Buick Enclave Years to Avoid: A Comprehensive Guide

Buick enclave years to avoid include many first-generation SUVs – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2014. These cars are already well known for developing severe faults that may often force the owners into selling them off. Many have negative reports of safety recalls, making customers worry if the Buick is a trustworthy SUV.

A Classic Buick Car ~ Ran When Parked

The article is a detailed review of the Buick Enclave you should avoid and discusses the ones you should consider buying.

Which Buick Enclave Years to You Avoid?

The Buick Enclave years to avoid include those of 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2014 models. This may seem like a lot – five different years! However, many kinds of this three-row crossover can serve you for a long time.

White Exclusive Buick Enclave Model ~ Ran When Parked

In fact, most of these issues are from the early models – the first generation, which spanned between its debut year, 2008 to 2017. Guess what? Even with these problems, the seven-passenger SUV is still one of the most popular in the market. Because of these issues, Buick has increased the warranty on these models to 10 years or 120,000 miles.


The main issues with these vehicles are usually associated with the gearbox and transmission. However, the company – General Motors – has always tried to work on the problems. That said, they have found a solution, considering the newer models, especially those of the second generation – 2018 to date, are known to have similar issues.

What Exactly Are the Issues With the Buick Enclave?

As mentioned earlier, the main issues with the Buick Enclave include gearbox and transmission problems. However, the affected models of the first generation have more specific issues. For example, the 2008 model also had problems with the power steering and the engine.

Old American Buick ~ Ran When Parked

Without much ado, let’s take a more detailed look into Buick Enclave’s problems.

The Buick Enclave 2008

This is the first release of this class of SUV, so like many new vehicles, it can have some issues. When General Motors released this Buick Enclave as the first of many, it entered the market with high hopes. However, due to the troubles – it had six safety recalls – it couldn’t live up to the hype.

This Buick Enclave years to avoid has three main issues – power steering, engine, and transmission. However, there are reports of other problems, such as issues with the car’s body, windshield, airbags, torque converter, internal accessories, air conditioning, etc.

But transmission issues are the most prominent, especially after the vehicle hits a mileage of 90,000 miles.

The Buick Enclave 2009

The 2009 Buick also persevered similar issues related to the 2008 model. Several customers have complaints of mainly engine and transmission problems. That said, the main engine-related problems include engine idling, check engine light illumination, and issues with the fuel injectors.

Those linked with the transmission are mainly issues with the power steering, reverse gear, and transmission slipping.

The Buick Enclave 2010

When the 2010 Enclave model hit the market, there had been some advancements in this Jeep Wrangler, ensuring it possessed fewer issues. However, like the first two variants, it also had some engine problems, especially issues with the timing chain. This tends to occur after hitting about 40,000 mileage.

However, you expect a new car to have covered up to four times that – 150,000 to 200,000 miles before any issue with the timing chain arises. This became a severe turn-off for customers, considering the repair costs could be as high as $2500.

Besides the stretched timing chain, other issues like pinion failure and air conditioning also plagued the 2010 Buick. In fact, there are cases where customers claimed the power steering issues in the previous vehicles also persist.

The Buick Enclave 2011

The 2011 Buick model showed subtle improvement from the previous ones. However, it still suffered engine-related problems. Some specific issues plaguing this model include the brakes, air cooling, heating, and the drivetrain.

Side View Of a Buick Enclave ~ Ran When ParkedStill, some had problems with the interior components and accessories like the ignition, GPS, and even the seats.

The Buick Enclave 2014

After the 2011 model, the Buick experienced consecutive years of success, suggesting the company had hacked it.

However, the 2014 model is a drawback, with a common complaint about its transmission. Other problems that affected this Buick model include issues with the fuel economy and the engine control unit (ECU), electrical, and stewing problems.

Even though the SUV is a popular choice for families, this 2014 variant Aldo had issues with the safety system. Typical safety faults associated with the 2014 Buick include problems with the seat belts and the airbags.

Which Buick Enclave Model is the Worst?

The 2008 Buick Enclave model is the worst. This shouldn’t even come, considering it is this group’s first model. It suffered many engine and transmission-related issues, including problems with its interior accessories, ranging from the audio system to the air conditioner and sunroof leaking.

Over the years, it has had more than five safety recalls; reinforcing is one model you should avoid. If you are looking to get a pre-owned car, it’s a common one, as many will be looking to sell it off.

Another Buick model with several issues you surely want to shy away from is the 2010 variant. Besides the general engine and transmission issues that plagued most of the early Buicks, issues with the timing chain, air conditioning, and electrical problems are common to this model. Excluding the 2008 model, this is probably the least inferior of the Buicks.

What Are the Most Common Issues That Affect the Buick Enclave?

The most common issues that affect the Buick Enclave include problems with the engine and the transmission. These issues often result in high repair costs for Enclave owners, and some often have to succumb to these problems and sell the vehicles at a reduced value.

Below, we will examine the main issues that plague the Buicks, especially the first-generation of these automobiles.

Engine Problems

So far, we have emphasized that one of the main issues that affected the Buick was engine-related. For example, many of the earlier models consume more engine oil than expected. Therefore, the car tends to have less oil than expected, considering owners miss the time they need to top off the oil.

