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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:
85,838 miles
Total Complaints:
72 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (37 reports)
  2. not sure (12 reports)
  3. repair to transmission (6 reports)
  4. replace (5 reports)
  5. replace wave plate and fluid pump (4 reports)
  6. rebuilt transmission (3 reports)
2008 Buick Enclave transmission problems

transmission problem

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2008 Buick Enclave Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #72

Jul 152015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


I brought this Buick Enclave never knew that this model had transmission problem. I can't afford to get it fixed. It's sitting in the garage and they are charging me 3,500 dollars and I'm so upset about it.

- , Stratford, USA

problem #71

Jul 312015

Enclave CXL 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles

2008 Buick Enclave CXL. Transmission started slipping revving, and shifting irregularly & Jerking, Fluids and levels were all good. Took it to Repair shop, they could not even drive it into the shop. We had it towed to Buick Dealer, and called GM once we found out this issue is widespread across this model and year and Part (Transmission). I guess, put me down, as another unsatisfied customer. I spend over 40K on a SUV, that basically gave out after 7 years of service.

This is not the expectation of buying a higher end family vehicle designed to travel. We started a Claim with GM only to play the game for a week and we were finally denied for any coverage or responsibility. I am very frustrated. I have 4 Buicks today with 6 drivers in the house. I am an engineer. I studied some of the Lean, Six Sigma techniques Buick is known for. Buick stand behind your products. This is a black eye that continues to get worse for you.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #70

Sep 122012

Enclave CX 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I bought this piece of junk used in August 2011! About a year later the wave plate broke and left me stranded on the side of a very busy interstate! The bad thing was I took it by the dealership that morning to be checked out because the transmission was slipping really bad! The service manager told me to just bring it back when I could leave it to be completely checked out.I was heading to work, and I asked him if he thought it would be okay to drive, and he assured me it would!

Needless to say on my way home from work is when it broke down. Thank goodness I had bought the extended warranty, so it was covered with only a $100 deductible. About a year and a half after the wave plate was replaced, which I thought they had rebuilt my transmission, the stupid thing broke down on me again! This time, my extended warranty had ran out, and the dealership said it wasn't the same part as the first time, so they wouldn't even cover it! Really???? This time I paid out over $12000 to have it fixed!

This car didn't even have 100,000 miles on it at the time and already had transmission issues twice! I drove a Nissan Maxima for 15 years with over 300,000 miles and never once had transmission problems!!!! GM is so wrong for knowing about this problem and just ignoring it! I will NEVER buy another GM car as long as I live, and will definitely steer others clear of them too!!!!


problem #69

Jul 312015

Enclave CXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles



- , Casa Grande, AZ, USA

problem #68

Jul 172015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

On Friday 7/17 my 2008 Buick Enclave stopped working in the middle of a local & busy Highway 6. The car one hour earlier would not go in to reverse or drive. I gave it a break, turned it off and it went in to drive one last time after this.

After getting it to go, it stopped in the middle of a highway where other drivers were able to move me to safety after several attempts between my mother and I failed.

It was approximately 2pm on 7/17 when I learned from my regular State Farm insurance that this sort of thing would not be an issue I am covered under my Full Coverage with their company. I than turned to CarMax MAXCARE provided through a warranty coverage company CarMax outsources to. This company is an inbound call center. This "covers" my used car purchase up to 200,000 miles and "covers" transmissions, which was the apparent the failing part on the car.

MAXCARE told me to get the car to a repair shop (at no cost to them, towing would not be covered). My State Farm insurance covered towing to the nearest auto shop but not to a Buick/GM Dealership. It was taken to Leadfoot Linda's in Avon, CO. MaxCare told me all I needed to do is get a diagnostic and they would promptly get me into a rental car so I could get my four children at preschool and camp later that Friday afternoon.

The tow truck was unable to get the car from the side of the road until 5pm but the shop agreed to get the car looked at and diagnosed, staying extra hours to do so. They called MAXCARE and faxed the diagnostic but MaxCare was not opened when they did this. They left a message and sent a fax.

Leadfoot Linda's is closed on Saturday and Sunday and MaxCare would not accept their diagnostics via messages/fax as acceptable diagnosis so I was left without a car or a way to transport my 4 children for the weekend.

On Monday July 20, 2015 MAXCARE told me the shops diagnostic would not be sufficient and they would instead now have to take the transmission apart to reveal the reason for failure before covering the rental car. This would be approximately 8 hours of labor by the shop, an estimated $1000 that I would have to accept fees for, and it would be to MaxCare digression whether or not they would cover the repairs or diagnostic.

On Tuesday July 21, 2015 I got to the airport because my rides were no longer available to get me to work and my children to school. I spent my last dollars on a car that would accommodate my kids and I to "buy me" two days of getting us around town and hope for a diagnosis.

July 23, 2015 I called Leadfoot Linda's to see how things were coming along. The tech assigned to my vehicle was unavailable and having family emergency. It was unknown when he or they would get to the diagnosis of my car. After my fourth call to Leadfoot Linda's they mentioned to me that this was a common issue with Enclave's and Rendezvous' coming in to the shop. They suggested I contact Buick GM with my VIN number because it was very likely that this was another recall.

