Chevy Equinox Problems: 5 Common Issues (Explained)

If you’re in the market for an SUV, a Chevy Equinox is a reliable, practical choice.

Between ranking as the second best-selling vehicle in 2014 (after the Silverado) and appearing in hundreds of films, the Chevy Equinox is a popular option for car enthusiasts and the media.

While the Chevy Equinox has a strong fan base, it’s not free from problems. But first, make sure you’ve read our article about how long Chevy Equinox cars last.

Like any car, the Chevy Equinox has pros and cons, which we’ve compiled below.

Problems with Chevy Equinox

Let’s dive in!

#1 Issues with the Timing Chain in a V6 Engine

One of the most common problems that Chevy Equinox owners face is a damaged or defective timing chain in a V6 engine.

As any car expert will know, a normal combustion engine is made of one or more fixed cylinders and one or multiple moving pistons.

A mixture of fuel and wind enters the intake valve and makes its way through the cylinder.

After the combination of fuel and air enters the cylinder, it burns and gives off energy.

As gasses are released in this combustion cycle, they drive the pistons down the cylinders. This makes the crankshaft spin, which lifts the pistons up again.

In this part of the process, burnt gases leave the exhaust valve. A camshaft controls both intake and exhaust valves.

A timing chain ensures that these valves open and close at the best timing. A timing chain also links the camshaft to the crankshaft so that both parts synchronize their rotation.

When the timing chain does its job right, the intake and exhaust valves close with ideal timing. When the timing chain gets stretched out, it affects this process.

This may cause the check engine light to glow because the vehicle’s internal computer system will sense that something is wrong.

When the check engine light comes on because of this reason, it could be due to the timing chain stretching or becoming slack.

The only real way to tell if this is the issue is by getting it checked by an experienced mechanic and ruling out other issues first.

With the Chevy Equinox, this problem happens quite frequently. Unfortunately, it’s also tough to diagnose this issue.

If your car mechanic or dealership is experienced in handling Chevy Equinox problems, they may immediately know what the issue is.

Still, without deconstructing the front section of the engine, you won’t know for sure that this is the problem.

Though the engine is quite strong it differs in how much the models can tow. We have a full towing guide to Chevy Equinox here.

To diagnose this problem:

  • Look for an Engine Position Performance code when the Check Engine Light comes on.
  • Another common code associated with this problem is the Camshaft Position Performance code.
  • When either of these codes shows up, it’s important to take it seriously and investigate the timing chain’s tension and position.
  • A stretched or worn-down timing belt will make one of these codes appear during a diagnostic test.

While this is a common problem for Chevy Equinoxes, it’s not totally unavoidable.

Routine oil changes can help prevent a stretched or worn-out timing chain. Also, keeping oil as close to optimal levels as possible can preserve the timing chain’s position and sizing.

2. Oil Consumption Problems in the 4 Cylinder Engine

Since the Chevy Equinox runs on a four-cylinder engine, it’s typical for this kind of engine to have issues related to oil consumption.

Four-cylinder engines are powerful, but they have a key drawback: they have a tendency to consume a great deal of oil compared to engines with fewer cylinders.

As a rule of thumb, GM suggests that a Chevy Equinox should burn through less than one quart of oil for every 2,000 miles.

From the reports of Chevy Equinox owners and drivers, a four-cylinder engine can guzzle over four quarts of oil every month. This is definitely higher than General Motor’s estimation.

Depending on how much you drive your Chevy Equinox, you may find yourself going through an even higher amount of oil every month.

This can be costly and frustrating.

As we mentioned before, maintaining proper oil levels is important in keeping the car healthy and avoiding one of the most common issues.

When you find your vehicle going through more oil than the recommended amount, there may be an underlying issue causing it.

You may want to check these key areas to make sure there isn’t an issue making your Chevy Equinox go through oil like it’s water.

  • Check The PCV System

The fix may be as simple as replacing the old valve cover with a new valve cover.

When this is the case, your mechanic will notice a large amount of oil cycling through the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (also known as PCV) system.

When this is happening, it means the PCV system isn’t working properly and needs to be fixed to reduce oil consumption.

  • Look at the Valve Seals

Valve seals keep oil from entering the four-cylinder engine’s combustion chamber. The valve seal essentially prevents the air and fuel mixture from getting contaminated.

A damaged or broken valve seal lets oil leak, which makes it get burned more than usual.

When this happens, the overall amount of oil goes down unusually quickly or slowly, which can affect oil levels as a whole.

3. Oil Leaks Are Another Common Problem with the Chevy Equinox

Whether it’s caused by a bad rear main seal letting oil leak near the section of the oil pan that touches the transition or another issue, oil leaks tend to happen with Chevy Equinoxes more frequently than they do with other cars.

A mechanic can usually diagnose this problem pretty easily.

If a mechanic sees oil leaking close to the back of the oil pan, it’s safe to say that this is the issue.

This problem can damage the engine if left unchecked.

