2018 Chevrolet Traverse Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical System, Engine and Transmission issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Chevy Traverse has a six-cylinder engine, eight-passenger seating – and dozens of problems. Despite the fact the full-size SUV was completely revised in 2018, it continues to be undependable.According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, the main problem areas are the engine, powertrain and electrical system.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Fuel/propulsion System
Seat Belts
Electronic Stability Control
Exterior Lighting

Problems with the Engine

Many 2018 Traverse owners complain of drivability problems such as stalling, reduced power, feeling sluggish, shuddering and jerking.

On the NHTSA website, one complaint reads, “While at a traffic light, the engine auto stop engaged as usual. However, upon releasing the brake to proceed through the intersection, the vehicle restarted but would not run properly. The vehicle would lurch/jerk forward then loose power over and over again. It felt like I would get whiplashed from the movement of the vehicle.”

“This vehicle has given us nothing but headaches since purchasing end of Oct 2017! It began within a few days of purchase, the LED headlight assembly started flashing erratically, other cars began pulling over when I drove up behind them, I assume they were thinking that they were being pulled over by an unmarked police car. Into the dealership, it went. Right after we got it back from the dealership(they replaced the headlight assembly) we noticed a strong jerk at various speeds and thought it was the transmission. We brought it back in and were told that the computer was dropping programs but they were positive the problem was fixed. It was not, it continued and seemed to get worse. Honestly, it was embarrassing to have others ride with me in my vehicle, it was like a whip-lash jerk!” states another on Edmunds.com.

Chevy’s parent company, General Motors, issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) to address the drivability concerns. According to the document, the culprit is the wiring harness between the crankshaft position sensor and the engine control module (the vehicle’s main computer). The crank sensor – a component that provides data for vital functions like ignition timing – may pick up electromagnetic interference from nearby circuits.

To fix the issue, TSB17-NA-317 instructs dealerships to replace the crank sensor portion of the harness with a jumper wire. Whether the solution is effective long-term has yet to be seen.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Engine Problems:

TL* The contact leases a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. While driving in traffic, the vehicle powered off, the engine failed, and all the instrument panel indicators flickered. The contact was able to coast the vehicle out of traffic. The contact stated that the vehicle continued to roll when the gear was shifted into park. The contact was able to stop the vehicle by engaging the emergency brake. The vehicle was towed to Copeland Chevrolet. The dealer test drove the vehicle, but was unable to duplicate the failure. The dealer did not provide a diagnostic report. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 2,000.

My wife was driving to a college interview from riot grandee city TX to Austin TX; while she was passing by pleasant own TX, the sub reduced the speed by itself and she could not get it up passing 25 miles per hour. It seemed like a transmission issue. She was towed to the nearest Chevrolet dealer and is still there.

At 7,256 miles, the engine light came on. Dale willed automotive replaced the engine coolant fan motor & assembly, as it was intermittently turning on & off, causing a code to be fired for the engine light. The radiator also had to be replaced due to a leak. Also, a fuse had to be replaced that was installed incorrectly by the factory with a plastic coating covering the metal contact of the fuse which was causing intermittent power.

Problems with the Transmission

In 2018, the Traverse received an all-new nine-speed automatic transmission, referred to by its code name, 9T65. The unit, which is known to fail before the 20,000-mile mark, is a downgrade from the outgoing 6-speed it replaces.

“I purchased a 2018 Traverse/Redline on 6 Feb 2018, drove it less than 100 miles, and the transmission stopped working two (2) days later,” writes one owner on Edmunds.com.

Another owner states, “So far the 2018 Chevy Traverse High Country is a huge letdown, not sure which is worse, the fact the vehicle is such poor quality for the price or the poor service from local Chevrolet dealerships. The only real positive attribute is the size. The car rattles and squeaks like a cheap Styrofoam cooler when traveling “rough” highways. The transmission had failed twice under 11,000 miles.”
“646 miles on the odometer and transmission failed. My 15-year-old Tahoe made it 256000 without a transmission failure. It’s hard to accept waiting on the side of the road with a car that doesn’t even have plates on it yet,” exclaims another owner.

Indeed, GM’s fancy new 9-speed has many problems. There are no recalls for the unit yet. But there are several TSBs, including 18-NA-121. The document instructs dealerships to update software inside the transmission control module and replace the valve body spacer plate (a part that directs fluid to circuits inside the transmission). Together, these procedures are supposed to cure the transmission’s ailments, such as refusing to accelerate above 25 mph.

Are the software update and spacer replacement a permanent fix? Or is the new nine-speed transmission inherently bad? Only time will tell.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Transmission Problems:

TL* The contact owns a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. The contact stated that after starting the vehicle and switching from park to the drive position, the engine would rev when the accelerator pedal was pressed but the vehicle would not drive. On several occasions the vehicle had rolled forward as if the transmission was in the neutral position. The failure had occurred on 7 separate occasions. The vehicle was taken the local dealer Garber Chevrolet Saginaw who was unable to duplicate the failure or diagnose the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 4,000.

