 2016: As a third-generation Equinox, the 2016 model introduced more updated technologies and improved fuel efficiency, making it a more economical choice.
  • 2017: This year continued the third-generation trend of impressive improvements in reliability, with fewer issues reported by owners.
  • 2019: Building on the strengths of its predecessors, the 2019 Equinox delivered even better performance, further solidifying its position as an excellent choice in its class.
  • 2020: With features such as modern safety tech, standard Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, the 2020 Equinox is a reliable and comfortable ride for your family.
  • 2021: This year’s model offers excellent fuel efficiency and top-notch build quality, making it an ideal option for those seeking a reliable car.
  • 2022: The latest addition to the Equinox lineup continues the trend of high reliability, offering an attractive balance of performance, features, and dependability.

When shopping for a Chevy Equinox, consider these best years, granting you a more reliable car.

First-Generation Equinox (2005-2009)

Generally, if you have the proper budget to acquire a top-used Equinox, we suggest you not invest in any of the first-generation production, maybe, except the 2008 and 2009 years.

The first-generation Equinox came with a choice between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. However, these models were built using body-on-frame construction, which has since been replaced by the more modern unibody design in later generations.

Some common problems with the first-generation Equinox include transmission failure, lower intake gasket failure, faulty ignition switches, and malfunctioning fuel pumps. In particular, the 2005-2007 model years are plagued with issues and should be avoided.

The 2008 and 2009 model years are better! Despite these issues, there are some bright spots in the 2008 and 2009 model years, as there are reports of improved reliability scores.

Second-Generation Equinox (2010-2017)

The second-generation models produced between 2010 and 2017 were designed with a four-cylinder engine, and drivers report experiencing electrical and engine issues.

One of the common issues is faulty piston rings that can cause excessive oil to seep through, which is a complex problem to correct, so we advise you to have it as crucial as you decide to buy one.

Safety recalls: The 2nd gen vehicles have had multiple recalls and poor LATCH reviews. If you must purchase from 2nd generation, we suggest those with feature-laden models, such as the 2011 Chevy Equinox LTZ, available from the 2010 to 2017 model years.

Third-Generation Equinox (2018-Present)

Now we are on to the best of breed – third-generation Chevy Equinox models – from 2018 to the present!

With a bit more dollars, the third generation should be your primary focus to purchase from, as the manufacturer did major redesign and interiors / exterior improvements making them stand out among their predecessors.

Better fuel economy: The third-gen is averagely smaller and lighter than the older years, weighing less than 400 lbs and reducing by 4.7 inches.

It translates to better handling and improved fuel economy, essential for an SUV in today’s market. Your wallet will thank you for the substantial fuel savings during the life expectancy of your Chevy Equinox.

Improved safety: They also excel in safety ratings as attested by IIHS crash examinations to be remarkably safe, providing peace of mind when driving your family around.

Few owners have reported issues with oil pressure and turbo failure. These problems are not widespread across all vehicles and not consider major flaws issues.

Safety Ratings and Recalls

Chevrolet Equinox
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

The Chevy Equinox has received varying safety ratings and undergone a few recalls over the years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded Equinox a 5-star rating for some years, with driver safety features like automatic high beams, automated emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist standard in every model.

Despite the positives, specific model years from 2005-2007 and especially 2010-2017 models faced safety recalls and issues with fuel efficiency.

Some of the safety recalls that the Chevy Equinox has encountered include:

  • Braking system issues
  • Seatbelt defects
  • Transmission problems

Consumer Reports and Expert Reviews

Consumer Reports states that the Chevrolet Equinox offers ample room as one of the most spacious compact SUVs, with up-to-date infotainment and safety technology.

However, remember that the 2005-2007 models fail under the above qualities. As an alternative, 2008 models are considered better, with 2009 models offering the best reliability.

As a Chevy Equinox owner, you can consult other owners’ experiences and opinions on various online forums and communities. J.D. Power, a well-respected source for vehicle ratings, provides information on Chevrolet Equinox’s performance in multiple aspects, such as quality, dependability, and overall satisfaction.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Chevy Equinox

We believe the two necessary extremes to determine the best and worst years are reliability and potential problems.

It’s a good idea to look for a used Equinox from the second generation, between 2010 to 2017, preferably only the 3rd gene.

The trim level: When inspecting a used Chevy Equinox, consider the trim level, such as the Equinox Premier, as different trims offer varying features and options.

Vehicle history: It’s also essential to check the vehicle’s history report and perform a thorough inspection, looking for any signs of accidents, water damage, or excessive wear and tear.

Avoid bad reputation and recalls: Regarding reliability, choose a model year with a good reputation for durability and fewer recalls.

Conduct thorough research on Equinox problems and read reviews from other owners to gauge the car’s overall reliability.

General cost: Consider the cost of ownership in terms of maintenance, repairs, fuel economy, and insurance rates. As a general rule, Equinox holds its value well during the first three years, with most depreciation occurring within the first two years.

By considering selecting the right used Chevy Equinox and being aware of potential problems in specific model years, you can enjoy a reliable, comfortable, and affordable crossover SUV.

Comparison With Similar Vehicles

How does the Chevy Equinox stack up against the competition?

Equinox’s most popular competitors are the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, and Mazda CX-5. Let’s briefly examine how these vehicles measure up against Equinox.

The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are two of the most popular alternatives in this segment.

Both vehicles are known for their solid reliability, performance, and safety features. Here are the top RAV-4 used models to consider.

The Equinox has faced reliability issues in specific model years, compared to the excellent track record of the RAV4 and Honda CRV reliability records.

Another worthy competitor is the Subaru Forester, which offers the added benefit of standard all-wheel drive across all models. Check out Forester makes with issues.

It can give you greater confidence when facing challenging road conditions. Lastly, the Mazda CX-5 offers a more refined driving experience with its sharp handling and upscale interior.

Vehicle Reliability Performance Safety
Chevy Equinox Variable (depends on year) Good Good
Toyota RAV4 Excellent Good Excellent
Honda CR-V Excellent Good Excellent
Subaru Forester Good Good Excellent
Mazda CX-5 Good Excellent Excellent

Final Thoughts

Always keep in mind not all models years are good, plus getting the best ones, like the 3rd generation models, may cost you a bit more as they’ve proven as top used models.

Specifically, stay away from the 2005-2008 and second-generation models (2010-2017) that feature the 2.4L l4 engine.

Decide if you want more useful features, such as driver assistance features like lane departure warnings, designed to improve overall driving experience and safety. Decide on older or more advanced air conditioning systems to keep you and your family comfortable during those long drives.


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