Which are the GMC Terrain Years to Avoid and Why

A compact SUV called the GMC Terrain has been produced continuously since 2009 and is still available today. Many people bank on it as their main car since it is a dependable alternative. If you’re shopping for a new vehicle, the GMC Terrain is a great choice. But what are the GMC Terrain model years to avoid, you might be wondering.

If you’re going to make a down payment on a car, be sure it’s worthwhile. It would be ideal if you had a durable item. Continue reading to discover which GMC Terrain model years to buy as a dependable used car and which to steer clear of. We can assist you in locating the appropriate car for your next purchase.

Which are the GMC Terrain Years to Avoid?

Over the years, the GMC Terrain has seen several outstanding iterations, but some problematic ones aren’t worth your attention. You should steer clear of a few GMC Terrain years if you want to maximize your earnings.

The GMC Terrain years to avoid are as follows:

  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015

The GMC Terrain is having some of its worst years ever right now.

These were the GMC Terrain’s weakest years due to many issues. We’ll go into them next so you can see why these are the GMC Terrain model years to steer clear of. We can assist you in making decisions related to your next auto purchase.

1. A 2019 GMC Terrain
A 2019 GMC Terrain by Kevauto / CC BY-SA 4.0. Since 2019, there have been extremely few reliability concerns with any GMC Terrain.

Why Do These Years Feature In This List of GMC Terrain Years to Avoid?

These years were worthwhile to avoid for the reasons already outlined. Even though there are more than three, we’ll focus on the three most noticeable concerns so you may comprehend the most important troubles that have afflicted these years.

Car Complaints lists the following as some of the main factors that make these years worthwhile to avoid:


The 2010 GMC Terrain is not the right choice for you if you’re searching for a car that will get you from point A to point B.

Expectations were high because this was the first model of its sort, but sadly, GMC failed to meet them. Owners of this model experienced many problems that made ownership extremely challenging.

The engine would use up oil quickly, necessitating more top-ups than usual. Additionally, it would make for a difficult drive for owners, resulting in a less-than-optimal driving experience.

Additionally, there were several instances of total transmission failure for this model. This was unacceptable since GMC unjustly introduced a new SUV without enough testing.

However, if you’re thinking about purchasing a GMC Terrain, you should think about a different model than the 2010 version.


I do not suggest the 2011 GMC Terrain as a vehicle. It’s obvious why this model has received the most complaints throughout Terrain history.

Additionally, owners frequently complain about excessive oil usage. You may have a major issue since oil changes will cost more money.

The engine may wear out more quickly as a result of the frequent oil level drops. Engine stalling while driving is another serious problem with this type, which may be risky.

Additionally, a lot of owners had total gearbox failures, leaving them with immobile cars.

You don’t want to deal with peeling paint after some use, which is a sign of bad paint quality.


For many buyers, the 2012 GMC Terrain was a poor choice. Even if there are fewer complaints than for the 2011 model, this is most likely because fewer people are purchasing this SUV in the first place.

There were still several problems with the system even when transmission failures were not recorded.

The transmission on this particular model was frequently criticized for its clunk while shifting gears.

The discomfort of driving is greatly increased by this problem. Similar problems, such as the engine eating oil and stalling when idling low, faced others who purchased it.

2. 2010 GMC Terrain
If you’re looking for a vehicle that will get you from A to B, the 2010 GMC Terrain is not the best option for you.

The features that were offered also had bugs. The power seat would occasionally stop working, and the GPS was unreliable. The radio would occasionally stop working as well, which made owning this vehicle challenging.


Avoiding the 2013 GMC Terrain at all costs is the best course of action. In addition to the previous problems, it had considerably more significant ones.

For many users, the engine’s primary seal would fail. This model once more indicated high oil consumption. There is more to the story. The Bluetooth system was unreliable and had bugs.

Driving this vehicle would cause a lot of transmission vibration, which would make the experience unappealing.

Additionally, there was terrible isolation, which allowed sounds to penetrate the cabin. Additionally, there was one incident of internal water damage, which is very unacceptable.

