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2008 Buick Enclave transmission problems: transmission failure

Transmission Failure

2008 Buick Enclave (Page 1 of 4)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Buick dealer.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
83,826 miles
Total Complaints:
67 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (35 reports)
  2. not sure (12 reports)
  3. repair to transmission (5 reports)
  4. replace (5 reports)
  5. rebuilt transmission (3 reports)
  6. replace wave plate and fluid pump (3 reports)
2008 Buick Enclave transmission problems

transmission problem

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2008 Buick Enclave Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #67

Jan 152015

Enclave CXL FWD 3.6L Wt V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,456 miles


Check engine light turned on, took car to repair shop, was advised there was a problem with the transmission. Had noticed a slight slip when changed gears. Took car to a meeting a couple of days later, had trouble trying to get the car in reverse. While driving home, in the rain, stopped at a light, when I started to go again, would not shift out of 1 gear.

Drove with flashers on until I was able to find a place to park, and wait for the tow truck. I really did not learn, took car again, on the way home, was in left hand turn lane, waiting for the light to change. The light changed, I was not able to go anywhere. Was stuck at this signal until the tow truck got there to take me home.

My car has been sitting in the yard, from January until April. Have been calling to get estimates for the repair, quotes are from $1800.00 not including labor to $3800, then I was informed I still need to take to the dealer, to have the computer flashed, another $100 to $150. This is my 3rd GM vehicle, this is the the 3rd time I get the privilege of paying for a new transmission.

I really like my car, however, I can not believe,my luck, warranty is completed, and when I crossed 120,000 miles, this had to happen.

If I ever get a new car again, I will look at other manufactures cars.

- , Twentynine Palms, CA, USA

problem #66

May 202015

Enclave LXS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

We love our vehicle and with two small children, the space it provides, the features and the overall experience has been great. BUT with as much as we paid for this vehicle, and with only 100,000 miles on it, we are extremely disappointed, to say the least, that we are having to replace the transmission.

I was eeary about purchasing a Buick when my husband suggested it, and was quickly persuaded that it was the best vehicle for us, but now I go back to my hesitation about the Buick brand, as I sit and wait to hear back how long the repair will take before we have our primary mode of transportation back. The transmission started to slip as I picked up my 4 year old from preschool and then would not accelerate, at a traffic light. With my 4 year old sitting in the back, my husband out of town and 30 minutes to pick up my 6 year old from after school care, I cannot say enough how distressful the situation was and in my opinion, should not have happened.

Our Volvo, which is our secondary car has over 200,000 miles on it and it runs fine with the original transmission. I don't know if I would invest in another Buick. Besides this issue, it's concerning that we've received three recall notices to date.

- , Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #65

Apr 132015

Enclave CX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,801 miles

Transmission started slipping while driving on the freeway in Phoenix. Made it home without a hitch, thought maybe fluid was low. Woke up this morning (Happy Monday), car wouldn't move in reverse. Put back in park, and shifted to reverse again, and it moved. Transmission was slipping, so car went home. Only 78801 miles, this is unsafe and ridiculous.

Trying to drive it to the shop, and hoping like hell it's covered under the new special warranty. On top of that, the water pump is leaking-- which, again, if lucky, might be another special coverage warranty issue. What a joke. For the price of this vehicle, it is absolutely ridiculous that it starts to fall apart after the full warranty expires!!! Come on Buick-- Put out some recalls. This is unsafe. If it were rush hour, I would have been nailed, and if ANYTHING happens to my kids because of it, you will have a major lawsuit on your hands. Shame on big business!!

Update from Apr 29, 2015: After 3 long days in the shop for a transmission tear down, it was decided that the 3-5-R plate was broken, so the transmission fix was covered under the new special provisions coverage. Also, the water heater which had a leak was also covered under another special coverage. (I was very lucky to get out of $5000 repair bill!!!) My car was in the shop for 10 days. The dealer wouldn't give a loaner since it wasn't "warranty" work, but once I knew I didn't have to come up with $5000, I got a rental car for the last week.

