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

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

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
8
Engine
5
Electrical System
4
Steering
4
Air Bags
3
Seat Belts
3
Fuel/propulsion System
3
Unknown Or Other
3
Power Train
3
Vehicle Speed Control
3

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.

Complaint Data

CategoryAir Bags
DateOct 12, 2022
StateCA
Description
The contact owns a 2018 chevrolet suburban. The contact stated while attempting to register her vehicle at the state dmv, she was advised that the vehicle did not have airbags. The contact had purchased the vehicle from a third party and not a dealer. The contact stated that the state dmv would not register her vehicle due to the absence of airbags. The vehicle was taken to several independent mechanics who informed her that all air bags were not installed on the vehicle. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer had not been informed of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 72,000.
CategoryEquipment:electrical:infotainment
DateSep 27, 2022
StateMI
Description
Android auto stops functioning while driving, only way to deal with getting android auto going is to pick up phone and start navigating thru menus on phone, which is something that I don't want to do in the middle of driving.
CategoryEngine, Vehicle Speed Control
DateSep 23, 2022
StateTN
Description
Hello, to whom it may concern, my vehicle is a 2018 chevy suburban with a 5. 3 motor. Gm produced these motors made from inferior metal and defective lifters. My engine began failing in may 2022, I've taking my vehicle to several shops for work but the problem has not been resolved. I have links below explaining the problems with these motors. There are tens of thousands of individuals with families struggle with this same problem I'm having as well. This is world wide news, I'm asking for help for myself and so many other people in these challenging times. I've contacted gm headquarters. [xxx] and [xxx] with no success, just the run around. I went to a gmc dealer here in clarksville, tn where I reside this month. [xxx] with gmc told me he was hearing my lifters and I need not drive my vehicle. Called me in his office and told me he couldn't get my vehicle in to be looked at, but gave me another dealership contact information. I called and spoke with a gentleman by the name of [xxx] he also informed me that they were backed up and couldn't see me until october 5th. All warning lights came on in may of 2022, engine and steering and traction. Please view these links below that explain in further detail. Thank you for your time and help! My contact information [xxx] https://youtu. Be/ewoqbnfcaoc https://pickuptrucktalk. Com/2021/12/are-there-new-problems-with-gm-v-8-engine-lifters-lurking/ information redacted pursuant to the freedom of information act (foia), 5 u. S. C. 552(b)(6).
CategoryService Brakes
DateSep 12, 2022
StateCA
Description
My car was acting weird, brake pedal was extremely tough to decompress, speed then was affected, and ultimately the brakes failed.
CategoryBack Over Prevention: Warnings, Steering
DateAug 25, 2022
StateTX
Description
I have three occasions where I have been turning and my steering wheel locks up and is very hard to turn. I almost crashed twice. I have three young children in the car. I could not get out of the way fast enough but luckily avoided a crash.
CategoryService Brakes, Hydraulic
DateJul 14, 2022
StateTX
Description
The contact owns a 2018 chevrolet suburban. The contact initially stated that while in reverse(r), the brake pedal became firm as the brake assist message appeared on the instrument panel. The contact stated that she had to stand on the brake pedal to stop the vehicle while in reverse(r). The contact then stated that the failure would occur while driving at various speed. The contact had taken the vehicle to a dealer where the mechanic was eventually able to duplicate the failure. The contact had the vacuum pump replaced; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where she was then informed that the brake booster needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and offered to pay a portion towards the cost of the repair. Upon investigation, the contact discovered nhtsa campaign number: 19v645000 (service brakes, hydraulic) which she linked to the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000.
CategoryPower Train
DateJun 14, 2022
StateCO
Description
We were driving the 2018 chevrolet suburban with our three children we tried to accelerate at a green light the car jolted to a halt and someone almost hit us from behind. If this would have happened on the highway we could have caused a major accident and put my kids lives in danger. Was able to get the car to move to the side of the road. We had the car towed to an automotive repair shop and they said there was an issue with the torque convertor and the transmission was totally ruined. There were no check engine lights and no warning what so ever! The repair shop said they haven't seen this happen on a car with so few miles. Costing us 4. 5k and a couple weeks. There are no recalls for this issue on our car.
