Buick Encore Problems – A Good Purchase Or A Lemon?

Buick Encore Problems – A Good Purchase Or A Lemon?

Are you in the market for a small crossover SUV? If that is the case then the Buck Encore would probably be on the top of your list of options when it comes to this class of vehicles. That’s why we are going to cover the Encore and learn about the Buick Encore problems.

Knowing the problems of each vehicle is a lifesaver. Why I’m saying this? I’m saying this because every vehicle has a list of issues. If you know these issues, then you would probably be more aware of what could go wrong with your Encore or another type of vehicle that there is on the market and you are interested in purchasing this car.

Doing this will save you a lot of money in possible future repairs that you could come by. And will also prevent many future headaches and lost time in fixing these issues. Everybody dreams of carefree ownership and probably, so do you. That’s why you need to learn the Buick Encore problems in order to make sure that your future car is bulletproof and you will not have any unexpected problems. And we are going to help you out with that.

In this article, we are going to learn what is the Buick Encore. Then we will cover the last generations of the Encore in great detail in terms of specs. After, we will cover the Buick Encore problems for you to have a better idea of what to expect from your future Buick. So, let’s dive into the article.


Buick is one of the most legendary US car brands. They are a division of General Motors now and are functioning as a GM brand.

They were formed in 1899, they have more than 118 years of history under their belt and huge experience when it comes to building cars.

Although many young people didn’t even hear of them. This is the case because Buick does not have the same share of the market right now as it did have back in their heyday. So, what period in history was their heyday?

The post-war period after WW2 was the biggest success in their history. During these times, Buick has flourished and made extreme quality cars like the Riviera, the Roadmaster, the Skylark, and other special cars that sold extremely well. And these cars were not your regular cars, but upscale models that were screaming luxury.

The success moved up in the 50s and 60s when Buick was also quite successful and introduced other models like the Buick LeSabre, the Wildcat, and the GSX which was a full-blown muscle car.

During this time, Buick even had their own line of engines. They were not borrowing engines like they are now from other GM brands but they produced their own ones.

And as the 80’s hit, Buick faced some troubles but they still introduced some new models like the Grand National. Which is a true legend.

But as the 90s hit, Buick has fallen behind other brands out there and it still has a hard time recovering. But they still introduced some cool cars. Namely, the Buick Encore. So before we dive deep into the Buick Encore problems, let’s first discuss the last two generations of the Encore.

Buick Encore

The Buick Encore is a new product that Buick is producing. This product is probably their best ticket to return their former glory.

The Encore is a subcompact crossover SUV which means that it delivers the same performance as SUVs but in a smaller package. This is their first take on this segment and they are quite successful when it comes to marketing this product and selling it.

Especially in China, where the Buick badge is hugely popular. But more on that, we are going to cover later.

But what is unique about this car is that although it is marketed as Buick which is an American brand. The cars are actually not assembled in the USA. But why is this the case?

This is the case because the Buick name is quite more popular abroad than at home. So, GM has concluded that since the brand is quite more popular abroad. It is a smarter decision to produce the car in the countries where the sales are booming to cut the costs.

And then to import the Encore into the US to fill up the gap that is left by other companies that do not have the products and also to increase the variety of options that are available for people to choose. Especially the older generations who still remember Buick’s heyday and want to have a proper American brand.

The Encore is actually a good seller, with sales steadily climbing in the US and reaching their peak in 2019 when Buick sold 102,402 Encores. The sales in China are also quite good with an average of 20,000 sales per year.

But what about the Buick Encore problems? We are going to cover the problems. But first, let’s see the Buick Encore specs.

Buick Encore Specs

Before we dive deeper into the Buick Encore problems. Let’s first learn more about the specs. Since the specs are important to know if you are on the market for a used Buick Encore. Or even a new one as well. Knowing them will make you sure if the Encore is the right product for you and whether or not you should get one.

It is important to know that there are two generations. The first generation is still in production and is sold new into the North American market and the second generation is sold elsewhere around the world. The first one is the real deal so, we will primarily focus on it.

First Generation Buick Encore

The first generation of the Encore was introduced in 2012. This generation, although its first, is still the flagship Encore for the North American market.

This Encore is basically the Opel Mokka. The Mokka was developed by Opel, which was a GM subsidiary back then, and now is under PSA since GM has sold Opel to PSA a few years ago. Understanding this could be confusing. But the important thing to understand is that the Encore is a re-badged Opel Mokka.

