Discover Used Chevy Traverse Years to Avoid Vs Traverse Best Years

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Rev up your engines and get ready to hit the road in style with a Chevy Traverse.

But before you take the wheel, it’s crucial to know which model years to avoid. From industry reviews to consumer feedback and reported problems from Traverse owners, I’d done the research for you.

Buckle up as we take you on a ride through the worst Chevy Traverse model years, including 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2018.

While some of these years may have redeeming qualities, they tend to have more issues and complaints, potentially leading to expensive repairs down the line.

Don’t get stuck in the slow lane – arm yourself with auto vehicle knowledge and find a reliable used Chevy Traverse best year to suit your needs.

chevy traverse years to avoid

The Chevy Traverse Years to Avoid

When shopping for a used Chevy Traverse, there are certain model years that you should be cautious of. This section will guide you through the worst model years and common complaints associated with these problematic years.

Worst Model Years

The Chevy Traverse model years to avoid mainly include:

  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2015
  • 2018

These years have been known to come with many issues that may be costly to fix. Let’s dive deeper into the problems associated with these years.

Common Complaints


The 2009 Chevy Traverse is notorious for engine and steering control failure, excessive oil consumption, faulty drivetrain and brakes, spark plug coil failure or misfiring, and broken timing chains. This model year is part of the problematic first-generation Traverse.


Similar to the 2009 Traverse, the 2010 model faces issues with engine and steering failure, as well as problems with the AC or heater.


The 2011 Traverse continues the trend of first-generation issues, such as excessive oil consumption, engine failure, and severe transmission failure.


Although slightly better than the previous years, the 2012 Traverse still has its fair share of problems. Some notable concerns include engine and transmission issues, brake failure, and electrical problems.


The 2015 Chevy Traverse has been reported to have issues with traction control, electrical problems, and occasional transmission malfunctions, making it another year to be cautious of.


Despite being part of a newer generation, the 2018 Traverse isn’t without its flaws. This model year has seen complaints surrounding its engine and transmission performance.

By being aware of these problematic years and their associated issues, you can make informed decisions when purchasing a used Chevy Traverse.

Most Common Problems and Issues

  • Excessive Oil Consumption

One common problem you may face with the Chevy Traverse is excessive oil consumption. This issue can lead to more significant engine problems down the road.

To keep your vehicle running smoothly, it’s essential to monitor your oil levels regularly and address any oil consumption issues as soon as possible.

  • Engine Failure

Another issue frequently reported by Chevy Traverse owners is engine failure. Various factors, such as timing chains malfunctioning or other engine components wearing out prematurely, can contribute to this problem.

An illuminated engine light can also indicate the issue. It’s crucial to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic right away if you notice any signs of engine failure, as repairing or replacing an engine can cost a lot of money.

  • Transmission Problems

Transmission problems are common in the Chevy Traverse, including complete transmission failure. These issues can manifest as shifting difficulties, delayed engagement, or even complete loss of power.

To prolong the life of your Traverse’s transmission and avoid costly repairs, it’s essential to address any transmission concerns promptly.

  • Electrical Issues

Finally, Chevy Traverse owners have reported various electrical issues, which can range from minor inconveniences to severe problems affecting vehicle performance.

These can include malfunctioning sensors or electronics, as well as more significant electrical problems that can be difficult to diagnose and repair.

It’s crucial to stay vigilant and address any electrical issues as they arise to keep your Traverse functioning efficiently and safely.

Factors Influencing Reliability

Proper Maintenance

Proper maintenance plays a crucial role in the reliability of your Chevy Traverse. By following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, you can increase the lifespan of your vehicle and prevent common issues.

This includes regular oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections of critical components such as the brakes, suspension, and transmission.

Model Year and Trim Levels

When it comes to the Chevy Traverse, certain model years are known to have more issues than others.

It’s best to avoid the Traverse model years from 2009 through 2012, as they experienced numerous problems ranging from engine troubles to steering issues.

In addition to the model year, also consider the trim level. Some trim levels may come with additional features or upgrades that can affect the reliability of your Traverse. Be sure to research and compare the different trim levels to determine which best suits your needs and budget.

Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins

Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) can also impact the reliability of your Chevy Traverse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) keeps track of recalls and TSBs for all Chevrolet Traverse models, so it’s essential to stay informed about any updates or necessary repairs.

To keep track of recalls and TSBs, visit the NHTSA’s website and input your vehicle’s model year and VIN.

General Motors, the owner of the Chevrolet brand, may also issue recall notices or TSBs for certain Chevrolet Traverse SUVs, so be sure to register your vehicle with GM to be notified of any important updates.

By staying on top of maintenance, choosing the right model year and trim level, and being aware of recalls and TSBs, you can help ensure the reliability of your Chevy Traverse. Remember, research is key in helping you find the right vehicle for your needs.

Best Model Years and Ongoing Improvements

Improvements in Newer Models

As you explore the various model years of the Chevy Traverse, you’ll notice that there have been significant improvements, especially in the second generation of this popular SUV.

Launched in 2018, the second generation saw a complete revamp in vehicle design with a focus on performance and reliability.

Although the 2018 model had some issues, the 2019 model resolved these concerns and is considered one of the best years for the Chevy Traverse.

Sought-After Features

Newer models of the Chevy Traverse boast a range of sought-after features that make them attractive options for potential buyers:

  • Advanced safety features: Modern Traverse models have incorporated cutting-edge safety technology to keep you and your passengers secure on the road.
  • Enhanced infotainment system: You’ll enjoy a user-friendly interface that seamlessly integrates with your smartphone, providing easy access to your favorite music, apps, and navigation.

Reliability Ratings

In terms of reliability, the 2019 Chevy Traverse stands out with a 3.0 out of 5.0 reliability score from RepairPal, which is considered average.

Additionally, the average total annual cost for repairs for this model is $656, so you should be prepared for a slightly higher cost compared to other vehicles.

However, this reliable performance makes newer Chevy Traverse models an attractive choice for buyers looking for an SUV that combines style, safety, and dependability.

Comparing Traverse with Other Chevy Models

In this section, we will take a closer look at how the Chevy Traverse compares to other popular Chevy models, namely the Chevy Equinox, Traverse Premier, 2022 Chevy Traverse, and Traverse LTZ.

Chevy Equinox

When considering a Chevy SUV, you might find the Equinox to be an attractive option. The Equinox is a compact SUV, so it is smaller than the Traverse, which is a midsize SUV.

This difference in size means that the Equinox has less cargo space and seating capacity than the Traverse, but it also contributes to the Equinox’s more fuel-efficient nature. YOu enjoy these and much more if you buy Chevrolet Equinox best years models.

If you value fuel economy and can manage with a smaller interior, the Equinox could be the right choice for you.

Traverse Premier

The Traverse Premier is one of the higher trims in the Traverse lineup. Some features that differentiate the Premier from other trims include:

  • Leather-appointed seats
  • 20-inch machined wheels
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Power-folding third-row seat
  • Wireless charging for devices

If you’re looking for a more luxurious Traverse option with additional features, the Premier might be what you’re after.

2022 Chevy Traverse

The 2022 Chevy Traverse offers a refreshed design and updated features compared to previous model years. It comes standard with a more powerful engine, updated infotainment system, and various driver-assist features. Some noteworthy updates include:

  • Digital rearview mirror
  • Standard 8-inch touchscreen
  • Enhanced adaptive cruise control

Considering the 2022 Traverse for its updated look and additional features is a smart choice if you’re in the market for a new SUV.

Traverse LTZ

The Traverse LTZ is a previous model and is no longer available as a new option. However, you can still find used Traverse LTZ models with advanced features such as:

  • Premium leather upholstery
  • Bose audio system
  • Heated and ventilated seats
  • Rear-seat entertainment system

Keep in mind that buying a used Traverse LTZ means you’ll need to be cautious of any potential issues with older models, particularly the 2009 and 2010 models with known transmission problems.

In summary, the Chevy Traverse has various options and model years to choose from, each with its advantages and drawbacks.