I called CarMax after that to double check and see if they could help me at all. They aslo told me to contact GM Buick because after looking at the initial diagnostic along with my year/make/model and VIN number this would likely be one of two warranty issues. The transmission issue and also the Side Airbag recall. MaxCare ended up giving me all of the information to contact Buick / GM, and I did.

When I first got purchased the car from CarMax I contacted the dealerships in the area to have the known airbag recall taken care of as instructed by CARMAX. The repair was never taken care of due to high volume of repairs in my nearest dealerships and them not offering replacement transportation while they had the car with no known duration for repair. I'm a mother of four, have no child support for my kids ages 7,5,3,3. I cannot be without a car, which is why I'm taking the time while at a computer at my job...to make every effort possible to point out a major flaw in "special warranty coverage" for something that was no fault of my own.

My first call to Buick GM was amazing. I spoke with an adjuster name George who I spoke with for over two hours setting up repair, towing, free diagnostic and repairs. At the end of the two hours, George got off the line after speaking with a Dealership in Silverthorne (Cheryl suggested we take it to Glenwood Springs due to high volume of repairs and estimated date to LOOK at the car being 7/23) Javier with Mtn Chevorlet, told George and I on a threeway call that he could get the car in right away, would get me right in to a lender or Rental Car straight away and all of the above was agreed to at no charge to me.

Meanwhile, George explained to me the issue was common and they would take care of this under Special Policy Warranty "14404" specific to Enclaves, Rendevous etc.This warranty covered a crack 670/675 in all AWD Buicks and my VIN number fell into the bad bunch.

When George disconnected from the call, the dispatcher told me I would need to give her $100 which I did not have and the entire plan evaporated.

7/23 I called Buick again in the morning only to be told none of what George set up is accurate. They called Javier on three way, and Javier said GM called him last night and they would not be servicing the vehicle anymore, that they had since become very busy and wouldn't be able to look at the car until possibly (no promises the following Thursday 7/30). The call was than escalated to a "Senior Adjuster" since I'd been misinformed by George. Steve, was very apologetic that nothing could or would be done with my car unless I figured out how to get the car to a shop and diagnosis.

I told Steve that I felt this was terrible customer service after being assured for two hours the night before by George and Buick that the tow, the diagnostic, and repairs would be at no charge to me. He told me he would look into it further and call me back. After three hours, and another day of panic that I would not be able to get home from work or pick up my kids AGAIN....I called Steve back. Steve was unavailable for the first of many calls. His coworker who told me she was sitting just a few seats away from Steve, ensured me he would return my call before leaving for the evening. Steve didn't call me back that night.

7/24 9am I called him, and Steve was unavailable. 10am I called back and Steve did answer and started to help me get the car towed as promised. He did make me pay $68for extra distance, quoted to me the night before $100. The 2nd dispatcher Askia quoted me $190. He called another dispatcher Lilliana who made the fee $68. My mother paid this fee for me.

The approval took 1 hour, but the car was setup for transfer to Mountain Chevrolet, Glenwood Springs. After the car was picked up I received a text message that the car was being transferred to Berthoud Motors, Glenwood Springs (never mentioned to me). I called the towing company and let them know I thought the car was going to Mtn Chevrolet. They told me they were given Berthoud Motors.

I called Berthoud Motors to follow up on the time frame I'd be looking at in diagnostics/repair and whether or not they would be as accomodating as Javier was at Mtn Chevrolet. I asked about the lender vehicle or rental set up for me that was offered by Mountain Chevrolet.

Not only did the gentleman tell me they were very busy and would not be looking at the car until the following Thursday (the same date that Leadfoot Lindas, the Chevrolet dealership in Silverthorne, Berthoud Motors, AND Mountain Chevrolet, Glenwood Springs [after telling us the opposite before speaking with GM told me the night before] since the incident on 7/17), but they would offer no rental car until after diagnostic and that remains unknown today 7/27/15.

I called Javier back and he explained to me that GM contacted him after my three way call with George, and he could no longer assist me. I've since played phone tag with Steve and spoken with Andrea (also a senior adviser) to help me while Steve was unavailable.

I have spent $289 in rental car fees, $68 in extra miles of towing to Glenwood Springs, and have no way of renting a car. I live in the mountains, there is no bus route near my home located atop a two mile incline.

The only offer I've had so far to assist me while GM/Buick makes time to diagnose my car is from Carmax to have their discounted rates of $30 a day for a midsize vehicle which would not hold me and my four children.

Possible job loss, possible loss of spots at day care AND camp I have my children in but cannot GET to while I am out of a car. I am a single mother, do not have extra car laying around, my friends and family work and we live up a two mile hill which I cannot walk my children up if we were to attempt using local bus routes not servicing our location.

Any suggestions in saving jobs, daycare, and camp spots? This is a life derailing situation and I have not heard from ANYONE, about my car....it has now been 10 days with no transportation and if I took CarMax discount it would have cost me $390 in rental fees in addition to the $285 spent on rental car for TWO DAYS and $68 in additional miles to tow it 59 miles away from my mountain home.

- , Avon, CO, USA

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

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