2008 Buick Enclave drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2008 Buick Enclave (Page 3 of 6)

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CarComplaints.com Notes: Buying the first model year of any vehicle is rarely a good idea. You become a guinea pig for the automaker and they are really not nice to guinea pigs.

The 2008 Enclave has a wide enough range of problems to issue a warning. There's transmission failure under 90k miles, new power steering units costing over $1,300, and enough engine complaints to NHTSA to scare anyone away.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
94,803 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.

2008 Buick Enclave drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Buick Enclave Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #65

Dec 262014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


Driving on the highway RPM's were going up but car was hardly moving. We could have been hit! after checking on-line this seems to be a problem for the 2008 Enclave. Why has there not been a recall? I believe no-one wants to take responsibility for such a costly problem but someone is going to get hurt.....we were on the highway. I will not stop here....I am hoping someone will actually read and respond to me.

- Claremore, OK, USA

problem #64

Sep 072014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
While on the highway on a trip, the transmission of my 2008 Buick Enclave started skipping/shifting roughly when accelerating/upshifting. Soon the transmission would not go faster than 30 miles an hour and seemed stuck in 2nd gear. I exited the highway as soon as I was able to. By then, it could not go on reverse either. At the repair shop, the transmission was disassembled, with a broken wave plate replaced and complete overhaul. A very scary experience! please help look into this safety hazard. Your help is so very much appreciated.

- Glendale, WI, USA

problem #63

Sep 302014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 74,074 miles
The car started to have trouble shifting into gears, especially overdrive. Then it wouldn't go into reverse. The 3-5 reverse waved plate broken, replaced 3-5 reverse housing, replace 3-5R piston and dam assembly, replace all seals and gaskets, replace front cover piston spring assembly, and transmission fluid filter.......$3,173 later I was out the door not happy. I was out of town on vacation at the time! my car only had 74,074 miles on it.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #62

Dec 142014


  • 124,000 miles


Check engine/emissions control light came on as we were driving. Stopped about a half hour later to put gas in, as we were stopped at a stop light the car didn't want to go (no power, no shift). As we were leaving the station, the car would not go. It would not shift into 3rd year, rpms were at 4000 at only 40mph. Drove home and later drove it to the mechanic. Drove fine then, but the RPM gauge was fluctuating. Mechanic read the codes as 716 and 717. Took it to a transmission specialist and it did the same thing, wouldn't shift. Trans mechanic states its the clutch wave plate that probably broke and magnetic pieces attached to the sensor causing it to go into a limp mode. Approximate cost to replace the $20 part (wave plate) will be in the upper $2000! ridiculous. I'm losing my faith in GM vehicles. Per a web search, this is a common problem with Enclave, acadia, outlook and traverse. Something needs to be done about this!

- North Mankato, MN, USA

problem #61

Dec 082014


  • 72,500 miles
During acceleration on a busy highway, car lurched and lost power. Evasive action was taken to avoid collision with big rig trucks hauling large hay loads. Check engine light came on.told by shop the vehicle needed a new transmission. Gear 3,5 and reverse were affected by automatic transmission clutch failure. Vehicle only had 72500 miles on it. Have several other owners who stated their transmissions in like vehicles also failed well short of 100,000 miles. Danger to driver and passengers due to sudden lurch and loss of power.

- Casper, WY, USA

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problem #60

Nov 132014

Enclave 4WD 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
When accelerating I was just coasting. I put it in park and then back in drive and went about a block then lost acceleration again. I had the car towed to the dealership. I was told the 3-5 clutch failed. Some metal pieces in the transmission come loose. When the car cools down they settle and the gear may work. As it warms up they get in the way again and the gears stick. I was told I needed a new transmission or a rebuilt one. I was told they would be putting in another 2008 transmission but that the part that failed had been corrected. I asked them to contact GM to see if they would cover the cost but they would only cover half of the cost. I am thankful for that but I feel this should not have happened to a 2008 car with 96,000 miles on it. I had been on the expressway the day prior to this happening and the very next time I drove the car this happened. It could have resulted in an accident. So I was without my car for eight days.

