Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingVehicle Model Specific Problems 2012 Chevy Traverse Problems – Reliability, Value, & Recalls

2012 Chevy Traverse Problems – Reliability, Value, & Recalls

by Jordan Harris
2012 Chevy Traverse Problems

Are you planning to purchase a 2012 Chevy Traverse and you are looking to find out more about the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be quite a lot to cover about this model.

Doing research before you buy something rather expensive as an SUV should be one of your top priorities. Why we are saying this? Well, because it is true. The market is flooded with new models and also with a lot of used cars. And no matter if you purchase a new or a used vehicle, you should be wary all the time.

And by being diligent, we mean that you should know what you are getting yourself into. Like in this case with the 2012 Chevy Traverse. Learning more about this specific model like the specs, common Chevy Traverse problems, and other important features should be your top concern. And this is why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to learn what is the Chevy Traverse. Then we will cover some of the specs of this model like the size and practicality. In addition to this, we will cover the engines and transmissions. As well as the current cost for which you can buy the model.

Then, we will move on and cover the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Chevy Traverse

Now let’s introduce ourselves to the Chevy Traverse and learn more about the core concepts of this model. People are facing similar issues and we need to further introduce them to the topic and see what the Traverse really is in terms of vehicle class and overall size for you to put things into perspective and understand more about the model.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in. Chevy Traverse is a fairly new model, unlike the Suburban and the Tahoe which are quite old nameplates. In fact, the Traverse is somewhat a lighter competitor to the Tahoe.

The Traverse is also a full-size model with three-row seating. But unlike the Tahoe which uses a ladder frame, the Traverse is a more modern unibody design that is far sturdier and more rigid. And we can say that the Traverse is generally a better SUV in terms of handling.

Since it does not have a massive body roll like other ladder frame models do. Nevertheless, the model was introduced in 2008 and the first generation was produced until 2017. In 2018, the second generation was introduced, which is still in production.

But we are primarily focused on the 2012 model since this article is about the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems. What is interesting about this model is that it is based on the Lambda platform by GM. This means that this vehicle shares a lot with the Buick Enclave and the GMC Acadia that we covered in previous articles.

There are two main layouts, a front engine front-wheel-drive model which is the basic version. And there is also an all-wheel-drive (AWD) model which is a far more preferable option. But you are probably here for the reviews, let’s learn more about them next.

Chevy Traverse Reviews

Now that we covered the basics of the Chevy Traverse and learned the core concepts of this model, let’s cover something more interesting now. Let’s take a look at a review of this vehicle.

We found a really cool video from Saabkyle04 who is known for his very comprehensive video reviews on cars.

In the video, he gives a very in-depth tour of the Traverse LT model where he elaborates on the specs and the features that this vehicle is packing. Now if you want, you can watch the video review or follow us while we cover the specs before we dive into the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems.

2012 Chevy Traverse Specs

Now let’s move on to the specs of the 2012 Chevy Traverse. In the following chapters, we are going to discuss many different aspects. Starting from the size, dimensions, and practicality.

We will also cover the engines and transmissions used in the model and the mpg that this model delivers. Then we will move on to the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems and learn more about the issues that this vehicle is prone to. So, let’s dive into the topic.

Dimensions, Size & Practicality

Now let’s take a look at the specs and see more about the dimensions, size, and practicality that you get with the 2012 Chevy Traverse before we dive into the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems.

As we noted before, the Traverse is a three-row SUV. This means that this SUV can accommodate up to seven people. It comes in a couple of trim levels, with the most popular being the LT which was the mid-trim. But there were also the base LS and the top-of-the-line LTZ trim level.

2012 Chevy Traverse Problems

Nevertheless, the wheelbase of the Traverse was 118.9 inches. While the overall length was rated at 2013 inches. Even though long, it is not as long as the Tahoe. The Traverse barely enters into the full-size segment.

In terms of width, we can say that the model is 78.4 inches wide and 69.7 inches tall. The ground clearance of the Chevy Traverse is about 7.2 inches. So, not really an SUV with the highest ground clearance, but still pretty decent. And the overall curb weight is 4,658 lbs.

When it comes to practicality, the Traverse has a payload capacity of 23.4 cubic ft when all seats are up. But when you fold the third row, you get about 68.8 cubic ft of cargo, which is really decent. But when you fold down all the seats, you will get a massive cargo space of 116.4 cubic ft.

