Key Takeaways

  • The Chevrolet Equinox is a popular and practical choice if you’re looking for a smaller SUV.
  • The Chevrolet Equinox has tons of features and still has room for plenty of cargo space and gear.
  • Some of the issues with the Chevrolet Equinox that may make it less appealing is oil consumption problems, timing chain issues, and premature brake wear.

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If you’re considering buying a Chevrolet Equinox, there are going to be certain problems you’ll want to explore before making your final decision.

Some of the most common problems that usually cause current owners to complain about their Chevrolet Equinox (and may keep you from buying it) are the oil consumption problems, timing chain issues, and premature brake wear.

I recently decided I wanted to buy a small SUV and went out and researched the best. I wanted something that would be safe, reliable, budget-friendly and that is fun to drive. Though the Chevrolet Equinox is a practical and reliable SUV, it doesn’t come without problems. After spending some time researching this vehicle, I decided it wasn’t the right SUV for me. Let’s see if my research makes you decide differently.

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What Are the Most Common Problems & Complaints About the Chevrolet Equinox…and Should I  Buy It Anyway?

The Chevrolet Equinox first hit the market in 2005 and was a popular choice from the very beginning.

Fans of the Equinox were looking for a small to midsize SUV that could serve as a passenger vehicle, but also have enough room for hauling cargo and carrying luggage, equipment and large grocery runs.

The Chevrolet Equinox is similar to other SUVs in this class - more practical than flashy and more safe than splashy.

Chevrolet has rolled out several generations of the Equinox, with the last one getting a full redesign in 2018. There are two engine options to choose from, one being a 1.5 liter with 170 horsepower and the other being a 2.5 liter with 220 horsepower.

Though the 1.5 liter engine is sufficient for a vehicle this size, if you plan to use your Equinox for tons of travel or hauling of large loads, the 2.5 liter engine will be much more efficient and satisfying.

The trimlines on the various Equinox’s will certainly vary, though the new models have more base features than ever before. But from leather seats to Apple CarPlay, there are options for just about any driver, depending on your needs, your budget and what the primary use of your Chevrolet Equinox is going to be.

With two teenagers at home and just about to start driving, I really appreciate the Teen Driver System that the Chevrolet Equinox has as an optional feature starting with its 2020 model.

Teen Driver Systems are advanced technology systems that started in 2015 in certain vehicles. They allow for certain controls to be set when a teenager is behind the wheel – things like radio volume control, lane-change notifications and speed warning alerts.

On the Chevrolet Equinox, you can even request a printable report card to be issued after your teen has been driving the family vehicle!

Today, the Chevrolet Equinox has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of between $26,000 and $33,000 depending on what trim level you want.

If you are in the market for a used one, you can expect to pay somewhere between $8,000 and $15,000 depending on the year and what features have already been installed.

For many, the Chevrolet Equinox is going to make for a perfect midsize SUV and its practicality and safety features will definitely make it one worth looking at.

That said, let’s also talk about a few of its problem spots that may lead you to think twice as to whether or not this is the best car for your next vehicle purchase.

1. Oil Consumption Problems

The biggest complaint that customers have made about the Chevrolet Equinox after they’ve purchased it is the oil consumption issues that they have had to deal with, even in the newer versions of the SUV.

Adding oil to our car’s engines is one of the biggest ways we can increase our vehicle’s longevity. Oil not only helps engines maintain a lower temperature, it also keeps all the various parts lubricated and in working order.

Oil is also important for moving the leftover sludge out of your engine’s compartment.

As your car is driven, more sludge buildup happens, and oil keeps it from becoming a problem for your car’s performance.

One of the most common vehicle maintenance tasks is maintaining regular oil changes. It is suggested that most cars get their oil changed every 5,000 to 10,000 miles.

How often you change your oil will have a lot to do with the age of your car, the model of your car, and how many miles you drive your car on a regular basis.

For most cars, especially brand new ones, oil consumption should not be an issue, and it’s rare to have to add oil in between oil changes. But for many new Chevrolet Equinox owners, burning oil is one of the biggest problems they’ve reported with their newer vehicles.

After researching the Chevrolet Equinox and hearing about its oil consumption problems, I still decided it wasn’t the right SUV for me.

Having a car that is burning oil is not only expensive, it’s also extremely problematic.

Though you can keep adding oil to your car, there may be a point when you forget, or the burning or leaking begins happening so fast you can’t keep up with it.

This can ruin your engine by causing the block to seize up. I’ve never had to contend with a seized engine block, but I know people who have and believe me …it is not a good problem to have.

2. Timing Chain Issues

Timing chains are an integral part of your engine’s makeup, as they help drive that shaft of the main part of the engine.

A timing chain that is operating poorly will have a huge impact on your car, truck or SUVs overall performance. It can cause permanent damage to your vehicle and is a problem to be taken very seriously.

The Chevrolet Equinox has had ongoing issues with the timing chain on many of their models, particularly those manufactured between 2016 to 2020. Many customers of the Equinox complain about their SUV needing frequent oil added, sometimes up to a quart or two every month.

Not only is above-average oil consumption expensive and annoying, it can also cause some serious issues. As I discussed earlier, a normal amount of oil is extremely important for your car’s engine to continue to work appropriately, and a lack of oil can make irreparable changes to your Equinox’s overall performance.

A lack of oil means your Chevrolet Equinox could have a variety of problems, from reduced fuel mileage to misfiring or other types of performance increase.

A serious timing chain issue has also been linked to an engine not working at all. Some customers have reported that their timing chain issues resulted in their engine not starting at all.

3. Premature Brake Wear

Another potential problem that could present itself with the Chevrolet Equinox is the fact that the brake system wears out prematurely and that it can become a problem long before brake issues should be presenting themselves.

We all know that having issues with our brakes can be one of the most stressful and problematic issues with any vehicle. Brakes are really the first line of safety and defense when it comes to cars.

Brakes are made up of several parts, and any one of them can start to fail, leading to brake problems, which will lead to safety issues.

But with the Chevrolet Equinox, many of the reported problems have had to do with the brake pads.

Brake pads are a huge part of a vehicle’s braking system.

Since the brake pads are what are actually engaged when you are trying to slow your car or truck down, it makes sense that brake pads would wear out more often.

That said, it’s not normal to have to replace your vehicle’s brake pads any more frequently than every 30,00 to 50,000 miles.

Most of today’s newer cars and trucks will start to see wear around 30,000 miles, but there won’t be the need to swap them out until closer to 50,000 miles.

But the Chevrolet Equinox has had continuous challenges with its braking system. The pads themselves are a bit thinner in design than some of the other, comparable SUVs, and this may be a big reason why the brake pads on the Chevrolet Equinox are not up to the standard best practices that other car manufacturers have been able to meet.

With the Chevrolet Equinox, the braking system is probably still better than most vehicles on the road today, certainly better than vehicles that were manufactured a decade or more ago.

But – if safety is one of your top concerns when it comes to what SUV you decide to buy next, you may want to steer clear of the Equinox until they get their braking system issues sorted out.

Chevrolet Equinox Problems & Complaints: Are The Issues Worth Buying?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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