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Best & Worst Years of Chevrolet Traverse – Graphs & Owner Surveys

Generally, the Chevrolet Traverse is a reliable and dependable vehicle. Though if considering the older first-generation models, buyers will want to consider the later updated 2013-2017 versions and the 2018-2021 second-generation models. Buyers should avoid the early first-gen 2009-2013 versions.

Chevrolet Traverse display at a dealership.

The Chevrolet Traverse is one of Chevy’s top-selling models and has been one of the most popular midsize crossover SUVs since its introduction in 2008. It’s known for its cavernously spacious and comfortable interior, rich feature set, and commendable on-road mannerisms, making it a practical and sensible choice for large families.

Among Chevrolet’s lineup, it sits in the middle of the Golden Bowtie’s range of crossovers and SUVs, slotting above the smaller compact Equinox and below the full-size truck-based Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. It serves as Chevy’s largest crossover SUV and an ideal choice for those who need the added space and comfort without needing to shell out the extra money for the larger and more heavy-duty trucks.

The Traverse thus far has endured two generations with over 709,100 sold to date in North America, according to GoodCarBadCar.net. Because of its popularity and decent overall reliability scores both on the long- and short-term, plenty of examples can be found in the second-hand market. Additionally, the Traverse has proven itself to be a generally dependable automobile. Though useful, not all model years are the most desirable.

With our vast collection of data combined with other sources, we’ve sought out the best and worst model years for the Chevrolet Traverse. Knowing which models are the most dependable and reliable will help you make a better-informed decision when purchasing a second-hand example. 

To help separate the best and worst years of the Chevrolet Traverse, we accounted for several sets of data to help determine the most ideal model years using both third-party statistics and our own reports from FIXD’s own sensor. 

The Traverse is a reliable automobile, though, it tends to become more expensive to own with higher mileage. This correlation is typical for an automobile that sees frequent use as a family vehicle, where road trip vacations may be a common occurrence. Though some model years should be avoided, particularly with the first-generation model, as they exhibited a higher number of wear-related issues than the newer, updated, second-generation models.

Best Years Why? Worst Years Why?

Best engine reliability, lowest cost of repairs, highest safety ratings

>> See 2015-2021 Chevrolet Traverse for sale


First-gen, lowest overall reliability (FIXD app data, owner survey) scores, known V6 timing chain and catalytic converter issues

>> See 2009-2012 Chevrolet Traverse for sale


Highest market values, highest overall reported fuel economy

>> See 2019-2021 Chevrolet Traverse for sale


Lowest overall NHTSA and Average safety ratings, highest average cost of repairs, lowest overall market values

>> See 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse for sale


Most likely to hit 200,000 miles and beyond

>> See 2011-2016 Chevrolet Traverse for sale

2012, 2013

Saw annual maintenance/repair costs exceed $1,000

>> See 2012, 2013 Chevrolet Traverse for sale

Chevrolet Traverse Engine Reliability Score, Safety Ratings, MPG and Value v.s. Maintenance & Repair Costs – Year by Year

To determine the best years of the Chevrolet Traverse, we considered all of the following:

  • FIXD reliability score (engine reliability)
  • Owner Reliability Score (based on owner survey data)
  • NHTSA safety ratings
  • Fuel economy (EPA ratings)
  • Survey of annual maintenance and repair costs in correlation to market value (from owner survey and KBB market data)

The Traverse has only been around for a total of two generations, meaning the product results are consistent with minimal change. They are built on the same platform, utilize the same family of V6 engines (the two-year optional turbocharged four-cylinder from 2018-2019 notwithstanding), and use the same transmissions found in a plethora of other GM vehicles. The only changes amount to revisions and updates according to the newer generation models.

That said, the Traverse overall has been a pretty consistent automobile. But like most other vehicles, the earliest model years of a new generation are the most trouble-prone due to early teething issues. These issues are typically sorted out over the production period through factory-engineered revisions. This is reflected in the Traverse’s reliability statistics.

If you’re in the market for a car, take a look at our article on the USAs’ most reliable and cheapest to repair cars in the U.S. Don’t get stuck with a lemon, use our data to help you shop.

Engine Reliability Score – Over The Years

Chevrolet Traverse Engine Reliability Score

Our in-depth analysis of the Chevrolet Traverse’s reliability comes from two different datasets: data received based on reports from the FIXD app and results surveyed from owners.