If you notice your Chevy Equinox burning through oil at a faster rate than normal (typically more than one quart of oil for every 2,000 miles),

it’s worth getting the issue checked before it gets worse. It won’t fix itself and it’s not good for the car to keep using oil at this rate in the long run.

Replacing the engine can also fix this problem, but that’s a very costly solution. It’s better to try other fixes first to see if that helps the issue.

4. Bad Piston Rings Are Also a Common Issue as well

When a Chevy Equinox goes through oil like there’s no tomorrow, the fix could be as simple as replacing bad piston rings. If piston rings aren’t sealing correctly, they may allow excessive oil to seep through.

General Motors has acknowledged that this is a common problem, especially with Second Generation Chevy Equinoxes released between 2010 and 2017.

General Motors released a technical service bulletin that explains most of the common culprits behind excessive oil leakage in Chevy Equinoxes.

Bad Piston Rings were listed as one of the more typical causes of this issue.

Piston rings keep the ideal amount of oil flowing between the cylinder wall and piston. Additionally, piston rings help regulate the amount of oil consumed by taking extra oil off the walls and directing it into the sump where it’s more useful.

If piston rings get trapped in the pistons or don’t seal the way they are supposed to seal, excess oil will slip through them or around them and burn.

As a result, the car will consume more oil than it should.

Although it’s not the easiest fix–a mechanic will need to remove the engine’s cylinder heads, take out the pistons, and then replace them–it could be worth it.

Your Chevy Equinox will last longer, run better, and consume less oil if you fix this issue early. This will be better for your wallet and peace of mind.

5. Issues with EVAP Codes

When the gas cap goes bad in a Chevy Equinox, it can cause a whole host of issues. The evaporation emission control system (EVAP) plays an important role in the vehicle. It keeps the gas fumes in the gas tank from releasing into the atmosphere.

While the EVAP is important for keeping your car from smelling strongly of gas outside of the car, it plays another crucial role.

The EVAP helps the environment by reducing toxic pollution.

If a gas cap loosens, wears out, or the purge valve goes bad, the EVAP code will appear in the diagnostic process.

When this happens, it’s best to pull the gas cap out to check the seal for damage and see if it locks back in position after you replace it.

When it feels like it has loosened or you see signs of wearing out in the seal, it’s important to replace the gas cap.

If the gas cap seems tight and snaps back into place after replacing it, the issue might lie in the purge solenoid.

Inspect the purge solenoid’s connectors for run-down or injured wires and terminals that have corroded.

Thankfully, if this issue is plaguing your Chevy Equinox, it’s a very simple fix–especially compared to some of the other problems that are common in the Chevy Equinox.

General Pros and Cons for Chevy Equinox


  • Above-average reliability

If you want a vehicle that is guaranteed to get you from point A to point Z (and everywhere in between), the Chevy Equinox is generally rated as a reliable choice for that.

Prominent experts in the motor industry, like Repair Pal, rate this vehicle with up to a 3.5/5 in reliability. This puts the Chevy Equinox at 23rd place out of 26 SUVs in its rating system, which is pretty reliable.

Another popular source in the automobile industry, J.D. Power, gave the 2021 model an 85/100 on the reliability scale.

  • Powerful, capable engine

While the engine is standard, it is high quality and capable of long-distance, powerful driving.

  • Smooth driving and fantastic ride quality

A Chevy Equinox is not a jolting experience for the driver or the rider. Drivers can enjoy a smooth driving experience while riders sit back and relax in comfort.

  • Decent fuel economy

For an SUV, the newest models of Chevy Equinoxes compare to sedans in their fuel efficiency.

Chevy Equinoxes that were made between 2010-2017 might have higher fuel consumption than their newer counterparts. Still, their fuel economy tends to be as good or better than vehicles of similar size and years on the market.

Since the newest models have better fuel efficiency, they’re a good choice for drivers who plan to use their Chevy Equinox for daily commutes or long-distance trips.


  • Issues with the Timing Chain in a V6 Engine
  • Oil Consumption Problems in the 4 Cylinder Engine
  • Oil Leaks Are Another Common Problem with the Chevy Equinox
  • Bad Piston Rings Are Also a Common Issue for the Chevy Equinox
  • Chevy Equinoxes Can Also Have Issues with EVAP Codes

What Do the Reviews Say?

According to Consumer Reports,

“The Equinox is one of the roomiest compact SUVs available, and offers the latest infotainment and safety technology. The sole engine is a lackluster 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic. We found that the ride absorbed bumps and pavement imperfections very well. Handling is responsive and secure. The cabin is quiet, and the controls are straightforward to use.”


“Chevrolet’s compact SUV makes a trip to the plastic surgeon for the 2022 model year. Along with more attractive styling, the 2022 Equinox also includes updates to available trims and engines.


What’s the Resale Value on an Equinox?

A Chevy Equinox’s resale value depends on a variety of factors including age, condition, and wear and tear.

Year Mileage Price



















Go back to see problems for all Chevrolet models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.