The Most Common 2012 Buick Enclave Problems

The 2012 Buick Enclave may have been a highly rated luxury midsize SUV, but it came with its fair share of issues—learn more here!
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Over the past decade, the 2012 Buick Enclave has been recalled six times, mostly for safety failures associated with its airbags and seatbelts.
We put a lot of trust in automobile companies to follow through with the promises of their safety system. Especially because you may not realize your safety system has failed until you need it most.
So while the Buick Enclave was highly rated amongst midsize luxury SUVs in 2012, the underlying safety issues are a concern. Follow along as
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The most common 2012 Buick Enclave problems

After 10+ years on the road, the 2012 Buick Enclave has had six problems deemed frequent or dangerous enough to demand a recall.  Let’s take a look at each one:
  • Driver's airbag inflator may explode: Due to a manufacturing defect, the airbag inflator may explode during deployment and send sharp metal fragments toward the driver and other occupants. This defect can cause severe injury or death—sadly ironic for a device that is supposed to protect you.
  • Side curtain airbags may be unsecured: This may cause the side curtain airbag not to perform as intended, which increases injury risk.
  • Side impact airbags wiring connections: Faulty wiring may cause the side impact airbags not to deploy, which increases injury risk.
  • Flexible steel cable for seat belt may fail: The flexible steel that connects the seatbelt to the front outboard seating positions can deteriorate over time, which reduces its effectiveness in an accident.
  • Windshield wiper arm nuts struggle to function in winter weather: Snow or ice buildup can cause the wiper arm to loosen, causing it not to work correctly. This sounds simple, but reduced visibility can cause a greater risk of a crash.
  • Liftgate struts may fail: The struts that hold the liftgate up when open are susceptible to premature wear and tear, which can cause it to fall suddenly. If it were to strike a person, it could cause serious injury.
And those are just the recalled problems. Other common complaints report the check engine light being triggered by a broken 35R clutch waveplate inside the transmission or a powertrain control module (PCM) software update
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Is the 2012 Buick Enclave reliable?

It should come as no surprise (after reading through all the recalls) that the 2012 Buick Enclave didn't receive a stellar review for its reliability: RepairPal gave it a Reliability Rating of 3.0/5.0 and an estimation of $778 in average annual repair costs.
If reliability is your number one priority, it may make sense to look towards a Toyota or Honda rather than a Buick. You’ll sacrifice some luxury by doing this, but at least you’ll spend less time at the mechanic.
But if you have your heart set on purchasing a used 2012 Buick Enclave, make sure to get an in-depth maintenance report and have a 3rd party inspect the vehicle. This will inform you of the vehicle's condition and history as it relates to the common problems associated with this model. You might also consider adding rental reimbursement to your Buick Enclave insurance—this policy rider will pay some (or all!) of the costs of renting a vehicle if your Enclave has to go into the shop.

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