So, if you are into something very practical that can carry a lot of people and also can be loaded quite heavily, this is the model that you want. But what about the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems? More on the problems, we are going to elaborate in a bit.

Chevy Traverse Engines & Transmissions

Now let’s discuss more about the engines and transmissions before we dive into the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems.

What is worth noting is that this model year featured only one engine and one transmission. The engine used in this vehicle was a 3.6L V6 known as the LLT engine. This engine was based on the older LY7 engine but heavily updated to boost performance and reliability.

So, in the Traverse, the 3.6L engine produced 288hp and 270lb-ft of torque. Which is quite enough for this chassis. In terms of transmissions, there was the only one available. And this was the 6-speed automatic, known as the 6T75. This transmission was widely used by both GM and Ford since they co-developed it.

As they claim, the transmission was good to handle about 315hp and 280lb-ft of torque with no problem. But what about the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems? More on that, we will cover it in a bit.

2012 Chevy Traverse MPG

Another topic that we would like to discuss is the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems, let’s take a look at the MPG that this model delivers.

In terms of fuel economy, we can say that this model is quite average, or poor if you look at things from a modern perspective. Since this is a 10+ year-old vehicle. Back then, fuel economy was not a big priority since gas was dirt cheap.

So, the FWD version of the Traverse delivered 17 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined. The AWD in terms of performance performs slightly worse. With 17 mpg combined fuel economy.

Chevy Traverse Safety

Now let’s cover something more about safety before we discuss the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems. Is this model considered to be safe?

Well, the vehicle was tested by the NHTSA and the IIHS, which are the two main governing bodies in the US when it comes to safety.

On the NHTSA tests, the 2016 model was tested and performed really well. And got 5 stars on almost all of the tests. Except for the rollover where it got 4 stars.

Also, on the IIHS the model achieved a really good score. More specifically the GMC Acadia, which is the twin brother of the Traverse was tested and got “Good” ratings on all of the tests. And the 2012 Traverse even got the Top Safety Pick award by the IIHS.

And honestly, for its time, there was probably no competition to the Traverse in this aspect. The unibody chassis and its big size make the Traverse a really safe vehicle. But now 10 years after, things have changed and ratings dropped by some margin. But what about the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems? More on that, we will cover it in a bit.

Chevy Traverse Towing Capacity

Another topic that we would like to cover before we discuss the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems is the towing capacity of the Traverse. Is the Traverse a capable towing vehicle? And, does it make the Traverse an SUV with the highest towing capacity?

2012 Chevy Traverse Problems

The Chevy Traverse is rated at 5,200 lbs in terms of towing. And we think that this is probably enough for most people.

If you want something more capable, you will have to go for the Grand Cherokee from this era. The 5.7L on that model can top up to 7,200 lbs. The next more capable vehicle in terms of towing would be a light-duty pickup truck which can tow on average more than 8,000 lbs.

2012 Chevy Traverse Value

Another topic that we would like to cover before we discuss the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems is the value. How much money does this vehicle cost on the used market?

Well, you can find these models on the low end for about $3,000. Which is a really nice deal. But these vehicles have a lot of miles. As we went through some of the listings on Autotrader, most of these vehicles have more than 170,000 miles on the clock. Some of them even have more than 250,000 miles.

And most of these worn-out vehicles are in desperate shape and require some heavy maintenance in order to be brought back to proper working order. That’s unless you’re okay with a beater car.

So, if you want a well-maintained model, you will have to spend $7,000 on average. And for a relatively low sub-100,000 mile model, you will have to spend around $12,000. This is not that bad considering that you get a well lower mileage model.

2012 Chevy Traverse Problems

Now let’s take a look at the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems. What is worth noting is that we are going to cover the most common issues with this model.

We usually get our data from carcomplaints.com, where most car owners complain about the models that they have, including the Chevy Traverse. And there is a good amount of reported problems with this model.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the topic and learn more about the problems, starting with the engine, transmission, and other miscellaneous issues.

2012 Chevy Traverse Engine Problems

The first 2012 Chevy Traverse problems that we would like to discuss are the engine problems that this model has. And frankly, this engine is somewhat problematic in some aspects.

More specifically, two main issues. Oil consumption and timing chain problems. The timing chain problems were also known on the previous iteration of the model, as well as on the LTT version of the 3.6L engine found in the 2012 Traverse.