While they were tearing down and rebuilding the transmission they said I had a "large" oil leak coming from the timing belt area on the back of the engine and that is going to be another $2600 fix. I've had regular maintenance, just weeks before this and I've never had an oil leak before. There's also not any oil on my garage floor, so I'm hoping this car lasts for a while longer.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #64

Feb 192015

Enclave CXL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,896 miles


I was surprised that this level of vehicle would have transmission problems. I paid too much money for this to be an issue. I really love this vehicle until I started having transmissions problems - talk about being surprised and frustrated!!!!

My enclave will not come out of 1st gear until the transmission is warm enough. Even then, I have to be careful how much power I use because the transmission will get stuck in 3rd gear, revving up the engine to +4K. At other times, I can feel the transmission burping along trying to settle into a gear and the effects this has on the engine revs (up and down like a toilet seat).

Other issues I've discovered is the need to replace the throttle body - really?

I have never been a fan of imports and I am loathe to send my money overseas - I am going over to Ford.

Thanks for the high maintenance costs for this vehicle. You guys need some serious soul searching on what kind of car company you want to be - Look to Ford and the imports for inspiration!

- , Markham, Ontario, canada

problem #63

Dec 012014

Enclave CXL 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,992 miles

Just as someone else mentioned on here, it seems like when the warranty is out, the transmission is on cue to fail.

We bought the Buick in the winter time and it kept reducing power. Took it to the dealer and they just cleaned the intake saying it had a dirty mass airflow sensor, which we had to pay for times 3. They said it had to do with the cold weather and any vehicle could do this. Now that it's warming up that problem is gone (for now). But now when we travel for 2 or more hours at a time our transmission is over heating constantly, having us pull over and idle to cool it. Then when we finally get to start driving it barely wants to shift into 5th gear and finally into 6th after revving the bag out of it at 4k RPM.

I'm in no mood to pay 4+k to replace this piece of junk. Hey GM!!! I'm gonna refrain from buying any more gm junk from you and many more shall know it from me. Unless you step up to the plate and take care of your customers (who by the way bailed you out at last minute before bankruptcy) recall the damn tranny

- , Two Hills, Alberta, canada

problem #62

Feb 192015

Enclave CX 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,652 miles

Powertrain warranty expired 2 years ago, as if on cue! Replaced transmission with SRTA at 56,000 mi (3,5 R wave plate) - $4300us. This repair includes $800us to replace leaking coolant pipes and leaking power steering lines (they always find other things to fix). I'm not an expert but I'm thinking these items may have been damaged during transmission removal. Also, if GM extends the warranty on the power steering pump and the water pump shouldn't the pipes also be covered?

- , Mississauga, ON, canada

problem #61

Feb 122015

Enclave V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles


I had to replace my transmission and have taken very good car of this car. I have really loved this car and decided that when I decide to purchase a new car. It would be another enclave. BUT!!!!!!!!! When the transmission failed and called the manufacturer, first off I got a customer service and the person on the other end could barely speak English. Which by the way, annoys the hell out of me. Secondly, after asking several mechanics, I was told that Buick knows that there has been a problem with the transmissions in this vehicle and won't acknowledge that there is one.. With that said, this tell me that at 100k miles you better know you are going to have to spend some serious cash. At this point, I will not own another enclave. I will buy a vehicle that stands behind what they sell.

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #60

May 282014

Enclave CXL 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,652 miles

Transmission started slipping from a stop to 1st gear. Remedy was to turn engine off, let sit, then restart and upon shifting into drive, wait until you could feel the transmission shift into gear. Otherwise, the transmission would never shift out of 1st gear. Local dealer recommended replacement to the tune of ~$4K. Seems WAY too early to have transmission problems - Especially since this seems to be a relatively common problem. Had 5yr 100,000 mile GM warranty, but it had already expired based on time. Very frustrating.

- , Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #59

Jan 262015

Enclave CXL 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,218 miles

55000 miles to short a distance to have a transmission problem

- , Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #58

Jan 212015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,434 miles

Buick/GM... you are pathetic. My wife loves this car however this is the 2ND transmission due to the faulty wave plate design that should have already been recalled and addressed by GM. Instead, not only will I never own nor buy a GM product again... I'll actively campaign to discourage friends and family to boycott GM also. This is ridiculous. First time it failed, it stranded my wife and kids on a busy interstate in a rural area for hours. We paid good money to get it corrected and now this.

I'm done! No wonder so many people swear by Japanese and German engineering. I am truly disgusted with the inaction of GM on this issue after seeing all the other complaints.

- , Owensboro, KY, USA

problem #57

Jul 062014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


We were on a family trip and on our way home and the transmission failed. We were on the highway about three hours away from home and had to baby it all the way home. After two transmission shops visits we discovered the wave plate had failed and our only option was to attempt to rebuild or replace. We decided to attempt a rebuild only to find out it was not Able to be rebuilt and had to purchase a new GM certified transmission. The transmission shop then told us the rebuild company had such a high demand that they had to purchase new transmissions to send out in place of rebuilt ones because they were not able to keep up with the high demands. GM why are you not recalling this transmission? This is not the only problem that I have had with my enclave. There have been many more issues. The bad part of this is the car is so expensive and if you traded in you will lose a lot. I would never recommend Buick to anyone ever again and I will never buy a Buick again. I'm considering never buying GM again.

- , Colon, MI, USA

problem #56

Jan 062015

Enclave CXL 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,059 miles

It began with a weird surge when shifting from Reverse gear to Drive. It was a hesitation, but I really didn't think anything of it. There were no issues during normal driving other than than the transmission hesitation.

Then I received the call... My wife calls me and tells me that the check engine light turned on, she called On-Star and the codes indicated engine and transmission issues which required the car to be serviced within 24 hours. She also mentioned that it began to seriously have problems going up any type of hill. Headed her direction and was able to VERY GINGERLY drive the car back home (she was only 2.0 miles away). Never went above 25% throttle. I had the car towed to the Buick service department and got the call the next day that there were metal shavings in the transmission. Only option was replacement at $4,100. After spending $2,400 on another repair last month, I have basically extended my car payoff for another 1 year (scheduled to be paid off in a month; bought used in 2011). But... I'm going to pay it since I'd rather have another year's worth of payments rather than another 4-5 years for another car.

Buick should be ashamed of the reliability (and their image) of the 2008 Enclave and at least try to make it right for their customers who have dealt with Electrical and drivetrain issues on what otherwise, is a great car. My kids love it, my wife and I love driving it. I hope I'm making the right decision to fix. Anything else I should be worried about????

I will never buy another Buick again. Such a shame for what is otherwise such a good car.

- , Tucker, GA, USA

problem #55

Dec 262014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,772 miles

Transmission went out on the highway! I don't think a vehicle that cost as much as a Buick Enclave should have transmission failure at less than a 100,000 thousand miles. We could have been hit-we were going 65 on the highway. Buick you need to step up and recall the transmissions on your 2008 Enclave.

Update from Dec 29, 2014: I just want Buick to understand how serious this is......on the highway going 65, brake lights did not come on but car would not move!!! If this would have been during rush hour me and my family would not be here. BUICK PAY ATTENTION AND RECALL YOUR TRANSMISSION IN THE 2008 ENCLAVE.

- , Claremore, OK, USA

problem #54

Dec 162014

Enclave LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,066 miles

There seems to be a lot of 'WAVE PLATE FAILURE' issues with the 2008 Enclave transmission.

WHY hasn't GM done something

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #53

Dec 032014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,993 miles

Same as other folks. Took into dealer complaining of transmission slips, could not find an issue related to it. Did find something else wrong with brakes to the tune off $800. Two days later, transmission failed, now they say I need a new one.

- , St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #52

Oct 172014

Enclave XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,350 miles

2 weeks ago at 73,350 miles, got off highway onto back streets. Started shifting funny. RPM flaring up before shifting, slight "bump" at low speed shift. In reverse, surging and clunking. Had it towed to dealer in Deleay Beach FL. Told me nothing wrong with transmission, you need a right front axle and 2 motor mounts. $1500 later get the car back, still doesn't seem right. Some surging in reverse first couple of days but no clunking, just some slight RPM flaring (maybe my imagination he thought).

