With three rows of seats, an emphasis on comfort, and good road handling, the Buick Enclave makes for an excellent daily driver. Its newest generation saves fuel, offers more headroom and legroom, and comes with the latest connectivity and safety features. If your budget is limited but you’re set on getting an Enclave, an older model year can prove well worth your investment. After all, its resale value is excellent, only depreciating 54% after five years, according to CarEdge.com.
Are Buick Enclaves Reliable SUVs?
The Buick Enclave has received low to average scores on reliability ratings. RepairPal gives it 3.0 out of 5.0 and placed the SUV in 24th place out of the 26 models in its segment. The Enclave is more likely to develop problems that cost more to repair compared to other models.
Depending on the SUV’s model year, you can get anywhere between 17-20 combined mpg on the AWD. Starting with the 2018 model year, the Enclave’s fuel economy enjoys a marked improvement in fuel economy. Its new 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers good power while saving fuel, especially if you’re driving at highway speeds.
It’s possible to get a Buick Enclave to last at least 100,000 miles. Drive carefully, follow the recommended maintenance schedule, and replace faulty parts immediately.
Top Buick Enclave Problems
Debuting in 2008, the Buick Enclave is still in production as of 2021. It has seen its share of various issues throughout the years, and some models are more susceptible to developing problems. CarComplaints.com reports that the 2008 Buick Enclave received the highest number of complaints from owners. Here are the most prevalent Buick Enclave problems across its model years:
Most drivers agree that transmission problems are the worst. Unfortunately, reports show that such issues often crop up in Buick Enclaves.
It comes as no surprise that some 2008 Buick Enclave transmissions drew the ire of numerous owners. Later model years improved the troublesome transmission, although problems could still appear. Owners of the affected SUVs have reported feeling excessive vibrations and hearing clunking noises when they step on the gas or shift gears.
The transmission in some 2009 Enclaves may slip between gears without prompting, and many 2014 Enclave owners have complained that their vehicles developed transmission failures.
One of the strong points of the Buick Enclave is its engine, which produces enough power to move the midsize SUV even when it’s fully loaded. This is why many Enclave owners were disappointed when their SUV’s timing chain developed issues.
The timing chain makes sure the camshaft and crankshaft turn at the correct speeds. It can stretch until it gets too long to control the shafts’ rotation speed. This usually only happens when the chain accumulates at least 150,000 miles, but some Enclave timing chains can deform after only 40,000 miles.
A stretched timing chain can disrupt the engine’s performance and even damage the engine. Its symptoms include an illuminated check engine light, vibrations and rattling sounds while the engine is running, engine misfires, and metal shavings in the engine oil. To make it worse, technicians often have to remove the engine or transmission first before they can reach the bad timing chain. Replacement thus takes a lot of time and costs a considerable sum.
The 2008 Buick Enclave has the dubious honor of being the model year with the highest reported number of stretched timing chains. While the later 2011 Enclave improves on many aspects, some owners have also reported timing chain failures.
Power Steering Problems
Power steering makes it much easier to maneuver a vehicle as big as the Buick Enclave. Losing this feature can make driving hard and dangerous, especially if the steering acts up when driving at high speeds on treacherous terrain.
The 2010 Buick Enclave is the model year that gets the most complaints about power steering. Many owners have reported that their ride’s power steering fails every now and then. In most cases, it becomes difficult to turn the steering wheel.
Many owners of older Buick Enclaves have reported that their SUVs also developed power steering issues. Some 2008 and 2009 Enclave drivers have reported that the power steering in their vehicles failed after some time.
The interior of the Buick Enclave features many accessories that make every ride a fun experience. However, some of them can also cause problems for drivers and passengers alike if they are defective or wear out.
Some 2015 Buick Enclave owners have reported that light coming from outside the vehicle bounced off the ambient lighting strip on the dashboard. The reflection shows up on the windshield and looks like a fracture, which can distract the driver, especially if the light is very bright. Several 2016 Enclave owners have reported a similar problem.
The 2015 Enclave comes with a heated steering wheel to keep the driver’s hands warm. While convenient in cold weather, the heating systems in some Enclaves were reported to get too hot to safely handle.
Both old hands and new drivers should familiarize themselves with the most common problems of their vehicle’s model year. By knowing what Buick Enclave parts are likely to fail early and how to deal with them, you can keep your SUV in good condition no matter how long or far you drive.