GMC Yukon Denali Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the GMC Yukon Denali as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The daytime running lights are prone to burning out. Our technicians tell us that the light sockets may show signs of heat damage but usually are OK. Always be sure to use the correct replacement bulb for the best life expectancy. The new bulb recommendation for 2001-2003 models is #4114K (trade number).

The quick-connect fittings for the heater hoses tend to leak engine coolant. This problem commonly occurs because the metal housing has become brittle, which can break and cause leaks.

The upper dash may crack, most commonly on vehicles in warm climates and exposed to a lot of sunlight. The common repair is to replace the upper instrument trim panel. Information on a technical service bulletin or extended warranty is not available at this time.

The GMC Yukon Denali uses a throttle position sensor (TPS) which commonly fails and causes:

This issue is related to the throttle position sensor, and can be caused by faulty wiring to the TPS, bad connection at the TPS, or a failed TPS.

To correct this issue, the wiring harness, connector, and throttle position sensor must be inspected, tested, and/or replaced. The most common cause is a faulty TPS.

The anti-theft system may fail causing a no start condition, the security light may illuminate. Our technicians tell us that the ignition switch may need to be replaced to correct this fault.

The windshield wipers may not work intermittently due to a faulty wiper motor control board. Our technicians tell us that lightly taping on the wiper motor when the fault occurs should temporarily get the wipers working again. Some vehicles were recalled for this problem and some were not. You will need to check with your local dealer to find out if a specific vehicle was included.

The headlight switch used on the GMC Yukon Denali is known to fail through normal operation. Since the headlight switch is also integrated into the interior lights, a malfunctioning switch can cause issues with interior lights as well.

  • Symptoms of a failed headlight switch include:
  • Headlights and taillights failing to turn on or off
  • Interior lights flicker, or fail to turn on or off
  • Gauge cluster lighting off or flickering with headlights on
  • Parking light malfunctions  

This issue is well known with General Motors Trucks and SUVs, and is solved by testing and, if needed, replacing the headlight/dimmer switch. Bad grounding wires at the tail-lights, and dirty/corroded tow package wires can also lead to some of these issues. 

Vehicles equipped whit a 4 speed automatic transmission may develop a harsh 1-2 shift and/or illumination of the Check Engine Light with code P1870 stored. This can be caused by wear of the bore for the TCC isolator and regulator valves in the valve body. This condition does not commonly occur until the transmission reaches normal operating temperature. If the valve body is worn, replacement will be necessary to correct this concern.

The inside and outside door handles are prone to breaking.

A Loose or worn gas cap may cause Check Engine Light to illuminate.

The power door lock actuators may become slow to operate or stop working completely and require replacement.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) front wheel speed sensors are prone to failure. When a sensor fails, the ABS warning light may illuminate and/or the ABS system may activate erratically.

The sunroof may stop working for various different reasons. Our technicians tell us it is often better to replace the complete sunroof assembly than to try and repair the old one.

It is common for the fuel level sensor in the fuel tank read the fuel level incorrectly. The sensor must be replaced to correct the condition. Our technicians recommend having the complete fuel pump module replaced on high mileage vehicles.

The front or rear differential may develop an abnormal noise due to worn bearings or another internal fault. Our technicians tell us that a complete overhaul of the affected differential is commonly necessary to correct this condition.