2017 Chevrolet Suburban Top 3 Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Exterior lighting, Electrical and Brake issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


2017 Chevrolet Suburban

The 2017 Chevrolet Suburban gives families the ability to transport lots of people and cargo. With this versatility, you would expect it to be fully functioning and operational, but that’s not what many drivers experience. The newest model claims the Suburban is the “best of all worlds,” but we aren’t sure what world they are talking about. A better slogan would be – problems from another planet.

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Brakes

Brakes are important on any vehicle, but more essential when you plan to carry children. Parents require peace of mind knowing that this big vehicle is going to stop when it needs to. Sadly, drivers have trouble getting the Suburban to stop as it should.

One person wrote this on the NHTSA website. “I was a the top of a boat ramp beginning to back up in order to launch our boat when the brake pedal felt hard as a rock. It would not press down. Quickly, I shifted into drive and moved slowly to level ground. The brake pedal remained hard, but stopped when exerting tremendous pressure, aka, standing on the brake. I had the vehicle towed to a Chevrolet dealership for repair. The problem was a failed brake assist vacuum pump. Apparently, there is a class action lawsuit against GM for this very problem.”

In an urgent message, GM released Special Coverage N182202780 which addresses this concern and others. Dealers were ordered to replace the vacuum pump and belt for repair. Despite the urgency in this communication, the automaker made sure to mention, “It meets all federal motor vehicle safety standards for brake performance.” Do you really believe that? It that’s the case, then why release the urgent message and quick response for repair? That’s not how GM typically seeks to treat cases that aren’t serious. Anytime the brakes aren’t working properly; it should be seen as a major issue, no matter what GM thinks.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chevy Suburban Brake Problems:

I HAVE HAD AN ISSUE TWICE WITH MY 2017 SUBURBAN PREMIER 40K MILES WHILE AT THE BOAT RAMP WHERE THE BRAKE PEDAL GIVES OUT A BIT AND I HAVE HAD TO PUMP THE PEDAL DOWN HARD THEN APPLY THE EMERGENCY BRAKE AS A BACKUP.

BRAKE PEDAL BECAME VERY HARD TO PRESS AND WOULDNT STOP THE VEHICLE, NEARLY CAUSING AN ACCIDENT. THE SERVICE BRAKE ASSIST LIGHT CAME ON. I HAD THE CODE PULLED BY A LOCAL GARAGE. THE CODE SAID THE BRAKE VACUUM PUMP HAD FAILED. VEHICLE ON HAS 60000 MILES.

Exterior lighting

Different models have their own look and style. The exterior lighting plays a part in that final appearance, but the lighting is about far more than creating an aura. Your lighting is responsible for helping you see in low-light situations. The system is also vital for others to see you.

Take, for example, what happened to this person on the NHTSA website. “On the Interstate, there was a line of motorcycles of at least 50. Ahead and behind them were a few of the newer Suburbans and Tahoes by Chevy/GMC. I didn’t have issues with the line and delay. I had an issue with their hazards/emergency lights blinking. When those vehicles have their hazard lights blinking, the brake lights do not work when they are pressing on the brakes!!! So it is an extreme safety hazard for other drivers when the brakes lights do not work.”

While we don’t see GM talking about this problem specifically, we do see Service Bulletin #PIT3219F. This report relates to the DRLs or auto headlights not disabling with the headlamp switch. The company’s response was to tell customers that it was a normal response and nothing should be done. It makes you wonder why they even needed to issue a bulletin if they weren’t willing to do anything about it. So, if you wanted to turn off your lights, you are out of luck. You no longer have the option; GM gets to make decisions for you.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chevy Suburban Backup Display Brightness Problems:

WHEN I BOUGHT THE SUBURBAN IT WAS DAYLIGHT…EVERYTHING CHECKED OUT FINE. THEN THE NEXT MORNING I WENT TO BACK OUT OF MY DRIVEWAY IN THE DARK AND ALMOST HIT A CAR. THE BACKUP CAMERA SCREEN IS SO BRIGHT YOU CANNOT SEE ANYTHING EXCEPT VERY BRIGHT LIGHT IN YOUR EYES.

