In terms of reliability, the Chevrolet Traverse leaves a lot to be desired, even if it’s known for being a better and more drivable SUV option than the larger Chevy Suburban. Don’t leave without first reading up on common Chevrolet Traverse failures.
If you’re planning to buy a new Traverse, keep in mind that it has a 5-year depreciation rate of 53%, which isn’t great.
How good is the Chevrolet Traverse?
The Chevrolet Traverse is a mid-size SUV. In terms of reliability, this model has had a rating of 3.0 out of 5.0, ranking 22nd out of 26 mid-size SUVs. On the other hand, the 2021 Traverse has had an 85/100 predicted reliability rating, which is consistent with its ratings for the 2018-2020 model years.
The annual cost to repair the Traverse is about $650. This is an average amount compared to the cost to maintain for other mid-size SUVs ($570) and other vehicles in general ($650).
You can expect to take this SUV to the shop for unscheduled repairs 0.4 times a year, which is the same frequency that you would take midsize SUVs and other vehicles in general to the shop for repairs. Despite having average maintenance costs and repair frequency, the Traverse has a fairly high probability of having serious problems (18%) compared to vehicles in the same segment (13%) and other models overall (12%) .
Like other vehicle models, a Traverse can be expected to last 200,000 miles or more with proper care and maintenance.
Common failures of the Chevrolet Traverse
Despite its average reliability scores, the Traverse has quite a few issues that many owners find potentially dangerous. Below are some of the common Chevrolet Traverse faults:
1- Engine problems
Some 2010 Traverse owners have reported that their SUV suddenly stopped working while driving. When the dealership’s mechanics checked out the affected owners’ SUVs, they discovered that the engine had failed and needed replacement.
Many 2011 model year owners ran into the same problem, which is why engine failure is the number one problem for the Chevrolet Traverse . On average, owners of these two specific model years shelled out at least $5,000 for repairs to fix this problem they encountered at 100,000 miles.
There were also a host of other engine related issues on the Traverse. Some 2011 model year owners also noted that their engine was underperforming.
When the mechanics checked their SUVs, they found that their timing chains and throttle bodies needed replacing (see timing chain failure issue below), a repair that cost them at least $2,000. There was also a similar failure in the 2014 model year.
Chevrolet issued TSB #12-06-01-009-D to inform dealers that some 2009-2012 Traverses would require timing chain replacement
As for the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, the problem was caused by StabiliTrak , which is GM’s own stability control system. Owners complained that their SUVs lost power and shut down abruptly while driving at normal speeds . One owner said that replacing the fuel pump seemed to fix the problem. TSB #PIC5428G goes into further diagnostic and repair procedures for this problem.
2- Transmission failures
The Chevrolet Traverse was first released in 2009 and received a facelift in 2018. Some issues in earlier model years are still present in newer models. Take transmission failure, for example. There have been a slew of reports from 2009 Chevrolet Traverses owners about their SUVs suddenly limping down the road.
These owners have reported finding this problem at around 88,000 miles. To fix it, they have had to shell out at least $3,000 for transmission or wave clutch plate replacement . Chevrolet addressed the issue by issuing TSBs, assuming part of the repair costs, and extending service warranties for this specific model year.
Meanwhile, owners of 2018 Chevrolet Traverses encountered similar issues with their SUVs within the first 4,000 miles of ownership. Owners reportedly had a hard time shifting their SUVs in gear.
After a while, they realized that they couldn’t drive their vehicles anymore. Chevrolet posted a few TSBs regarding these transmission issues, including TSB #17-NA-317 and TSB #PIP5621B. Both TSBs are not posted online at the time of writing.
3- Parking change message
Owners of 2018 Chevrolet Traverses are also having trouble with the Shift to Park message . An owner has reported that this message appeared suddenly when they turned off the engine just after shifting their vehicle into park . They said this message went away after they restarted their vehicle and cycled the shifter a few times.
But for other owners, this message did not go away even after restarting their vehicle.
While there are no active recalls for this specific issue at the time of writing, Chevrolet has posted a couple of TSBs to correct this issue. TSB #19NA206 provides repair information to fix the intermittent shift to park message that is displayed when the vehicle is already in park.
