2012 Buick Enclave Problems , Recalls & Reliability

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 03/12/21 •  3 min read

The Buick Enclave is Buick’s ultimate midsize luxury SUV vehicle, which lands at the top of their SUV range. Owners continue to purchase the Enclave but there have been issues recorded with the 2012 Enclave’s reliability. So, this piece is to answer any question related to 2012 Buick Enclave problems , recalls and reliability .

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2012 Buick Enclave Reliability Ratings

2012 Buick Enclave Reliability
2012 Buick Enclave | via Edmunds

The original reliability rating on the 2012 Enclave was a “great” one at 4 out of 5, by JD Power. Over the years however, more miles have been added, along with a great number of problems with the Enclave. 

2012 Buick Enclave Problems

Power Steering Issues

For another 2012 Enclave consumer, “the power steering went out on the highway at 70 mph, along with instability due to rear shocks”. Then the Stabilink system malfunctioned, the motor misfired, the engine lost power, and the transmission became very jerky. All of this happened due to fouled out spark plugs, which caused the entire engine to fail. 

One user reported “the engine shutting off while driving a bunch of times, taking the power steering out with it”. The cam shaft was damaged, and the power steering pump, and the timing chain had to be replaced. The vehicle then started making a strange noise on turning the wheel, and the brake booster also went out.

2012 Buick Enclave Engine Problems

An owner of a 2012 Enclave reported “water pump failure at 75k miles, due to major drivetrain failures”. Engine and transmission failures occurred at 90k miles for another. A user had a fuel injector failure, later got diagnosed with a failing transmission. 

Check Engine Light Malfunctions

There’s a serious problem with the 2012 Buick Enclave regarding the “Check Engine Light” coming on. Some vehicles required a PCM software update to correct this, while others may have excess camshaft end play on one or both cylinder heads.

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Transmission Issues

Another common 2012 Enclave problem is on the six-speed automatic transmission, that developed one or more of the following faults related to a broken 35R clutch wave plate inside the transmission: loss of reverse gear, slipping or harsh 3rd or 5th gear shift.

2012 Buick Enclave Recalls

There have been 4 safety recalls made by the NHTSA, for the 2012 Buick Enclave.


The 2012 Enclave models equipped with the power liftgate option, had gas struts for holding the power liftgate up when open. These struts were suspected to wear prematurely, causing the liftgate to fall.

Seat Belts

For some 2012 Buick Enclaves, the steel cable in regards to the seatbelts, were predicted to become fatigued and separate, so the belts may not properly restrain the car occupants.

2012 Buick Enclave Air Bags

In those Enclave models, increased resistance in the driver and passenger seat mounted SIAB wiring harnesses may result in them and seat belt pretensioners failing and not responding during a crash.

Windshield Wiper/Washer

Snow or ice buildup on the windshield or on the wiper restricted the movement of the wiper arm, increasing the risk of loosening it and the wiper becoming inoperative. This could result in the driver losing visibility during precipitation.

Is A Used 2012 Buick Enclave Reliable?

No. The data observed shows that many 2012 Enclave models picked up reliability issues at 70k miles and above. If you are thinking of purchasing one, make sure you can afford the repairs or can repair it yourself. If not, then don’t buy one because it’s one of the most expensive vehicles to fix that is one the road, with an average annual repair cost of $701 to $856.

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Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.