Lately at the shop we’ve seen quite a few newer Chevrolet Equinox’s having some cold start up noise, which is usually accompanied by a hesitation upon acceleration. The new style 4-cylinder engine has two camshaft actuator solenoids that have been having problems.
These solenoids are located in the valve cover and go down the intake and exhaust camshafts. They help control timing and phasing of the cams for different driving situations. The problem they seem to be having is that the screens that control the oil flow have been becoming clogged with debris, or in worse case scenarios actually breaking off. Also, a trouble code will usually set for either the intake or exhaust cam actuator solenoid and could even set for both.
When even the smallest amount of debris gets into the screens of the solenoid, there is a restriction of flow and this is where the noise is coming from. Usually on a cold start up, there will be a loud rattle or clanking sound for a few seconds until the oil pressure builds up. This usually goes away quickly and does not return once the engine is warm. Also, when the solenoids can’t fully function, whether from being clogged or broken, that will affect the timing and cause the vehicle to be sluggish or hesitate. These two problems seem to go hand in hand lately.
It isn’t quite clear where any debris is coming from, but there have been a couple technical bulletins concerning this issue. The latest fix, while replacing the solenoids, also includes a new program for the vehicle’s computer. This ‘reflash’ has an updated calibration to take care of some of the common issues with these solenoids.
At least one oil change is recommended to help get any excess debris out of the oiling system, and sometimes multiple oil changes are required.
Chevy Equinox Runs Bad
When i go to take off or when i try to pass someone it hesitates?
By running bad do you mean that it sputters or hesitates when you try to give it gas?
Yes, it wants to fall on its face.
What year Equinox do you have?
It is a 2008 Chevy Equinox.
OK this sounds like a familiar problem. Usually what happens is that one or more of the spark plugs get what’s called ‘carbon tracking’ on them. This is due to a small fracture of the porcelain on the spark plug where it will start to arc out the side of it and end up burning the spark plug and ignition wire.
Ok how do i fix this?
Usually you will need to find out which spark plug or plugs has this problem and replace them, along with the ignition wire or wires the affected cylinders. Luckily, I believe there is a special policy through General Motors where this is a known problem and a dealership should fix this free of charge for you. You would need to check with your local Chevy dealer to make sure, but I believe this is the case. If it is a covered problem, what will be repaired would be replacement of any fouled or carbon tracked spark plugs along with replacement of all six ignition wires. This repair takes about an hour, but once it is fixed you will no longer have that sputtering or hesitation when you go to accelerate.
Oh WOW, i didn’t know that…… thank you very much for your help. I’ll get that checked out as soon as i can.
That will take care of the problem as of late, but more than likely GM will issue another fix or a redesigned part. That’s just the name of the game with things like this! There is now a specail policy to replace these under warranty. It is just like a recall.
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14 Comments on "2011 Chevy Equinox Engine Light Recall"
My motor on my 2011 equinox is blown,, the dealership says I haven’t had an oil change since Jan 2020 which untrue why would I wait that long??? So they want to charge me close to 8,000 to install a new motor,,, I feel I have been taken advantage of and them not telling me of the oil consumption the equinox has,, my car has 88,000 miles and the oil change sticker says next service at 90,000,, what should I do?
I wasn’t aware there was a recall on the 2011 Chevy equinox …O have one and my check engine light is on and I am having to replace the sensor on it…Need to know what steps I need to tale?
We have a check engine light that comes on about once a month and the Equinox will go in reverse but when you put it in drive the drive light blinks and it wont go forward. we shut it off and loosen the gas cap and retighten it and start it up and it goes forward. We already replaced the gas cap.
2015 with the same problem..
I have a 2012 Equinox, the engine light keeps comming on or off. I’ve had it read both times it comes up with the cam shift cencer. I’ve heard it’s on recall, but the dealer here says it’s not my car. But the machines say it lose or short circuit. So is this a recall ? It make a noise when I start it, when the light on, it get bad gas mileage. But of I hit a couple holes it might go off again. But I don’t want to wreck my car, so please let me now as soon as u can. Thank you.
My Chevy Equinox 2011 has oil dripping out of the exhaust pipe which is sucking the oil out of the engine. The comment made by JoAnn, said a valve was replaced to correct this problem. The valve was not identified, would it be the Pollution Control Valve was the problem. Please reply before t5-16-2016 if possible.
My 2011 Equinox is getting this valve replaced as we speak! This problem sucked nearly all the oil out of my engine and the truck stalled at an intersection nearly killing me and my girls! Do you know if this is an actual recall by Chevy?? I usually get all the recall notices, and there have been about a half dozen for this model, but didn’t get one for this problem. Thanks!
If there was a recall for this, would would have been notified. To double check, just call your local dealer, give them your VIN number and they will check for a recall.
My 2012 is in the shop now with this problem. Once fixed should I see an improvement in fuel mileage
If the engine was not running properly before, then you may see a small increase.
Yes, most cars and trucks have certain problems that are common to them. On the Chevy Equinox, have the rear cylinder checked for leaking coolant. Or, if the check engine light is on and the truck hesitates when driving, this could be the sign of a bad head gasket. This contaminates the #1 spark plug and causes a misfire.
I am looking to buy a used chevy equinox with 100,000 miles,i read reviews and now im not so sure.is this a suv that runs into alot of problems?
I have a 2011,that many miles they are throw aways
Identifying these problems is good.hope we can get them fix.I love my car