The North American model is assembled in South Korea by GM Korea. Then this Buick is imported into the States and sold here. All this effort is because Buick doesn’t have the plants to manufacture the Encore here in the States. Also, it’s quite cheaper to do it elsewhere.

It is based on the GM Gamma II platform which is shared among other GM vehicles like the Mokka or the Chevy Trax and the Chevy Aveo.

The Buick Encore comes in both a front-wheel-drive variant and also an all-wheel-drive option. Which makes it quite good if you want to get yourself a more capable vehicle. Now before we dive into the Buick Encore problems. Let’s first learn the specs of the Encore. Knowing them will make your life easier if you plan to get a new or a used Encore.


The Encore has a wheelbase of 100.6 inches which makes this car quite compact with an overall length of 168.5 and a width of 69.9 inches in total.

These specifications make the Encore perfect if you live somewhere where there is not enough parking space or your garage is quite narrow. With the Encore, you will not have to deal with any of these things since this car is quite small.

The weight of the Encore is 2.851 lbs for the 2WD and 3,065 lbs for the 4WD. This is understandable since the 4WD system weighs quite a bit more in comparison to the 2WD that you find in most vehicles. This also makes the Encore a good off-roader as well. Having extra traction is a good idea. Because you never know in what snowy or icy conditions you might come across during your road trips.

Engines & Transmissions

There is basically one engine and one transmission on the Buick Encore. And that is the 1.4 straight 4 turbocharged engine. This engine implements a double overhead camshaft head design which is designed for performance. It also implements variable valve timing like most modern engines.

Although a small displacement engine. The 1.4 is quite punchy and delivers an excellent performance because it is turbocharged. This engine produces 155hp at 5,600 RPM and 177lb-ft of torque at 2,000 RPM which is insane how much low-end torque this engine makes.

Just a reminder that the torque numbers are how much pulling power your car has. And the lower it gets at the RPM range, the better performance it delivers. But do Buick Encore problems include engine issues? Well, that we are going to cover a bit later in the article. Where we will focus on the problems of the Encore.

The transmission is a 6-speed automatic, it’s a GM proprietary transmission which means that it’s quite reliable since GM has designed it. But it still has some minor issues to deal with. More on that later.

This small engine allows the Buick encore to carry a maximum payload of 1,026 pounds which is rather good compared to the size of the vehicle.

Fuel Economy

The Buick Encore also delivers good fuel economy as well. It has a tank capacity of 14 gallons and is running a regular unleaded gas. The average range for a full tank is 320 to 420 miles.

This model gets 23 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. Making it quite economical and a good purchase if you don’t plan to spend a lot of money on fuel. The combined fuel mileage is 26 mpg. Which is good.

Safety Score

The Encore has a good safety rating according to the IIHS. The downside is that although there is a ton of safety equipment that it comes as a standard. There are still safety packages that you need to purchase to improve the safety of the vehicle. Even though they are not expensive costing between $200 to $500.

Price & Warranty

The cost for the Encore 2WD is $24,600, remember that this is the base price, and as you add options the cost will increase depending on what you choose to add to your Encore as equipment.

The cost for the 4WD is a bit more expensive and the base price is $25,220. Which is not a lot. But in my opinion, it is worth it. Especially if you go on off-road trips.

The Buick Encore comes with a 3-year or 36,000-mile warranty which would be enough if you don’t drive a lot.

Second Generation Buick Encore

We are not going to cover the second generation of the Encore because it is not sold in the US. That’s why we are going to jump right onto the Buick Encore problems and learn more about what you need to expect when it comes to this car and estimate if the Encore is really a good purchase or not.

Buick Encore Problems

Now let’s cover the important part of this article and that is the Buick Encore problems. Every car has problems and none of them are problem-free. The important thing is that you get a more reliable car that will not hurt your wallet.

The upside is that the Buick Encore is rather a good vehicle and the sale numbers are telling quite a lot about that. This car according to JD Power gets 84/100 which is quite good and frankly not a lot of cars can get this rating.

But this doesn’t mean that this model doesn’t have problems. And we are going to cover them in the next chapters. So, follow along.

