really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
97,250 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace the motor (7 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. replaced cylinder 1 fuel injector (1 reports)
2012 GMC Acadia engine problems

engine problem

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2012 GMC Acadia Owner Comments

problem #9

Jan 212022

Acadia SLE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


I am amazed on how many issues are with the timing chain !!! No one wants to touch my GMC unless its a new motor. My GMC does not need a new motor at $8000.00 dollars. Repair shops are taking advantage of people with the "3.6 " motor talking about GMC and the junk motors they know are timing chain problems in the vehicle.

I have always loved my GMC SUV. She looked great and the body holds its own. Lately I am second guessing my self. For five months I have been searching for a shop to replace my timing chains, not try to sell me a new motor.

GMC needs to step up and cover 2012 Arcadia timing chain issues and end the game. GMC needs to shut up all the haters of the company, and show the world they stand behind the people who pay their salary (the ones who purchase GMC) and fix the issue at hand. Enough is enough.

As of today my Arcadia is not drivable - I have not worked in 5 months (Amazon Flex driver) and I have no idea where when or how I can get my SUV fixed.


- Tracy F., Akron, OH, US

problem #8

Nov 152019

Acadia SLT 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

An engine should last longer than what this piece of junk lasted!

- Jamie M., Hammon, US

problem #7

Sep 252020

Acadia LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Purchased this used 2012 GMC Acadia from a dealer in St. Louis, MO in March of 2020. Drove for approx. 7 months and put on approx. 4000 miles. Has 120,000 miles total. The check engine light came on while on the way home from town, approx. 3 miles. Before I could pull over the engine died - like two seconds after the engine light came on.

Took the vehicle to our mechanic. Say the timing chain broke and caused a catastrophic failure of the engine. Will cost near $8900 to replace. What a piece of crap. Can't afford this kind of repair on a fixed income Social Security wage. Just about can't afford the remaining 5 years of payments I still owe on this vehicle.

Contacted GMC. There is no recall on the engine even though the timing chain is big known problem. The vehicle is out of warranty and there is no programs to help with the cost of engine failures. They did say "have a nice day".

Will I ever buy another GMC product? Hell no.

Update from Aug 28, 2021: Engine was replaced. Total bill $8700. 7 months later - engine valve cover cracks at oil fill spout. Due to oil fill cap sticking (another known problem). Causes fill tube to break at valve cover if you try to remove the oil cap. Oil leaked out onto alternator belt causing it to fail. Another $450 spent to fix.

- acousticserf, Watson, US

problem #6

Dec 072017

Acadia Denali 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,110 miles


Fuel injector went bad. I typically buy Shell, Chevron, or Exxon. I rarely buy any other gas than those brand names. Mechanic said it was probably from bad gas. There was a small chance it was bad gas. I had a Toyota Camry 2005 and drove it 200,000 miles and never had an issue.

- James C., Spanish Fort, AL, US

problem #5

Jul 032019

Acadia Denali V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,399 miles

In three years there have been over $18,000 in repairs. General Motors says No relief as warranties have expired. I believe something should have been done by General Motors to help with this expense. They say no. When I buy my next car I hope it is not a lemon. When a motor goes bad and has to be replaced with only 126,399 miles a little help is expected. But don't ask GMC. Be very careful with the V6 motor.

- June B., Mooresville, US

problem #4

Oct 102018

Acadia Denali

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,302 miles

click to see larger images

engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure

Here is part of the first letter I sent to GMC, and Brotherton Cadillac:

A week ago, my husband drove it to the Ace Hardware, and when he left, the engine just stopped. He managed to pull over, and then when he tried to start it, he smelled a burning electrical smell. We had it towed to The Garage in Renton, (please see receipt) and when they tried starting it, there was a horrible metal grinding sound. We were then told that we would have to replace the engine. It has around 70,000 miles on it, and should have lasted many more years.

We were totally shocked by the news, as was the owner of the Garage in Renton, Washington, who replaced the engine, at a cost of $8,922.38.