- Williamsburg, MI, USA

problem #59

Mar 102014


  • 67,500 miles


Purchased vehicle end of Feb 2014. Problems started right away. 3-13-14 replaced front struts, complained about trans shifts and heater motor working part time. Dealer said they could not duplicate. 4-8-14 replaced blower motor and pigtail. 6-5-14 replaced ac evaporator old one was shot. 7-5-14 replaced transmission, & water pump, & steering gear pinion shaft seal. Now we currently have clear coat pealing and water coming in on the drivers side floor.

- Arlington, OH, USA

problem #58

Nov 042014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Car was not accelerating properly at low speeds and the transmission seemed to be slipping when depressing the accelerator to accelerate at highway speeds. We took it to the dealer and they mentioned that 3-5-R clutch had failed. The car only has about 85000 miles. We feel this is a safety issue based on research that indicates there is an unusually high number of failures of this part, which can cause sudden decelerations, not enough power to accelerate, or failure of the transmission to engage when in "park" causing cars to roll. (our car had issues with acceleration.) we feel lucky we did not have a major incident. GM has not acknowledged they have a wider problem and so far has refused to cover the total cost of repair.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #57

Oct 292014


  • 138,000 miles
While driving the vehicle, the vehicle started to shake and then lost the ability to move. Check engine lights came on. Vehicle engine would run but vehicle would not move. Entire transmission had to be replaced.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #56

Aug 162014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 114,267 miles
My family and I were on our way back to Wisconsin from a trip to Florida on Saturday, August 16, 2014. My husband had exited the interstate and was pulling into a parking space at a fast food restaurant. The space was on a slight incline. As he pulled into the space, the Enclave started to roll backward. I checked the position of the gearshift thinking that he had accidentally shifted into neutral but found that the vehicle was still in drive. The engine revved when he pressed the accelerator but the car continued to roll backward. The only gear the would work was park. We had the vehicle towed to the local Buick GMC Cadillac dealer. On Monday, August 18, a service technician called to let us know that the 35R wave plate had failed and the 35R housing was also damaged and that metal debris had been found throughout the unit. The repair took about two days and cost $3589.49. Thankfully we were not on the interstate when the failure occurred. Had we remained on the interstate another mile and suddenly not been able to keep the vehicle moving forward while the traffic around us moved at expressway speeds, we could have had a serious accident that resulted in terrible injury or fatality. I wrote a letter to Buick requesting reimbursement of cost of the refund and expense we incurred due to having to wait to have the vehicle repaired. I also requested that they issue a recall for the wave plate failure due to the severe danger that the failure creates. Finally, I mentioned information I found on the internet stating that this failure is common on the Enclave and its sister vehicles. They refused to reimburse me since there was no recall on the vehicle. They also said that the NHTSA, not GM, issues recalls and gave me the phone number to contact the NHTSA to file a complaint.

- Sturtevant, WI, USA

problem #55

Sep 232014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


The timing chain in the engine 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).

- Lake Orion, MI, USA

problem #54

Sep 292014


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Buick Enclave. While driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle made a jerking motion. In addition, the transmission power off and motor losing power indicators illuminated. The failure occurred several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 95,000.

- Guntown, MS, USA

problem #53

Aug 152014


  • 74,500 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Buick Enclave. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40mph, the vehicle revved up and stalled without warning. The dealer diagnosed that the transmission failed. The vehicle had been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 74,500.

