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fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,550 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2011 GMC Terrain engine problems

engine problem

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2011 GMC Terrain Owner Comments

problem #14

Jan 272015


  • miles


I was driving on I-75 when all of a sudden my 2011 GMC Terrain slowed down tremendously. Also, the check engine light came on and the gage read engine power decreasing, service stabilitrak. I could have been killed and it was difficult for me to pull over to the shoulder. General Motors need to recall and fix this before someone gets killed. Come on General Motors. I just recently paid nearly $5,000 for a new transmission because the vehicle wouldn't move while in drive and had the catalytic converter replaced. Lots of problems with this vehicle.

- Saginaw, MI, USA

problem #13

Feb 162014

Terrain 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
The same issue happened 3 times. November 2013, 28 January 2014, 16 February 2014. Each time the vehicle was in and idling situation red light, in a fast food drive thru, heavy traffic, or if I forgot something, left the car running, and went into the house to get what I was looking for, especially if it took me 4-5 minutes to find what I was looking for and return to the car. Additionally, I've experienced this moving at speeds of 8mph or less in thick traffic. (1) car would for no reason start rough idling. (2) the yellow check engine light would come on. (3) the engine reduced power message would appear. (4) the stabilitrak warning message light would then appear. (5) then I pressed the accelerator to cross an intersection and move out of the way of traffic, and the vehicle moves at a snail's pace (5-10 mph). (6) I let it sit for 10-30 minutes (or overnight if I was fortunate enough to be at home), restart it, and it runs like it normally does as if nothing ever happened. (7) the "yellow check engine light" simply disappears after a few hours. (8) sometimes there's a faint burning smell like a plastic garbage bag on fire, burning rubber, or overheated electronics. I'm taking it to my local GMC dealership today before I end up stranded somewhere or worse be the cause of a major serious accident! it's like it has a malicious code in the engine's computer system, and it selects the time and place when idling to inject itself! it may go several weeks or even months before it happens, but you can be confident it's going to happen! other than this annoying safety issue, the Terrain in my opinion is a pretty good vehicle for its class. Makes me wish I had chosen the 6 cylinder instead of the 4 cylinder. I don't think the 6 cylinder is having this issue. GM/GMC should address this, and make this right asap!

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #12

Aug 312011


  • 200 miles
Actually, this is my second Terrain, because they bought the 1st one back from me and gave me a brand new for the same reasons that I'm having with this one. On start up, the car makes an unusual grrrrrrrrr noise for about 3 seconds. It doesn't make this noise all the time, but the majority of the time it does. I have heard several excuses from the dealer. "we can't duplicate what you are hearing, that's normal, it suppose to make that noise". it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that noise is not normal. And even if it was normal, it would happen every single time I started the car, but it doesn't. it's embarrassing to start my car up around people, cause I don't want them to see me driving this beautiful brand new car with a dumb noise when I start it up. I can't believe GMC would approve to even sell a car that makes that type of noise. Is there something we can do about this? help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #11

Feb 152012

Terrain 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


I have had two occurrences now - the first happened a couple of times between 15K and 20K miles, with the car stalling when setting a traffic light. I also got a check engine light. I took it to the local GMC dealer who said the check engine light went out but they didn't know why and were not able to find the source. Just this past weekend at around 25K miles, my fiance and I were setting at a traffic light and the car stalled out. After the cars behind me were laying on their horns, I got the car started again and was able to continue traveling. I scheduled an appointment again at the local dealer, but after reading similar issues from other owners, I am starting to doubt they will correct it.

- Seven Fields, PA, USA

problem #10

Mar 122012

Terrain 4-cyl

  • 17,000 miles
The engine or fuel system show a severe malfunction. When at a stop light, the RPM's drop so much that it shuts down sometimes, some others, it barely stays on. I called the dealership and told me that it was not a warranty covered repair and that I had to pay for the diagnostic plus whatever was wrong to repair (parts and/or labor). All of the sudden, now the "stability trac" check light goes on an off without apparent cause. I feel like I'm driving a vehicle from the 1950's. it's a great looking comfortable SUV, but very disappointed with performance and fuel consumption.

- Laredo, TX, USA

problem #9

Mar 102011

Terrain 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Soon after buying my 2011 GMC Terrain, 4 cyl, a rattle developed in engine on start up. After months of returning to dealer, they said a tech bulletin now existed and fixed problem. Problem was solved, a month or so later, problem returned. I returned to dealer and they said nothing they could do. At the same time I was complaining about gas mileage, 20 mpg on highway, 17 city. I called GM customer satisfaction detroit, and had many discussions with them. Finally told me don't bother us any more about two problems, and to this point no resolution to either problem.

- Kattskill Bay, NY, USA

problem #8

Feb 012012


  • 12,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 GMC Terrain. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled and the engine warning lamp illuminated. The contact stated that the steering wheel seized as well. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the cam actuator was defective and needed to be replaced. The remedy failed to repair the problem. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 12,000.

