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The Suzuki Grand Vitara is a compact SUV made from 1997 to 2008. The Grand Vitara had two generations, one which ran from 1997 to 2000, while the other was produced from 2001 to 2017. The third generation Vitara was unveiled in 2015 with the “Grand” prefix removed. The Grand Vitara was available in two-door and three-door variants with either a four or six-cylinder engine. Grand Vitara owners could also choose between gasoline or diesel engines. 

As the Suzuki Grand Vitara has already aged substantially, the 1997 to 2008 models only retain around 15 to 20% of their original value. While its 2008 to 2013 models have retained around 20% to 35% of their value. AutoPadre.com predicts that a 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara will depreciate at a rate of only 11% in the next five years. This makes used Suzuki Grand Vitaras inexpensive in the used car market. Depending on how they fare in terms of reliability, they can be a fantastic deal for people looking for a used compact SUV. 

suzuki grand vitara sideshot
The Suzuki Grand Vitara is a good, reliable compact SUV made from 1997 to 2008.

Is the Suzuki Grand Vitara Reliable? 

Unfortunately, RepairPal can’t give the Suzuki Grand Vitara a comprehensive reliability score because it lacks data. However, based on customer testimonials, most owners are satisfied with the Grand Vitara’s overall reliability. Cars.com even gave the 2013 model of the Suzuki Grand Vitara a near-perfect reliability score of 4.9 out of 5.0. 

Several owners on Edmunds.com also praised the Grand Vitara for its reliability. One owner said that “reliability has never been an issue.” Many owners echo that they’ve similarly had little to no issues at all. There were a select few who had problems during their years of use, but these involved parts that received regular wear. 

Suzuki Grand Vitara Common Problems 

Even though the Suzuki Grand Vitara has received many positive owner reviews, there are also numerous reports of problems with this SUV. Luckily, most of these issues are minor and are easily repaired. 

2013 suzuki grand vitara
Some owners of 2000-2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara have reported that their low beam headlights tended to burn out prematurely. Image source: order_242 | Wikimedia Commons

Headlight Burning Out

There are 222 reports of owners having this problem in Grand Vitara models made from 2000 to 2013. The low beam headlights tend to burn out prematurely and as a result, owners have resorted to using the vehicle’s high beams, which is dangerous as these can blind drivers in the opposite lane. One owner of a 2009 model claims to have replaced his low beam bulbs four times since he bought his vehicle. 

Premature headlight wear is typically caused by the vehicle’s electrical system giving the bulb more power than necessary, causing it to burn hotter and brighter than necessary. Suzuki hasn’t issued a recall and owners had to pay for replacement headlights themselves. This can be quite troublesome, because there doesn’t seem to be a fix for this issue. 

All vehicles are required to have working headlights when they’re on the road at night. Driving without headlights can endanger the driver and anyone on the road. RepairPal recommends that owners use high-quality headlight bulbs when replacing their bulbs to help extend the bulb’s life. 

Replacement headlight bulbs for the Suzuki Grand Vitara cost around $10 to $40. 

A/C Condenser Fan Failure 

A vehicle’s A/C system functions by passing a refrigerant through the condenser, where it’s cooled and turned back into a liquid. This cold refrigerant is used to cool the air inside the cabin. But since the Grand Vitara’s condenser fan has been reported to fail, the refrigerant is unable to get cold and absorb the heat inside the cabin. The condenser fan is important because it’s responsible for blowing air through the condenser’s radiator-like surface and removing the heat from the refrigerant. Without the condenser fan, the Vitara’s A/C system is still able to blow air into the cabin, but the air won’t be cold. 

Around 89 Suzuki Grand Vitara owners reported this problem for their 1999 to 2011 models.  To fix this problem, owners must simply replace their faulty condenser fan. 

Oil Leak Around Timing Chain Gasket 

Eighty-nine owners have reported oil leaks and a loud ticking noise coming from their Grand Vitara’s timing chain. Timing chains and their corresponding tensioner are typically submerged in oil in a separate chamber located at the side of the engine block. Both parts are likely to wear out and malfunction without oil lubricating them. 

To be able to access the timing chain gasket on the Suzuki Grand Vitara, mechanics need to remove the engine from the engine bay. This process is typically labor-intensive and costly for owners. This problem has been reported to occur in the 1999 to 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara models. 

Air Bag Sensor Malfunction 

Owners have reported that the air bags of the 2006 to 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara don’t deploy after an accident. This is caused by a faulty front-seat air bag sensor. The sensor is supposed to detect whether an adult or child is occupying the seat, and will disable the airbag if the passenger is a child or if there isn’t a passenger. According to Consumer Reports, the faulty sensor can also cause the air bag to deploy when it’s not supposed to. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the problem is caused by the leather seat upholstery, which can shrink over time because of exposure to high humidity and temperatures. As a result, Suzuki has recalled certain 2006 to 2013 Grand Vitara models. 
If you’re looking to buy a used Suzuki Grand Vitara, you should ask if the owner has resolved the air bag issue. Overall, owners don’t need to worry about the Suzuki Grand Vitara, because it has no major problems. Most of its issues are easily fixed and don’t involve major components like the engine or transmissions, which are the ones that are most expensive to repair. Are you thinking about buying a Suzuki Grand Vitara? We hope learning about its common problems can help you make an informed decision.

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