GM 1.5 Turbo Engine Problems

GM 1.5 Turbo engine, the Chevy remarkable piece of engineering that delivers an exhilarating driving experience, better fuel economy, and torque, is not perfect after all. This small, thrilling powerhouse can turn your Chevy rides into a road beast without compromising fuel economy, torque, and overall vehicle performance. Yet, it has its pitfalls, just like every other engine out there.

If you want to get a new ride with the 1.5 turbo engine, read these GM 1.5 turbo engine problems to know if it is a good fit for you. You’ll learn the GM 1.5 turbo engine review, its history, vehicles that use it, and specifications.

gm 1 5 engine problems

GM 1.5 turbo engine explained.

The 1.5 GM turbo engine is a 1.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder — two exhaust valves and two intake valves. This overhead camshaft design ensures that it delivers precise fuel injection and optimal airflow for impressive horsepower and torque.

With its small size and lightweight construction, it is a good fit for various engines, ranging from agile crossovers to sporty sedans.

That’s not all. The 1.5 turbo engine features an advanced turbocharger engineered with precision — helping it to harness the energy in the exhaust gas. Invariably delivering relentless power output.

The engine is an inline-four — meaning it has four cylinders arranged in a straight line. It is also a transverse engine — it sits sideways in the engine bay.

The intake manifold is constructed with composite materials, and the engine block and head cylinder are cast aluminum. Inside the engine block lies a stunning crankshaft made of steel connected to powered forged metal connecting rods. The camshafts in the cylinder are constructed with steel materials.

The 1.5 turbo inline-four engine comes in three versions, each with a unique code name — LFV, LYX, and LSD engine. The LFV 1.5 turbo engine made its first debut in 2015-2016 timeframe. The LYX first appeared in 2018 in GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox. The LSD made its debut as the base engine in a 2018 GMC Terrain and 2023 Chevy Equinox.

The LFV version makes 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, while the LYX produces up to 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. The LSD produces 175 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. Chevy, however, did not consider the LSD a new engine from the LYX. The only difference between them is a few tweaks made to enhance combustion and reduce emissions. 

GM 1.5 turbo engine specs

Production year 2015/2016
Manufacturer Chevrolet
Production sites Toluca, Mexico
Engine block material Cast aluminium
Cylinder head material Cast aluminium
Fuel type Regular unleaded gasoline
Valve lifters Hydraulic roller finger follower
Engine orientation Transverse
Number of cylinders 4
Valves per cylinders 4
Valvetrain layout DOHC
Turbocharger Single-stage, single-scroll
Connecting rod material Forged powdered metal
Camshaft material Assembled steel
Crankshaft material Steel
Horsepower 175 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 203 lb-ft @ 2000-4000 rpm
Maximum engine speed 6,500 rpm
Bore, mm 74.0
Stroke, mm 86.6
Firing order 1-3-4-2
Displacement 1490cc
Compression ratio 10.0:1
Applications Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, GMC Terrain, Buick Regal.

What vehicles use GM 1.5 turbo engine 

Before discussing GM 1.5 engine problems, let’s see the vehicles that feature these engines so you and I can be on the same page about the vehicles that have these issues.

LFV GM 1.5 turbo engine

  • 2016 Chevy Malibu (E2XX) six-speed transmission
  • 2016 Buick Regal (E2xx-china) nine-speed transmission

LYX GM 1.5 turbo engine

  • 2018 Chevy Equinox 6-speed transmission
  • 2018 GMC Terrian 9-speed transmission

LSD GM 1.5 turbo engine

  • 2023 Chevy Equinox 6-speed transmission
  • 2023 GMC Terrain 9-speed transmission.

Common problems of GM 1.5 turbo engine

Every engine has its strengths and weaknesses. Hence, the 2016 GM 1.5 turbo engine problems and other problems associated with later models do not make it a bad engine. Instead, they are the issues that happen more often than others.

The most common problems of GM 1.5 turbo engines are turbocharger failure at cold temperatures, frequent illumination of the check engine light, cracked or melted pistons, and numerous sensor failures.