  • FIXD Reliability Score (Green): This line in the graph represents the dataset reported through Check Engine Lights, or CELs, registered and recorded with the FIXD app
  • Owner Reliability Score (Gray): This alternate gray line represents the dataset collected by owner reports and the Traverse’s perceived reliability, with surveys asking how owners are likely to trust their vehicles over the course of different trip lengths. Those questionable about their car successfully completing short-distance trips rate lower, while those feeling confident about long-distance trips rate higher.

The higher the number, the better the reliability rating, with 10 being the most reliable and 1 being the least reliable.

Since its introduction and through today’s model, the Traverse came with a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter gasoline V6. For 2018 and 2019, the second-generation’s first two years, Chevrolet offered a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder for base models. 

Overall, GM’s ubiquitous 3.6-liter V6 is a reliable motor. Though according to our collected data and graph, overall reliability is still lower for the older versions when compared to the newer versions. We observe a noticeable uptick in FIXD app and owner survey reliability after the first-generation’s mid-cycle refresh in 2013, which introduced a bunch of updates and revisions to the Traverse, both inside and outside.

Owners of earlier Traverses from 2009 to 2013 reported above-average reliability in their experience, though FIXD data saw a higher number of registered check-engine lights. This could be due to several reasons, both significant and insignificant. Registered check engine lights with the FIXD scanner range from errors with the gas tank’s evaporative system, which could be directly caused by an unsecured gasoline filler cap or a failing gasoline filler cap seal.

More significant check-engine lights were related to the catalytic converter and the V6’s timing chain issues, both of which are widely documented problems for earlier versions of the V6. Other vehicles in GM’s portfolio used this V6 and experienced the same timing chain-related problems, according to GoTech.com.

While these issues are common for early Traverse’s V6, its prevalence still depends on how the vehicle was driven and maintained over its lifetime. Additionally, in our surveys, higher-mileage V6s were more susceptible to timing chain problems, which is a natural result of a vehicle’s wear and tear from high use.

For example, the model years reporting timing chain and catalytic converter repairs also reported higher-than-average mileage numbers above 110,000 miles, meaning these were likely a result of high-mileage wear and/or expiration from age. Owners reported that both repairs ranged in between $1,000 to $2,000 in terms of cost.

A failed catalytic converter may also have been caused by worn timing chain components. That’s because a timing chain helps keep an engine running optimally by maintaining a properly timed cycle of mixing air and fuel for the combustion process, which is a part of the engine’s four-stroke operating cycle. An engine with proper timing results in the best performance.

When a timing chain stretches over time and from use, this mixture of air and fuel can become unbalanced, leading to running issues and an uneven mixture of air and fuel in the combustion chamber, also known as “running rich” or “lean.” This uneven mixture can contaminate the catalytic converter, which is a very sensitive part in a vehicle’s exhaust system that controls emissions for the environment.

When an engine runs rich, it’s injecting too much fuel into the cylinder, whereas an engine running lean injects too much air into the cylinder. This improper balance can cause poor-quality combustion, and lead to contaminated exhaust fumes. These contaminated exhaust fumes resultantly damage catalytic converters.

From these results, we can deduce that it’s probably advisable to avoid the early first-generation Traverses manufactured between 2009 and 2013, unless the vehicle has a well-documented service history and had its timing chain and catalytic converter issues addressed by previous owners.

From 2013 onwards, reliability skyrocketed, it could be partially because of General Motors making improvements to the 3.6-liter V6 along with the Traverse’s mid-cycle refresh. Though additionally, the average mileage of the vehicles surveyed dropped below 110,000 miles as they are newer vehicles. As expected, models 2017 and newer are seeing higher reliability scores due to lower mileage, less use, and being younger in age.

There is an observable anomaly in the FIXD Reliability Score for the 2020 model-year Traverses, where reliability takes a brief dip. Though that may be attributed to two powertrain-related recalls in 2020, one for an “insufficient fuel supply which may cause engine stalling” (campaign number: 20V639000; issued October 15, 2020) and an improper installation of the engine’s automatic stop/start accumulator, which may cause a transmission fluid leak and fault (campaign number: 20V668000; issued October 29, 2020).

For a quick breakdown of some of the most common causes of check-engine lights in Chevrolets, refer to our list of “top 5 causes for each Chevy model.”

