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

Headlights, structure and brakes and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

One of the more popular SUV models on the market is the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe. Overall, Tahoe vehicles have been praised for the spaciousness and power. Even the automaker hails the new lineup as “the best for a reason,” but the company has overlooked some major flaws. This SUV has a poorly-built structure, terrible exterior lighting, a defective powertrain and malfunctioning service brakes.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Power Train
Exterior Lighting
Fuel/propulsion System
Air Bags
Engine And Engine Cooling

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

For the price point of the Tahoe, it must be built to last, but it isn’t. Customers continue to complain about the cheap materials and defective structure.

Look at this Edmunds review as an example. “I’ve never had a new vehicle at the dealership for warranty work as much as this junk. Within the first month I had water flowing out of the overhead console due to the antenna leaking. Also the trim piece under the wipers was warped. Both were replaced by the dealership and I was reassured that it wouldn’t leak again. Four months later and both issues were back and repaired. Eight months in and the 10 speed transmission is acting up as well as the parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and theft deterrent systems going haywire. This is definitely my last new GM purchase and I look forward to the lease ending.”

One would think that GM would want to hide the structure-related troubles, but the communications are filled with issues. Even Service Bulletin #19NA255 openly discusses how the wax frame coating can peel, leading to rusting and corrosion concerns. Of course, there doesn’t seem to be any alarm over this condition, but rather seems that customers should just expect this from a new SUV. Clearly, this isn’t a reason that it is “the best.”

Problems with the Headlights

Even when customers are happy with other aspects of this vehicle, they tend to have some complaints about the lighting.

Just look at the secondhalf of a positive review from an owner writing on Edmunds. “I have to be honest though, the standard headlights are awful.  During my multiple test drives in the Spring, it was never dark enough for me to evaluate the headlights. There is absolutely no excuse for such poor low beam headlights on such an expensive vehicle. If I don’t keep the car for more than a year or two, it will be because of the headlights. Dinged my overall review because of the headlights.  Update 12/19/18 – reiterating that the headlights are awful for a vehicle in its price class. Update 6/19/19 – sold the car.  Night driving with poor headlights is dangerous.”

Following up on the structure incidents, take a peek at Service Bulletin #PIE0498, which also involves the lighting system. It appears that the door weatherstrip doesn’t seem to fit plus the company is dealing with rear tail lamp moisture as a result of the shoddy construction. With all of these concerns, it seems that the Tahoe assembly workers were in a hurry to get this SUV together. A lot of components seem overlooked and rushed, leading to massive problems. Again, these issues are talked about as if it is just normal. If customers wanted this type of quality, they could have saved themselves a lot of money with a different model.

Problems with the Transmission

The main component of a powertrain is the transmission. It must be working correctly to provide a smooth-shifting drive, but it’s just another area for failure with the Tahoe.

Another Edmunds review states, “Then it happens I back out of the drive I’m on the road put it in drive and NOTHING happens I calmly shift to neutral and try again and BOOM it slams into drive with a big thud and i eat the steering wheel. I start to panic that maybe that did not just happen and I’m crazy. I gather some witness to confirm I’m not crazy, no indeed I am not. Chevrolet thinks I’m crazy it “never” happened to them but it happens to me 5 plus times a week. This sadly will be my last Chevy product, I can buy the same [non-permissible content removed] quality for half the money going with another manufacture.”

As discussed before, it might be time to look at other brands for everyone’s SUV needs, because this model can only claim to be the “best” lemon. Service Bulletin #16NA019 talks about several other transmission-related concerns, such as flares, low-mileage harsh shifting and slipping. If owners wanted to take the kids on an amusement ride, they could have paid far less.

Problems with the Brakes

The service brakes are required to keep occupants safe and are critical when traveling with kids. Yet, this is probably the biggest disappointment on the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe.

One NHTSA complaint talks about a scary situation. “Sitting in traffic on I-95 and had total brake failure and began rolling back in traffic and had to use emergency brake to stop the car twice. Cannot believe that GM is allows to sell a vehicle that now has serious problems and is allows to put my family’s life and others at risk of death.”

Those are some pretty severe statements, but all backed up by recalls that have been issued by GM. The first one, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V61000 talks about how a software error can cause the system to unintentionally brake on one side, which causes the vehicle to pull hard. This particular recall affected more than 600,000 vehicles, but that’s not the worst of it. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V645000 was issued on more than three million vehicles. With this recall, it’s evident that the vacuum pump can lead to a decrease in pressure, which causes the brake assist to malfunction. When this occurs, drivers must apply additional force to stop the SUV, and it could lead to an accident. Plus, the brake problems plagued so many GM vehicles that the dealers can’t keep up with repairs, leaving many people still at risk on the road. The only way that this situation could be positive is if the Tahoe happened to roll away unexpectedly off a cliff with no one in it. It’s possible that many owners dream about this situation just to get out of the death trap.

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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