Buick Encore Engine Problems

The engine that the Buick is running is codenamed LE2 engine. This engine is found also in the Chevy Cruze (fun fact, go check out our guide on the 2013 Chevy Cruze catalytic converter). They both belong to the same family of GM Ecotec engines. In this chapter, we will learn the common problems with this engine.

1. Inadequate Engine Power

There were seven complaints that owners made on the Encore. These owners have claimed that there is inadequate engine power. But what does this mean?

This means that there were some problems with the throttle body of the Encore or there were sensor-related issues.

Buick Encore Problems

Some owners have even claimed that the Encore has stalled on the highway and the engine simply stopped working all of a sudden.

All these issues relate to electrical problems that some of the vehicle owners were experiencing. Most notably, sensor-related issues. Precisely, throttle body position sensor issues.

The throttle body is that flap that decides how much air the engine needs to suck to keep working. So, when this flap isn’t working properly because of the sensor, the car will simply stall and stop working all of a sudden. Which can be quite dangerous if you are driving on the highway.

2. Turbo Failures

Turbo failures are also some of the common Buick Encore problems that happen and annoy a lot of owners.

These turbo failures are reportedly happening somewhere above 100,000 miles. The turbo would simply fail and a big bang would be heard from the engine bay and the turbo would start to whine.

The whining noise is because the shaft of the turbine is damaged and the turbocharger is scrubbing the turbocharger housing.

Then the car will be extremely slow when it comes to acceleration and it will basically limp on the road. Since the turbo is down, there would be no more power to the engine.

The repair for this problem is somewhere between $1,250 to $1,500. A brand-new turbo would see your Encore back in shape in no time.

3. Check Engine Light

The most notorious problem with the Buick Encore is probably the check engine light. This issue is bothering a lot of Encore owners on a daily basis. The light simply turns on and creates a lot of problems.

The engine loses power and goes into limp mode, then you take your car to the dealership. They reset the light and the problem is solved. Then it appears again. Big headache, to be honest.

Buick Encore Problems

And this problem could be caused by a ton of issues. As the reports claim, this issue was reportedly repaired by changing the valve cover, change of the turbocharger, the throttle body position sensor, mass airflow sensor, and some of them were reporting that this problem was replaced by changing the piston and rings. And that we are going to cover next.

4. Cracked Pistons

If you have a check engine light and you get the error message P0301, it means that there is a misfire on cylinder 1. Any other code that says that there is a misfire on a specific cylinder means that the cylinder has to be checked.

This check engine light and loss of power are reportedly happening because of cracks on the pistons.

This problem can lead to catastrophic engine damage and complete engine failure. Something that many owners have reported to experience. The solution to this problem would be a complete replacement of the engine with a new one.

That’s why it is often useful to make sure that the cylinders of your engine are not cracked if you don’t want to do these expensive repairs later. Although this problem happens rarely. It is still a possibility, more precisely on cars that were running high-octane fuel during their lifetime.

In order to avoid these issues with the cracked piston, it is advised to run your Encore on regular pump gas and not on the premium (as you learn how to fill up gas). Because premium can develop a bigger compression and cause damage inside of the block.

Transmission Problems

Now let’s cover the transmission issues that the Buick Encore is experiencing. Knowing these issues will tell you that you have a bad transmission.

Buick Encore Problems

1. Absence Of 3rd And 5th Gear As Well As Reverse

When the transmission of the Encore is starting to fail, this is one of the consequences. The transmission simply doesn’t like to go into these gears. When you have this problem, you know that you need to do a rebuild.

2. Slipping Gears

If the transmission is jerking or slipping gears then it means that there is something wrong with it. This most often happens by low transmission fluid or transmission fluid that was contaminated.

In order to avoid these issues on your Encore. Make sure that you flush your transmission fluid regularly.

3. Valve Body Problems & Solenoid Issues

Slipping gears can also be caused by damaged valve body and solenoid issues. Remember that the solenoids are there to maintain the right pressure of the fluid that is traveling in your transmission.

So, if these two components are not working properly, it is highly likely that you will experience some slipping gear issues.

Overall, the transmission in the Buick Encore is quite reliable. But you need to find one that was maintained properly. Because skipping fluid changes could damage this transmission. It is quite more sensitive than other transmissions to contaminated fluid.

Buick Encore Electrical And Infotainment Problems

Here are some electrical problems to be wary of…

1. Infotainment System Freezes or Malfunctions

One problem that some Buick Encore owners have encountered is related to the infotainment system. Some report that the system freezes or malfunctions, making it challenging to control media, navigation, and other essential functions. A simple system reset or software update often addresses the issue, but sometimes it might require a more hands-on approach at the dealership.

