2021 Chevy Equinox Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

In the world of crossovers, the 2021 Chevy Equinox stands out from the bunch with its sporty style and high-tech features. The automaker tells customers to “leave it all behind,” but many owners think the Equinox itself is what should be left. This newer Chevy SUV comes equipped with a defective electrical system and malfunctioning powertrain.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

Common complaints include defective electrical systems, malfunctioning powertrains, and issues with technology, including advanced safety features. Other issues relate to steering, exterior lighting, and tires.

Even though there were relatively few complaints to the NHTSA in 2021, the same components feature in complaints year after year!

There were 6 complaints relating to:

  1. Service brakes
  2. Exterior lighting
  3. Powertrain (2)
  4. Steering
  5. An unknown issue that appears to be electrical and/or technical

One of the two powertrain issues resulted in a minor accident in which no one was injured.

2021 Chevy Equinox Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Air Bags
Fuel/propulsion System
Seat Belts
Electrical System:body Control Module/bcm

Electrical System Problems

In today’s modern vehicle, it’s expected that the SUV would come with the latest bells and whistles. However, customers are complaining about the technology this Equinox provides.

One Cars.com review states, “the ‘advanced safety features’ are annoying more often than not and they will go off simply because a car in the opposite lane passes you. As a result I have deactivated them all. Most can be permanently deactivated but the “auto start/stop” requires more effort to permanently deactivate. Have yet found a way to remove the front camera to disable the most annoying safety features. The ‘lane keep assist’ can be turned off but must be deactivated every time you start the vehicle, another reason I wish to remove the front camera entirely as I do not desire the subtle steering wheel impulses while driving on snow and ice.”

When it comes to building the Equinox, Chevy has a lot to learn. After all, these advanced safety systems require precision and skill to create effectively. Considering that the Equinox already has a recall because of the wrong bolts being used with the seat belts, it’s no wonder that high-tech features don’t work right. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V811000 states that the wrong bolts were used with the seat belts, causing it to fail when restraining an occupant. Maybe Chevy should go back to the basics before attempting to add in today’s modern systems. The company could start by working on something from earlier days – such as Fred Flintstone’s car.

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Problems with the Powertrain

You don’t have to be a driver of the Equinox to know just how faulty this SUV is. Even the top auto publications are speaking out.

Here’s what Motor Trend had to say. “On-road performance is disappointing, as well. The Equinox pushes and plows through corners and ride quality is unimpressive, especially on higher trims with larger wheels. We liked the punchy 2.0T offering, but for 2021, buyers are left to make do with the 1.5-liter offering that, while torquey enough, is muddled by a transmission always reaching for its highest gear.”

It’s no surprise to Chevy that the Equinox struggles with the powertrain. Service Bulletin #16NA019 discusses how the transmission has trouble with low mileage harsh shifts, flares and slips. This isn’t something that new car owners should be dealing with, but Chevy thinks it’s completely normal. Maybe the automaker is too busy trying to figure out what bolts to use with the seat belts to spend any time increasing the performance and durability of this model. Word of advice – “leave it all behind” and choose a different manufacturer instead.


There were 5 recalls in 2018, 4 in 2019, 3 in 2020, and 2 in 2021. Whether they continue to decrease in numbers and components affected remains to be seen.

The first recall was in December 2020 after Chevrolet realized that incorrect bolts were used to attach seat belts in some vehicles. Potentially, 470 units may be affected, including the 2021 Equinox.

If seat belt assemblies aren’t attached to vehicles correctly, the device may not restrain the occupant in a crash. This increases the risk of injury.

GM was to notify owners and dealers were told to replace the bolts free.

The second recall in August 2021 was because the tread of tires was separating. Their report states that the tires may have been manufactured without enough of the curative agent. Tread separation can lead to loss of vehicle control, which can increase the risk of a crash.

A total of 9,597 Chevrolet Equinox 2021-2022 and GMC Terrain vehicles were affected. GMC was to inform owners in August that their tires could be replaced free by dealers.

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 Chevy 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.

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
  • D

    Ok so I bought the 2021 Equinox from Enterprise fleet literally 11 days ago. The car is supposed to be ace certified which is why I purchased from Enterprise the system the car has for its apple users will not hook to our iPhone 13 pro max’s no big deal but it persists in this issue got random tires warning but my tires are not the ones recalled dismissed it had husband check the tire pressure everything was good! so here is the issue yesterday picked up kids from school no windows down while driving and pulled in driveway locked car per usual double checked that all lights were off and double checked that windows were up even though Windows were never down but checked regardless cause with kids you never know checked that the car was locked we were all good preceded inside to do homework and cook dinner , last night in New Orleans it stormed for hours obnoxiously severe rain with extreme lightning and thunder, go to bring kids this morning and all 4 windows are down no one went by the car since yesterdays sunny afternoon when we exited vehicle once again 1 million percent certain car was locked lights were off windows fully up so my car basically for the maximum of 6 hours as I’m unsure when the electrical system decided to pull a what I call a maximum overdrive ( 1980s movie) and take it upon itself to roll on down the windows even when both key fobs were hanging up untouched and away in a cabinet , I can even add that I’m 1 billion percent sure that all windows were up when husband got home from a errand in his work truck long after I got home with kids as he looked at car as he walked up to home! so has anyone had this happen before with the auto system electrical system and has anyone noticed your windows down when you know you had them up? Cause car is saturated like beyond saturated and we are 3 days past the 7 day return policy at Enterprise so now my car is basically ruined and it was 20 grand

  • Sharon o

    I have a 2021 Chevrolet equinox lt I’ve had to replace the brake booster pump twice now and the second one I replaced put plastic pieces in the oil has caused internal issues so now my engine shuts off due to low engine power I’m taking the vehicle into gm on Friday as they have requested to see my vehicle although my vehicle has 230,000 miles on it . It’s on its 3rd brake booster pump I was nearly killed on 2 occasions because my brake pedal became hard to operate vehicle on the highway if I wasn’t a professional driver I would have rear-ended someone. This vehicle is a death trap waiting to happen.

  • Bob

    2005 equinox radiator brown fluid, attempted fix
    4 × dealer gave an extended warranty for radiator, later head gasket blown cost $5,500 out of pocket to fix then 6mth. Later over heating could not drive and just got rid of it. Nothing else to do🤨

  • Shannon

    Just found out my Chevy 2021 equinox decided to shut off driving on the highway
    W my kids in the car had to turn left into oncoming traffic my car shuts off it was the scariest moment ever!!

  • Robert M

    I hand washed a 2021 blue equinox today. The blue paint is coming off on my felt rag.
    This is an indication of a shallow clear coat. Living in upper Illinois will have to see how salt effects the paint.

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