Due to these problems, buying the 2013 GMC Terrain is not a good investment because you will spend more time with the vehicle than with the technician.


The 2014 GMC Terrain is the fifth consecutive model to experience these problems. Despite not being the worst car on this list, it still has several significant problems that never should have been in the first place.

The largest problem, though, is high oil consumption: if you spend the entire day in stop-and-go traffic, your car will consume more oil than usual.

It is also known to have engine problems that can force it to shut down while driving or accelerate suddenly, both of which can cause a catastrophic accident.

Finally, there are occasions when the radio won’t operate. Furthermore, driving in poor sight can be risky when the wipers fail in wet weather, as they frequently do. It was also noted that the menu display was glitchy and that it may go blank.


The 2015 GMC Terrain has three recalls, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), for three different issues: side airbags that are prone to rupture, dazzling headlight reflection, and failed windshield wipers.

Of the 211 complaints submitted, excessive oil usage, engine stalling, and broken wipers stand out as the most frequent.

Two investigations are ongoing in the 2015 Terrain. The failed windshield wipers are the subject of both investigations since the ball joint might fall apart over time due to wear.

Many owners have gone to enthusiast sites to voice their grievances about Terrain’s electrical system for things like broken infotainment consoles and connectivity difficulties, in addition to complaints filed with the NHTSA.

With over 200 owner complaints, 2015 wasn’t the worst year for the first-generation Terrain, but by 2016, there were only a third as many complaints as there had been before.

3. 2013 GMC Terrain Denali
Because of these issues, investing in a 2013 GMC Terrain is not a wise decision because you will spend more time with the car than with the mechanic.

What Years of the GMC Terrain are Safe to Buy?

What about the GMC Terrain years that function? We’ve spoken a lot about the ones that are unsuited for driving. To choose the greatest future automobile for you, it’s equally important to understand all sides of the argument. Let’s discuss some of the top vintages you can buy used.

Some of the greatest years for the GMC Terrain, per CarComplaints.com, are:

  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021

The top GMC Terrain models have come out in recent years.

These six cars are great possibilities to consider if you’re seeking a great GMC Terrain replacement in the future. The more informed your choice will be, the more you’ll understand what the GMC Terrain has to offer each year. Spend some time learning ahead to save money.


This small SUV, which comes in 5 different trim levels, excels at carrying a lot of baggage, has many excellent safety features, and is quite reasonably priced for its class. However, it may struggle on city streets.

Due to the 2016 GMC Terrain’s slow acceleration, significant blind spot, and big turning circle, I am ranking it sixth overall.

Despite this, the 2016 model provided a pleasant and comfortable ride along with plenty of storage space within the cabin. The quiet cabin and the generous and flexible rear legroom added to the relaxation.


The 2017 GMC Terrain is a great option if you’re searching for a sleek, dependable car that won’t break the bank.

With accommodation for up to five people and 64 cubic feet of storage when the seats are folded down, the interior is roomy and pleasant.

That much room is more than adequate for the cargo of the majority of individuals. To keep you secure on the road, it also contains six airbags and many more safety measures.

The top-of-the-line GMC Terrain is equipped with a 3.6L V6 engine that has enough power to make getting around town and traveling long distances simple.

You won’t feel that the SUV is underpowered because it is a respectable performer. All of the SUV’s engines fall under this.


The 2018 GMC Terrain represents a whole new generation of vehicles, delivering several upgrades while maintaining dependability.

The cabin has a high-end vibe, and the outside is gorgeous. The top-of-the-line Denali model uses leather and has an even finer interior. For its class, the Terrain’s 28 mpg combined fuel efficiency is respectable.

Both the ride quality and handling are first-rate. Long travels and everyday commutes are greatly facilitated by its comparatively pleasant ride.

The IntelliLink infotainment system is one of the finest in its class. Additionally, it is simple to use and adaptable, enabling customization and simple phone communication.


GMC removed the available diesel engine for the 2020 Terrain this year. But that wasn’t the only thing that altered!

The interior of the 2020 model received a great makeover, including a more modern design and better materials. The suspension system of the Terrain gives it a smooth ride.