NHTSA Safety Score – Over The Years

Chevrolet Traverse NHTSA Safety Rating

Safety is one of the leading determining factors to vehicle purchases, especially when it comes to family vehicles used to haul children. The Traverse is a popular family vehicle and an overwhelming number of owners surveyed claim that they primarily use their Traverse as a family vehicle. Thus, safety is of great concern. The safer the vehicle, the safer your occupants are, and thus, they’re more likely to survive a collision, all of which helps lower your insurance rates by reducing safety risks.

Thankfully, the Traverse has always been rated highly as a very safe vehicle by both government and private crash-testing agencies.

A vehicle’s overall safety is assessed by two agencies: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS. However, we only concentrate on the NHTSA ratings as they’re a government agency federally regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation whereas the IIHS is an independent nonprofit agency.

Overall, the Chevrolet Traverse has always maintained a strong safety record thanks to its high crashworthiness and solid structure with crumple zones, lots of airbags, and abundant passive and active safety systems. Thus, it’s no surprise that in our findings, the Traverse has always maintained at least a four-star NHTSA rating overall. However, we see a normal dip in the 2022 model year as newer models don’t go as frequently assessed by the NHTSA if they remain largely unchanged or updated for the new model-year.

Additionally, the NHTSA announced revisions to its testing standards in January 2022 to account for greater protection and crashworthiness for pedestrians. The change came as part of U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s new “National Roadway Safety Strategy,” which accounts for the dip in the Traverse’s NHTSA safety rating in 2022.

Safety is a big factor in your insurance costs – If you live in one of the states listed below, we can show you the cheapest vehicles to insure in yours. 

What Used Cars Are the Cheapest To Insure In:
North Carolina
New York

MPG – Over The Years

Chevrolet Traverse MPG

It’s important to remember that the Chevrolet Traverse is a large and heavy three-row midsize crossover SUV powered by a large six-cylinder engine. Thus, it’s going to have considerably higher fuel consumption and costs than your average vehicle.

When first introduced, the U.S. Department of Energy and NHTSA assessed the Chevrolet Traverse with ratings of 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined at their lowest with its V6 engine and all-wheel drive.

Newer models peaked at 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined with the short-lived turbocharged four-cylinder in 2018 and 2019. The front-wheel-drive V6 model returned similar figures as its past variant.

With our survey, owners observed average fuel economy figures close to their official fuel economy ratings, keeping steady at around 18 mpg average. The dip in fuel economy ratings in 2016 on our graph is a result of changes in the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy testing standards as a result of new greenhouse gas emissions regulations and compliance and General Motors overstating fuel economy figures, specifically for models like the 2016 Traverse.  

In 2010, the EPA and NHTSA implemented new fuel economy and emissions compliance regulations implemented for vehicles between the model years of 2012 and 2016 under supervision of California’s Clean Air Act–a first of its kind to incorporate the Clean Air Act officially in EPA relations.

While the agency established new testing procedures, standards, and emissions compliance requirements to begin in 2012, some automakers delayed implementing new emissions control equipment to their vehicles by leveraging their Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) credits against the new compliance requirements. By leveraging their CAFE credits, they allowed some automakers, like General Motors, to buy time and delay the need to meet these new fuel economy and emissions standards.

However, in some cases, these extra and CAFE credits ran out, forcing automakers to make the needed adjustments to meet the new fuel economy standards. Instead, in GM’s case, they chose to ignore the new compliance regulations, publish false fuel economy ratings for certain 2016 models. They were eventually caught and forced to publish correct and republish adjusted fuel economy ratings and compensate owners of 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave models accordingly.

In 2018 with the arrival of the second-generation Traverse, which received a significantly revised 3.6-liter V6, automatic stop/start engine technology boosted fuel economy ratings. Additionally, the stark increase in 2018 also accounts for the availability of the more fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder from model year 2018 to 2019.

If fuel efficiency is a concern when shopping for a three-row crossover SUV, there are other more fuel-friendly alternatives such as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. In terms of its direct competition however, the Traverse sits in line with the rest, returning similarly based on the combined average cycle rating of city and highway ratings. Though due to the similarities, differences in fuel consumption may not be obviously observable as it’s still down to driving style and conditions.

