Chevy Traverse Years to Avoid: A Comprehensive Guide

Explore the Chevy Traverse years to avoid making an informed decision when choosing a midsize SUV. Discover the pros and cons of different Traverse models and ensure a reliable family vehicle.

Chevy Traverse 2023

Exploring the Chevy Traverse

Before diving into the specific model years to avoid, let’s take a closer look at the Chevrolet Traverse itself. This midsize SUV has been a staple in the market for several years, and its strengths are worth mentioning:

  • Spacious Interior: The Traverse offers generous space for passengers and cargo, making it an ideal choice for families.
  • Robust Performance: Many Traverse models come with capable V6 engines, providing ample power for everyday driving and towing.
  • Comfortable Ride: The suspension and comfort features ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride, even on longer journeys.
  • Family-Friendly: The Traverse often comes with family-focused features such as rear-seat entertainment systems and multiple USB ports.

With these strengths in mind, it’s crucial to explore the problematic years to avoid any potential pitfalls when purchasing a used Chevrolet Traverse.

Key Factors to Consider

When searching for a reliable midsize SUV, there are several key factors to consider:

  1. Budget: Determine your budget range, including factors like the purchase price, maintenance costs, and potential repairs.
  2. Model Year: Understanding the specific model years to avoid is essential. We will delve into this in more detail in the following sections.
  3. Maintenance History: Research the maintenance history of the vehicle you’re considering. A well-maintained Traverse is more likely to be reliable.
  4. Safety Features: Check for essential safety features like airbags, stability control, and advanced driver-assistance systems.
  5. Fuel Efficiency: Consider the fuel economy of the Traverse, especially if you plan to use it for daily commuting.

Chevy Traverse Model Years To Avoid And Their Notable Issues

Certainly! Here’s a detailed table summarizing the Chevy Traverse model years to avoid and their notable issues:

Model Year Notable Issues
2012 – Transmission problems – Timing chain issues – Excessive oil consumption
2014 – Transmission issues – Electrical malfunctions – Steering problems
2016 – Power steering problems – Electrical troubles – Engine stalling
2018 – Improved transmission – Electrical system concerns – Air conditioning problems
2020 – Fewer transmission issues – Improved electrical system – Steering and suspension concerns
2021 – Enhanced transmission – Overall improved reliability

Please note that while these issues were reported in specific model years, individual vehicles’ reliability can vary. A thorough pre-purchase inspection and review of the maintenance history are crucial for making an informed decision when considering a used Chevy Traverse.

The Importance of Reliability

Reliability is a crucial aspect to consider when choosing a used vehicle, and the Chevy Traverse is no exception. The last thing you want is to purchase a model plagued with recurring issues. To help you make an informed decision, we’ll now discuss the common problems associated with various Traverse model years.

Common Issues with Chevy Traverse

The Traverse has faced some recurring issues over the years, including:

  • Transmission Problems: Some model years have experienced transmission issues, leading to jerky shifts and slipping gears.
  • Engine Troubles: Engine problems, such as overheating and stalling, have been reported in specific Traverse models.
  • Electrical Gremlins: Electrical system malfunctions, including faulty sensors and dashboard warning lights, have been a concern for some years.
  • A/C and Heating Problems: Climate control issues, from weak air conditioning to heating failures, have been reported.
  • Steering and Suspension: Complaints about noisy steering systems and suspension problems have been noted in various Traverse model years.

A Closer Look at Model Years

Now, let’s examine specific Chevy Traverse model years to avoid and the reasons behind their notoriety. We’ll explore these model years individually to provide a comprehensive overview.

Chevy Traverse 2012 – A Year to Avoid?

The 2012 Chevy Traverse faced criticism for multiple issues, including:

  • Transmission Problems: Owners reported erratic shifting and slipping transmissions.
  • Timing Chain Issues: Problems with the timing chain led to costly repairs.
  • Excessive Oil Consumption: Some models suffered from excessive oil consumption, requiring frequent top-offs.
Chevy Traverse 2012

Chevy Traverse 2014 – What to Watch Out For

The 2014 Traverse had its share of problems, including:

  • Transmission Issues: Similar to 2012, transmission problems persisted in this model year.
  • Electrical Malfunctions: Numerous complaints about electrical system glitches, affecting various vehicle functions.
  • Steering Problems: Owners reported noisy steering and concerns about the power steering system.
Chevy Traverse 2014

Problematic Trends in 2016

In 2016, the Chevy Traverse continued to face reliability challenges:

  • Power Steering Problems: Complaints about power steering issues persisted.
  • Electrical Troubles: Ongoing reports of electrical problems, particularly related to the dashboard and sensor issues.
  • Stalling Engines: Some owners experienced engine stalling, a concerning safety issue.

Understanding the 2018 Model

The 2018 Traverse showed improvement in some areas but still had issues:

  • Improved Transmission: Transmission problems were less common, but some owners still reported issues.
  • Electrical System Concerns: While less frequent, electrical problems continued to be reported.
  • Air Conditioning Problems: Some 2018 models faced A/C issues.