Let’s have a closer look at these 2018 GM 1.5 turbo engine problems for a better understanding. These problems are also common with other year versions.

Turbocharger failure

Turbocharger failure is one of the most common engine problems in all GM 1.5-liter engine versions. Several Chevrolet owners with 1.5 GM engines have reported that their turbocharger malfunctions when it is cold. According to the owners, the solution to this problem is to park your car in a warm garage — preventing the engine from getting too cold.

This problem can prevent your car from starting in cold temperatures. And even if you start the engine, the vehicle may enter limp mode and struggle to move.

Numerous sensors failing

Most GM 1.5 turbo engine owners complain of frequent oil pressure sensor failures. Oil pressure is essential in determining the flow of oil in the engine, which affects the engine cooling and lubrication. The oil pressure sensors in 1.5 GM turbo engines fail to keep the oil pressure at an even level when they become bad.

Few others who have covered 100k miles also complained of failure with other car sensors. Luckily, car sensors are inexpensive —you can get them without breaking the bank.

Frequent illumination of the check engine light

While the illumination of the check engine light is panic-inducing, it can pop up due to a minor issue. The check engine light usually appears on the dashboard whenever the car computer detects any issue — telling you to diagnose and fix it before it escalates.

However, it seems like the check engine warning light appears more often on cars equipped with the 1.5 turbo engine, even when there’s no problem. Many owners noticed the frequent appearance of the CEL with no other sign of an underlying problem. When diagnosed with a scan tool, there are no error codes — which confirms that the check engine warning light can appear even when there are no issues.

Regardless of why the CEL appears, it is a serious issue. Because if you ignore the warning light, you won’t know when the onboard computer detects a serious issue that needs urgent attention.

Cracked or Melted pistons and terrible blow-by

Another problem with the 1.5 turbo engine is the engine running too hot due to poor cooling. In some cases, this will cause cracked or melted pistons. Let’s be clear here. This is not a common issue and doesn’t happen all the time. But when compared to other engines, melted or cracked pistons are a common issue in 1.5 GM turbo engines, especially after a severe engine overheat.

Over time, this problem can cause shuddering, rough idling, and terrible engine blowby. Some mechanics have speculated that the cause is poor mapping with the ECM or air-fuel flow. This can cause the engine to run lean. The turbocharger in the engine aggravates the issue as it tries to give the engine extra power.

Frequently Asked Questions — FAQs

How many miles will the Chevy 1.5 turbo last?

The engine problems listed in this article do not mean the engine will not stand the test of time. The Chevy 1.5 turbo is a strong engine that can last up to 200,000 miles with proper maintenance. However, if you do not follow the recommended maintenance as scheduled by the car manufacturer, the engine may fail much earlier.

Who makes the Chevy 1.5 turbo engine?

The powerhouse, Chevy 1.5, is a 1.5-liter inline-four gasoline-powered engine manufactured by General Motors. The engine is made for use in compact cars like the 2018 Buick Regal, 2018 Chevrolet Malibu, 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, et cetera.

Is a 1.5 L 4-cylinder a good engine?

The 1.5-liter inline-four cylinder is known for its great combination of power and fuel efficiency. This is because the engine features a single-stage, single-stroll turbocharger that keeps the engine at optimum temperature during peak performance. The turbo gives the engine an added boost while reducing the chances of engine overheating to the barest minimum.

How much horsepower does a GM 1.5 Turbo engine have?

The GM 1.5 turbo engine LYX version made its debut with 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. The engineers made a few tweaks on the combustion and emission and released the LSD version with a whopping 175 horsepower, and the torque still remained at 203 pound-feet.

Final Words

Let’s face it; while you have seen GM 1.5 turbo engine problems and customer complaints, it is a reliable engine with a great combination of power and fuel economy. There’s no engine on earth without one or two problems. All engines have their glory and pitfalls. And those pitfalls do not make them bad engines.

While these problems are common with GM 1.5 turbo engines, it does not mean that it happens to all of them. It only means that the chances of experiencing them are fairly high.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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