  Chevrolet Traverse
(AWD V6)
Honda Pilot
(AWD V6)
Toyota Highlander (AWD V6)
2009 19 MPG 18 MPG 19 MPG
2015 19 MPG 20 MPG 20 MPG
2020 20 MPG 23 MPG 22 MPG

Current Market Value of All Chevrolet Traverse Years & Cost Per Year to Repair and Maintain Each

Chevrolet Traverse Market Value vs Cost of Repairs

When considering the overall average repair and maintenance costs of a Chevrolet Traverse, it’s crucial to consider the reliability of the specific model year example in question. For instance, if you’re considering one of the first-generation Traverses with the early V6s that were prone to timing chain and catalytic converter issues, there’s an increased chance that you may experience these repairs in your ownership if they weren’t addressed by the previous owner.

Thus, as a result, earlier Traverse models from 2009-2013 are likely to have the highest annual maintenance costs, which is also reflected in our surveyed data, displayed by the gray line, indicating the “Average Cost of Repairs.” The average cost of repairs is the highest for the 2009 to 2013 models, with the biggest reported bill peaking at $1,063 annually. These models were the first-generation variants prior to the mid-cycle refresh in late 2013 for the 2014 model year.

The 2014 model year vehicles see a dip in average cost of repairs likely due to engineering updates to the 3.6-liter V6 and other revisions to improve the overall vehicle. The highest reported annual maintenance cost surveyed in our data peaked at $727.

As exhibited by the chart by the green line indicating the “KBB Average Market Value,” older examples suffer heavily from depreciation, mostly because they’ve been used quite a bit and racked up considerable mileage, necessitating the heightened need for maintenance and repairs. This need may be the reason why owners may be selling their vehicles from a lack of interest in “putting any more money” into the vehicle than they’ve already invested.

Additionally, the reputation for timing chain and catalytic converter issues for the earlier models between 2008 and 2013 are reflected in their overall lower market values. This is a natural result of the lower desirability for the model since they’re known to have more issues than the newer models. 

The previous owner’s care and maintenance of the vehicle also significantly affects resale value. For example, if the vehicle being sold falls into the year range that had timing chain and catalytic converter issues, but have no record of these repairs being addressed, it’s important to consider the costs of those repairs by deducting that amount from the asking price of the vehicle.

Naturally, newer examples, which have higher reliability scores from improvements at the engineering level, also have higher resale values because they are less likely to need repairs or maintenance. Additionally, because the Traverse hasn’t been significantly changed throughout the course of its two generations, the average cost of repairs has remained rather consistent.

Furthermore, in our survey, the newest models have the lowest average cost of repairs at maintenance, peaking at $250 annually, and the highest market values. This is unsurprising as they’re some of the newest models that are still covered under their initial factory warranties. 

When shopping for a used Chevrolet Traverse, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vehicles are cared for equally. To protect yourself from lemons, take along a FIXD Sensor on your test drive. FIXD connects to a free app on your smartphone to tell you more about the vehicle you’re checking out, including check engine lights and other hidden issues that the owner or dealership may be attempting to hide. Click here to learn more and get FIXD for only $19.99 (regular price $59)!

Important Features Timeline

2009: Introductory Year, launched October 2008 as 2009 model-year

2013: Mid-cycle refresh updates front-fascia, grille, taillights, redesigned rear liftgate, new infotainment system and radio, updated interior, engine and transmission upgrades

2014: Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning added as standard

2015: New wheel styles added with Apple Siri Eyes Free voice-command feature for iPhones

2016: OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot added, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto added

2017: Top-specification LTZ renamed Premier

2018: Second-generation model introduced with new 2.0-liter turbo-four engine option

2019: Blackout Package appearance upgrade optional for LS, LT and Premier

2020: Four-cylinder engine discontinued

2021: Rear-seat entertainment discontinued

2022: Mid-cycle refresh including redesigned front and rear end, updated interior trim and infotainment system, more safety technology standardized, base L trim discontinued

The Best Years of the Chevrolet Traverse

Side view of Chevrolet Traverse drive on high speed. Driving auto at night on city road.

Compiling all of our data on engine reliability, official government crash test ratings, fuel economy, and owner survey responses, we’ve put together the most notable Traverse model years to consider.

