2010 GMC Terrain: Radio Wigging Out
November 15, 2010
Our long-term 2010 GMC Terrain is really getting on my nerves. I can deal with the sluggish drivetrain, button-heavy center stack and generally non-intuitive user-interface. But the psychotic radio has got to go.
As reported first by Erin Riches and then by Warren Clarke, the Terrain's radio has developed a personality something akin to the HAL9000. It basically decides what you'll be listening to -- whether you like it or not. In Erin's case it kept switching to FM no matter where it was set when shutting the car off. In Warren's case it wouldn't let him listen to NPR.
For me, it kept going to a specific FM station (98.7) no matter which band/frequency I was listening to when I shut it off. Doubly annoying because this station, while clear in the LA area, is pure static in my neck of the woods. I figured it had some kind of fixation with this frequency, but then it switched to FM 101.1 the last time I started it up (after leaving it on AM 640).
While both stations are in the morass of the Terrain's pre-set station pages (SIX pages of favorites with SIX presents each? really?), neither holds a special place. They aren't in the first slot on the first page of favorites. Or even the first slot on any of the pages. They are both randomly mixed into the middle slots of the middle pages.
BTW, it doesn't do this if you simply shut the car off and fire it right back up again (in that case it holds the last radio band/frequency like every other car on th planet). But as with every great electronic gremlin there's no clear indicator of how long it takes to awaken the beast. It did it every time the car sat overnight, and also once after sitting for a couple hours. But not after sitting for 10 minutes. Regardless, when we make our inevitable dealer visit don't let the service guy turn it off and on six times in a row and then turn accusingly on us with a, "What are you talking about? Seems fine to me."
Just for fun I checked the owner's manual. Nothing about randomly deciding which station to tune between shutting it off and starting it up. Don't try to rationalize people. It's clearly got a screw (or chip) loose.
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large at 18,102 miles