2. Keyless Entry Malfunctions

Several Encore drivers have raised concerns about the keyless entry system failing or becoming inconsistent over time. Often, the key fob stops communicating with the car, making it difficult to unlock or even start the vehicle. Replacing the key fob battery can sometimes solve the problem, but there are cases where the system itself needs attention.

Buick Encore Suspension And Braking Problems

The suspension and braking issues are noteworthy, as well…

1. Brake Noises

Some Buick Encore owners have reported hearing squeaking or grinding noises when applying the brakes. This could be due to worn-out brake pads or issues with the brake rotors. Regular brake inspections can help spot and address these problems before they escalate.

2. Premature Wear of Shock Absorbers

Though the Encore is celebrated for its smooth ride, there have been cases where the shock absorbers wear out prematurely, leading to a rougher ride. Keeping an eye on the car’s suspension and ensuring regular checks can prevent this from turning into a major concern.

Buick Encore Interior And Cosmetic Problems

The Buick Encore’s interior has some issues, too…

1. Peeling or Fading Interior Components

Over time, some interior components, like the dashboard or steering wheel, might show signs of peeling or fading. While this doesn’t affect the car’s performance, it can detract from the overall aesthetics and perceived quality of the vehicle.

2. Exterior Paint Chipping

A few owners have voiced concerns about the exterior paint chipping or fading more quickly than expected. It’s always wise to regularly clean, wax, and maintain the exterior to protect it from the elements and keep it looking fresh.

Miscellaneous Buick Encore Problems

Also, here are some other Buick Encore problems to look out for…

1. Faulty Fuel Gauge

Another issue that has cropped up among a few Encore drivers is a faulty fuel gauge. Sometimes the gauge doesn’t show the correct amount of fuel, leading to drivers being caught off guard. It’s essential to address this with a dealership, as driving with an inaccurate fuel gauge can be both inconvenient and risky.

2. HVAC System Inconsistencies

Lastly, some users have pointed out inconsistencies in the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. There have been instances where the system doesn’t blow air at the desired temperature or fails to distribute it evenly throughout the cabin. Regular checks and maintenance can help identify any potential HVAC concerns early on.

In conclusion, while the Buick Encore does come with its set of problems, many are minor and can be mitigated with regular check-ups and maintenance. If you’re considering purchasing an Encore, it’s crucial to be aware of these potential issues and stay proactive in addressing them.

Is The Buick Encore A Good Car

The Buick Encore is a relatively good purchase. It is a quite good car, to be honest. There are some lemon issues with its engine, though. Weird things can happen to some cars. But not at all.

Which is kind of strange, so it’s mostly up to your luck when you are getting one for yourself. But the important thing is to make a proper inspection before you make a purchase and see in which recalls your future Buick has participated and what service has been done to it.

Make sure that you find a good example, though. Some car that hasn’t been trashed and is in fairly good condition if you want to have a proper and reliable car for yourself.

Buick Encore Problems: In Conclusion…

In this article, we have covered a lot about Buick. We learned a lot about Buick and it’ lineage. Then we have covered the Buick Encore and we learned the specs of this model. This will greatly help you out in choosing your next Buick.

Then we have covered the Buick Encore problems. We learned that this Buick has some issues that indicate a possible problem like the annoying check engine light. And some cars are simply no good. That’s why it is good to look for the service history of the Buick Encore and see if there was some work done to it concerning check engine light problems.

Buick Encore Problems Essential Knowledge

  1. The Buick Encore is a subcompact crossover SUV that began production in 2012 and is in its second generation.
  2. The Buick Encore 2013, 2014, and 2015 models have a higher incidence of reported issues, including significant problems like a lack of engine power and minor problems such as a problem with the door locks.
  3. Some model years of the Buick Encore have caused their owners costly issues like engine trouble and electrical problems.
  4. The 2013 model was plagued by engine problems, including inadequate acceleration and reduced engine power, and many drivers had to replace the turbocharger, which can be very costly.
  5. The 2014 model had battery problems, which caused the battery to drain much faster than it should, and in some cases, even a replacement battery did not entirely solve the problem.
  6. The 2015-2017 Encore models had problematic airbags and seatbelts, prompting GM to recall over 3.6 million vehicles, including the Encore.
  7. Severe issues with brakes are also common with the Encore. According to the owners, they would hear noises while braking, or the brakes felt weak and ineffective.
  8. The 2016 and 2017 models were still plagued by engine troubles, but they are overall a much more trustworthy option than the previous years of the Encore.
  9. The Buick Encore has numerous issues, including engine issues, faulty airbags and seatbelts, brake issues, and a faulty battery.
  10. Most Encore models are known for being relatively reliable and an excellent option for a used vehicle, with the 2018 and 2020 model years being the only ones without any airbag failure recalls.