2019-2021 Chevrolet Traverse

2019 Front view of a black Chevrolet Traverse parked in South Beach

FIXD Reliability Score: 8-10/10

Owner Reliability Score: 9-10/10

KBB Value: $24,300- $29,600

Fuel Economy: 17-18 mpg (gas)

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250-$563

Safety Rating: 4.75-4.8/5

The 2019-2021 Chevrolet Traverse models are a part of the second-generation series, featuring some of the most recent updates and standard safety technology, making it one of the safest and best value buys. It’s still modern and comparably competent as the newest models today, yet, depreciation has allowed its first owners to take the brunt of the drop in value, making it a great buy for prospective second-hand owners.

Not only does it have one of the highest reliability ratings as per our survey and data, but it also ranks the highest in fuel economy, particularly if you find an example with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine that was briefly offered for two years. Additionally, because of its abundance of safety and driver assist technology, the second-generation Traverse ranks as one of the safest SUVs on the road.

According to FIXD app engine reliability data, there have been some Check Engine Lights triggered on some of these models, returning Diagnostic Trouble Codes like P0442 and P0496. Though they were mostly related to the gasoline tank’s evaporation system not sealing correctly, or a result of the gasoline filler cap not being tightened correctly. Annual repair and maintenance costs reportedly range from $250 to $563, which is reflective of the typical costs of several oil changes and scheduled maintenance visits at the dealership

But overall, these lower maintenance and repair costs are also likely since many of these Traverses are still under their original factory warranties, if not extended factory warranties from being certified pre-owned vehicles. So any defects or issues that arise under ownership are likely to be resolved at no extra cost to the owner.

It’s also important to be weary of vehicle recalls when considering your next purchase. The 2019 Chevrolet Traverse has 3 recalls, the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse has 8 recalls, and the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse has 3.

2013-2019 Chevrolet Traverse

FIXD Reliability Score: 8-9/10

Owner Reliability Score: 7-8/10

KBB Value: $9,723- $18,371

Fuel Economy: 15-18 mpg (gas)

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $719-$725

Safety Rating: 4.6-4.8/5

If you’re looking at an older first-generation Chevrolet Traverse, then the later-run series models manufactured from 2014 to 2016 aren’t to be overlooked either. They still offer tons of space, comfort, and decent performance from its standard V6 engine. Because they are also part of the series models updated after the mid cycle refresh, the revisions make for welcome ownership experiences in the form of exterior and interior updates and revisions to the powertrain, which increased reliability when compared to the earlier models. 

FIXD Reliability Scores puts reliability between a 7 and 8 out of 10 while owners report 8 to 9 out of 10.

The NHTSA also assessed these model year Traverses with an overall safety score of around 4.8 out 5.

These Traverses however did exhibit slightly higher maintenance costs than the newer models in our data collection, likely because of age and use-related wear and tear, as these models also see higher mileages. Additionally, these models are beginning to lose any factory-sanctioned warranty coverage (if they were sold as a certified pre-owned vehicle) which means that there will be a higher chance for out-of-pocket repair and maintenance costs. Average annual maintenance and repair costs were reported between $719 to $725.

The 2018 model sees a specific increase in both FIXD Reliability data and owner surveyed data as 2018 is when the new and heavily upgraded second-generation model debuted. There was a reported and observable dip in FIXD Reliability data for 2020, which is likely due to the issuance of two powertrain-related recalls—one for the engine auto stop-start system and another for the fuel system.

Similar to the newer Traverses, these older models recorded P0442 and P0496 Diagnostic Trouble Codes, all related to the fuel tank’s evaporative system. Though many of these were likely to be a result of improperly secured or damaged gasoline filler tanks.

Recall wise, the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse has 7 recalls, the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse has 5 recalls, and the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse has 5 recalls. These repairs should be covered by the automaker, leaving you with nothing to pay out of pocket. 

The Worst Years of the Chevrolet Traverse

Chevrolet car and SUV Dealership.

2009-2012 Chevrolet Traverse

FIXD Reliability Score: 2-4/10

Owner Reliability Score: 6-8/10

KBB Value: $4,024- $6,137

Fuel Economy: 15-19 mpg (gas)

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $850-$1,063

Safety Rating: 4.6-4.8/5

Because of their age and their position as some of the first production series models, 2009-2012 Chevrolet Traverse models are somewhat, naturally, the ones you’d tend to avoid. In this case for good reason.

