2018 Chevrolet Suburban Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, fuels system and structure problems issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When it comes to owning a large SUV, the 2018 Chevrolet Suburban ranks among the top choices. This three-row SUV has a long-standing history of reliability. Even the newest models are praised by the automaker by saying, “Premium Runs in the Family.” Sadly, the quality of these Chevy models has gone downhill. Owners now complain about a poorly-built structure, defective air bags, a malfunctioning fuel system and faulty brakes.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Chevrolet Suburban

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Power Train
Air Bags
Seat Belts
Unknown Or Other
Fuel/propulsion System
Vehicle Speed Control

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

Some people think that the 2018 Chevy Suburban is a tank because of its large size, yet it surely wasn’t built like one.

Just look at all of these complaints from an Edmunds user. “Leased this car less than a year ago put down 12k because I planned on purchasing at the end of my lease, but now I will not be doing that and will be filing a formal complaint with Chevy. After a month of leasing my AC went out in June! My car was in for repair for two months for this! And I have two little babies and I was given a tiny Chevy to drive in the meantime which was horrible. Then the window seal on the drive door broke, once again car was in for two weeks while they ordered the part. Next, passenger visor broke just from opening it, once again in for repair. Now today the driver visor broke! I don’t know what is going on with this suv but this is just so upsetting. Also my back up camera lines always disappear and Chevy says because they can’t recreate the problem they can’t fix it. This is a 65k vehicle and leased less than a year and already more problems than I have ever had with another vehicle over a 10 year period.”

GM isn’t hiding issues with the structure. In fact, the automaker has a long list of communications about problems. Service Bulletin 19NA255, in particular, talks about the frame requiring repair because of the peeling wax coating that leads to rusting or corrosion. This isn’t something an owner of a “premium” SUV should ever have to deal with, at least not in the first few years of ownership. Yet, Chevy talks about it as if it was completely normal. Either the company is purposely attempting to deceive customers or it lives in a delusion.

Problems with the Air Bags

Having a functioning set of air bags is essential for occupants to remain safe during an accident. When these vital safety features don’t operate, it puts everyone in danger.

That’s exactly the situation with this Chevy. Read this one NHTSA complaint. “The contact owns a 2018 Chevrolet Suburban. While driving 75 mph, a vehicle crashed into a guardrail and bounced back onto the roadway. As a result, the contact crashed into the front of the vehicle. The front end of the contact’s vehicle was damaged. The air bags filed to deploy. The front seat passenger sustained shoulder and neck injuries that required medical attention. The driver also sustained head injuries, but did not require medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a towing lot where it was awaiting inspection. The dealer and manufacturer were not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 4,700.”

While this situation is scary enough, imagine if it would have happened to someone with a faulty rear seatbelt. That’s exactly what NHTSA Campaign Number 18V673000 talks about. It appears that more than 15,000 vehicles might be equipped with a rear seatbelt retractor that doesn’t lock. If an occupant or child is in the back seat during an accident, there could be serious injuries as a result. It turns out that these faulty seatbelts could be in the second and third rows. If this is what “premium” looks like, it would be a shame to see what GM considers sub-par.

Problems with the Fuel System

The fuel system of any vehicle is designed to hold gasoline or diesel and supply this liquid to the engine for propulsion. When something fails in this system, it becomes difficult to go anywhere.

One NHTSA review states, “The filler neck on my 3 month old 2018 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 had to be replaced because of an O ring that was missing, causing the fuel tank not to pressurize properly, causing the fuel management system to send an OBDII fault.”

Again, GM isn’t ashamed of the fuel system troubles. In fact, the company talks about an unrelated complication with Service Bulletin #18NA137. This communication states that the fuel injectors might need to be rebuilt if there is an underhood odor or trouble cranking the engine. Just to remind occupants that this model is a “premium” version, the company added the unique smell of gasoline to the ride.

Problems with the Brakes

As with the other safety issues that have been documented, the Chevy Suburban struggles to maintain an effective braking system.

Here is yet another NHTSA complaint worth reading. “The contact owns a 2018 Chevrolet Suburban. The contact received notification of NHTSA Campaign Number 19V61000 (Electronic Stability Control, Service Brakes, Hydraulic Service Brakes). The contact stated that the [dealer] exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was not notified. The part was not available for the repair. The contact had not experienced a failure. Parts distribution disconnect.”

This recall referenced in this complaint affected over 600,000 vehicles, which is probably why it was difficult to get parts. It turns out that a software error was leading to the activation of the driveline-protection system, which causes unintended braking. Because the fault only occurs on one side, it causes the entire SUV to pull to one side, which increases the chance of an accident. If that’s not enough, there was another brake-related recall, but this one affected more than three million vehicles. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V64500 states that the vacuum pump causes the levels to drop which reduces the brake assist function, causing additional braking effort by the operator. Because the distance to stop is greater, an accident could become imminent. Looking at the entire picture, with fuel smells, brakes that don’t work and seat belts that don’t restrain passengers, it seems like Chevy is trying to do away with its customers. Apparently, owners need to pay a “premium” price to drive in such a faulty SUV.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Chevrolet pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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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