2018 GMC Yukon Denali Problems

The 2018 GMC Yukon Denali is a luxury SUV that packs considerable power and has an impressive fan base. Unfortunately, these pricey vehicles also have some serious issues associated with them that can leave you wishing you’d gone a different route. If you’ve ended up with a lemon in the form of a Yukon Denali, an experienced lemon law attorney can help. 

What Are the Most Common Problems Associated with the GMC Yukon?

Some of the most common problems associated with the GMC Yukon are focused on the overall electrical system, including the electrical power steering. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported a range of recalls that relate to electrical concerns – one of which focuses on fuel pump issues that can lead to intermittent stalling. 

Many Yukon owners complain about problems with the electronic system that relate to navigation. A common refrain is that the navigation screen becomes inoperable. Additional issues include all the following:

  • The taillights stop working.
  • The air conditioning becomes inoperable. 
  • There are unexplained noises that come from the vehicle’s rear.
  • The sunroof’s motor fails. 
  • The vehicle’s front airbags fail to deploy.

A Rough Idle

The Yukon can also experience a rough idle that tends to be related to vacuum leaks, spark plug issues, and ignition coil concerns. Many owners complain of rough idling that begins nearly from the day of purchase, and correcting the issue often proves extremely challenging. 

Reliability Concerns

Consumer Reports finds that the GMC Yukon is less reliable – on average – than other vehicles in the same category. Some of the issues cited include:

  • In-car electronics, such as voice control that does not engage properly, 
  • Fluid leaks that leave the vehicle smelling of burning antifreeze
  • Major engine concerns 

Rack and Pinion Problems

The rack and pinion steering gear in the Yukon is prone to issues that relate to power steering fluid leaks, steering difficulties at low speeds, clunking or whining noises when turning the steering wheel, and a feeling of looseness in the steering wheel. While wear and tear can lead to problems with a vehicle’s power steering, this shouldn’t happen until well beyond the 100,000-mile mark. 

2015: A Banner Year

The Yukon reached a peak year for problems in 2015, and complaints skyrocketed. The following represent some of the most common issues:

  • Taillights that didn’t work
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Air conditioning that didn’t work
  • Body and paint problems
  • Drivetrain issues
  • Problems with the transmission
  • Brake concerns
  • Engine problems
  • Electrical problems
  • Steering issues 
  • Suspension problems

The 2018 Denali has many of these same issues.

Do GMC Yukons Have Transmission Problems? 

Yes, GMC Yukons are more inclined than many other SUVs to develop transmission problems, and the issues faced can interfere with road performance and can make it difficult – or even impossible – to switch gears, which significantly increases accident risk. Owners frequently complain about issues like the following:

  • A jerking sensation
  • Vibration
  • Hesitation 

None of these bode well behind the wheel. There is also an increased risk that the transmission will randomly shift to 4WD, which makes turning dangerous. 

Transmission Jolting

Transmission jolting in the GMC tends to arise in relation to shifting, and while the problem generally becomes noticeable after the vehicle has racked up 30,000 miles, this is by no means always the case. To make things more difficult, this issue hasn’t been addressed particularly well by dealers. 

The jolting sensation and obvious vibrations from the transmission seem to stem from failures in the transmission control module and from concerns related to the fluid flush. Some owners experience serious transmission jolting and vibrations with no prior warning. 

Transmission Hard Shifts

Problems with shifting gears during acceleration and deceleration are another common concern. Not only does this hard shifting translate to an unpleasant driving experience but it can also lead to significant engine trouble. As the issue progresses, the damage accumulates, which can escalate the jolting and cause irreparable transmission damage in the process.

Transmission-related lawsuits regarding the Yukon Denali tend to focus on bucking, slipping, jerking, kicking, and harsh engaging when shifting gears. Allegations include that the transmissions in these vehicles experience heightened internal wear, downshift delays, difficulty stopping, and sudden acceleration. Complainants maintain that the only reliable remedy is transmission replacement and that failure to do so amounts to a serious safety hazard. 

How Many Miles Can a GMC Yukon Denali Last? 

How many miles a GMC Yukon Denali can put in depends on a range of factors that include how well the vehicle is maintained, the kind of miles involved – city miles can be harder on a vehicle than highway miles are – and whether or not it’s plagued by some of the problems that are most common to this particular make and model. 

Generally, a Denali should be good for about 200,000 miles – and maybe beyond to 250,000 or even 300,000 miles. If you are considering purchasing a used Yukon Denali, however, it’s important to consider mileage relative to age. Most vehicle owners put about 10,000 to 12,000 miles on their vehicles each year. If the Denali you’re looking at is five years old and has 100,000 miles on it, it’s a high-mileage vehicle, and the asking price should reflect this fact. 

Is the Yukon Denali Expensive to Maintain?

According to CarEdge, the GMC Yukon Denali costs about $8,300 to maintain during the first 10 years it’s on the road, and this exceeds the industry standard for popular SUVs by more than $800. During this timeframe, there is also more than a 22 percent chance that the Denali will require a major – and, therefore, costly repair – which is higher than for most other SUVs. By 12 years, the probability of requiring a major repair increases to nearly 44 percent. 

Lemon Laws

While every state has its own lemon laws, New York’s are fairly representative, and they offer those who purchase and lease new cars considerable protections. If your GMC Yukon Denali doesn’t keep up with the warranty and the dealer or manufacturer doesn’t adequately repair the issue within a reasonable number of tries, the state’s lemon laws entitle you to either a new, comparable replacement vehicle or a full refund. 

A reasonable number of attempts in this context translates to a total of 4 tries for the same issue or keeping your vehicle out of service for a total of 30 days during its first 18,000 miles or two years of ownership – whichever comes first. These limitations vary by state.


In order for your new vehicle to qualify under New York’s Lemon Law, all the following must apply:

  • When you purchased your Denali, it was covered by the manufacturer’s new car warranty. 
  • You purchased your Denali in the State of New York, or the vehicle is currently registered in the state.
  • You use your Denali primarily for your own personal driving. 

The statute of limitations for lemon law claims in New York is four years from the date of purchase, which means if you have ongoing problems that extend beyond the two-year mark, you may still have legal recourse under the lemon law. 

Used Cars

If you’ve purchased a 2018 Yukon Denali that is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty or that is under an extended warranty that you purchased, New York’s lemon laws apply under the following circumstances:

  • You purchased the Denali after the original 18,000-mile or two-year mark had passed. 
  • You purchased the used Denali from a New York dealer.
  • You paid at least $1,500 for the SUV.
  • The Denali had fewer than 100,000 miles when you purchased it.
  • The SUV is primarily for your personal use. 

The timeframe that applies to returning a used vehicle under New York’s lemon laws is based on the number of miles it had on when you purchased it. The more miles, the fewer days or additional miles you have to file your claim. 

What Are Fee-Shifting Provisions?

Every state’s lemon laws are complex, and working closely with a seasoned lemon law attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim. All states have a fee-shifting provision built in, which means that – if your lemon law case prevails and you receive either a refund or a replacement – GMC is also responsible for covering your legal fees and legal expenses.   

Reach Out for the Skilled Legal Guidance of an Experienced Lemon Law Attorney Today

The skilled lemon law attorneys at Robison Lemon Law Group – proudly serving New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey – have a wealth of impressive experience fiercely advocating for favorable claim resolutions for our valued clients, and there is no cost to you. When you work with us, you can expect our focused attention and skilled legal guidance, and we encourage you to reach out and schedule your free, no-obligation evaluation by contacting or calling us at 844-386-0831 today.

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