Overall, the Chevy Equinox has a positive reputation for a crossover SUV. It is now onto its third generation, with it and previous generations earning fair reliability scores.

The good Chevy Equinox reliability ratings are primarily because of its excellent engine performance, superb fuel efficiency, and robust safety features. The low depreciation of the vehicle is also a plus. Still, despite the above-average reliability of the Equinox, there are issues owners should know, especially buyers of used models.

Based on the cost, frequency, and severity of repairs, the Chevy Equinox proves itself to be reliable. On average, the vehicle’s annual maintenance and repair costs are $537, slightly higher than average for compact SUVs but less expensive than the average across all vehicle models.

Regarding the frequency of repairs for the Chevy Equinox, owners must bring their vehicles in 0.3 times on average for unscheduled repairs. The average for compact SUVs is the same.

Finally, the Equinox has an 18% probability of needing a severe or major repair. The typical probability for compact SUVs is 12% and 14% for all vehicle models. The larger percentage may give buyers pause, but the Chevy Equinox reliability numbers are better than many other compact SUVs on the market. All the same, buyers should know the primary issues facing Equinox models.

1. Battery Problems

Battery reliability issues.

Some of the significant issues in the second-generation models, primarily the 2015 Chevy Equinox, were ongoing battery problems. Many consumers complained about faulty Bluetooth audio, USB ports, and other electrical system parts. Some owners had problems getting their vehicles to start in colder weather. Mechanics frequently found the causes to be the vehicle’s battery, and often owners needed to replace the battery to resolve the issues.

2. Excessive Oil Consumption

Another common reliability complaint in the second generation Equinox is the excessive oil consumption of the 2013 models. Several owners experienced sudden stalling or violent shaking before the vehicle stopped working. The check engine light usually alerted drivers to something amiss but with no description of the actual problem.

Owners who took their vehicles in for inspection discovered the oil consumption issue. Other drivers didn’t learn about the issue until their vehicles developed leaks. Despite the well-documented complaints, Chevy took no action to resolve the problem. 

3. Overactive Check Engine Light

Despite the improvements of the third generation, the 2018 model has a Chevy Equinox reliability issue that has frustrated countless owners. The first of the generation has an overly sensitive check engine light. Drivers would take the vehicle to a mechanic to find the cause, only to learn nothing was wrong. Some owners received an explanation for the frequent illumination: OBD-II code P25A9. This code indicates an internal engine problem and requires the replacement of the engine control unit.

4. Front Lower Control Arm Rattle

The first generation of the Chevy Equinox, specifically the 2005 model, often receives complaints of clunking or rattling in the vehicle’s front suspension. The noise is primarily noticeable when driving over bumps or rough roadways. Some owners describe the sound to be as severe as if the steering column was going to fall apart. In reality, the noise or rattling stems from the front lower control arm, and replacing the part should resolve the problem.

5. Faulty A/C System

The second generation of this model suffers from problems tarnishing the Chevy Equinox reliability rating. The 2011 model has persistent problems with the A/C system. Some owners experienced freon leaks, others said the system wouldn’t blow cold air, and others complained that the A/C released hot air. These issues stem from a faulty air compressor, and the appropriate solution is to replace it.

The Most Reliable Chevy Equinox Years

A reliable Chevy equinox interior.

Chevy improved and tweaked the Equinox through three generations to eliminate reliability concerns. Unfortunately, issues still arise. That said, some models and years are better than others. Interested buyers should try to stay away from the rougher years and focus on the models with the highest reliability ratings and reviews to avoid excessive repair costs. Each generation includes at least one model worthy of purchase.

First Generation: 2009

Normally, first-generation models get a poor reputation because the manufacturer is still working out all the kinks in the design. The first iterations of the Equinox had their issues, but the 2009 model stands out as the best in its class. It had zero recalls and minimal complaints. The chief complaints are problems with the timing chain and loss of power.

Second Generation: 2017

For the best Chevy Equinox reliability, buyers should avoid most second-generation models. However, the 2017 Equinox is the saving grace of the second generation, with all previous models having numerous complaints and recalls. The vehicle received perfect to near-perfect reliability ratings from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. This generation model is the most reliable across all generations and an excellent option for buyers.

Third Generation: 2019

The 2019 Chevy Equinox is somewhat more attractive than the 2017 because of its interior and performance improvements. It is also an excellent pick in the third-generation models. The 2019 does have a lower reliability rating compared to the 2017 and known issues with its electrical systems and interior accessories. That said, it is an excellent option for a more recent model, and it is more reliable than the 2022 model.

Average Lifespan of the Chevy Equinox

The average lifespan of the Chevy Equinox depends on annual driving habits and upkeep with routine maintenance. The Equinox can last 13 to 17 years or 150,000 to 200,000 miles in ideal situations and conditions. Second and third-generation models after 2016 are more likely to last 200,000 miles.

Back Up Your Chevy Equinox Reliability With a Vehicle Protection Plan

Depending on the generation and year, Chevy Equinox reliability is above average compared to other compact and crossover SUVs. Still, used cars routinely have problems, and more often than not, the issues occur after the expiration of a manufacturer’s warranty. A vehicle protection plan can ensure coverage for sudden and routine maintenance issues, so you aren’t paying for the costs out of pocket. Check out the VPP options available through Autopom and protect your vehicle for its entire usable life.

By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc