2020 GMC Acadia Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, fuel system, and brakes issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2020 GMC Acadia is supposed to be the higher-end model related to the Chevy Traverse. This upgraded model is designed to provide more technology, better comfort and helps owners to “travel safely,” according to the automaker. However, the defective electrical system, malfunctioning fuel system, dangerous brakes, and a faulty camera make that nearly impossible.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022

Most Common Problems

In terms of the numbers of complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), electrical system issues top the problems owners have. These include issues about the rear-view camera (RVC) failing. There is an open Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) in progress, so this is a major issue.

Problems relating to faulty brakes come a close second, which of course also relates to vehicle speed control. The fuel/propulsion system is creating problems for 2020 Acadia owners too.

2020 GMC Acadia Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Power Train
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Fuel/propulsion System
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection

Problems with the Electrical System

A properly running electrical system creates a seamless operation from the time the engine is started until the owner reaches their destination. Yet, with the Acadia, there are too many complaints that discuss trouble with this vital system.

Here is one from Cars.com. “The infotainment unit still has problems. Mine was leased on 1/18/20 and to date (today is 2/14/20) it has been in the shop 4x for issues surrounding the infotainment unit. First it had no sound when using remote start, then the cameras went out, then a fender popped loose, and the cause of the cameras going out was a frayed coax cable. Great build quality GM! The no sound issue they couldn’t figure out so I got a new infotainment unit installed. Out of the near month of having this vehicle, I have only had the chance to drive it for maybe a week.”

Beyond the infotainment system, GMC acknowledges other electrical system problems. Service Bulletin #070604025M also talks about various clicking and ticking noises coming from the vehicle. However, GMC claims that these sounds are a “normal characteristic.” It must come as a surprise to purchasers when they first drive their GMC SUV only to find out that it comes with some free noises that were unexpected.

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Fuel System Problems

The Acadia’s fuel system is supposed to accurately supply the engine with the gasoline needed to get from Point A to Point B, but there are some major defects with the operation.

Read this NHTSA complaint. “Driving along no issues, car says 60 miles to empty no fuel warning light or anything, when car just suddenly loses power, was able to get to side of road. Told me to restart engine and it wouldn’t fire back up. Put a gallon of gas in and it fired back up. Owned car for almost 3 weeks, can’t believe there was no indication fuel was apparently that low. 60 miles to empty should have been able to finish the 2 miles I had on my drive to work and to get gas.”

Beyond the fuel system indicator, there are even larger problems occurring with the Acadia. Service Bulletin #16NA383 states that an updated fuel injection cleaner kit is needed to decarbonize the intake valves to correct a rough idle, trouble with starting, an extended cranking situation and misfire. The automaker also goes on to tell customers that they should use better fuels to prevent these problems. So, not only do they have to pay a premium price to get behind the wheel, but it appears that they have to spend more at the pump too, just to fix GMC’s problems.

Problems with the Brakes

The brakes of a vehicle are one of the most essential safety features needed. Yet, the Acadia is struggling to get the basics down.

Another NHTSA complaint says, “The contact owns a 2020 GMC Acadia. The contact stated that while driving at 15 mph, without warning the parking brake engaged independently. The contact manually released the parking brake and the vehicle operated as intended. [Dealer] was contacted and informed of the failure. An appointment was scheduled to have the vehicle diagnosed which was still pending. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but no further assistance was provided. The failure mileage was approximately 6,276.”

If an accident were to occur because of this failure, owners might be in trouble. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V446000 states that some vehicles might have a malfunctioning Roof-Rail Air Bag inflator. If it fails, this vital air bag might not deploy in an accident, leaving occupants at risk. Considering the Acadia is appealing to customers by claiming to help them “travel safely,” one would think that the company would make sure everything works right first.

Camera Problems

It doesn’t take complaints from owners of the 2020 GMC Acadia to realize that there are camera problems with this General Motor Corporation (GMC) mid-size SUV. There is an open investigation by the ODI that was launched on July 22, 2022, that confirms rear-view camera failure is a major problem.

As the investigation report filed with the NHTSA states, the failure of malfunction of the RVC results in reduced visibility of the area behind the SUV. This, in turn, can lead to an increased risk of incidents that could result in injury or damage to property when the SUV reverses.

In other words, it’s an accident waiting to happen. This is confirmed by the fact that the ODI opened its investigation “to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and to fully assess the potential safety-related issues.”

For the record, the investigation doesn’t only affect the 2020 Acadia, it affects another five GMC vehicles including the 2021 Acadia and several Cadillacs.

According to the ODI, complaints received over a two-year period state that “the screen for the RVC is black, sometimes with a red triangle and a circle with a line through it.” Most are from owners that have vehicles with low mileage.

There aren’t many complaints from owners on the NHTSA website. But here’s what a couple of affected owners have said.

An Owner from Michigan States:

“Center console display does not start when you start (the) vehicle. Stays blank! This happens occasionally. Sometimes restarting will fix (it), other times not. There is no rear view camera when this happens. Not sure what else is affected, such as backup warnings.”

An Owner from Connecticut States:

“Navigation system stops working / all cameras stop working give a triangle with exclamation in the middle / radio also shuts down.”

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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.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Ralph T

    I have a 2020 Acadia, I have had about a year and starting notice a vibration in the left front of the vehicle when braking hard. I now hear like a thumping noise when on the interstate. It has about 46k on it. I was thinking that the router was out, but the noise on the interstate makes me think I have a strut going bad. Anyone had issues like this?

  • mike

    My 2020 Acadia at4 was driving down the interstate 70mph at 5pm to work and I got a bunch of fault signals on the dash windshield. Wipers turn on by themselves shooting water and completely stopped in the middle of interstate with cars doing 70 mph all around me. Before I could get involved in a fatal car accident I called 911 and they called a truck to drag me to the side of interstate so I had it towed to the GMC dealer. I missed work of course and had to rent car.
    After 2 days they tell me there was a clog in the ac evacuation hose, so water started shooting directly into the main body control module totally destroying it and with parts and labor. It would be 1760.00 so with missed work, rental car, and tow truck over 2400 total. I don’t know what kind of designer would put the main body control module anywhere near
    where it could get wet if something happened. I purchased this SUV new. Wish I would have gone with Nissan
    as recommended by many people but got this one for looks. I have never had to put this much money in a 3yr old car. I
    had a Hyundai before and after 6 yrs., it only needed brakes and new battery.

  • Patrick O

    Recently took my 2020 GMC Acadia (v6) to the GM dealership in Davison Michigan for a check engine light associated with the coolant temp. Sensor malfunction. I was shocked to hear the cost was in excess of $1350.00. It turns out that the sensor (cost $9.00) is located under the intake manifold thus requiring a major tear down. Adding a long tear down and a costly (part & gasket replacement) restoration.
    After much research, the faulty sensor (made in China) has a high fail rate. I have owned more the 30 new GM vehicles and never had a coolant sensor go bad.
    Also the rake wear indicator is squeezing loudly though my brake pads have little wear. After conferring with the dealer, they want to changeout the pads and rotors to resolve the squeak.
    Another common seriously costly problem on my Acadia v6 is the small steel bracket that holds the two flex exhaust pipes to the frame before the converter. After 50k miles the inexpensive bracket splits allowing the exhaust pipes to raddle freely. That cost to repair being in excess of $800.00.
    As you see, after owning this vehicle for only 66,000 miles. It would be too costly to keep any longer.
    GM used to be loyal to their customers, especially their long term customers, but now there is no one at GM who cares. They have closed their eyes to loyalty.

  • Stacy

    2020 GMC Acadia SLT: 43087 miles

    Today (9/24/2022), My vehicle would not disengage. I came outside to find my taillights all on. Someone could hop in, start it and go. It also started giving warnings about Tire Mount system, no remote detected, No gas even though I filled up day before, A/C going on and off, signals don’t work, Door Switch malfunction, Anti-theft device malfunction, back-up camera sluggish, back-up system not functioning. I had this vehicle in the shop numerous times about the mother board and had it replaced under the bumper-to-bumper warranty and the problems with it started back up but they refused to replace the mother board again so remote issues continued and now all this just today.

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