12 Most Common Problems With Chevy Traverse: Issues Explained


As a car enthusiast and a former mechanic who has tested a plethora of vehicles, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to car models. The Chevy Traverse, a mid-size crossover SUV built by General Motors, has been on the road since 2009.

While it has its merits, like any vehicle, it comes with its own set of problems. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the most common issues faced by Chevy Traverse owners, providing insights and explanations for each.

The Chevy Traverse is a seven or eight-seater mid-size crossover SUV introduced by General Motors in 2009. It replaced the Trailblazer and its Colorado pickup roots, marking a shift towards a crossover-based three-row SUV.

Over the years, there have been several alterations to the Traverse, aiming to improve its performance and features. However, no vehicle is without its flaws.

Is the Chevy Traverse the Best Car to Purchase?

Chevy Traverse

Chevrolet has been consistently releasing new Traverse models every year, each time attempting to enhance its features and address existing issues. Despite these efforts, the Traverse has had its share of problems, some of which we’ll discuss in detail below.

1. Brake Problems

Brake Problems

Brakes are undeniably one of the most crucial components of any vehicle, playing a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of its occupants.

Some Chevy Traverse owners have reported unusual brake noises, particularly in some SS models. Four users have filed complaints with the National Highway Safety Administration regarding a grinding noise emanating from the brakes. Some of these affected owners had to visit repair shops to address the issue. Additionally, hydraulic difficulties have also been reported by some disgruntled clients.

2. A/C Issues

Chevrolet Traverse AC

A well-functioning air conditioner is essential for the comfort of the vehicle’s occupants, especially during hot weather.

Several reasons can lead to a malfunctioning A/C in the Chevy Traverse. Some of these include poor ventilation due to mildew build-up, a loose hose, or an old ventilation fan that may not be functioning optimally. The 2012-2015 Chevy Traverse models, in particular, have been reported to have significant A/C issues.

For instance, the 2012 Traverse drivers mentioned that the A/C compressor blew at just over 100,000 miles. Similarly, 2013 Traverse owners reported sudden A/C failures, while the 2015 model owners stated that a part of the A/C had melted.

3. Transmission Failure


The transmission is the heart of a vehicle’s drivetrain. It’s responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels, ensuring smooth acceleration and deceleration. However, the Chevy Traverse has had its fair share of transmission woes.

The first Chevy Traverse released in 2009 faced significant transmission problems. Owners complained about their SUVs limping down the road, with many experiencing these issues around the 88,000-mile mark.

Chevrolet tried to address these concerns by releasing TBSs (Technical Service Bulletins) explaining potential solutions. Unfortunately, many owners had to bear the costs of repairing the transmission or replacing the clutch plate.

Fast forward to 2018, and some of the transmission problems persisted. Owners reported that after starting their SUV, they would hear the engine rev when pressing the accelerator, but the vehicle wouldn’t move. It felt as if the transmission was stuck in neutral. These issues were particularly alarming as they occurred at low mileages, around 4,000 miles.

4. Engine Concerns

2011 Chevy Traverse 3.6L With MAJOR Engine Failure

The engine is the powerhouse of any vehicle. It’s what propels the car forward and ensures a smooth ride. However, the Chevy Traverse has faced several engine-related issues over the years.

Owners of the 2010 Chevy Traverse model reported instances where their engines would suddenly stop working while driving. Upon inspection by mechanics, the primary culprit was identified as engine malfunctions. Chevrolet has made efforts to improve newer models, and as a result, engine-related complaints have reduced significantly. For instance, the 2015 Chevy Traverse saw a significant drop in engine issues.

5. Airbag Malfunctions

Passenger Airbag

Airbags are critical safety features in vehicles, designed to protect occupants during collisions.

The 2014 Chevy Traverse owners reported a peculiar problem where the airbag indicator would illuminate on the dashboard. Upon inspection, mechanics found that the airbag system was compromised and required repairs. A malfunctioning airbag system poses a significant risk, as it may not deploy correctly during a crash, putting the vehicle’s occupants in danger.

6. Steering Wheel Complications

Chevy Adjust Steering Wheel Chevrolet

The steering system of a vehicle is paramount for maneuverability and control. However, the Chevy Traverse, especially its earlier models, has faced challenges in this department.

Owners of the 2009 to 2011 Chevy Traverse models reported significant steering issues. These problems often manifested as difficulty in turning the wheels, which, in some cases, led to dangerous situations on the road. Most of these issues were reported to occur between 80,000 to 110,000 miles.

While the early models faced steering challenges, Chevrolet has made considerable efforts to rectify these problems in the newer models. As a result, recent models have seen fewer complaints regarding steering, showcasing the brand’s commitment to improving its vehicles.

7. Excessive Oil Consumption

Oil Change

Oil is the lifeblood of any engine, ensuring smooth operation and reducing wear and tear. However, excessive oil consumption can lead to various engine problems and reduced performance.

The 2009 Chevy Traverse model was particularly notorious for its high oil consumption. Owners reported that the SUV would start to operate erratically, necessitating frequent oil top-ups. This not only led to increased maintenance costs but also affected the overall performance of the vehicle.

Chevrolet took note of the oil consumption issue and made strides in addressing it in subsequent models. If you’re considering purchasing a Chevy Traverse, it might be prudent to opt for the newer models that have rectified this issue.

8. Shift to Park Problem

The transmission’s ability to shift smoothly between gears is crucial for the vehicle’s operation. However, some Chevy Traverse models faced issues with shifting to park.