- Middleborough, MA, USA

problem #7

Oct 172011


  • 15,900 miles
While the car is idling, and moving at crawling speeds it stalled out 3 times, both in drive, and reverse.

- Fishkill, NY, USA

problem #6

Aug 122011


  • 5,274 miles
I was driving my new 2011 Terrain I just brought in May 2011, when it started to idle roughly, the engine light came on and it cut off while at a stop light. I restarted the car and it begins to stall out and hesitate. It also started to make a rattling/ knocking sound when starting the car. It sounds like a diesel truck. I took it right to the dealer to find that there was a recall coming out 8/12 mileage 5274. I then called General Motors to report this problem which shouldn't have happened to brand new car. I didn't drive the car cause I was afraid of what might happen. I took it back to the service department who reset it on 8/15, which did not fix the problem. They fixed the recall parts, didn't fix the problem, took it back on 8/24 mileage 5675, 9/2 mileage 6353 for the same problems. I had to have it towed on 9/14 mileage 7341 for the same issues that were never fixed. They continued to say the system is not reading any code and there is nothing they can do, they cant duplicate the problems, I had onstar run diagnostics and gave them the codes. To this day the problems have not been fixed and continue to exist. GM still does not want to own up to the fact that they have mad a bad product, and don't realize that this is a safety problem that can cause a serious accident with this car hesitating and stalling out while your driving it. The rattling and knocking noise when starting the car who knows what that is? when you call GM to get then to fix this problem and if they cant fix the car, replace the car, or just buy it back, they try to offer you an inconvenience fee instead of owning up to the problem, which is their way of shutting you up. This is beyond the lemon law. GM needs to take this serious and stop brushing this problem under the carpet. Report them to BBB and the attorneys generals office in your state they should not be allowed to get away with this.

- Brandywine, MD, USA

problem #5

Aug 172011


  • 7,823 miles
We purchased the GMC Terrain with the 4 cylinder engine for the gas mileage of 32 mpg, after getting only 26 mpg we called GMC and took the Terrain in for service. Also filed complaint with GMC. Was told their was nothing they could do. The engine makes noises and runs rough and stalls at times mostly in the mornings. After service now we get only 25 mpg.

- Lebanon, IN, USA

problem #4

Apr 012011


  • miles


This vehicle boggs down when giving it gas and will often cut off after stopping for no reason. There is a noise when you start the vehicle (like a clicking noise). The vehicle do not get the 32 mpg as what is stated, I get about 20 mpg highway. The gas needle does not work properly. I will fill up and still show 1/4 short. The leather seats are buckling and dealer says its normal but know others with leather seats & not happening to them. Recently took in for "service engine" light and malfunction light. This is new car & none of these issues should be happening this soon. I feel like it's a "lemon" and dealer is no help and these problems will compound as car gets older and warranty is over I will be out of luck. Unhappy customer.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #3

Jun 012011

Terrain 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
3 problems with my 2011 GMC Terrain AWD, 2.4 liter 1. poor gas mileage - averaging 18.8 miles for a vehicle rated 20 city, 29 hwy. I drive 42 miles daily, 4 city, 38 hwy. Dealer checked, no codes and states "operating as per deigned intent" 2. jerky transmission shifts and severe hesitation on startup and slow speeds in eco mode. Dealer checked, no codes and states "operating as per deigned intent" 3. engine "knock" on startup that last from 3 to 10 seconds, normally on "cold" startup. Dealer checked and could not duplicate complaint, checked cam phaser screens per service bulletin and states no debris is present. Dealer states no codes are present and nothing they can do. Oil and oil filter were changed at my request. Engine knock and poor gas mileage still exist, transmission issue seems to have changed to normal and slightly hard shifting now after dealer visit.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #2

Apr 212011


  • 3,000 miles
I own a GMC 2011 Terrain. It has 3600 miles on it. Ever since I bought it there is a hesitation and it doesn't seem to know when to shift gears!.it also jerks all over the place I brought it to the dealer because one day it almost completely stalled on me. The dealer said that there were no codes that came up on it and everything is fine. The kicker is that the serviceman who took care of me took it home and said that it is doing what I said and that they can't do anything about it until it shows a code on the computer. I called GM and they told me the same thing. Meanwhile I get in my car today, start it up and it makes this horrible like grinding noise for like 3 seconds and then went away. Very irritated with the whole situation. If I could return this car I would. I cant stand it. I pay good money on a monthly basis and this is what I get. So until gggggggmc gets with the program and admits that there is a major issue with this vehicles engine I think were all in for alot of headaches. And from what I've read there's a few people who are having the same problem.oh wait don't let me forget the lovely vibration my car makes between 2 and 3000 rpms! good times!

- Silver Creek, NY, USA

problem #1

Feb 212011

Terrain 4-cyl

  • 2,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 GMC Terrain. The contact turned the ignition to start the vehicle and heard a loud bang coming from the engine compartment. The contact stated there was also a vibration felt from inside the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer yet the technician stated that they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 2,500. Updated 5/24/11 the consumer stated the vehicle has been reparied. 06/06/11

- Rolla, MO, USA

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