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It’s been over 14 years since General Motors released the Chevy Traverse for the first time at the Chicago Auto Show, boasting a 3.6-liter V6 engine with a 280-hp power output, which was quite remarkable at the time. However, several issues plagued the Traverse right from the time it made it to dealerships in the fall of 2008. 

Many Traverse owners have complained about several issues with specific model years, raising concerns about the vehicle’s reliability and ownership costs. The Chevrolet Traverse is now in its second generation, and the newly rolled-out 2023 model is already in dealerships. However, as you shop for a certified pre-owned Traverse, take note of the model years that have made headlines because of maintenance and reliability issues. That will ensure you make an informed purchase decision.

2009 and 2010 Chevy Traverse: Transmission issues and most overall complaints

The 2009 Chevy Traverse came out as a vehicle designed to supersede expectations. Alongside its 280-hp V6 engine and the Hydra-Matix six-speed automatic transmission, it featured a seven or eight-seat configuration, class-leading cargo space, and a host of tech and safety features. However, buyers later started complaining about many issues related to various driving systems, from the transmission and steering column to the timing chain and air conditioning, according to Edmunds

Transmission failure was the most-reported issue, followed by steering column and timing chain problems. Vehicle owners usually complained about transmission failures after recording 87,000 miles on their odometers. As highlighted on CarComplaints, repairs commonly involve replacing the wave clutch plate or rebuilding the transmission system, which costs about $3,200.

CarComplaints also highlighted the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse as the model year with the most overall complaints, including engine failure, power steering issues, and timing chain code problems. Engine issues popped up after 103,000 miles and had the highest repair costs of $6,300. Power steering complaints and timing chain problems were reported at relatively lowered mileages of 79,000 miles and 94,000 miles.

2011 and 2012 Chevy Traverse: More engine issues

A silver 2011 Chevy Traverse full-size SUV model at State Highway 395 in the Mojave Desert
2011 Chevy Traverse | Chevrolet

While the 2010 Traverse had the most overall complaints, CarComplaints rates the 2011 Chevy Traverse model as the “worst model year” due to other factors, such as higher repair costs and more issues at lower mileage. The worst and most-reported problem with the 2011 model was engine failure. 

2011 Traverse owners complained about engine failure at an average mileage of 88,000 miles. The most common solutions to this problem include replacing the engine or the timing chain, which costs about $5,200. Additionally, drivers complained about reduced engine power at 72,000 miles and the check engine light on at 94,000 miles. The average costs of fixing these issues are $2,100 and $1,900, respectively. 

Chevrolet made no significant changes to the 2012 Traverse model, and therefore, drivers experienced more engine issues, this time reporting seized and blown engines, as well as reduced engine power. If you’re in the market for a 2012 Traverse and find one that has recorded over 85,000, it would be best to assess it for these issues, lest you spend $7,900 for repairs.

Air conditioning issues plague the 2015 Chevy Traverse

In its review of the 2015 Chevy Traverse, Chevrolet Media reported that the car packs a 3.6-liter V6 engine, but this updated version cranked out 288 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Other updates included a revised 18-inch wheel appearance, newer exterior colors, and new exterior-color options, just like the incoming Traverse model. What the engineers at Chevrolet forgot to update were comfort systems, such as the AC. 

Worse still, these AC problems compromised various Traverse trims at relatively low mileage. For example, issues related to a melted AC compressor or the AC failing entirely occurred at an average mileage of 54,000 – 56,000 miles. The maintenance and repair costs of these problems cost $700 – $1,100 on average. 

Another problem that consumers complained about regarding the 2015 Chevy Traverse is the accelerator sticking, usually at 50,000 miles. CarComplaints assigned this complaint a 10/10 score on its severity rating scale because of the safety risks it poses to drivers and other motorists. Drivers typically reported this problem at a mileage of 50,000 miles, and they come with very high repair costs of up to $35,000. 

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