Many owners of the 2018 Chevy Traverse reported problems related to the vehicle not shifting to park. Some were unable to turn off or lock their vehicles due to this malfunction. This issue was not just an inconvenience but also posed potential safety risks.

In response to these complaints, Chevrolet has been proactive in addressing the “shift to park” problem, offering solutions and repairs to affected owners.

9. Infotainment System Glitches

Hidden Chevy Traverse Settings and Features

In today’s digital age, a car’s infotainment system plays a pivotal role in enhancing the driving experience, offering entertainment, navigation, and connectivity on the go. However, the Chevy Traverse has had its share of infotainment challenges.

Some Traverse owners have reported instances where the infotainment system would freeze or lag, especially during startup. This not only disrupts the entertainment but can also pose challenges if the driver relies on the system for navigation.

Another common complaint pertains to the touchscreen’s responsiveness. Some users found that they had to tap multiple times for the system to register their input. While this might seem like a minor inconvenience, it can be distracting for the driver, especially when on the move.

10. Exterior Lighting Issues

chevy Traverse LT

While the Chevy Traverse boasts a stylish exterior, some owners have reported issues related to its exterior lighting, which plays a crucial role in ensuring safety during nighttime driving.

Some Traverse owners have experienced problems with the headlights, either not illuminating properly or flickering intermittently. Such issues can pose significant risks, especially when driving in low-light conditions or during inclement weather.

Similarly, there have been reports of the taillights not functioning optimally. In some cases, the taillights would not light up at all, making the vehicle less visible to other drivers on the road and increasing the risk of rear-end collisions.

11. Suspension Concerns


The suspension system of a vehicle ensures a smooth ride, absorbing shocks and bumps on the road. However, the Chevy Traverse has faced challenges in this department.

Some owners have reported uneven tire wear, which can be indicative of suspension problems. Uneven wear can lead to reduced tire lifespan and can also affect the vehicle’s handling, especially at high speeds.

Another common complaint pertains to noisy struts, especially when driving over bumps or uneven surfaces. While this might not pose an immediate safety concern, it can be indicative of worn-out parts that might need replacement.

12. Fuel System Issues

Chevy Traverse _ Problems

The fuel system plays a pivotal role in ensuring the efficient operation of the vehicle. However, the Chevy Traverse has had its share of fuel-related challenges.

Some Traverse owners have reported inconsistencies in the fuel gauge readings. In certain instances, the gauge would show an incorrect amount of fuel, leading to situations where the vehicle would run out of gas unexpectedly.

There have also been reports of the fuel pump malfunctioning, leading to issues like the vehicle not starting or stalling unexpectedly. Such issues can be particularly concerning if they occur while driving, posing potential safety risks.

Luxurious High Country Vehicle Features

Chevy Traverse

The Chevy Traverse’s High Country variant is the pinnacle of luxury in the lineup. However, with added features come added responsibilities.

The High Country model boasts ventilated front seats and heated second-row seats, ensuring comfort in varying weather conditions. However, some users have reported inconsistencies in the heating and ventilation functions, with the system not performing optimally at times.

This variant is also equipped with a plethora of tech features, including adaptive cruise control and navigation. While these features enhance the driving experience, they are not without their glitches. Some users have reported occasional malfunctions, especially with the adaptive cruise control not adjusting speeds as smoothly as expected.

Resale Value Concerns

The resale value of a vehicle is a crucial consideration for many buyers, especially those who plan to upgrade or change their car in a few years.

The Chevy Traverse, like many vehicles, experiences depreciation over time. On average, a Chevy Traverse is likely to have a lower resale value after five years. This is an essential factor to consider, especially for those looking at the vehicle as a long-term investment.


 How reliable is the Chevy Traverse overall?

 While the Chevy Traverse has faced certain issues over the years, many owners find it to be a reliable mid-size SUV, especially the newer models. Regular maintenance and addressing known issues can further enhance its reliability.

Are there any recalls for the Chevy Traverse?

Yes, there have been recalls for the Chevy Traverse over the years, addressing various issues. It’s always a good idea to check the official Chevrolet website or with your local dealer to see if your model has any active recalls.

 How does the Chevy Traverse perform in safety tests?

The Chevy Traverse has generally received good ratings in safety tests. Features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control contribute to its safety profile.

What is the average lifespan of a Chevy Traverse?

With regular maintenance and care, a Chevy Traverse can last over 200,000 miles. However, individual experiences may vary based on driving habits and maintenance routines.

Are parts for the Chevy Traverse easily available?

Yes, given that the Chevy Traverse is a popular model, parts are generally available. However, availability might vary based on your location.

How does the Chevy Traverse compare to its competitors?

 The Chevy Traverse offers a spacious interior and a range of features, making it competitive in its segment. However, like any vehicle, it has its pros and cons. It’s always a good idea to compare it with other vehicles in its class before making a purchase.

 Is the Chevy Traverse suitable for towing?

Yes, the Chevy Traverse is capable of towing, especially the newer models equipped with the V6 engine. However, always check the vehicle’s towing capacity before hauling heavy loads.

Final Thoughts

The Chevy Traverse, with its spacious interiors and robust features, is undoubtedly an attractive option for many. However, being informed about its common problems and quirks can help potential buyers make a more informed decision.

As with any vehicle, regular check-ups, timely maintenance, and a bit of TLC can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable driving experience. As a former mechanic, I’ve seen the transformative power of regular care and attention to a vehicle’s needs. Safe driving!

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