Top 5 Chevrolet Equinox Problems – 1st Generation (2005 to 2009)

The first-generation Chevy Equinox was Chevrolet’s entrant into the crossover SUV market segment. The vehicle was built and designed to drive like an ordinary car while still offering the SUV treatment. For today’s post, we take a look at the top 5 Chevrolet Equinox problems that we have seen in the 2005-2009 model. 

These are not the only problems that you may experience in the car. They are just but the most common that we and other mechanics have found. We offer suggestions on how to diagnose, fix, and even prevent some of them from happening. Here’s a list of the top 5 problems in the first-generation Chevrolet Equinox. 

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Top 5 1st Gen Chevy Equinox Problems

1. Warm Air Conditioning

Mechanic pointing to blower motor showing on of the common chevy equinox problems

The first most common problem we’ve seen in the 1st Gen Chevrolet Equinox is having warm air coming out of the air conditioning system instead of cold. This may happen during summer. If you try to set the A/C to cold, all you get is mildly warm or hot air blowing out through the vents. You’ll need to turn the vehicle off and get under the hood to diagnose the problem. 

Diagnose Warm Air Coming Out of AC

The first thing you should check is your serpentine belt. It is located on the passenger side of the engine. Check to see that it’s not broken, frayed, or even cracked in any way. If it looks damaged, you’ll need to replace it. 

The second thing that you’ll need to check is along the aluminum lines. These have little caps on them that cover small Schrader valves. You should only touch them if you have an A/C machine that you can hook up to check the Freon pressure. If there’s no pressure, you may have a leak somewhere within the system that needs to be traced. This is especially if you see any green or funky colors along the A/C lines. 

The third area that you’ll need to check is in front of your vehicle and through the bottom grille. You should be able to see you’re A/C condenser. It has a bunch of fins on it and resembles a radiator. If the fins are in poor condition, the condenser is not going to cool the refrigerant as it’s supposed to. This will prevent the system from switching between hot and cold as it should. 

The fourth item that you’ll need to check on the list is your A/C compressor. It is located underneath the front passenger side of the Chevy Equinox. It is one of the most common parts that go bad in the A/C system. The compressor comes with an impeller with bearings and clutches that activate or deactivate it. All of these parts need to be in good condition. 

You’ll need to find out if the compressor is seized up or if the bearings and clutches are damaged. The only solution here is to replace it as a whole together with other linked parts such as the receiver dryer and orifice tube. This helps to eliminate any contaminants that may have made their way into the system. 

3. Chevy Equinox Transmission Problems

The second common problem that you may experience in your 2005-2009 Chevrolet Equinox is a broken clutch wave plate inside the transmission. This commonly happens in the 6-speed automatic as it is the most prone to going bad. 

The first symptom that you might notice is getting a warning indicator light on your dash that generates the trouble code P0716, P0717, P0776, P0777, P2714, or P2715. Any of these codes indicates that you’re having an issue with one of your clutch wave plates. 

Another common symptom is switching the car from Park to Reverse and noticing the car is not moving at all. For some reason, you have no reverse. This is another indication that you have a problem with your transmission. 

The first thing you’ll need to do when fixing the problem is to check the transmission fluid for metal debris. Secondly, you’ll need to hoist the car on a support system, pull out the engine and transmission and separate the two. The third step is to tear up the transmission. If you’re not competent enough to do this, you may want to leave it to the professionals. 

3. Front Control Arm Brushings

front control arm bushing is one of the common chevrolet equinox problems

The front control arm bushings are flexible rubber parts that allow the control arms to move up and down as the vehicle moves over potholes and bumps. The control arms are what hold the front wheels to the frame of the car. 

Over time, the bushings tend to crack and wear out. Some of the symptoms that you’ll notice include a clunking noise when you come to an abrupt stop or when you move over a bump. You’ll need to jack up the car and give it a nice check underneath. 

If you shake the wheel and tire assembly from side to side and top to bottom, you shouldn’t notice any play unless you also have a problem with the hub bearing. The problem always lies with the lower control arms. They have a lower ball joint that connects to the wheel and a rubber bushing that connects to the frame.

In extreme cases, the bushings tend to separate and cause more unnecessary movement. You’ll need to replace the control arms as a whole to fix the problem. We also recommend taking a trip to your local alignment shop right afterward.  

4. Gas Cap

The main problem that most car owners experience when it comes to the gas cap is having a broken seal. If you were to take a look inside the cap, you should see a rubber seal that prevents gas vapors from escaping once you close the gas tank. 

One of the most common symptoms here is getting a Check Engine light that generates an EVAP-related trouble code. When diagnosing the problem, check to see if the seal is worn, torn, or stiff. You can replace the seal only or the whole gas cap if you like. 

5. EVAP Vent Valve Solenoid

Mechanic pointing at EVAP vent valve solenoid as one of the top 5 Chevrolet Equinox problems

The EVAP vent valve solenoid is a part of your car’s evaporative emissions system that catches and recirculates vapor from the gas and back into the engine. It opens to allow air into the EVAP system when there’s too much pressure and stays closed to prevent air from getting into the charcoal canister. 

One of the common problems in your Chevrolet Equinox that you may notice when you have a bad EVAP vent valve solenoid is not being able to continuously add fuel into the gas tank at the gas station. The gas pump turns off intermittently due to a failing EVAP vent solenoid. 

As you pump fuel, air and vapor come out at the same time and push the fuel back into the fuel pump. The buildup in pressure causes the pump to think that the tank is full and therefore turns off. You’ll need to get underneath the vehicle and look for the charcoal canister. 

The canister contains different solenoids inside. Consult your owner’s manual or do a quick Google search to find out which one is your vent solenoid. At that point, go ahead and disconnect it and inspect the wiring to make sure it’s not damaged or corroded. Clean out the debris and put the solenoid back. If this does not clear the Check Engine light, you may have to replace it. 

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