  1. Elizabeth Ewald

    Check engine light came on dealership keeps putting us off

  2. Sherry

    Did they ever figure out problem? My came on few times and they are telling me I need to put grill guard cover on car. I don’t want to do that can’t even take to car wash with one on. I wouldn’t have bought the car if anyone would have mentioned grill guard. Buick service line just repeats it’s necessary to keep warranty valid. Very disappointed with service and no assistance?

    1. Cathy Craddock

      What year is your car Sherry? I’m loking at the Buick Encore, but starting to rethink it.


  3. dennis

    I have a check engine light on that’s been a nightmare it says main line leak and they keep replacing things I have no idea why it keeps coming on it’s terrible any ideas anybody?

    1. Tonia Jones

      I would like info about the dashboard lights going black.

      1. Harry Gibson

        Tonia, I understand your concern about the dashboard lights going black in your Buick Encore. It’s important to address any issues with dashboard lights promptly, as they play a crucial role in providing important information about your vehicle’s performance. Based on the previous conversation, it seems like there may be multiple issues with the vehicle’s electrical system.

        In this case, it would be advisable to have a qualified mechanic or technician examine the vehicle to diagnose the specific cause of the dashboard lights going black. It could be a wiring issue, a faulty sensor, or another electrical problem that needs attention. They will be able to provide a more accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate solutions.

        Remember to communicate your concerns clearly to the mechanic and provide any additional information about the problem you’ve noticed. This will assist them in identifying the root cause and resolving it effectively.

    2. Harry Gibson

      I’m sorry to hear about the ongoing issue you’re facing with your Buick Encore’s check engine light. It must be frustrating to have it keep coming on despite having things replaced. While I can’t diagnose the exact cause without more information, a main line leak can refer to a variety of issues within the engine’s fuel, air, or exhaust systems.

      Given that the problem persists after replacing certain components, it may be worth considering other potential causes. Sometimes, a faulty sensor or wiring issue can trigger the check engine light. It might be helpful to have a qualified mechanic perform a thorough diagnostic scan to pinpoint the exact source of the problem. They can use specialized equipment to read the trouble codes stored in your vehicle’s computer system, which could provide valuable insights into the root cause of the issue.

      In situations like these, seeking a second opinion from a different mechanic might also be beneficial. They may have a fresh perspective or specialized knowledge that could help identify the underlying problem. Additionally, reaching out to online forums or communities specifically dedicated to Buick Encore owners may offer valuable insights from others who have experienced similar issues.

      Remember, addressing a persistent check engine light can be a process of elimination, as multiple factors can contribute to its activation. I hope you’re able to find a resolution soon and enjoy a trouble-free driving experience in your Buick Encore.

    3. Harry Gibson
      Rae Castillon

      I’m sorry to hear about the ongoing issue you’re facing with your Buick Encore’s check engine light. It can be frustrating when repairs are made, but the problem persists. Without more specific information, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the main line leak. However, it seems like the issue may not have been fully resolved with the previous replacements.

      In situations like this, it’s important to communicate your concerns to the dealership or mechanic working on your vehicle. They should thoroughly inspect the main line and surrounding components to identify any potential underlying issues that may be causing the recurring problem. It could be beneficial to ask them to check for any loose connections, faulty sensors, or even consider conducting a smoke test to detect any unseen leaks.

      Additionally, you may want to consider seeking a second opinion from another reputable mechanic or contacting Buick customer service for further assistance. They might be able to provide some insights or suggest alternative solutions based on similar cases they have encountered.

      Remember, addressing car troubles can sometimes involve a process of trial and error. Stay persistent in seeking a resolution, and hopefully, you’ll find a solution that puts an end to this ongoing issue with your check engine light.


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