4- Problems with the air conditioning
Faulty air conditioning is a common problem with the 2012-2015 Chevrolet Traverse. For example, 2012 model year owners have reported that the air conditioning compressor in their SUVs blew at just over 100,000 miles. Replacing the A/C compressor cost them at least $1,000.
On the other hand, 2013 Traverse owners complained that their air conditioners suddenly stopped working . A few 2015 model year owners said that a part of their A/C compressor just completely burned out.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been any air conditioning recalls in these three Traverse model years. There are some TSBs that address air conditioning related issues, but not the issues listed above.
For example, Chevrolet TSB #99-01-39-004F contains information on how to fix unusual odors coming from the A/C. This TSB covers all Chevy vehicles built before 2015. Meanwhile, TSB #PIT5099E is intended to inform technicians on how to diagnose and fix HVAC systems that blow hot air.
5- Failures in the air bags
This 2014 Chevrolet Traverse problem is one of the most serious on this list because it involves an important safety component. Owners of 2014 Traverses have reported seeing the airbag indicator light illuminated on the dash of their SUV. According to one concerned owner, they took their Traverse to a shop and were told there was nothing the mechanics could do to fix the problem at the moment.
After that trip to the shop, the service airbag light comes on intermittently. According to another owner, the mechanic told him that there could be serious repercussions if this problem was not fixed . Owners said they ran into this problem before their SUVs even got 80,000 miles and it cost them at least $250 to diagnose and fix.
At the time of writing this post, the product has not been recalled, but there is a TSB that addresses this issue. TSB #08-09-41-002H contains repair information on how to replace the terminal or connector that is responsible for the airbag indicator lamp flashing.
6- Brake noise
A common problem on the 2020 Chevrolet Traverses is unusual brake noise. While this specific problem has few reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US recorded four brake-related problems at the time of writing this post.
According to the affected owner, they took their SUV to a dealership after hearing grinding noises coming from the brakes. They only drove their Traverse for 100 miles when this problem became apparent.
Chevrolet has issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that addresses this specific issue. TSB #19NA115 provides repair information to correct unusual noises for 2018-2020 Chevrolet Traverses.
Aside from this brake issue, the 2020 Traverse also has a few hundred TSBs for various issues and five recalls for issues like cured tires, insufficient fuel supply, cracked frame rails, and a roof rail airbag that may not unfold.
7- Timing chain failure
Timing chain failure is a major problem with the Chevrolet Traverse, especially for the 2012 model year, and is related to the previously mentioned reduced engine power issue.
According to affected owners, they were able to drive their midsize SUVs just fine for the first few years of ownership (about 100,000 miles).
One day, several users heard a rattling noise when starting their SUV. After the first visit to the mechanic, several of these owners were told to top up their oil. On their second visit, they were told that the timing chains were damaged. Some owners also mentioned that the traction control had issues as well.
Chevrolet posted some TSBs to address timing chain and traction control/StabiliTrak system failure, but there are no recalls for this issue on the 2012 model year as of this writing.
8- Problems with the direction
Owners of 2009-2011 Chevrolet Traverses encountered steering issues in their SUVs. There is a story about drivers struggling to turn and steer their vehicles. Some of these affected owners said that this steering problem almost put them in dangerous situations.
Most owners reportedly encountered this problem around 80,000 miles. The average cost to repair this failure is approximately $1,000.
9- Excessive oil consumption
The first year of the Traverse model had many consumer reports already at its launch. The 2009 Chevrolet Traverse had a particular problem with oil consumption. According to some affected owners, their SUVs were bumping every couple of months. Every time this happened, they checked and refilled the oil. This problem became apparent at approximately 100,000 miles of ownership.
Chevrolet published TSB #010601011L to fix this issue in December 2020. However, this document has not been uploaded to the Car Complaints webpage at the time of writing.
As long as you’re aware of the potential problems you may encounter in the Chevrolet Traverse you’re planning to buy, choosing this SUV should be low risk. As always, do your research on the model year you are interested in. And before you seal the deal on your new SUV, make sure you’re informed about the unit’s repair history and that the owner has cleared everything up.