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2011 Chevrolet Equinox common problems

Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox is a classic case of ‘the same but different’. That’s because the second-generation car was built on the same platform as the first car, albeit with some added stiffening. Well, if it ain’t broke…

The good news is that the Equinox didn’t break – at least not that often. But nevertheless, owners have reported a number of irritating glitches that can crop up with the mid-range Chevy, including clunking from the front suspensions and sticky steering wheel adjustment.

But don’t sweat, because we’ve already stripped and rebuilt a Chevy Equinox for the Haynes Equinox manual, so just follow our lead and you’ll have any repair sorted before long. And you’ll save hundreds of dollars into the bargain. Bear in mind, too, that many of these problems and solutions will also apply to the first-generation Equinox.

Chevrolet Equinox

What recalls has the Chevrolet Equinox been subject to?

The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox has proved pleasingly robust over time, and as such has been subject to only a very few recall notices.

The first concerned the seatbelt buckle anchor, which was found to be prone to fracturing when subjected to high loads, such as happen in a crash.

The power-operated seat height system forced a second recall, but this time it was because the securing bolts for the front seat height adjuster could become loose and fall out. If this happened, the seat could suddenly drop to the lowest position, with attendant safety issues.

The windshield wiper motor was the source of the next recall, because it could overheat and fail, with a slight risk of fire. This needed to be replaced.

And finally, the electronic park lock lever was found to be faulty, because it could allow the ignition key to be removed despite the vehicle not being in Park.

Chevrolet Equinox

What common problems does the Chevrolet Equinox have?

The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is known to suffer an issue in which the front suspension system emits a clunking noise when driving along only averagely bumpy roads.

Unfortunately, the front end of the Chevy Equinox can also produce a creaking noise during low-speed maneuvers or when braking and accelerating fat low speed. Faulty front cradle bolts are the issue.

A steering column that’s difficult to adjust is an irritant for some Equinox owners, while the liftgate on numerous examples develops a tendency to rattle when travelling along rougher roads.

Chevrolet Equinox

Is your Chevrolet Equinox suspension clunking?

There’s no escaping it – bumpy roads are here to stay. So it’s annoying when your car doesn’t deal with them particularly well. And so it is with the Chevrolet Equinox, which can produce a loud clunk while going over bad potholes and bumps.

The jounce bumper is the source of the problem, because it is hitting the upper spring seat, and the reason it’s doing so is that it’s binding on the suspensions strut.

In this case, it’s best to replace the jounce bumper and dust shield, and to lubricate everything properly so that the issue doesn’t reoccur. And of course, if you’re replacing one front strut, you should really replace the other one because if one’s failed because of a fault, then you can expect the other one to follow in pretty short order.

This shouldn’t take too long, however, if you follow the steps and images laid out in the relevant section of your Haynes Equinox manual.

Chevrolet Equinox

Why your Chevrolet Equinox creaking?

A creaking noise is not going to do anything to convince of the potential longevity of your Chevrolet Equinox. But unfortunately, that’s what can happen.

The issue manifests itself at low speeds, either when the vehicle is accelerating or decelerating, or when the driver is parking up. Which is precisely the time when there are few other noises to disguise the creak, so you’ll best sort it as soon as you can, if only so you don’t have to suffer it on every journey.

The problem is that the bolts for the front cradle mounts are too long, and can contact the body at low speeds.

However, Chevy has produced bolts that are 4mm shorter (part number: 11561301), so it’s simply a case of raising the vehicle and setting it on jackstands, then replacing the bolts one at a time, making sure you do them up to the correct torque (155Nm (114lb ft).

Chevrolet Equinox

Is steering adjustment difficult in the Chevrolet Equinox?

Cars such as the Chevrolet Equinox are designed to be driven by people of all shapes and sizes, so if you go out to the car and someone much smaller has driven it just before, finding your ideal driving position will be the work of a moment.

Except when it isn’t. You see, several owners of the Equinox have complained that the steering column on their car is extremely difficult to adjust.

The issue is that a nut on the steering column adjustment lever tightening every time the column is adjusted.

To resolve the issue, remove the steering column covers as detailed in the Haynes Equinox manual, then hold the adjustment lever in the locked position, before removing the nut and inserting a thrust washer designed for the job (part number: 22864581).

Then it’s a case of putting everything back together and ensuring that everything works as it should.

Chevy Equinox

Liftgate rattling? It’s a thing.

The rear liftgate on the Chevrolet is not immune from the odd issue. Indeed, it’s known that it can, on occasion, emit a rattling noise.

This can be because there isn’t enough contact between the liftgate itself and the side liftgate wedges. There’s an easy way to check – place a sheet of paper over each side edge and shut the liftgate – then try to remove the paper. If you can take out the paper, there isn’t enough contact. Then it’s a case of loosening and adjusting each side wedge.

However, the issue can also be caused by the liftgate latch contacting the striker, so you’ll need to adjust the position of the striker, which we’ve covered in the Haynes Equinox manual.

Chevy Equinox

Does the Chevrolet Equinox whine?

Several owners of the Chevrolet Equinox have voiced concerns over a whining noise being emitted from the 2.4-litre engine in their vehicles.

The issue lies with the timing system, because the balance shaft can move and cause balance shaft chain to be too tight. And you don’t want the chain to break.

So, it’s just a case of looking up your Haynes Equinox manual to find out how to reset the tensioner, and to find out if the chain has been damaged. If it has, then you’ll need to replace the chain and tensioner, just to ensure their longevity.

It’s a job that requires concentration, but just make sure you read up on what to do, gather your tools, work methodically and all will be well.

Chevrolet Equinox