- Akron , OH, USA

problem #52

May 012014


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Buick Enclave. The contact stated while driving approximately 30 mph, the engine power reduced warning light illuminated and the engine stalled. The contact managed to merge to the emergency lane. The contact noticed that the key was hard to eject from the ignition. The vehicle restarted after multiple attempts. The failure recurred multiple times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician stated that there was broken solenoid inside of the transmission and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #51

Aug 222014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
My car has been maintained the whole time I've had it. I've had to have replaced the motor for the electric seat, the hinge mounts for the lift gate, the dvd player, and an oil leak fixed. Now the 3/5/R wave plate has broken. What's up with the Buick Enclaves? they cost too much for all these items to break and need replacing. I could understand if the SUV was abused and not maintained. If I wanted to have my car in the shop all the time, I would have bought a clunker. Why doesn't GMC have a recall for some of these items, especially the transmission 3/5/R wave plate. It isn't safe when it goes out and you are on the road. I have grandchildren that I drive around in this SUV. We could be killed. GMC needs to wake up before someone is killed in regards to this problem.

- North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #50

Jul 312014


  • 66,000 miles
After 66,000 miles of easy driving, our 2008 Buick Enclave has a broken wave plate and needs a new transmission! the transmission failure caused two separate dangerous driving situations, one of which could have been fatal. The first event occurred when stopped at an intersection to make a left turn. I had two children in the back seat. When the intersection cleared, I began to make the left turn, but the engine failed to accelerate and merely coasted into the lane of on-coming traffic. The left side of the vehicle and the 7-year-old child sitting there were left exposed to the threat of impact by fast-approaching traffic. After about 2 seconds, the engine accelerated and we were able to leave the intersection moments before on-coming traffic arrived. The second event occurred two days later. Traveling 45-50 mph on a local highway, the engine slipped gears and would not shift out of first gear. The check engine light came on. We returned home at slow speed. In the driveway, we put the car in park, then in drive and reverse. It barely moved in either direction. The next day, we were able to drive it to the nearby dealership. It shifted gears on the way, but the warning light stayed on. The dealership informed us that the wave plate is broken and that the transmission must be replaced. We tried contacting GM customer service but received nothing more than a recorded message asking us to hold on the line. We held for over one hour and received no customer service. A review of many website postings reveals a widespread failure of the Enclave wave plate and transmission, that GM is fully aware of it and has taken no steps to address it or to ensure of the safety of the thousands of Enclave owners and other drivers on the road. Failing any accountability by GM, we insist that NHTSA take action on this widespread safety hazard and issue a recall.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #49

Jun 092014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
Transmission, power steering pump, steering gears are gone @ 116,000 miles" one owner Buick Enclave has huge problems - not one lemon - all Enclaves are lemons! where is the recall on these cars" many others have same problem and even more.

- Anderson, SC, USA

problem #48

Jul 252014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
While on an on-ramp to an interstate, my wife was merging into fast moving traffic. As she accelerated and merged into traffic, the vehicle lost the ability to accelerate causing the engine to rev and the vehicle to lose speed. Not only was the surprise and shock of the event to include the very high revving alarming, but the vehicle was in an unsafe situation by failing to be able to maintain proper lane position in traffic. My wife managed to coast the vehicle onto the shoulder where she waited in an extremely unsafe position for help. It was found that the transmission was the cause of the issue which required expensive repairs. There was no warning prior to the malfunction and the event could have been much worse (I.e. crossing traffic, train tracks, etc...) at less than 70,000 miles, there shouldn't be spontaneous transmission problems which proved to be common with this vehicle.

- Bedford, IN, USA

problem #47

Jul 032014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
Engine revs no movement, no reverse engine light on.

- Philadelphia, NY, USA

problem #46

Jul 202014

Enclave 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
I was driving at approximately 55 mph when I felt my steering wheel go stiff and my RPM gauge dropped. I tried pulling over but had problems turning the wheel. That is when I realized my Enclave had completely shut off while I was driving. I was able to put it into neutral and hit the brakes to bring the vehicle to a stop where I then restarted it. That was 2 days ago. Today I went to start it for work and for the 3rd time in 2 months it would not start. I have already had the battery as well as the connections checked with no wrong findings. I have only had this car for 4 months! I called the dealership and they said that there is a 'service bulletin' posted in their repair shop because "many people" were experiencing the same problem but it was not a recall.

- North Judson, IN, USA

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