According to our data, they’re the most trouble prone, registering the highest number of Check Engine lights, resulting in very low reliability scores. However, owners report slightly better experiences, resulting in higher reliability scores in comparison to the FIXD app data.

FIXD Reliability data gives these Traverse models scores between 2 to 4 out of 10, while owners report better experiences, resulting in scores between 6 to 8 out of 10.

The NHTSA still rated these Traverses as very safe vehicles, despite not having the same amount of driver assist and safety technology systems as the newer second-generation vehicles, with ratings between 4.6-4.8 out of 5.

Naturally, because of their age and wear, these Traverse models are seeing some of the highest annual repair and maintenance costs, ranging from $850 to $1,063.

The cause of this high cost of repairs is likely due to the problems reported with the 3.6-liter V6’s timing chain wear and expired catalytic converters on vehicles with high mileage. The Diagnostic Trouble Codes recorded include P0420 and P0430, which are related to the catalytic converter, and P0008, which is an urgent indicator of a serious running problem, caused by a stretched or damaged timing chain, causing improper engine ignition timing and misfiring. Other codes recorded include P0017, which is an expired camshaft or crankshaft position sensor, or engine valve timing out of position from timing chain issues.

For recalls, the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse has 8 recalls, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse has 5 recalls, the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse also has 5 recalls, and the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse lists 5 recalls. These repairs should be covered by the automaker, leaving you with nothing to pay out of pocket. 

2013-2017 Chevrolet Traverse

FIXD Reliability Score: 7-8/10

Owner Reliability Score: 6-8/10

KBB Value: $5,812- $13,144

Fuel Economy: 15-19 mpg (gas)

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $659-$1,063

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

Although the newer and updated facelifted versions of the first-generation Chevrolet Traverse models rate better in the reliability scores both through the FIXD data and owner reliability, they still notably suffer from similar long-term issues as the pre-facelift models.

According to our data, they’re the second most trouble prone, registering the highest number of Check Engine lights, resulting in lower overall reliability scores according to FIXD app data collection. However, owners still report slightly better experiences, resulting in higher owner perceived reliability scores in comparison to the FIXD Reliability score.

It should be noted that a lot of these issues arose from reports associated with high-mileage vehicles, or those with at least 100,000 miles or more on their odometers. FIX app engine reliability data gives these Traverse models scores between 2 to 4 out of 10, while owners report better experiences, resulting in scores between 6 to 8 out of 10.

The NHTSA still rated these Traverses as very safe vehicles, despite not having the same amount of driver assist and safety technology systems as the newer second-generation vehicles. Ratings for these models were between 4.6-4.8 out of 5.

Like the pre-facelift first-generation Traverses, because of their age and wear from the accumulated use and mileage, these Traverse models are still seeing some of the highest annual repair and maintenance costs, ranging from $659 to $1,063. But they are still generally less expensive than the pre-facelift models, thanks to the technical revisions and improvements implemented.

The higher cost of the repairs are still related to the 3.6-liter V6’s timing chain wear and expired catalytic converters on vehicles with high mileage. Similar Diagnostic Trouble Codes recorded include the same ones related to the catalytic converter: P0420 and P0430. The P0008, which is an urgent indicator of a serious running problem, is caused by a stretched or damaged timing chain, which resulted in improper engine ignition timing and misfiring. Other codes recorded include P0017, which is an expired camshaft or crankshaft position sensor, or engine valve timing out of position from timing chain issues.

For recalls, the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse has 8 recalls, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse has 5 recalls, the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse also has 5 recalls, and the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse lists 5 recalls. These repairs should be covered by the automaker, leaving you with nothing to pay out of pocket. 


What years of the Chevrolet Traverse have engine and/or transmission problems?

The Chevrolet Traverse models with the most engine problems are the first-generation models manufactured prior to its series mid-cycle refresh from 2009 until 2013. The V6s in these models are known to require expensive timing chain and catalytic converter maintenance at high mileages. Transmission issues aren’t as prevalent.

What is considered high mileage for a Chevrolet Traverse?

The Chevrolet Traverse is known as a comfortable family vehicle that’s excellent for road trips and daily duties. As such, owners report getting more than 100,000 miles out of their examples with some nearing 175,000 miles and above for the oldest examples. While they aren’t without their maintenance requirements, such as the earlier models’ timing chain and catalytic converter issues, owners report that their Traverses are long-lasting vehicles. Though according to our data, not many model years exceed the 150,000 mark, so any Traverse nearing 125,000 miles would be considered high in our book.