CategoryEngine
DateMar 21, 2022
StateMD
Description
I had noticed an intermittent chirping noise coming from the vehicle, but no warning lights were on and it did not seem significant, I thought maybe it was a squeaky belt that I would have checked at our next routine maintenance. My husband drove the vehicle next for an approximately 12-mile round trip. He noticed the noise get more consistent and louder, and while pulling into our driveway, I observed that the sound was very loud and smoke was coming from the right side wheel well. As soon as he put the vehicle in park, coolant flooded the driveway. We had an independent mechanic come to our home to diagnose the vehicle. He stated that the water pump completely blew and the pulley was loose. The mechanic emphasized that a car this age should not have had a loose water pump/pulley and that this was a manufacturing issue. He was very concerned that if it had blown while driving, it would have shut off the engine entirely and could have caused a catastrophic accident. He recommended a new water pump and thermostat.
CategorySteering
DateFeb 21, 2022
StateCA
Description
When driving with the 4x4 switch in the auto setting the car would jerk while driving at high speeds. Almost seemed like the left front tire would engage on dry pavement. Also there is a loss of steering while the vehicle is in motion. Speed does not change when it happens. Seems to happen more when driving around a corner. Loss of steering happened for a split second or multiple seconds.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateFeb 21, 2022
StateVA
Description
2018 chevy suburban. Hvac condenser needs replaced. There is a recall for the 2015-2017 models but not 2018. Same problem. A/c does not blow cold air.
CategorySeat Belts
DateFeb 15, 2022
StateMI
Description
Both 2nd row seatbelt tensioners failed within four years of owning the vehicle (bucket seats) with an estimated cost of 0 to fix. We were advise that this is the result of using a recommended child car seat. It is not acceptable or safe to have a seat belt system that cannot be used properly after a car seat has been used and removed.
CategorySteering, Suspension, Wheels
DateFeb 01, 2022
StateCA
Description
The car was slowly making right hand turn when we heard a loud noise and stopped the car once we got out, we saw that right wheel was completely torn out. We have videos and pictures. If it would happened on the higher speed, we would be dead. The car shop told us that they never seen anything like that in the past. Per their report, upper control arm broke off then the rest followed: lower control arm, ball joint, outer tie rod, poss inner tie rod, sway bar link, abs sensor connector. Consumer also learned from dealer that certain parts do not exist anymore and new ones are available.
CategoryPower Train:automatic Transmission
DateOct 22, 2021
StatePA
Description
I purchased the vehicle in june. On a trip in july the transmission stopped functioning in the middle of a major highway. There was no warning and the car just stopped. After getting it to a service dealer in the state we were traveling in, we were told it was the transmission. The car had less than 34,000 miles on it. Fast forward to today and 4 garage visits later, I know own a vehicle that I am told by service dept could need an entire transmission. At less than 40,000 miles.
CategoryService Brakes
DateSep 27, 2021
StateNJ
Description
When placing the car in reverse, the car started to go backwards quickly and I had to put all my weight on the brakes and it took about 40 feet for the car to stop.
CategoryEngine, Service Brakes, Steering
DateJul 27, 2021
StateIL
Description
The vehicle began to shake as if it would shut down. Then, the engine light came on. Then I received three text message alerts. We were shown paperwork regarding the service history that was done at philips chevrolet. Now we're getting alerts regarding work that has to be completed within 7 days.
CategoryService Brakes
DateJul 12, 2021
StateLA
Description
My wife and son were traveling on the interstate in indianapolis and the brakes began to fail in our 2018 chevy suburban. The brake pedal was almost impossible to depress to get the vehicle to even slow down. She was afraid that she was not going to be able to stop and get in a crash. Fortunately, she was able to maneuver the vehicle to the shoulder as it finally slowed down enough. She was afraid to go any farther to an exit for fear of not being able to stop down a sloping exit. So she was able to come to a stop on the shoulder of the interstate. Their was a warning light that came on as this was happening, which was the abs warning light. It was towed to andy mohr speedway chevrolet and they have diagnosed it as a failed vacuum pump. After doing research, I found that there is a recall on 2018 chevrolet suburban for the vacuum pump. However, the vin on my vehicle wasn't included. The recall number is n192268490. The information listed in this recall sounds exactly was happened to our vehicle causing the very dangerous condition that could have resulted in a tragic crash.
