If you find CarComplaints.com is helpful ... We rely completely on word of mouth. Talk about us on Facebook, Twitter, tell your mother-in-law. Help us help more people.

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:
85,805 miles
Total Complaints:
77 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (40 reports)
  2. not sure (13 reports)
  3. repair to transmission (6 reports)
  4. replace (6 reports)
  5. replace wave plate and fluid pump (4 reports)
  6. rebuilt transmission (3 reports)
2008 Buick Enclave transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2008 Buick Enclave:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2008 Buick Enclave Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #77

Sep 202015

Enclave LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


Transmission failure. AGAIN. For the second time. Still less than 100K miles. Thank goodness it will be covered under extended warranty this time as Buick has finally decided to own up to their faulty manufacturing.

- , Allen, TX, USA

problem #76

Oct 012014

Enclave LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

My Enclave started to have strange issues... would be really sluggish when accelerating and would then lurch or slam into gear. Would stall out when going around a corner and trying to accelerate. Engine would rev up or jerk while sitting at red lights. Then, the car started dropping out of gear. Would not shift into drive, could not reverse, etc.

Took it in for repairs and discovered it was the wave plate. The wave plates that were put into these cars were apparently faulty (not tempered correctly) and have a tendency to shatter. They fill up your transmission with trash which causes the issues listed above, ultimately requiring that the transmission be replaced. The wave plate is about a $6 part, and could have easily been recalled and replaced saving thousands of dollars.

After researching on the internet, I discovered that this was a commonly reported issue that Buick was ignoring. This happened to my Enclave at 70,000 miles, but I had just passed the 5 year warranty mark (by a couple of months). Buick would not take responsibility for the damage and I had to pay for a new transmission out of my own pocket - over $5,000!

About a year later, I received a letter saying that they had at last decided to acknowledge the failure of their product and offered reimbursement to the thousands of people who had to have their transmissions replaced. So we got our money back, but guess what? My transmission failed again this week. Same issues. I'll report that one on a different complaint along with all the other problems this car has.

It's paid off, which is the ONLY reason I have kept it this long.

- , Allen, TX, USA

problem #75

May 072015

Enclave Chrome V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

I purchased the Enclave and thought I had a great vehicle. I was on the way back from a hour away doctors appt. when my transmission began to slip. When the tow truck driver asks me did I get a recall on my transmission. ??? I never knew anything about a recall. I never received a letter on anything. I guess they would not want me to know right? Anyway I call the GM dealer in my area and they told me my "extended warranty" is expired because I am over the 120000 miles in which GM extended the warranty. Could someone have let me known this? I could have had this done when the car first started acting up many miles ago. This is the worst experience I have ever had with a car. Never again will I buy a GM vehicle. This is one over rated car and people need to know. This vehicle cost too much to have to replace a transmission this soon.

- , Darlington, SC, USA

problem #74

Jun 102015

Enclave CXL 3.6L/ 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,668 miles


click to see larger images

transmission failure

I received a letter from Buick in March stating that the 2008 model Enclave may experience a cracked wave plate. At that time, I had no issues with my vehicle which only had 65,000 miles.

We purchased the vehicle used in 2010 and the mileage at that time was 41,810. My average yearly mileage is less than 5,000 miles. Out of the blue, the vehicle stops moving in the middle of a busy intersection. I was helped to the side of the road and the phone calls/headaches began.

I remembered the letter so I immediately called the Dealership (NorthBay Buick in Great Neck). I was told by Buick that it may be the transmission or .... it may not be. In order for the transmission to be covered, Buick Charged over $1,500 to drop the transmission then if the problem resulted from the wave plate we would be covered. Should the problem have not been due to the wave plate then Buick would be charging us to repair. I never bring my vehicles to the dealership for repair because they overcharge. I then contacted our local gas station who was aware of the Enclave and the transmission problem and he recommended a licensed Transmission place on Long Island. Buick's letter and the dealership was aware that we would be bringing our vehicle elsewhere being that we would be reimbursed.

We towed our vehicle, the repairs were done within one week and the cost was $4064.00. We then contacted Buick /NorthBay and the drama began. It's a very long story with back to back faxes, phone calls, rude representatives. We spoke with Corporate who sent us back to Buick. Low and behold we received a check for $1,900 and we were told by Buick that the Transmission place overcharged us.

I am at a loss. Very disappointed at Buick, spoken to rudely and my out of pocket expense over $2,100.

Be careful with the dealership. I would be curious to know if anyone did go to the dealership and how much was covered.

- , Mineola, NY, USA

problem #73

Jul 182015

Enclave CXL 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

On our way home form a family vacation in St Augustine Florida. Family of 4 with Aunt along as well. All was going great until I reached heavy traffic heading North on Route 77 near Mayberry, North Carolina. All of a sudden no power. Lucky there was a break in traffic to my right and I was able to get off the road. Called AAA (another bad experience) while waiting to see what options were there was almost a terrible crash. Finally was able to get a tow truck and rental cal secured from a very nice man who owned the company. Anyway, instead of being home at 9:30 or so we finally got home around 3:30 A.M. Buick still in NC and will be sent to Columbus on Monday. This will cost me about $600 bucks just to get the car home to my dealer.

Loyal GM since dad and grandfather both retired from Fisher Guide. Yes, this is the division that made the parts way back when in the USA.

Not sure why a transmission on a car this expensive at 64k miles. And by the way, this was a certified used.

Update from Sep 19, 2015: GM was aware of the issue and extended the warranty and my car was repaired. K-Plate was bad. They only covered up to $130 of the freight bill of $452 and did not cover my rental car bill.

- , Gahanna, OH, USA

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

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?