Top 5 Chevy Traverse Problems: 1st Generation (2009 to 2017)

The Chevrolet Traverse is an SUV that is similar to the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, and two generations currently exist. This post and video reviews the top Chevy Traverse problems that owners have run into with the 1st generation, years 2009 to 2017.

Fix common 1st gen Chevy Traverse problems yourself with quality auto parts at

Top 5 Issues with the 1st Generation Chevy Traverse

1. Transmission Problems

Symptoms of Transmission Problems

  • Shiftability issues, sometimes in 3rd gear or 5th gear
  • Check engine light for transmission-related codes

Causes of Transmission Problems

The internals of the transmission have several clutch plates. If the 3-5-R plate goes bad, problems can arise.

How to Fix Transmission Problems on the 1st Gen Chevy Traverse

Check the condition of the transmission fluid. If it’s dark or burnt, that usually means the maintenance interval for the transmission has been surpassed.

If the transmission fluid looks clean, there is probably a broken clutch plate, which requires repairing the transmission.

2. EVAP Purge Valve Failure

Symptoms of EVAP Purge Valve Failure

  • Check engine light for EVAP system, likely code P0496
  • Runability issues like stumbling engine
  • Car cranks but won’t start after filling the gas tank

Causes of EVAP Purge Valve Failure

The purge valve is an electronic valve that is supposed to open and allow vacuum from the air intake system to draw fuel vapor from the charcoal canister and burn it inside of the engine’s combustion chamber. If the valve remains stuck in the open position, vacuum will constantly be drawing fuel vapor into the engine. A check engine light may read for code P0496, which will probably read as “flow during non-purge in system,” which means the purge valve is stuck open.  

How to Fix EVAP Purge Valve Failure

Inspect the gas cap first if there is an EVAP code. Check the gas cap gasket for cracking or damage or dirt and debris. Check it’s ability to ratchet and replace the gas cap if needed.

Remove the engine cover and inspect the purge valve. The purge valve should be closed.

Steps for how to check the purge valve

  1. Disconnect the Purge Valve

    Disconnect the EVAP line and the electrical connector

  2. Have the Oil Cap on

    Make sure the oil cap is on

  3. Start the Vehicle

    Start the vehicle

  4. Place a Piece of Paper at the end of the Purge Valve and Feel for Vacuum

    Feel at the disconnected end of the purge valve for vacuum. Place a piece of paper over it to see if it sticks. If the paper sticks, the purge valve is stuck open and needs to be replaced

  5. If Needed, Replace the Purge Valve

    To replace it, disconnect the line and remove the bolt from the purge valve

3. Front Strut Failure

Symptoms of Front Strut Failure

  • Loose steering wheel
  • Clunking noise over bumps

Causes of Front Strut Failure

Leaking strut with broken coil spring at the base
Leaking strut with broken coil spring at the base

The strut is designed to compress to absorb the impact from the wheel hitting the road and to keep it on the road. The top bushing that connects the top of the strut to the body is loose, it can create a clunking noise. If oil is leaking along the strut, the strut is blown. The coil spring may also break, which means the strut needs to be replaced and can create a clunking noise.

How to Fix Front Strut Failure

The strut can be compressed, assembled, and replaced with individual parts or it can be replaced as an assembly. If one strut is replaced, we recommend replacing the one on the opposite side and to have a professional alignment done after.

4. Master Window Switch Failure

Symptoms of Master Window Switch Failure

  • The master window switch might not power a window or multiple windows

Causes of Master Window Switch Failure

The master window switch is located on the driver’s door because it controls all the windows in the car. If one of the windows is not working, it doesn’t mean the master switch is the issue. If the master switch is not able to roll a window down, there may be a problem with the window itself. Sometimes moisture can collect inside if, for example, a window is left cracked open.

How to Fix Master Window Switch Failure

Try the switch on the problematic window. If the switch works but the master switch does not roll the window down, the master window switch needs to be replaced. Check the master window switch for corrosion and replace it if there are signs, which can manifest as discoloration on the electrical switch terminals.

If water collects around the switch, remove water with a cloth and remove moisture from the switch with compressed air or a bag of rice. If the switch is faulty, replace it.

5. Liftgate Latch Support Failure

Symptoms of Liftgate Latch Support Failure

  • Oil leaking from the liftgate latch arms
  • Open tailgate lowers unexpectantly

Causes of Liftgate Latch Support Failure

The latch arms are pressurized. If they lose pressure, gas and oil may seep out of them.

How to Fix Liftgate Latch Support Failure

Replace the latch arms. We recommend replacing both at the same time.

Fix Common 1st Gen Chevy Traverse Problems Yourself

Learn how to fix common problems on the 2009 to 2017 Chevy Traverse and many other makes and models with 1A Auto’s how-to videos. Our instructional videos can help you save money by guiding you with your own repairs with our expert advice and instructions.

1st Generation Chevy Traverse Model Years

Related Content

Shop 2009 to 2017 Chevy Traverse Parts

Top 5 Chevy Traverse Problems - 1st Generation (2009 to 2017) - 1A Auto
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Top 5 Chevy Traverse Problems - 1st Generation (2009 to 2017) - 1A Auto
Learn the top 5 Chevy Traverse problems owners experience with the 1st generation, years 2009 to 2017, with this article and video that has tips from expert mechanics
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1A Auto
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