You may drive at high speeds without fear of losing control because of the outstanding handling.

There are two engine choices: a 1.5L available engine with 170 HP and a 2.0L Turbo engine with 252 HP.

Both of them are quite decent, however, I would suggest locating one that is fitted with a turbo engine. Additionally, using the infotainment system is simple and enjoyable. All things considered, the 2020 GMC Terrain is a decent vehicle that you will undoubtedly like driving.


If you’re on a tight budget and searching for a midsize SUV, the 2021 GMC Terrain is a fantastic option. It resembles the 2020 model, which is advantageous.

The 2020 model was already quite dependable, so if GMC chose to play it safe by making no significant modifications, that was a wise move.

You’ll want to take it for a trip every day thanks to the exterior’s streamlined design, which is nonetheless fashionable and attractive. Additionally, this variant gets 28 mpg in terms of fuel efficiency.

The 2.0L turbo engine in the Denali model can produce 252 HP, which is a respectable amount.

Despite not being intended for it, this vehicle may be fitted with a tow kit that can pull up to 3500 pounds.


After four years, the GMC Terrain has undergone a facelift, and it is a significant upgrade. I’ve looked at every trim choice, and I must say, this SUV is stunning.

You may have the turbocharged engine regardless of the model you select because it is offered in all variations.

Additionally, the GMC Safety Suite is included on All-Terrain models, allowing you to concentrate solely on driving rather than fearing the worst-case scenario.

Last but not least, this SUV has lessened road noise. It also makes use of a superior suspension system that is built to withstand shocks. This problem can be found in older SUV models. Therefore, it’s wonderful that GMC finally corrected it.

Is a GMC Terrain Reliable?

In general, GMC Terrain is dependable and will provide value for your money. For instance, the 2022 GMC Terrain received an 83 out of 100 dependability rating.

The GMC Terrain’s first six years weren’t great, but the most recent GMC Terrain comes with some modifications and enhancements. For instance, the 2020 GMC gets a 4 out of 5 expected dependability rating. Since 2019 every GMC Terrain has had little to no reliability issues.

When it comes to safety features, the 2020 GMC Terrain is among the finest. In this category, it is rated five stars. You shouldn’t worry because the GMC of 2020 also received a five-star rating in the braking test.

The GMC Terrain is a fantastic car to drive. The most recent models are dependable and have few to no complaints.

The models that were available before 2015, however, told the opposite tale. They were difficult to own and had several problems.

If you’re considering buying an earlier model of this car, you should be aware that they have a history of experiencing gearbox and engine issues fairly early in their careers.

Get a thorough check from a qualified technician before taking one of these cars home if you decide to buy one so they can notify you if anything is wrong with it.

GMC Terrains: How Long Do They Last?

You can expect the GMC Terrain to last for up to 20 years and 300,000 miles. However, the vehicle’s lifespan is influenced by how you drive and care for it.

Normally, it will easily surpass the 200,000-mile mark, but if you adhere to the recommended maintenance plan and develop safe driving practices, you should be able to use it for up to 300,000 miles.

After 300,000 miles, you could need to spend some money on big repairs, and occasionally you’ll have to decide whether to spend money on a new vehicle or how long you can keep a repaired one.

What to Do to Extend Your GMC Terrain’s Life

Although the GMC Terrain is a respectable SUV, you can improve its handling. The advice in this section is intended to prolong the Terrain’s life.

  • Examine the oil often. This is crucial if you frequently travel in stop-and-go traffic or over long distances on motorways or freeways with few opportunities for frequent pauses.
  • Maintain proper tire inflation. The SUV would be tougher to maneuver and its tires will wear out more rapidly if they are under-inflated.
  • Avoid potholes and other roadblocks that might harm your tires or other car components.
  • To avoid early and uneven tire wear, tires must be rotated every six months.
  • When feasible, use premium gasoline. Premium unleaded fuel may cost more per gallon than standard unleaded fuel, but it will keep your engine operating effectively and smoothly for longer.

These were a few of the well-known suggestions that may be applied to lengthen the GMC Terrain’s lifespan.

