March 31st, 2020 by

“Chevy Traverse Problems” – those three words will strike fear into the heart of any prospective (or current) Chevy Traverse owner.

However, the fact of the matter is that all cars have issues. And that’s especially true for models that have been around for some time and are popular enough to be driven in large numbers.

Handling Chevy Traverse problems

The best thing you can do as a responsible car owner is to educate yourself about what issues you might face. Once you’ve done that, you can be proactive about trying to avoid those problems and preparing for the worst of them (better to be overprepared than underprepared).

Engine failure

Engine failure has been a stubborn issue for Traverse models over the last decade. These issues peaked in the 2011 Traverse with numerous complaints but are much less common in newer models. One of the most typical signs is the engine seizing up while you’re driving. Some of the most common causes of engine failure are overheating, inadequate lubrication, or issues with the chain belt.


The best thing you can do to avoid engine failure is to be proactive and always ensure your car has enough water, coolant, and lubricating oil. If your vehicle does overheat, there isn’t much you can do except stop driving and get some water, coolant, or lubricant in your car as soon as possible. If it’s due to overheating, there might already be serious damage to the engine so it’s not advisable to drive any longer than you have to to get it checked out.


Problems with the Traverse’s 6-speed automatic transmission have also been persistent over the years. The 2018 Traverse seems to be particularly prone to them. Symptoms might be that your car gets stuck in a particular gear or that there is a delay or loss of power when switching between gears. There may also be a burning smell. The “check engine” light should display as well.


Prevention is better than cure, and you should always check your transmission fluid and avoid overloading your car. Once again, there isn’t much you can do about this issue once it occurs. Try to avoid driving your car and get it to a repair shop as soon as possible. The solution might also be as simple as changing the fluid, but there might already be damage that should be checked/repaired. Most likely, one or more of the clutch plates will need to be replaced.

Reduced engine power

This actually stems from a problem in the power steering system of earlier Chevy Traverse models, particularly 2009 and 2010 models. While driving, you’ll notice the engine is more sluggish than usual. The good news is that this seems to be more common at higher mileages (100k+) and lower speeds.

Although more common in older models, the 2015 to 2018 vehicles also seem to have this issue. It may occur more regularly in newer models as they rack up the miles.


As this issue is caused by general wear and tear over a long period combined with a design flaw, the best you can do is hope it doesn’t happen to you. If it does happen, the good news is that you should at least be able to drive home or to the nearest auto shop.

Electrical issues

As more and more electronics are being built-into vehicles, the chance of something going wrong increases. The Traverse is no different. Although not particularly widespread, there are occasional issues with electrical components like the dashboard display, sunroof, or warning lights.

While most issues are benign, some are more serious like a dead battery or, in extreme cases, the vehicle dying while driving.


There are a few things you can do to reset your warning lights at home, especially if you have an OBD (onboard diagnostics) scanner. Your solution might also be as simple as replacing a blown fuse. However, these issues can be stubborn and there is a chance you might need some component replacement which should be done by technicians.

Window wiper issues

This issue has been popping up occasionally since the early part of the last decade. In most cases, this is caused by the overheating of the windshield wiper engine. This isn’t a dangerous issue unless you have to drive in the rain.


If you start to see any signs of this malfunction, you should no longer use your windshield wipers until you get them fixed. That means trying to avoid the rain or snow. One common solution you can implement yourself is replacing the multi-function switch. This forum provides some advice on how to do it for older Traverse models.

Is the Traverse a problem-prone vehicle?

Sure, the Traverse has had its fair share of issues over the years. But, to be fair, so have most other crossover SUVs in its class. However, the Traverse seems to be improving in this regard. As you can see, the number of complaints on has tapered off dramatically.

The 2nd generation Traverse also has a much lower PainRank score now – 3.19 vs. 20.17 for the 1st generation.

Quality and reliability of the Traverse

J.D. Power has also given the 2020 Traverse a superb quality and reliability rating of 82/100. We’ve also found the Chevy Traverse to be a good car for a wide range of drivers, from singles to senior citizens.

So, does the Chevy Traverse have problems? Yes, but that’s part-and-parcel of buying any car on the market. The important thing is to be aware of them and to take the necessary steps to prevent or solve the issues as soon as possible.

Shop Chevy Traverse Inventory

Posted in New Inventory