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GMC Yukon Denali Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the GMC Yukon Denali based on complaints from 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 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 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 inside and outside door handles are prone to breaking.

The speedometer or other instrument panel gauge may begin to work erratically at times. Our technicians tell us that the instrument cluster must be sent to a repair facility to correct this fault. The warranty has been extended on some of these units to 7 years or 70,000 miles.

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.

Power brake systems using "hydro-boost" may leak power steering fluid from the hydro-boost unit located behind the brake master cylinder. Replacement of the hydro-boost unit is the common repair to correct this concern.

The 2004-2007 Yukon Denali is known to have issues with the EVAP system, a part of your emission control system.

The EVAP canister vent valve or valve solenoid wiring may fail causing illumination of the check engine light, setting code P0446, and problems filling the tank with fuel.

To correct the issue, the EVAP canister vent valve, solenoid, and wiring must be inspected. The most common fix is replacement of the wiring connector or replacement of the vent valve assembly.

The 99-01 GMC Yukon Denali has a known issue with the air pump check valve which causes illumination of the check engine light. There are no notable symptoms, but the vehicle will not pass state inspection or smog testing. 

When the valve fails, it sticks closed, and the computer sets the code P1416. Replacement of the check valve is the only fix, as the valve is not serviceable. 

This page can provide more information about the air pump check valve. 

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 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 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.

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