I purchased a 2018 Traverse/Redline on 6 Feb. 2018, drove it less than 100 miles, and the transmission stopped working two (2) days later. The vehicle was towed back to the dealer. The service section advised they don’t have the equipment needed to diagnose the problem, and that the equipment is expected sometime next week. Today, 20 Feb. 2018, still awaiting equipment. I told the dealership mgr that I don’t want that vehicle back. The mgr said that his hands are tied and I would have to deal with gm. Contacted gm on 9 Feb., and completed an application for what I was left to believe was a “buy back” of my vehicle. The gm rep informed me that someone would contact me within two days. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. I called gm back on 13 Feb., spoke with another rep who had no clue as to why I was calling. This rep asked for 72 hours, and would get back to me. On 20 Feb., I rcvd a call from the gm rep who stated that gm can only do a buy back after 3 or more problems with the vehicle. Bottom line is that I bought a 46,000 dollar piece of junk, and of course, no one wants it back. And gm is more than aware this problem exists… Thank god I wasn’t making a turn in front of another vehicle when the vehicle stalled… Truly an unsafe vehicle… Buyer beware !

Problems with the Electrical System

The 2018 Traverse is equipped with electric power steering (EPS). Unlike traditional power steering, which uses a hydraulic pump and fluid to provide assist, EPS uses sensors, control modules and an electric motor to do the job.

“We recently leased a 2018 Chevy Traverse on 4/26/2018. On 4/28/2018, two days after purchase the car began flashing all services lights (All Wheel Drive, Steering Assist Service, Power Steering, etc.) My wife immediately pulls over the car and contacts the dealership service department letting them know what happened (6 months pregnant and with our 1 1/2 year old) They advised they could fit us in for a check of the vehicle 2 weeks later, and to continue driving it. She drives 3 houses further down the street and the engine begins to knock and shuts down and locks up. (Wish I could post the videos on here) Now the dealership advises they can send a tow truck to pick up the vehicle for us. They call 2 days later saying the computers just needed to be reset and everything was fine. We picked up the vehicle on 4/30/2018, and the next day the check engine light comes on again,” writes one owner on Edmunds.com.

On the NHTSA website, another complaint reads, “Keep getting error message: “assisted steering is limited. Please drive carefully.” The car was in motion on a city street taking turns when error code was displayed. Car only has 552 miles. This could be a potential steering issue for the 2018 models.”

GM has released TSB 17-NA-390 to address the EPS concern. According to the document, bad programming inside the engine control module is to blame. Dealers are instructed to reflash the unit as a correction. One would think GM would issue a recall since the problem affects a vital safety system – the steering – but so far, the automaker hasn’t taken any such action.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Electrical Problems:

Purchased a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse in October. Beginning within the first 30 days the car made a loud roaring noise when @ 2100 rpm and going approximately 74 mph. Just thought it was a fluke. Then starting in December, while travelling out of town, it persisted every time we drove it. It also would lose power or something strange when putting it in gear after backing out of our driveway. We would accelerate for a short distance when the rpm’s would rev-up to 6-7,000 rpm but the car wouldn’t go. It was almost as if it would slip itself into neutral while going down the road. We have taken the car in 4 different times for repair and the problem has not been fixed. The car also turns itself off. The panel goes black. When we start hearing a loud rumbling noise while sitting in neutral at a fast food drive thru or red light we turn the air conditioning off to try and hear the noise better and the car dies and the panel goes black. We have had to actually re-start the car. We are extremely concerned for the safety of this vehicle and are returning it do the dealership tomorrow for our final time. They have been given numerous opportunities to repair the problem and things are actually getting worse. This is such a shame because we were so excited about our new car. We live on a very busy road where vehicles and 18 wheelers can go in excess of 70 miles an hour and I am afraid to pull out of my driveway with this car. We have even coasted to the side of the road when it loses power to avoid being hit from behind. The dealership wouldn’t even start repairs until they could duplicate the problem. Finally a mechanic road with us and witnessed the noise but they have not been able to “duplicate” the slipping out of gear type problems. Since it is happening regularly now, maybe then can see for themselves. It has truly become a serious safety problem.

The light for the backup camera is extremely bright and blinding at night. It blocks up your view of the camera and must be covered with a towel in order to see when backing at night. I spoke with general motors and was told that there is no fix. This is a serious safety issue with backing up at night.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • Clarence B

    Problems with 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. Gear shifting to park. Bell rings and Text reads shift the gear into park. This was not very long after purchasing. Took to dealership. Mechanic says no fix but GM recommended reprogramming. That was completed. It continued and continued taking to dealership again reprogramming. To this day the issue remains. Also might young daughter was involved in a collision. Stopped at intersection when traverse rolled back. She stepped on brake and traverse would not stop. Traverse rolled into a vehicle behind. Also a problem with a whining noise coming from engine area. Took to dealership. Mechanic could not find problem and said warranty expired. The whinning noise sounds like a power steering issue. But the power steering is electric. The noise remains and has not been fixed. The automatic transmission is also shuddering when gears are shifting while driving.

    Disappointing that GM And Chevrolet are not paying attention to these issues. I am planning on purchasing a Ford or Dodge or other vehicle. I have been a lifetime Chevrolet person.