CategoryElectrical System
DateMay 11, 2021
StateAK
Description
My doors lock with the car with the keys in the car, my kids were in my car and I got locked out with my keys in it, there was a battery replacement done when I took my car in for a recall notice a month ago (maybe 2 months), also the lock button works but when I push the middle button it will not auto start , when I push the button on the handle outside the car door it will not unlock,& my car will tell me that my remote isn't detected when the keys are in the car. I was at home when it locked with my kids in the car I put them in the car and I walked around to the other side of the car and it locked that quickly in my driveway at home not even running not moving.
CategoryService Brakes, Hydraulic
DateMay 11, 2021
StateIA
Description
Tl* the contact owned a 2018 chevrolet suburban. The contact stated while driving downhill at 55 mph, the message hill descent assist disabled was displayed on the instrument panel. The contact depressed the brake pedal to the floor before the abs system activated and the vehicle was stopped. The contact stated that the failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to george gee buick gmc (21502 e george gee ave, liberty lake, wa 99019, (509) 343-2391) to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the brake booster needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 39,000.
CategoryEngine, Fuel/propulsion System, Power Train
DateFeb 12, 2021
StateTN
Description
I purchased this vehicle in dec of 2019 used. 35,000 miles. Now has 88,000 and the transmission went out. Regular oil changes. No warning lights. No issues. Stopped running. After having someone look at it to see what the issue was, the mechanic said the entire transmission has to either be rebuilt or replaced.
CategoryService Brakes, Vehicle Speed Control
DateFeb 06, 2021
StateTX
Description
I drive a 2018 chevy suburban. This car had no lights on and has less than 18k miles on it. It is just over two years old and there are no recalls on the vehicle. I was driving with my [xxx] child and we had driven about a mile. We were on the feeder road about to get on the freeway. The car started spontaneously accelerating on its own. Jerking faster and faster without me touching the gas. It was like we were on a runaway train. I panicked and slammed my foot on the breaks. There were no breaks - no tension or pressure in the brake pedal. The pedal just continuously slammed into the bottom of the car. I couldn't stop us. I thought quickly and slammed my foot on the parking brake as our car continued to accelerate quickly with no brake function. We jolted to a stop as cars zoomed around us honking and yelling. When I took the car off of the parking break, the same problem continued. No breaks and sporadic acceleration. Immediately after this incident a light came on that said 'service stabilitrak'. The car was towed to the dealership. I'm sharing this for all car owners to remember the power of your parking break in an emergency. It's one thing to be annoyed when your car won't go, but it is pure panic and fear when your car won't stop and keeps going faster - especially with your precious child in the back seat. *js parts of this document have been redacted to protect personally identifiable information pursuant to the freedom of information act (foia), 5 u. S. C. 552(b)(6).
CategorySuspension
DateJan 28, 2021
StateCA
Description
The automatic air suspension has failed several times when towing. The shocks leak, the compressor does not turn on, and sometimes, if it does turn on, the bags do not deflate. When they do not inflate it causes dangerous sagging and squatting. When they inflate and do mot deflate after towing the rear suspension is very stiff and dangerous to drive around in. I have taken my vehicle in over 5 times to fix the issue and chevy has been unable to fix this problem. This has been ongoing since I purchased the vehicle in 2018.
CategoryElectrical System, Vehicle Speed Control
DateDec 15, 2020
StateLA
Description
The stability track lights keeps coming on and off. Dealer can't seem to find out what the problem is. It does not leave a code in order to find out what the problem is. When the light comes on it affects the cruise control and steering assist. This occurs while driving the vehicle. It doesn't matter if you are on a city street or highway.
CategorySeat Belts
DateOct 26, 2020
StateCA
Description
Right rear passenger seatbelt retractor does not automatically lock when the seatbelt is fully pulled out of the retractor, nor does it automatically retract when in the unused position. Makes loud clicking nose. Cannot properly secure my child's safety seat.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJun 22, 2020
StateNJ
Description
