5 Buick Enclave Years to Avoid

The Buick Enclave has never been the most reliable SUV, but you avoid the 2008 and 2009 models in particular.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
It’s no secret that the Buick Enclave is not known for its reliability, but when it comes to buying a used one, you should steer clear of any model years prior to 2015.
The Enclave is considered a luxury crossover SUV, so buying used instead of new can be a great way to save up front—and on your
Buick Enclave insurance costs
. That said, the vehicle’s notorious unreliability can wind up costing you everything you’ve saved—and more.
To help you avoid getting stuck in an expensive cycle of breakdowns and repairs,
car insurance
comparison and broker app
has compiled a list of specific model years of the Buick Enclave to avoid. And for those who still want to give this SUV a go, we’ve located the best year for the Buick Enclave—so you can feel confident you’re getting the best deal for your dollar.
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2008-2014 Buick Enclave

Problem points: Transmission, shift cable, timing chain, power steering, engine failure, cracked engine block, engine light, electrical system, airbag failures, structural issues
The Buick Enclave was originally conceived as a luxury spin on the SUV market. But it’s been plagued with problems since its introduction in 2008. For the most part, these tend to be relatively minor inconveniences—like an engine light that cries wolf.
But that engine light also comes on when something actually is wrong, and there’s often no way to tell whether this is the case. Some of the Enclave’s more costly issues include stretched timing chains—an issue that would turn on your engine light, but not be terribly noticeable at first. Unfortunately, this means you keep driving and exacerbate an already expensive problem.
Even without major problems, the Buick Enclave is generally unreliable and costs most owners a good deal to keep up. With an average yearly repair bill over $700, it’s one of the most expensive SUVs on the market to maintain.
Key Takeaway If you choose to get a Buick Enclave, be prepared for ongoing repairs and expenses.

2008 Buick Enclave

Problem points: Transmission and shift cable issues, engine failure
If there is one model year of the Buick Enclave to avoid in particular, it’s the 2008.
The 2008’s GM-Ford 6T75 automatic transmission suffered from programming issues that led to terrible gas mileage. To make things worse, engagement issues with the shift cable adjustment clip meant the driver didn’t always know what gear the car was in. Several drivers reported placing their cars in park only to have them stay in drive.
issued a recall
for both issues, so most available models have likely been fixed. However, even those transmissions that were fixed during recall still failed well before the vehicle turned over 100,000 miles. Transmission issues are one of the problems most often reported across all model years of the Enclave.
The model also suffers from unreliable engines. Despite regular maintenance and oil changes, many owners still found themselves with blown engines.
MORE: Buick Enclave v6

2009-2011 Buick Enclave

Problem points: Power steering
It’s hard not to notice when your vehicle’s steering wheel suddenly takes a lot of muscle to get it to turn. Unfortunately, the issue is usually not an empty power steering fluid reservoir in the Buick Enclave’s 2009-2011 model years.
Owners of 2009-2011 Enclaves that have seen about 80,000 miles can often expect to find themselves paying about $1,700 to have their power steering repaired. Certainly, most vehicles can expect to see some power steering issues at some point late in their car’s life—but at 80,000 miles, these Enclaves are still spring chickens.
MORE: How to check and add power steering fluid

2010 Buick Enclave

Problem points: Cracked engine block
Not to be outdone by its predecessors, the 2010 Buick Enclave added cracked engine blocks to the host of problems already plaguing many Enclave owners. This repair is particularly expensive, costing owners anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 or more to correct.

Buick Enclave’s best model year: 2020

So far, the most reliable Buick Enclave model is the 2020 Buick Enclave Avenir. This doesn’t mean it’s perfect—and it doesn’t mean it’s popular—but it does mean it may not cost as much to maintain as earlier models. 
As the Enclave’s top trim, though, it’ll cost you. New 2020 Enclave Avenirs started at close to $55,000 and used models continue to sell for upwards of $50,000
Despite being the most reliable year, even the 2020 Enclave Avenir is plagued by the same transmission and electrical issues that have haunted the model since its inception.
Key Takeaway If reliability is important to you, consider staying away from the Buick Enclave.

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Do your research. Generally speaking, used SUVs can be very reliable—but some models have known issues that have led to recalls and even accidents. These are all well-documented, so take some time to read up on your model before making a decision to buy.
Get an independent inspection. Contrary to what you may think, most car dealers are not car experts—but licensed, independent mechanics are.
Check your state’s lemon law. All fifty states and Washington D.C. have some variation of
lemon laws
meant to protect consumers from defective products.
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