  • Don S

    I have a 2018 Traverse that I bought used with 18,000 miles on it . Since then the transmission fluid has been changed , the torque converter has been change and the Chevrolet dealer has refreshed the computer. The problem I’am still having is when shifting from park to drive it delays the shift or doesn’t shift at all . Chevrolet dealer says it’s driver operator error. I have a 2018 Equinox with No problems with the shifter.

  • Rapheal N

    I have a 2012 traverse. I was driving when it lost power. after having it looked at come to fine out it had burn all the oil out of the engine yeah! chev/gmc know this since they been making this suv… chev/gmc know about this little secret, they been getting away with the shxt since they introduced this lemon. enough is enough its time too take action [C]LASS IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN….

  • Aracely V

    I have electric problems as well

  • Joanna

    Have a 2018 chevy traverse bought brand new. Has only 10k milage and my windshield was rattling in sep 2018. Took to dealer and the stuffing pad dash panel pads were coming out. Now I can’t put gas in my tank for more then 3.00 and move to another pump . Got 5.00 and gage up went to another gas station and brought a friend and she had the problem. Came home hubby took it to another station he got 7.00 only. Thank god I never leave under 1/2 tank ever.

    Took to dealer yesterday had over night and couldn’t redo the problem for gas intake. The windshield the charged me this time warrenty out in Jan 2021. But when the y tried to fix first 2 times already was warrenty. So why defective was still not considered warrenty don’t understand and filed a formal complaint to GM.

    There was a recall according to the dealer that a software you ignored last year. I was like I was never notified. Guess I was right!!! GM said no recall, NHST also said no recall either. So liars.

    Window was coming down enough you can hear the wind. Annoying for most. Well before they hooked update they couldn’t find a problem. Since update it’s working properly. How can you drive. Car with the gas in car? You can’t so I have been told maybe the sensor that says it’s full could be getting splashed and setting sender off.
    Back to windshield! Windshield was rattling, loose, could have been leaking, crack from head on and shatter into your car. Safety issue.

  • Kristyn

    I have had my 2018 Traverse 3 painful years. If something can go wrong it does. Within the first year my car was shifting hard. The dealership re-programmed my transmission and that seemed to help for the most part. The next problem was the gear shifter had to be replaced because as others said shift to park came on. I still occasionally have issues with going into drive or reverse. Sometimes it takes a couple seconds to go into gear sometimes I have to put in park and try again. Just today I had the shift to park signal come on so I guess that’s going out again? Not one service guy or technician can figure anything out because there isn’t a light to tell them what to fix. I hate this car.

  • Andrew

    Remote Learn Pending Please Wait comes on. Then it will not start for 15 mins to 30 mins. If you leave it alone and not wait it drains the battery. Has anyone had this happen to there traverse?

  • Scott

    My 2018 Chevrolet Traverse heating not working properly when I start the engine after warm up I turn on the heat I get some heat for a little while and then it starts to get cold after driving for a while. When I set the temperature at 73 degrees after a few minutes it start to get cold I turn the heat to 75 degrees also after a while it starts to get cold I took it to the dealer I am told that how the system is designed.

  • Jim K

    At 43k miles my 2016 Traverse had a catastrophic transmission failure leaving the vehicle with only first gear functioning! I purchased the vehicle used and I suspect it was off a 2 year lease. It only had 22k on it when we purchased it. Reading through many car blogs, I discovered that the GM 6 speed automatic had defective wave plates that would cause transmission failure and leave the vehicle with only first gear working. Has anyone else out there experienced this problem?
    Fortunately it was covered by the 5 year, 60,000 mile power train warranty. The local dealership actually rebuilt the transmission rather than replace it. It was int he shop for 2 weeks as they waited for parts and took their time diagnosing everything. The dealer did give us a comparable loaner vehicle at no charge. I am really disappointed with the lack of reliability with GM and I will probably never purchase a Chevrolet ever again!

  • Lisa C

    My 2018 chevy traverse have an issue going in park every time I put it in park the dash indicates shift to park and I cant turn the vehicle ignition off I contact the dealer and they said there is an issue with the shifter that theyll replace it this problem is really annoying and I have to sit there and play with the shifter until it goes off

  • Chevyembarrassing

    My condenser went out at 12k. smoking and burning rubber and some rattle noises coming from the back already. never ever buy a chevy

  • Marco D

    My 2018 chevy traverse have an issue going in park every time I put it in park the dash indicates shift to park and I can’t turn the vehicle ignition off I contact the dealer and they said there is an issue with the shifter that they’ll replace it this problem is really annoying and I have to sit there and play with the shifter until it goes off

  • Tammy

    I bought a new 2018 Traverse and at 12k miles it died as I was driving took in and they said under investigation and now I just hit 24k mileage and it did it again as I was trying to make a left crossing over into traffic. Death trap and they cant find anything. NEVER will I ever buy a chevy again

  • Helen B

    Within 2 weeks of purchasing our 2018 Traverse in February of 2018 it started shuddering when shifting. Dealership tech said it was a torque converter issue. Pretty much fixed the problem but now it is starting to do the same thing a year later. Taking back to dealership tech in a few days.

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