Things That Reduce Your GMC Terrain’s Lifespan

The SUV’s longevity may be negatively impacted by a variety of factors. We’ll examine them in this part so you may learn what to avoid doing.

  • Your tires deteriorate more quickly the quicker you go. They will need to be updated more frequently, costing you more money. Who wants that, anyway?
  • Don’t take your Terrain off-road. Although it has a tough appearance, this SUV was designed for comfort on smooth roads and highways rather than being an off-road vehicle.
  • Never let your automobile idle for more than a few days without starting it and driving some distance.
  • If your GMC Terrain seems like it is suffering, don’t try to push it over its breaking point.
  • Keep an eye on your tire pressure because if it drops too low, the tires will begin to age more quickly.

To guarantee that it can reach the 300,000-mile milestone, you need to be constantly aware of these things and take precautions to avoid them.

Which are the General GMC Terrain Issues?

The GMC Terrain is one of the more dependable compact SUVs, but it does have a few issues that the industry is actively investigating. Various problems for various model years. Manufacturers have upgraded a few things, though.

1.  Defective Electronic Stability Control System

StabiliTrak®, an electronic stability control system, is standard equipment on GMC Terrain models, particularly the 2015 model. However, several customers have expressed dissatisfaction that StabiliTrak® behaves erratically, impairing vehicle handling and performance as a whole. Poor acceleration, engine shutdown, stalling, jerking while driving, etc. are all effects of a malfunctioning electronic stability control system.

At roughly 50,000 miles, low-mileage automobiles frequently have electronic problems. Users stated that even after taking their cars to a technician, there was never a precise diagnosis, and they frequently had to pay for repairs. Take your GMC Terrain back to a GMC dealer right away to get the StabiliTrak® problem fixed if you have one.

2. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Malfunctioning

The HVAC issues are another concern that frequently affects GMC Terrains. It is commonly believed that the 2014 model’s HVAC system is broken; owners have claimed that the heater has started to spew chilly air when it shouldn’t.

Along with the heater problem, the HVAC also has heating/cooling issues, a clogged HVAC drain line that results in water leaks, an unwelcome smell from the system, and other issues.

You will start to experience the signs of a defective HVAC at about 60,000 miles, and it will probably start with a heating or cooling problem, according to various reports and complaints from customers.

Contact a professional to assist you to solve the issue if your 2014 GMC Terrain has HVAC problems. The location, mechanic shop, and labor rates all affect repair prices.

3. Engine Issues

The 2013 GMC Terrain is the car with the most engine problems. Numerous reports from owners claim that the engine will suddenly start functioning strangely for no apparent reason. High oil consumption, stalling, limited engine power, and occasionally engine shutdown are symptoms.

At 52,000 or 108,000 miles, the symptoms might start to appear. However, not always, according to some users, the symptoms cause the check engine light to illuminate.

Some consumers claimed that their engines suddenly cut off and stopped. Before taking any action, first, speak with your dealer to see if your warranty includes engine repair and replacement. The best course of action for your 2013 GMC Terrain is to get the engine replaced.

4. Unusual Noise Emanating from the Water Pump

The best course of action if your 2012 GMC Terrain has a water pump issue is to repair or replace it. The main problem is a loud whining sound that develops after servicing the water pump, cylinder head, or water pump chain.

It could occur if you work on your automobile without using a tool to keep the water pump socket in place. It will cause the chain tension on the water pump to start acting up. GMC had to solve the situation, and they did so by issuing an advisory in 2017. The manual provided instructions on how to reset the pump chain tensioner.

5. Transmission Defects

The primary offender in the transmission problem is the 2011 GMC Terrain. It might deteriorate to the point that it starts to malfunction before 88,000 kilometers. Long consumers claimed that after suffering jerking, stopping, and difficulty shifting for some time, their cars finally ceased operating. Due to the high cost of transmissions, several users had to replace them, which was not a simple task.

Your Terrain transmission might cost you more than $3,000 to replace. In other cases, the transmission had to be replaced more than once, according to the reports.

