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Chevy Equinox Years To Avoid (and The Best Years)

Whether you’re in the market for a used Equinox or a new one, it’s a good idea to know which Chevy Equinox years to avoid so that you save yourself the headache, and expensive bills, of having to repair your new car constantly.

The Chevrolet Equinox is General Motors’ offering of a 5-door compact SUV.

This car has all-wheel drive, and you can get it with a gas or diesel engine with a six-speed automatic transmission or a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Over the years, and now into its fourth generation models, the Chevy Equinox has proven to be a reliable car and a great SUV choice for families.

Worst Chevy Equinox Years

2023 chevy equinox

As with any car brand, some Equinox models, particularly those in the first generation, have had issues and even faced a few recalls.

It wouldn’t be advised to buy them new or used, so we’ll give you a quick rundown of Chevy Equinox years to avoid.

If you’re looking to buy a Chevy Equinox from the first generation, these are the ones to avoid, especially if you’re looking for a family car because of the poor safety ratings:

2005 Chevy Equinox

This is the first and oldest Chevy Equinox model, so it has its fair share of issuesm, and is known for engine problems, particularly head gasket failing problems which can be costly to replace.

The ignition switch in this Chevy Equinox was also known to fail, stopping the car from starting, and the key would get stuck in the ignition.

This car had gas cap issues and heater failure, where the heater wouldn’t blow out hot air, meaning that occupants were cold and at risk of failing to defrost the windshield when necessary.

The safety features in this model were also not the best, as they received low ratings in the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) crash tests.

2006 Chevy Equinox

This Chevy Equinox had the most complaints of all the models, with a wide range of issues reported.

The issues with the head gasket blowing continued, and there were other engine problems like sudden stalling while driving.

The most commonly reported problem was an A/C issue where it would blow out hot air instead of cold air.

A reported heater issue also had the knock-on effect of impacting windshield defrosting, making it dangerous to drive in the winter.

Drivers reported this heater and A/C issues to start somewhere around the 70,000 mile mark, costing around $800 on average to repair.

2007 Chevy Equinox

The biggest issue with this model is its very low safety rating, primarily due to the failure of the airbag deployment system.

The airbags in the front would deploy for no reason, and there weren’t any airbags in the back!

There were also fuel pump failure issues with this model year, which led to a recall.

Every model year in this generation had a 3.4L V6 gasoline engine, front-wheel drive and a five-speed automatic transmission.

The average fuel economy on one of these models was around 21 miles per gallon, and each car had a 16.6-gallon fuel capacity.

A big and costly problem that plagued the second-generation Equinox model years was various engine issues that cost anywhere between $2000 and $5000 to repair.

The standard engine in the second generation models was a 2.4L powerplant engine, but there was the option of getting a 3L V6 engine instead.

With either engine, there was a standard all-wheel drive and six-speed automatic transmission.

Each car had an 18.8-gallon fuel capacity.

If you’re looking at the second-generation Equinox model years, these are the ones that you should avoid:

2011 Chevy Equinox

A big issue in this model year was the excessive oil consumption coupled with the consistently jerky transmission making driving it a far from satisfying experience.

On average, it costs about $1600 to fix the transmission issues on a Chevy Equinox.

If the system has to be replaced due to transmission failure, the price can run as high as $3000.

There was also a reported clattering or clunking sound whenever the car was started.

Some owners also reported engine stalling and other engine problems due to faulty chains and parts that didn’t make it to 100,000 miles.

2012 Chevy Equinox

This model year had high oil consumption problems and frequent engine stalling at high speeds or while accelerating.

The jerky transmission was also a problem in this Chevy Equinox model year, with owners reporting trouble shifting gears and sometimes struggling to shift them at all.

2013 Chevy Equinox

This Chevy Equinox still had the problem of high oil consumption and poor rear visibility.

Compared to its competitors, this model didn’t have as much cargo space and suffered from engine problems, including eventual engine failure.

2015 Chevy Equinox

This Chevy Equinox still had excessive oil consumption issues from the previous model years.

This model also had battery issues, where the battery would go flat very quickly and cause electrical problems.

Battery aside, the electrical system was also faulty, and there were reports of features, like the radio, not working.

2016 Chevy Equinox

The 2016 Chevy Equinox had a slew of problems, including high oil consumption, oil leaks and faulty seals that often resulted in significant engine damage.

The car was also known to suddenly stall and lose power and stall while driving.

There were also reports of windshield wiper problems, mainly that the windshield wipers would fail during heavy rains causing drivers to pull over for safety.

There were also reports that some owners smelled burning smells and electrical issues like the heater or A/C turning on and off by itself and dashboard lights refusing to turn off.

The dashboard displays and infotainment features were also known to fail in many cases.

Best Chevy Equinox Years

Now that we have the Chevy Equinox years to avoid out of the way, it’s only fair to shine a spotlight on the Chevrolet Equinox model years that are an excellent choice for any buyer:

2009 Chevy Equinox

The first generation of Chevy Equinox models isn’t a total loss.

It has a lot of cargo space and a comfortable and roomy cabin that provides ample leg room for passengers in both the front and rear of the car.

2017 Chevy Equinox

The last of the second-generation Chevy Equinox models makes it to this list because it provides a great driving experience and doesn’t give the driver any trouble accelerating like so many of the Chevy Equinox model years before it.

This is due to the car’s V6 engine, which gives it great power for its size.

It also boasts a great suspension system which guarantees a smooth ride even on rough terrain.

Chevrolet seemed to have learned from the mistakes of the first and second generations because the third generation of Chevy Equinox came out swinging.

This generation of Chevrolet Equinox SUVs had a facelift featuring narrower headlights and chrome grilles.

They introduced three engine choices: a 1.5L turbocharged gasoline engine, a 2.0 turbocharged gasoline engine and a 1.6L turbodiesel engine.

Every model has front-wheel drive, and the 1.5L engine comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, while the 2L engine comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Each car has a 15.6-gallon fuel capacity.

2019 Chevy Equinox

With this Chevy Equinox, there is a focus on how it looks with the option to add LED headlights and taillights, molded running boards and 19-inch chrome wheels and a chrome grill surround.

It has adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection as optional safety features when you buy the Premier model.

The 1.5L engine has great fuel economy, reaching 28 miles per gallon.

2020 Chevy Equinox

The cabin is roomy and comfortable for both the passengers in the front and back, with enough cargo space behind the back seats to hold about eight carry-on bags.

While the 1.5L turbo engine isn’t the fastest, it does have good fuel economy ratings.

Opting for the 2.0L turbo engine would fix the speed problem and still give you about 30 miles per gallon.

This Chevy Equinox has a 5-star rating from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), with driver safety features like automatic high beams, automated emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist coming standard in every model.

2021 Chevy Equinox

While there we no significant changes to this Chevy Equinox model year, there are great options for the LT model, such as extra chrome trim, tinted back windows and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

While it’s a smooth ride, easy to handle and has great steering, you might find the 1.5L engine lacking when paired with the all-wheel drive.

The cabin is stylish, comfortable and roomy for all the passengers, and it features a spacious center console bin for storage.

WiFi is standard on board, and you can get an 8-inch screen for the display on the dashboard.

Tips To Extend The Lifespan Of Your Chevrolet Equinox

The average lifespan of a Chevy Equinox is around 200,000 miles; you’ll frequently get more than that out of the Chevy Equinox if you take good care of it, and of course, depending on the model.

  • Stay on top of the fluids and make sure that they’re always at the right level, especially the transmission fluid and engine coolant. Check these levels every 50,000 miles and your brake fluid every two years or sooner.
  • If you have one of the models that were flagged for excessive oil consumption, make sure that you check your oil very regularly as well.
  • One of the problems with oil consumption is that the car doesn’t always alert the driver that there’s a need for more oil.
  • Check all your filters regularly and replace them regularly to prevent any clogging or restriction of any kind.
  • Keep an eye and an ear out for any issues so that you can address them immediately. You should see fewer problems on the newer Chevy Equinox models, but it’s still best to stay alert.
  • Address every single problem the second you discover it. It’ll be cheaper to address an issue before it gets too big or causes an even bigger problem in the car.
  • Only buy new parts for your Chevy Equinox should you need to replace them; they’ll last much longer than aftermarket car parts.
  • Avoid applying excessive pressure to your pedals, as this can lead to the wearing down of some of the components in your Chevy Equinox.

Final Thoughts

Although the earlier Chevy Equinox models had their fair share of issues and are best avoided now, the second and third generation is where this Chevy SUV really starts to shine and escape the problem that had previously plagued it.

The Chevrolet Equinox is an excellent choice for a smooth driving experience and a reliable SUV.

If you do your part to maintain your Chevrolet Equinox well, you should get the most mileage and the least problems out of the experience.