The Reliability of the 2020 Traverse

The 2020 Traverse saw some positive changes:

  • Fewer Transmission Issues: Transmission problems became less common in this model year.
  • Electrical System Improvement: Electrical system issues were less prevalent.
  • Steering and Suspension Concerns: Some models still reported steering and suspension problems.
Chevy Traverse 2020

Is the 2021 Traverse Worth It?

The 2021 Traverse improved further in some aspects:

  • Enhanced Transmission: Transmission problems became even less common.
  • Overall Reliability: The 2021 model year exhibited improved reliability compared to its predecessors.

It’s essential to note that vehicle reliability can vary from one individual car to another, even within the same model year. Therefore, a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection and a review of the vehicle’s maintenance history are critical steps in ensuring a dependable Chevy Traverse.

Chevy Traverse 2021

Recalls and Safety Concerns

In addition to the common issues, it’s important to be aware of any recalls or safety concerns related to the Chevy Traverse. Recalls can affect various aspects of the vehicle, including safety systems, mechanical components, and more. Before finalizing your purchase, check for any outstanding recalls and ensure they have been addressed.

A Comprehensive SUV Buying Guide

Choosing the right midsize SUV involves considering not only the problems to avoid but also the alternatives available. In this section, we’ll provide an overview of alternative midsize SUVs that may be worth exploring:

  • Honda Pilot: Known for its reliability and family-friendly features.
  • Toyota Highlander: A strong contender with a reputation for durability.
  • Ford Explorer: Offers a variety of powertrains and configurations to suit different needs.
  • Subaru Ascent: Known for its all-wheel-drive capability and safety features.
  • Kia Telluride: An up-and-coming SUV with an excellent combination of space and value.

Alternatives To The Chevy Traverse

1. Honda Pilot

Reliability and Practicality:

  • The Honda Pilot is renowned for its reliability and durability, making it an excellent long-term investment.
  • With seating for up to eight passengers, it’s a practical choice for families of various sizes.
  • The Pilot’s well-designed interior and comfortable seats contribute to a pleasant driving experience.

Advanced Safety Features:

  • Honda Sensing suite, which includes features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, comes standard on most trims.
  • Excellent crash-test ratings and a reputation for safety make it a great choice for families.

2. Toyota Highlander

Resale Value and Respected Brand:

  • Toyota is known for its strong resale value, and the Highlander is no exception. It retains its value well over time.
  • The Toyota brand is synonymous with reliability, giving you peace of mind as an owner.

Hybrid Option:

  • The Toyota Highlander offers a hybrid powertrain for improved fuel efficiency, making it an eco-friendly choice.

Three-Row Seating:

  • Like the Traverse, the Highlander offers three-row seating, providing room for the whole family and more.

3. Ford Explorer

Versatility and Powertrains:

  • The Ford Explorer offers a range of powertrains, including hybrid and performance-oriented options.
  • Its versatility caters to a wide range of drivers, from those seeking fuel efficiency to those looking for powerful performance.

Terrain Management System:

  • The Explorer features a Terrain Management System, making it a capable SUV for off-road adventures and varying road conditions.

Towing Capability:

  • If you need to tow trailers or boats, the Explorer’s towing capacity is among the best in its class.

4. Subaru Ascent

All-Wheel Drive Standard:

  • Subaru’s renowned all-wheel-drive system is standard in the Ascent, ensuring excellent traction and stability.
  • It’s an excellent choice for those living in areas with challenging weather conditions.

Impressive Safety Technology:

  • Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology comes standard and includes adaptive cruise control and lane centering.
  • The Ascent has consistently received top safety ratings from various agencies.

5. Kia Telluride

Sleek Design and Roomy Interior:

  • The Kia Telluride stands out with its stylish design and premium interior materials.
  • It provides a spacious and comfortable cabin for passengers in all three rows.

Generous Warranty:

  • Kia offers one of the best warranties in the industry, providing peace of mind for new car buyers.


  • The Telluride comes with a wealth of standard features, including a user-friendly infotainment system and driver aids.

6. Nissan Pathfinder

Rugged and Off-Road Capable:

  • The Nissan Pathfinder offers a 4×4 system for those who want to explore off the beaten path.
  • Its rugged design and high ground clearance make it suitable for outdoor adventures.

Three Rows of Seating:

  • With three rows of seating, the Pathfinder can accommodate large families comfortably.

Towing Capacity:

  • The Pathfinder offers a respectable towing capacity, making it suitable for towing boats and trailers.

These alternatives to the Chevy Traverse provide a wide range of options, each with its unique set of features and benefits. When choosing the right midsize SUV for your family, consider your specific needs and priorities, such as reliability, safety, performance, and budget. A thorough evaluation of these alternatives will help you make an informed decision that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

Making an Informed Decision

In conclusion, the Chevrolet Traverse is a competitive option in the midsize SUV market, offering roomy interiors, robust performance, and a comfortable ride. While it has had some problematic years, with proper care and maintenance, it can be a reliable family vehicle.

However, always be sure to thoroughly research and inspect any used vehicle before purchase, particularly for known issues and recall history. Remember, there are many alternatives available in the crowded midsize SUV market, so it’s beneficial to consider all options before making a decision. By staying informed and conducting due diligence, you can confidently choose a midsize SUV that meets your needs and provides a safe and reliable driving experience.

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