6. Overuse of Oil

The GMC Terrain models previously mentioned also experience this issue with high oil consumption. This car heavily consumes oil as opposed to burning it frequently. If you’re not careful, your automobile can burn out quickly.

When deciding which year is ideal for your next investment, there are several factors to take into account. Try to avoid the years, like the 2010 and 2011 selections, that will see high oil use. Your GMC Terrain will wear down faster the more you harm it by running out of oil.

7. Defective Airbags

The airbags in the 2017 GMC Terrain have been reported to often malfunction by several owners. According to the findings, there is a significant safety concern since the airbags did not deploy in the case of a collision or crash. Since there have been instances of injuries because the airbags failed to deploy as a result of a genuine collision, you cannot afford to overlook this problem.

Perform a routine examination of the airbags if you’re thinking about buying a GMC Terrain. There were no indications that there was a problem with the airbags, and the service alarms either didn’t turn on at all or turned on only after the collision. Additionally, according to one account, the seat belt was secured and the airbag did not deploy.

How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a GMC Terrain?

A GMC Terrain’s yearly maintenance will run you roughly $558, according to Repair Pal. The cost of maintenance and repair, however, is determined by the damaged component, your neighborhood mechanic, and your driving style.

The brake pads on your GMC Terrain should last 70,000 miles before needing replacement, and they are not very costly. The tires are inexpensive and have a 50,000-mile lifespan. 180,000 miles should pass before the gearbox has to be replaced. It’s one of your car’s most expensive components.

Recalls for GMC Terrain

Many GMC Terrain SUVs made between 2010 and 2017 were recalled due to low-beam headlights that can cause other drivers to become distracted. Better headlights were standard on the 2018 model, which was exempt from this recall. Many vehicle recalls were also issued for the GMC Terrain in 2022 due to catalytic converter problems.

Many recalls were also issued for the 2014–2015 GMC Terrain due to the windshield wipers’ interference with visibility. Some 2021–2022, Hankook Tire-equipped GMC Terrain were recalled by General Motors.

Certain tires were made with low curative substances that might separate the tread. Some recalls were also issued for the 2018–2019 GMC Terrain due to missing fasteners on the end cap of the start-stop accumulator.

Due to a faulty fuel system that might cause gasoline leaks, the 2018 GMC was subject to many recalls. Airbags, the powertrain, visibility, the electrical system, seat belts, and other issues led to the recall of several GMC Terrains.

GMC Terrain Safety Specifications

The majority of GMC Terrains offer top-notch safety equipment. For instance, the 2020 GMC received a safety ranking of 5 out of 5. The front and side crash tests resulted in a flawless score for it.

The majority of its safety measures up until the 2020 model are optional. All of the safety systems, including automatic emergency braking, front collision detection, and lane keep assist, are still included in the new model.

It also received a perfect score of 5 for braking, being able to stop in dry circumstances from 60 mph to 128 feet. It received a score of 4 out of 5 for emergency handling and a score of 3 out of 5 for its headlight performance.

The Conclusion

A dependable car may assist you in maintaining your safety while driving, which is essential. The GMC Terrain has a long history of being a pleasure to drive. We’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages of this car.

We’ve also talked about the years it’s had, so you may select from them as a buyer. Unfortunately, there are a few more that you need to take precautions to stay away from at all costs.

You may consciously pick the car of your dreams now that you are aware of all the significant issues that the GMC Terrain has experienced throughout the years. There are some horrible years for this car, but if you know where to search, you may get some amazing ones.

For many years, the GMC Terrain has been a well-liked SUV. Through the addition of new features and safety technologies, it has been becoming better over time. The GMC Terrain’s best years were those that came out after 2014. The GMC Terrain’s worst production years were before that. GMC introduced an unstable SUV to the market before eventually making things right.

I’m hoping this post on the greatest and worst GMC Terrain years was informative enough to allow you to finally make a well-informed choice before purchasing this SUV. As long as you get one of the more current versions, it is a fantastic purchase.

10. GMC Terrain Years to Avoid 11. GMC Terrain Years to Avoid
2022 GMC Terrain interior by deathpallie325 / CC BY-SA 4.0