An Engine With So Many Problems ~ Ran When Parked

Since the car has less oil than it should, this can then result in more severe engine issues. Also, owners who failed to practice routine maintenance discovered that the car suffered problems with the internal engine components.

Some issues that affected the engines include burst head gasket, slack of timing chains, and engine stalling. However, many of these engine issues didn’t start until the car started to reach about 100,000 miles.

Transmission Problems

Again, transmission issues are one of the common problems affecting the Buick. However, this issue becomes prominent after the car starts to attain more than 90,000 miles. Even at that, when driving at high speeds or during a gear switch, you may begin to notice the car jerking or even hear a clunk-knocking sound.

Because of the high cost of repairing and maintaining this car with the said transmission issues, many owners often opt for selling off the vehicle. Fixing a faulty gearbox, for example, without a warranty costs thousands of dollars. This makes the issue a big turn-off for customers looking to get a new Buick.

Power Steering Problems

Malfunctioning power steering is another common issue with the Buick. This issue tends to occur after the car has covered around 80,000 miles; it often starts with the stiffening of the steering wheel. Afterward, the owner will have to replace the power steering pump to fix the problem.

Power Steering Pump Of a Car ~ Ran When Parked

However, like the first two issues discussed, the wonders may opt to sell the car because of the high cost of fixing it. Repairing power steering issues after the warranty on the vehicle has elapsed can cost up to $2,000. This is why people buying second-hand vehicles must carefully examine the car to avoid buying one suffering a significant issue.

Defective Timing Chain

The timing chains of these problematic Buicks tend to give up pretty early. After about 40,000 miles, they start developing faults. Generally, it is expected that the timing chain of a new vehicle should last for more than 150,000 to 200,000 miles before it becomes worn and almost ineffective.

However, this became a significant issue since the Buick timing belts began to lose their efficiency almost five times earlier than average. Moreover, the repair costs are high, costing up to $2,000.

Electrical Problems and Defective Check Engine Illumination

Another frustrating problem plaguing most first-generation Buicks is issues with the electrical system. These troubles range from simple defects, such as difficulty opening the door, to more challenging electrical problems, including fire risk.

Mechanic Checking For Electrical Problems ~ Ran When Parked

The check engine line is sort of a warning signal for a properly functioning vehicle. However, due to poor wiring and electrical issues, the warning sign becomes a problem itself. Ideally, when the check engine light of your car comes on, you want to attend to the immediate situation causing it to come on.

However, it becomes frustrating when you notice it’s just a repetitive cycle, even if nothing significantly affects your car.


Is the Buick Enclave Reliable?

Yes, the Buick Enclave is a reliable car. In fact, in recent years, the Buick has improved its reputation and become one of the most trustworthy family SUVs. However, it still depends on the model you are going for.

Generally, the second-generation Buicks (2018 to present) have had no significant issues. Likewise, the previous generation’s 2012, 2013, and 2017 models are some of the most dependable Enclave SUVs.

How Many Miles Does the Buick Enclave Last?

The Buick Encave can last well above 200,000 miles, especially if you purchase one of the reliable ones. With proper servicing and maintenance practices, they can serve as your family car for up to 300,000 miles, that’s well above a decade.

This includes paying adequate attention to the car’s needs and not misusing it because you know it is trustworthy.

Buick Enclave Models Should You Buy?

You can buy any of the second-generation Buicks. After several failed years in the first generation, the latest models are devoid of the issues associated with the previous ones. That said, you can buy any new generation from 2018 till date.

Likewise, some of the first generation, especially the 2012 and 2017 models, are safe to buy.

Which is larger, the Enclave or the Traverse?

The Enclave is larger than Tranverse in all areas except in length. In terms of overall length, the Buick Enclave and the Chevrolet Traverse use about equal amounts of room in a garage. The Buick Enclave has about the same width as the Chevrolet Traverse.

Is the Buick Enclave a Dependable Vehicle?

Yes, the Buick enclave is a dependable vehicle. The Buick Enclave has emerged as one of the most dependable SUVs in recent years. However, during the Enclave’s early worst years of manufacture, there were several defects and teething problems. So this made people reconsider their choices.


In this article, we provided detailed info on the Buick Enclave models to avoid and why you need to avoid them. Below is a summary of what this post entails.

  • The Buick models you should avoid include mainly the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2014 first-generation models.
  • Besides the models listed above, other variants of the Buick are relatively reliable. Provided the user maintains good maintenance practices, the second-generation Buicks could sustain users for up to 300,000 miles for over a decade.
  • The common issues with the Enclaves include transmission, engine-related, timing chain, electrical issues, and power steering failure.
  • The Buick Enclave 2008 is probably the worst of this vehicle. And it’s not surprising, considering it is the first of this SUV to hit the market.
  • The Buick Enclave models you can consider buying include the 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 models. Generally, the second-generation models are safe and have Buick Enclave reliability.

Regardless of all the shortcomings and bad reputation the Buick Enclaves has amassed, you can still purchase trustworthy ones as a family car.

Rate this post
Ran When Parked