WHEN THE VEHICLE IS PUT INTO REVERSE, THE REAR BACK-UP CAMERA COMES ON. THE DISPLAY OF THE CAMERA IS EXTREMELY TOO BRIGHT, AND MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO BACK UP PROPERLY WITH A GLARING LIGHT IN YOUR FACE. THERE IS CURRENTLY NOT AN OPTION TO DECREASE THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE CAMERA. I HAVE CONTACTED THE CHEVROLET DEALERSHIP IN PERSON AND THE CHEVROLET CORPORATION BY CHAT AND BY PHONE. EACH TIME, NO OPTIONS WERE PROVIDED TO ASSIST WITH THE ISSUE. WHEN I CONTACTED THE CHEVROLET CORPORATION, I WAS TOLD TO CONTACT THE NHTSA IF I FELT THAT THERE WAS AN ISSUE. I FEEL THAT THE BRIGHT DISPLAY OF THE REAR BACK-UP CAMERA COULD POTENTIALLY BE A SAFETY ISSUE, SINCE IT IMPEDES THE DRIVER’S ABILITY TO SEE CLEARLY WITH THE SIDE VIEW MIRRORS. THIS ISSUE HAS OCCURRED SEVERAL TIMES.

Other

We have numerous complaints regarding the 2017 Chevrolet Suburban, but too many to list. When looking in the other category, we see things such as visibility, power tailgate issues and trouble with the wheels.

As far as the power tailgate, one driver went to the NHTSA website and wrote, “Power tailgate has closed by itself and hit persons on the head three times in the first two weeks following purchase. Vehicle was purchased March 21, 2017, today is 4/4/17. Tailgate foot activation has triggered without foot movement under sensor, causing unwanted opening of the tailgate.”

That isn’t just annoying but can also cause serious injury. Another safety issue is related to NHTSA Campaign Number 17V033000, which turned into a recall. The convex right-hand outside mirror failed to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 111, “Rearview Mirrors.” It led to a misjudgment of the distance of other vehicles, which could turn into an accident. To repair the problem, GM dealers replaced the existing equipment with a non-convex mirror.

Maybe GM had it backwards when they said this SUV offers the best of all worlds; maybe it should have been labeled – worst of all worlds instead. They don’t just have reliability issues with one part, but multiple. If an automaker were to make an all-around defective car, this could be the poster child for how to accomplish the goal.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chevy Suburban Problems:

AIR CONDITIONER FAILURE. LEAK CAUSING ALL REFRIGERANT TO LEAK OUT. APPARENTLY, THIS IS A COMMON PROBLEM FOR THIS MODEL AND YEAR. CAR HAS 49K MILES AND IS OUT OF WARRANTY ON MILES EVEN THOUGH IT IS LESS THAN 3 YEARS OLD. JUST LEAKED OUT RAPIDLY. BLOWING HOT AIR. NOT REALLY DRIVEABLE WITH 3 CHILDREN.

PRESSURE IN CABIN FELT STRONGLY IN EARS AT SPEEDS BELOW 40 MPH (CITY). WE HAVE HAD THIS PROBLEM FIRST ON A 2015 SUBURBAN, THEN A 2017 SUBURBAN PURCHASED BY OUR OFFICE LAST DECEMBER, AND NOW ON THE SECOND SUBURBAN PURCHASED MARCH 2017. WHILE DRIVING IN CITY, PARTICULARLY OVER SLIGHTLY BUMPY ROADS, CABIN PRESSURE IS VERY STRONG AND PAINFUL TO THE EARS.

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About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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1 COMMENT
  • Umme k

    We bought Chevy suburban 2017 model in august,
    My husband gifted me. My daughter was two month that time, in 2020 October 16 my husband was backing up and the sensor was not working my 16 month daughter came under vehicle, and that happened two time the sensor is f.. up . He bought that car for safety but we didn’t do any research. Luckily my daughter survived had liver laceration, was intubated But I am so glad my baby survived we were so lucky , now I hate it so much and can’t afford to buy another one, now the brakes are giving me trouble I just don’t know what should I do with it. We only drew 20k miles n it’s brand new the brakes are squeaking n I have to press is so hard then it will stop another nightmare

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