What other vehicles should I consider?

The Chevrolet Traverse is a large, three-row midsize crossover SUV geared towards families and is part of one of the most popular-selling vehicle segments in history. As a result, the Traverse has stiff competition, meaning there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. Firstly, there’s the GMC Acadia, which is the Traverse’s cousin and is essentially the same vehicle, but with more upscale exterior styling and luxurious interior appointments.

Ford offers the Explorer, while the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Palisade, and Kia Telluride are all very compelling, if not more appealing, alternatives. However, the one advantage the Traverse has over all of them is its size and cavernous interior. The only competitor that comes close to matching the Traverse’s size and interior space is the Volkswagen Atlas.

What owners of the Chevrolet Traverse like to use their car for:

Percent based x/5-star: 0-10% = 1, 11-20% = 2, 21-30% = 3, 31-40% = 4, 41%+ = 5

Frequent Use Categories: How Useful? (Out of 5 Stars)
Family Vehicle *****
Lots of Driving (travel/long commute) ****
Hauling/Towing *
Office on Wheels **
Sport/Fast Driving *
Luxurious Driving *
Outdoor/Off-Road *

A Note About Data and Information Sources

This article has many details about Chevrolet Traverse reliability; here’s what we used for our assumptions and recommendations.

  • FIXD Reliability Score & Data: Engine reliability information is captured via the FIXD App

The FIXD Reliability Score is calculated using the number of DTCs per year, weighted by mileage. This is then turned into a scale of 1-10 for easy graphing. 

This is an objective score.

  • Owner Reliability Score & Data: This data is the result of surveying Chevrolet Traverse owners who use FIXD. 

The Owner Reliability Score comes straight from owners of the Chevrolet Traverse.  

This is a subjective score.

To determine the Owner Reliability Score we ask each car owner:

How reliable would you say your Chevrolet Traverse is?

a. Just point A to point B driving

b. A Daily Commuter

c. Good for a 100 mile road trip

d. Good for a 500 mile road trip

e. I could take a cross-country road trip, no problem

From here we translate their answers into the Owner Reliability Score:

a. = 2

b. = 4

c. = 6

d. = 8

e. = 10

Keep in mind, owners may think their car is more or less reliable than it actually is. 

One potential problem is that people often buy the same make or model they are used to when they go car shopping, just a newer year.

Ford, for instance, has a number of consumer loyalty awards for the Ford F-Series, Ford Mustang, and Ford Expedition.

Car owners may be so loyal to the make or model they currently own that they would have trouble accurately comparing their cars’ reliability to others. 

It’s for this reason that we ask car owners a question that is relative to mileage rather than relative to other cars. 

Still, be mindful of the accuracy of these Owner Reliability Scores, people’s perceptions and unconscious blindspots can skew data. 

We suggest looking at both the FIXD Reliability Score and the Owner Reliability Score for this reason.

  • KBB Value: Average private-seller valuations as supplied by Kelley Blue Book (KBB), based on a Chevrolet Equinox with typical mileage for that respective model year.
  • Fuel Economy: Mileage-per-gallon estimates according to the EPA MPG on Fueleconomy.gov
  • Annual Maintenance/Repair: Upkeep expenses as reported by surveyed Chevrolet Equinox owners
  • Safety Rating: Crash test data collected and reported by NHTSA. We average all ratings for each year to come up with a simplified, average safety score. This makes it easier to look at on a graph.
Profile picture of Author Chris Chin

Since picking up my first set of MicroMachine toy cars as a toddler, I knew I had a passion for automobiles embedded in my soul. After graduating from Rutgers University in journalism, I’ve devoted my career to becoming a professional photographer and emerging voice in the car industry with columns at Automobile Magazine, MotorTrend, Hagerty, DigitalTrends.com/Cars, GearPatrol, and beyond.

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About the Author

Chris Chin

Chris Chin

Since picking up my first set of MicroMachine toy cars as a toddler, I knew I had a passion for automobiles embedded in my soul. After graduating from Rutgers University in journalism, I’ve devoted my career to becoming a professional photographer and emerging voice in the car industry with columns at Automobile Magazine, MotorTrend, Hagerty, DigitalTrends.com/Cars, GearPatrol, and beyond.

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