My 2018 suburban required over 0 worth of expenses to replace a valve and recharge the freon in the ac. Less than a week later it required a new condenser and another 50 in repair. The condenser was recalled in 2015-2017 suburbans and it sounds to me like it should include the 2018 model year as well. I should not have to put more than 50 in repairs for that into a vehicle that is less than three years old. I have a family of six including a nine month old and it is not safe in the summer heat to be driving them around as this is the only car we have that fits the entire family. My wife is a doctor and frequently working at the hospital during this pandemic so it is the only remaining vehicle I have and the only one that fits the rest of the family. *tr
CategoryElectrical System, Service Brakes, Wheels
DateApr 20, 2020
StateVA
Description
Car brakes on its own when going above 40 mph causing the vehicle to pull to one side.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJan 22, 2020
StateCA
Description
The vehicle manufacturer failed to provide the federal safety standards sticker and dmv will not provide me with my registration to operate my suv
CategoryPower Train
DateDec 05, 2019
StateCA
Description
Vehicle was parked and engine off and kids were getting into car when one of the kids pulled in the shifter and shifted the vehicle into gear. The vehicle began to roll. The suburban was stopped when it hit another vehicle parked behind. The slope was small and the impact was inconsequential. Upon further inspection it was found the vehicle can be shifted in/out of park with or without keys in the vehicle and the vehicle in the off position. This event could have been catastrophic, had a child been behind the vehicle when it came out of park and into gear. We have video of the vehicle being able to be shifted without the foot on the brake or the vehicle running.
CategoryElectronic Stability Control, Service Brakes
DateNov 22, 2019
StateUT
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2018 chevrolet suburban. The contact received notification of nhtsa campaign number: 19v761000(electronic stability control, service brakes, hydraulic, service brakes). The contact stated that salt lake valley chevrolet (located at 4050 w 3500 s, west valley city, ut 84120, (801) 758-8387) 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.
CategoryElectronic Stability Control, Service Brakes
DateNov 12, 2019
StateNJ
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2018 chevrolet suburban. The contact discovered nhtsa campaign number: 19v761000 (electronic stability control, service brakes, hydraulic, service brakes). The contact spoke with schumacher chevrolet of denville (281 us-46 e, denville, nj 07834, (973) 664-7584) and was informed that the parts were unavailable. The manufacturer informed the contact that she should not place the vehicle into 4-wheel drive until the remedy was found. No further assistance was offered. The contact had not experienced a failure. Vin tool confirms parts not available.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateSep 28, 2019
StateWA
Description
The cap less filler's automatic flap broke. We noticed this shortly after we bought the vehicle
CategoryAir Bags
DateJul 01, 2019
StateFL
Description
Involved in a serious front end collision and airbags did not deploy. Hit between front wheel and front bumper. Was leaving a stop sign when hit. Vehicle that hit me was going at least 40 mph.
CategoryStructure:body
DateMay 17, 2019
StateNC
Description
Frame wax peeling, resulting in corrosion. At the current rate, corrosion will affect the structural integrity of the frame in the future. Problem may have resulted from improper wax application technique or improper preparation of frame prior to wax application. Normal vehicle use.
CategoryElectrical System
DateMar 13, 2019
StateLA
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2018 chevrolet suburban. While driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled. Afterwards, the "failure to open right door, roll window down, and put back up" warning indicator illuminated. The contact followed the instructions and the vehicle restarted. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred three times. The vehicle was taken to banner chevrolet (5173, 5950 chef menteur hwy, new orleans, la 70126, (504) 302-8900) where it was diagnosed that the negative battery cable overheated, which caused the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 37,311.
CategoryEngine
DateDec 25, 2018
StateWA
Description
Check engine light and miss firing. Faulty fuel injector on cylinder #1.
CategorySeat Belts
DateDec 25, 2018
StateWA
Description
Defective rear center seat belt. Would not extend out.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateSep 15, 2018
StateVA
Description
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 obd ii fault.
CategoryAir Bags
DateApr 23, 2018
StateAZ
Description
Tl* 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 failed 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.

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Brian Jones

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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