Now at 73,575 miles, get off the highway last Sunday and wham, RPM's go nuts. Get to house, put in reverse and sure enough, nothing... already knew this was a symptom from research. Get it towed to dealer again, Dealer called and said $4800 for new GM cert transmission. I already started a case with GM Customer Care when I first took it in in anticipation of getting run around. Dealer says if he calls CC they will want to rebuild instead of installing GM cert'd re-manufactured. Well, call them because I am surely not going to tell you "oh then go ahead and put in the cert'd tranny and I'll pay for it"

I can't believe they begged us to bail them out and we did... and now what do we get POS designs and astronomical cost of ownership... as this is just the latest in a series of problems the car has had...Think of all the money they must be making on (just) out-of-warranty work. I too had a Toyota to 180k miles and only a few minor issues. OK, enough ranting for now...

Update from Mar 17, 2015: Just found out GM is doing warranty adjustment for this will pay for future and past repairs up to 120,000 Miles. contact your dealer. have until 3/31 to submitt. Check this link.


- , Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #51

Oct 162014

Enclave CX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,671 miles

I purchased this nightmare from a local dealer in Calgary Alberta at 120,000 km. Not even 5000 km later the frigging transmission went on it. I phoned the dealer about the problem and because I never purchased an "extended warranty" on it.... ( they never offered this in the first place) I was told I was SOL. So after fighting and arguing with the dealer they offered to pay for half the expenses, shoving a "normally we don't do this" S%&* in my face. I'm still out the other $2000, have no vehicle indefinitely with four children, and am now worried about whether or not this thing will fall apart after they "fix" it.

I had brought it in to a friend's transmission shop after lagging it to work with a check engine light and found 8 transmission failure codes on it. My friend had explained to me that the fluid was black, and this happens over time, NOT a couple of months. I've had the PCV breather dripping oil into the intake hose onto the air filter. The muffler is falling apart and leaking in three different places. Surprise, surprise ! that's a dealer only part that costs 1200$. The AC makes this hissing noise that they won't deal with either! My family and I have all driven Hondas ... what a stupid mistake to give this crap a chance.

I can honestly say, this kind of customer care and quality control is despicable on GM's part. Re-call your garbage and pay back your consumers what you robbed from them! After all, they're the ones who kept you alive on your verge of bankruptcy!

- , Calgary, AB, canada

problem #50

Sep 272014

Enclave CXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Almost $50000 vehicle with 65000 miles and an almost $5000 repair bill. All GM can say is sorry, not under warranty. Known problem, many complaints. Sorry, not under warranty. Came from GM family, always owned GM. Never again. This vehicle has been the biggest pile of junk. Yet nothing is ever under warranty. New GM same as old. Do not care about customer, just the almighty $$$$$$$$

- , Temperance, MI, USA

problem #49

Oct 022014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

The transmission wave plate is shot and the vehicle is stuck in 2nd gear - great. When we pulled over - coincidentally RIGHT by a transmission repair joint (NOT GM certified though)- he stated 'oh, known problem with the 08/09 Buick Enclaves and GM has no recall on them.' Soooooo $4000 plus labor and waiting 7-10 days for the repair = not a happy person. For the cost of the vehicle and less than 100,000 miles....GM needs to do something!

- , Jackson, WI, USA

problem #48

Sep 232014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

The timing chain of this vehicle began to slip at 85,000 miles. This caused the vehicle to drive erratically when the chain slipped. At the same time, the 3rd gear wave plate in the transmission failed causing the car to shift poorly when accelerating. When changing lanes on 9/23/14, the car would not accelerate and to avoid hitting another car I had to steer off the road and I hit a street sign (no damage).

This car also experienced the other issues common to this model....Steering rack and power steering failure.

- , Lake Orion, MI, USA

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