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2013 Chevrolet Equinox: Hundreds of engine complaints, some electrical problems and two recalls compromise safety


Key points

  • More than 50 percent of the 604 complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox relate to engine problems.
  • A class action settlement for the 2.4-liter engine includes “special coverage adjustments” for the 2013 Equinox, with the engine warranty extended to seven years or 120,000 miles.
  • A recall has been issued for windshield wipers that may stop working due to corrosion of the components. Dealers will inspect the wiper control module and replace it free of charge if necessary.
  • The prevalence of electrical problems in the 2013 Chevy Equinox can be problematic, such as climate controls going out, and dangerous, such as advanced safety features not working.
  • A recall has been issued for circumstances that could allow the key to be removed from the ignition in a small number of affected vehicles when not parked.

2013 Chevy Equinox reported engine problems due to excessive oil consumption, knocking, and breakdowns

Engine problems with the second-generation Chevrolet Equinox, particularly the 2010 to 2013 model years, have been well documented by owners, with more than 50% of complaints filed with NHTSA involving its four-cylinder engine and 2.4 liters. The 2.4-liter engine found in the 2013 Equinox, like its GMC Terrain counterpart, suffers from a piston ring defect that can lead to excessive oil consumption.

Research Suggests Defective 2013 Equinox piston rings tend to wear prematurely, which can loosen the seal surrounding the pistons and therefore allow oil to flow into the engine’s combustion chamber.

As a result, Chevy Equinox models equipped with the 2.4-liter engine can burn one quart of oil every 1,000 miles. which can lead to engine knocking, low oil pressure, dirty spark plugs, damaged timing chains, and possibly engine failure. Numerous complaints filed with NHTSA document these conditions, as well as vehicle shaking, camshaft damage, and catalytic converter problems.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against General Motors (GM) to remedy the engine problems and financial burden that owners have suffered with their Chevy Equinox. A settlement agreement was reached in which GM issued “special coverage adjustments” in January 2020 for the 2013 Equinox. Under the agreement, GM extended engine warranty coverage for a period of seven years and six months, or 120,000 (whichever comes first), from the 2013 Equinox in-service date, in case of excessive oil consumption.

Owners who file a claim with GM for excessive oil consumption issues will receive a free replacement of the piston assembly on their 2013 Equinox with the 2.4-liter engine or a refund for repair or service costs.

2013 Equinox Wiper Module Corrosion May Cause Wipers Not to Work, Safety Recall Issued

GM has issued a recall on more than 360,000 vehicles, covering the 2013 Chevy Equinox (and 2013 GMC Terrain), for an issue where the windshield wiper module ball joints can experience high corrosion and wear that could cause the windshield wiper module joints to separate from the bushings, ultimately leaving one or both wipers inoperative. More than 20% of complaints filed with NHTSA for the 2013 Equinox involve this issue with corrosive wiper modules.

GM says that after notification to owners, vehicles will be taken to certified dealers, who will have the front wiper module inspected for corrosion, which has not yet been replaced. If both conditions are met, dealers will replace it with a new module that has a water deflector and improved ball joints.

Additionally, distributors will fill the water management hole near the passenger side wiper pivot and drill a small hole in the adjacent wall of the air intake panel. If the wiper module has already been replaced, dealers will repair the hole in the air intake panel.

Complaints about electrical problems in the 2013 Equinox are common

While engine and powertrain complaints overwhelmingly dominate NHTSA filings for the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox, electrical problems also appear to be common. Climate controls not working, infotainment system failures and problems with the emergency alert system are some of the most common complaints about the 2013 Equinox.

Homeowners report that HVAC controls do not work when they go to operate them, especially the defroster, which can cause visibility problems for drivers when they cannot use it. With the infotainment system, owners have encountered issues such as a frozen or scrambled screen that prevents its use, as well as the rearview camera not working or remaining active after switching to drive.

The owners say they took their vehicle to a dealership to reset the infotainment system. In extreme circumstances, some report needing a complete infotainment replacement with a price tag of over $1,000.

Another electrical problem reported among 2013 Equinox owners is GM’s forward collision warning, which activates when you approach an object or vehicle too quickly without applying the brakes. On affected units, the system may activate under unnecessary or inappropriate circumstances.

Unfortunately, owners say they were unable to correctly diagnose the problem and the only remedy was to disable the system or reduce its sensitivity.

The reminder about the possible removal of the ignition key when the vehicle is not in park affects a small number of vehicles but includes the 2013 Chevy Equinox

GM has issued a recall for a damaged electronic parking lock lever. An affected vehicle may have a damaged lever that does not prevent the ignition key from being removed when the transmission or gear selector is in a position other than park.

Although it only affects about 8,300 vehicles across various GM products, the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox is included on the list. This recall is worth mentioning to potential buyers and drivers because, without repair, conditions can arise that allow the vehicle to perform unexpectedly.

GM says the 2013 Equinox may have a damaged electronic parking lock lever that does not prevent the ignition key from being removed when the vehicle’s transmission or gear selector is in any position other than park. The automaker says dealers will inspect and replace the cylinder lock housing if necessary, at no cost to owners.

The 2013 Chevy Equinox is practical for everyday driving, but 2.4L engine problems, electrical problems, and safety recalls should not be overlooked.

Caza sold nearly 240,000 Equinox vehicles in 2013. Although the model is practical and affordable, it has earned a reputation for being unreliable. Engine problems with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder are numerous, so much so that they are almost inevitable.

By contrast, the $1,500 upgrade to the 3.6-liter V6 engine appears to be worth it. updated from the 2.4-liter issue. Recalls for windshield wiper corrosion and improper key removal can be problematic and can compromise safety, but service from a certified dealer should fix it quickly. Either way, potential buyers should weigh these factors when considering the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox.

Photos: Chevrolet

Frequent questions

By Josh Barrett, January 22, 2022

How many miles can a 2013 Chevy Equinox last?

The average 2013 Chevrolet Equinox will probably last at least 150,000 without any major headaches. Well-maintained examples have been known to reach 200,000 miles or more. In terms of costs, Repair Pal estimates annual maintenance for a 2013 Equinox at $498, below the class average.

Is 2013 a good year for the Chevy Equinox?

The NHTSA has received more than 600 complaints about the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox. More than half of them relate to the engine. With its common engine problems and a smaller cargo area than its competitors, we recommend skipping the 2013 model and opting for the 2014 model year, which will only cost you about $2,000 more.


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