He had never seen anything like it. I took videos of he and his co-workers comments, none who had ever seen “a forged piston broken to pieces.” He added, “I’ve seen this with a broken timing chain, but “yours was perfect.” He also stated “your engine was clean and obviously well-maintained, using only the best oil.”

Cause of engine failure: “The valve spring broke and that allowed the keepers of the valve to come out and then the valve dropped into the cylinder.” (I have video recordings of these testimonials). He also mentioned to me that he works with race cars and never had seen this type of event before.

One of the mechanics heard me talking to the owner, and he came up to me and said, “I have a picture for you!” I have attached the picture to this memo, as well as a picture of the “extremely clean and well-maintained engine” they took out.

I am asking for a financial response to this catastrophe. This should never have happened to a GMC engine, or any other for that matter, with only 70,000 miles. I am asking for a reimbursement of $8,922.38 for the replacement of the engine, and also an additional $200 in consideration for the week I was without a vehicle, as this was obviously some sort of failure within the engine that had absolutely nothing to do with maintenance of the vehicle, and everything to do with a faulty part within the engine. Everyone has told me that a GMC engine should go at least 200,000 miles, because it is top of the line. This is a very poor testimonial for GMC, and should be an embarrassment!

Please see the included picture of the Broken Spring, as well as other broken pieces, which I am keeping if you would like to inspect them in order to get to the bottom of this catastrophic loss.

I also have video testimonials from the owner at The Garage in Renton, and his mechanic, which I would love to share with you via email. This is my initial communication with you, and I will be doing further investigation into the vin number and any associated problems with this particular engine.

Since then I have been contacted, once by a call center in the Philippines, and then from an assistant at GMC corporate headquarters, who said she would try to get help for me. I have received 3 phone calls from her, the final call offering me $1,500. I told her I would have to seek counsel on this situation. That was a ridiculous offer!

- Patty M., Renton, WA, US

problem #3

Aug 222018

Acadia SLE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


I bought this 2012 GMC Acadia about two years ago. I loved this truck as it has a lot of room and is one of the smoothest SUV's I have ever driven. That is until the 2rd Year 2017 and at 76,000 miles. At first the engine light comes on, I get repair passenger air bag warming and change oil. Not why those but no big deal right? I take it to my local mechanic and he tells me the codes are for oxygen sensor, air bag, oil change and I should get an oil flush at close to 100.000 miles. I take it to the only dealer an hour and a half in Pennsylvania that has machine to flush engine. He flushes, changes oil, replaces sensor. Dealer says timing chain code came up but was ok now, plays with wires under seat and air bag warning gone. $500

All is cool on the way home and then the next day, engine light is back on. WTF, dealer too far to go back again and lose a whole day. I bring it to local mechanic again and he says multiple sensor codes and timing chain code came up. Again the truck is running great and has no issues except for these codes and check engine light. I called local dealer and they said with those codes it will need a new timing chain about $3,000. Dealer said when I am ready or if truck starts running rough to bring it in. Last week it stared to run rough when at a stop and hesitated a bit starting but still ran great. I called dealer to set up appointment and a week later brought it in for service and they read the codes and scheduled a timing belt replacement.

The next day the dealer called me and all hell broke loose. Dealer said they cannot replace the timing belt because the whole engine needs replacing. This will cost me $ 8,800 dollars for new engine. I said OMG what could have happened to the engine that was running fine and then a little rough to make it have a catastrophic failure like that. Service says it happens but my truck is out of warranty, though GMC has a 5 Year 100,000 mile power train warranty. Nothing they can do. Now I still own $11,500 on this truck and it is Blue Book $11,500. Am I to put a new engine at $8,800 to be $20,000 backwards on this Truck.

I don't thing so and I am so disappointed with GMC that they will not back this catastrophic failure with there engine after only 76,000 miles. I am open to any and all suggestions here guys ????????????