Consider your priorities and preferences when comparing the Traverse to other Chevy models, and make sure to be cautious of the potential issues with older models.

Comparing with Close Rivals

When considering a Chevy Traverse, it’s essential to compare it with some of its close rivals in the market such as Kia Telluride, GMC Acadia, and Ford Explorer.

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is a popular option in the three-row SUV segment. It offers a comfortable, roomy interior and a host of standard features that make it an attractive choice for families.

While the Traverse has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, the Telluride also stands strong with a slightly lower capacity of 5,000 pounds. In terms of fuel efficiency, both vehicles are relatively similar, but the Telluride might have a slight edge.

GMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia, another close competitor, shares a similar powertrain with the Traverse. However, it’s worth noting that the Acadia has a more blocky design and offers premium Denali and AT4 trims.

It is smaller in size compared to the Traverse which translates into reduced passenger and cargo space. When it comes to fuel efficiency, just like the Traverse, the Acadia has more pros than negative and might be more suitable for those who prioritize space over fuel economy.

Ford Explorer

With the Ford Explorer, you get a well-rounded SUV that packs a punch in terms of performance.

The Explorer offers a powerful lineup of engines including a standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or the available V6 options. Unfortunately some owners reported issues with Explorer engine.

It also comes with a high towing capacity, starting at 5,300 pounds and rising up to 5,600 pounds depending on the trim.

The Ford Explorer is also known for its off-road capabilities, making it a good choice for those who seek adventures.

Vehicle Towing Capacity Fuel Efficiency (City/Hwy) Cargo Space
Chevy Traverse 5,000 lbs 18/27 mpg 98.2 cu.ft.
Kia Telluride 5,000 lbs 19/24 mpg 87 cu.ft.
GMC Acadia 4,000 lbs 19/27 mpg 79 cu.ft.
Ford Explorer 5,300-5,600 lbs 21/28 mpg 87.8 cu.ft.

NOTE: There are many more SUV in the same category or close rival market with Traverse including Buick Enclave and Infiniti QX60 and Honda Pilot. See our Infiniti QX60 issues and complaints to avoid!

We published complete guides about pros and cons of buying buying used models of each brand. See problems to avoid for Buick Enclave and compare with the list of Enclave’s most rated models!

Factors to Consider When Buying a Used Traverse

When looking for a used Chevy Traverse, you should consider several aspects to ensure you’re getting the best deal, including vehicle history report, maintenance records, and the cost of repairs and ownership.

Vehicle History Report

A crucial part of buying a used Traverse is obtaining its vehicle history report. This report provides essential information about your potential purchase, such as:

  • Accidents and damage history
  • Title status
  • Previous owners
  • Odometer reading
  • Theft history

You can obtain a vehicle history report through services like Carfax or AutoCheck using the car’s VIN. This step will help ensure that you’re aware of any potential issues before committing to a purchase.

Maintenance History

Knowing the maintenance history of a used Chevy Traverse will let you gauge how well the previous owner(s) took care of the vehicle.

Regular maintenance, including oil changes and tire rotations, contributes significantly to the vehicle’s lifespan.

Requesting the service records will give you a better understanding of the car’s condition and any repairs it may have undergone.

Remember to be cautious about purchasing Traverse models from certain years, like 2009 and 2010, as they experienced common issues with engine and steering control failures.

Cost of Repairs and Ownership

When evaluating a used Traverse, consider the potential cost of any repairs and regular maintenance.

Research the common problems associated with the Traverse, such as engine troubles, steering issues, and transmission problems, to be prepared for any potential future repair costs.

Additionally, factor in the ongoing expenses of owning a Traverse, including:

  • Fuel consumption
  • Insurance premiums
  • Registration and taxes
  • Regular maintenance (e.g., oil changes, tire rotations)

Taking these factors into account will help you make a more informed decision when purchasing your used Traverse and set realistic expectations for your cost of ownership.

Remember, a well-maintained vehicle can significantly reduce your overall expenses and provide you with a reliable ride for years to come.


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