- John D., Berlin, US

problem #2

Jan 092018

Acadia SL 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,893 miles

2012 GMC Acadia Bought from GMC dealership 5/16/15 Certified Pre-Owned with 42790 miles. Regular Mobil synthetic oil change - even purchased the extended warranty. Vehicle now has 92,893 (pampered) miles, and motor seized two weeks ago. GM and dealership are graciously offering $777 of the $7900 it will take to replace the engine. They said warranty expired 12/19/17. I still owe 16K.


"When we say "no worries," we really mean it. Buy a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle from Chevy, Buick, or GMC and you're protected from the moment you leave the lot. Why? Because all of our 2012-2017 vehicles come with two factory-backed auto warranties that combine to provide fantastic coverage: a new, longer 6-Year/100,000-Mile1 Powertrain Limited Warranty and an impressive 12-Month/12,000-Mile Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, both with $0 deductible."

"When we say "no worries,".... THEY MEAN NOT THEIR WORRY.

- Teresa L., Brooklyn, US

problem #1

Nov 102012

Acadia SLT-1 AWD 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,133 miles

I bought this Acadia brand new with 11 miles on it. The vehicle never seemed to shift right. It goes up to 6 grand sometimes before it even shifts, I mentioned this to the sales person and he said they shift different from other vehicles. I don't believe any vehicle should wind that high, so I was unsure about this vechicle from the start. On 7/13/12 with 3,952 miles on it the engine light came on and the dealer told me it was a code of P0324 (knock sensor code), their solution was clear the code, it was in history. HMMMM, clear the code, really! You aren't going to check into it, obviously something wasn't right for the code to have been in there to begin with. Then I was out of town visiting my family on 11/10/12, as you can see by the mileage I didn't drive it much after that because I was a little concerned it would break down, which it did, while I was out of town. It has 4133 miles on it now. Again, engine light came on, the car died at a red light and wouldn't start; I finally got it started again, because I was in a construction zone blocking traffic, so I was able to pull over. The car would hardly move and it sounded awful. I called to get a tow and had to sit there for over 2 hours before I got towed, then I had to try to find a vehicle to drive and put all our stuff in. Thank God it was in my home town and my Dad had an extra vehicle. Roadside assistance never told me I could get a rental, the only thing they said is I could go to the airport and try to get one. HMMM, Clinton, IA there are a lot airports, not. Saturday at 6:00pm, no rental car and not much assistance. This really sucked. I bought this vehicle to have a reliable one, now I don't feel it is very reliable.

I called GMC and told them that I will not feel safe or I won't feel this is reliable, they took my message and passed it on to someone else, they called my back today, 11/23/12 to tell me they won't do a buy back. They think putting a new motor in this will make it safe, I said, what about the transmission not shifting right, she said the dealer can look at that after the motor is put in. My thoughts are, did the transmission reving so high then shifting cause the motor to blow, I don't want that to happen again. I told the lady, who are you to tell me you think it's reliable, you aren't the one that has to drive it or pay for it and; you aren't the one that has to worry about being stranded, of course you are going to say you think it is reliable.

What I wanted was a buy back! I wanted a brand new one that hasn't had the motor pulled from or messed with. I think once you start pulling the motor and messing with stuff, it is going to be one problem after another. My husband talked to the lady and said, isn't it your job to make a customer happy, well you aren't working with me to try to make us happy, we don't feel safe or feel that we have a reliable vehicle.

When we were looking for a brand new vehicle my husband said we have to get American Made, so I made sure I just looked at Chevy, GMC products, since we have always been Chevy people. I feel we made a bad choice. I feel GMC didn't give us what we need to feel safe and worry free. My whole family buys GMC and several friends and relatives and they are waiting for the verdict of what is happing with our vehcile and what the company is going to do. Once I tell them, they will think twice before buying a GMC. I know I have. What is bad is I loved the Acadia when it ran. I just want a new one that would hopefully be worry free.

- Rhonda H., Cedar Rapids, IA, US

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