What is common on these engines is that over a long time of use, the timing chain stretches and it will start to rattle. These timing chains are not meant to last forever. Thus, it’s wise to be diligent about the symptoms of a bad timing chain, in addition to how much are timing chains, and a timing chain replacement.

So, when the engine reaches 100,000 miles, it will start to develop sounds and these rattling sounds (especially when accelerating) are important to be detected on time. Because if you don’t detect them, the engine chain can jump and you will end up with engine damage that is irreversible in most cases.

You will also get a check engine light with codes concerning the engine timing, as well as engine misfires, rough idle, and when there is damage, there will be carnage in the engine.

The second most common problem is oil consumption. These engines drink a lot of oil. So, you need to have a quart in your trunk all the time. And the best way to avoid this is to do oil changes more regularly. Eg, every 5,000 miles. This way, you will be sure that there will be no oil starvation inside the engine.

Other rare problems are water pump failures (do be wary of the symptoms of a bad water pump, as well as the water pump replacement cost) which can cause the engine to overheat, as well as timing chain cover leaks. So, make sure that you are really aware of these 2012 Chevy Traverse problems.

2012 Chevy Traverse Transmission Problems

Now let’s discuss the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems concerning transmission. Is the transmission used in this model reliable? Let’s find out.

Overall, the transmission used in this Traverse is fairly reliable. On average should last between 130,000 and 180,000 miles. But this doesn’t mean that this transmission cannot be pushed a lot higher if maintained well.

And fortunately, when it comes to this transmission, there are no reports on carcomplaints.com that indicate a very problematic transmission.

2012 Chevy Traverse Problems

Still, there is only one problem that could total one of these 6T75E transmissions. And this is the problem with overheating. These transmissions are running a really poor cooling system. And if they are abused a lot, they overheat easily. So, we would not recommend getting one that you know previously overheated.

Overheating could make the metal expand and contract, damaging a lot of the internals of the transmission and completely scrapping it. And if you have a Traverse or Acadia, we would not recommend towing a lot with it because the transmissions are not that capable to be pushed really hard.

Not let’s continue with the other 2012 Chevy Traverse problems.

Other Miscellaneous Problems

Now let’s dive into the other miscellaneous 2012 Chevy Traverse problems. These are the problems that can often occur on the Traverse but are not powertrain related.

One of the biggest problems with this model is the AC system that the vehicle is running. This AC system can fail in many ways. The lines can leak refrigerant, the fan can stop working, and the AC compressor can fail. Big headache, always make sure that the AC blows cold air before you buy the car.

Other problems with this model include an issue with the Stabilitrak system. The Stabilitrak system is basically the traction control system. This is a major issue found in many Chevy vehicles and can put you in an unsafe situation. But the most common ones are the warning messages on the cluster.

This is basically Chevy’s equivalent to a traction control warning light, similar to the TRAC OFF error message in a Lexus. While there are some benefits of turning the traction control off, you should ideally consider a Stabilitrak repair cost as soon as possible.

Other problems include minor electrical faults and the battery being left without juice. And another more expensive problem is the power steering pump failure. These can go out and can be rather expensive to fix. But overall, there are no major issues with this model except for those that we mentioned.

2012 Chevy Traverse Recalls

We covered the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems, now let’s discuss the recalls on this model. What is worth noting is that there were 4 recalls in total.

Two of the recalls were concerned with the airbags. And one for the windshield wiper washer and the last for the seat belts.

Before you buy, make sure that the model that you intend to purchase has participated in these recalls. And if didn’t, make sure that you take your Traverse to the dealership to get it checked.

Chevy Traverse Reliability

Now let’s take a look at the reliability of the 2012 Chevy Traverse. Is this model a reliable vehicle or you should look for another model?

Overall, the Traverse is not a bad SUV. There are relatively low possibilities in terms of problems. But before you buy, make sure that you have everything checked.

Make sure that the timing chain was serviced and is not rattling and that the transmission was not previously overheated and shifts well.

If you can’t find a Traverse in the spec that you want, you can always go for the GMC Acadia or the Buick Enclave. They are basically the same car under the skin.


In this article, we covered quite a bit when it comes to the Chevy Traverse. First, we learned what this model is all about and we covered some of the specs of the Chevy Traverse. Namely, the engines, transmissions, mpg, safety, and other important aspects for the ones that want to buy one on the used market.

Then, we discussed the 2012 Chevy Traverse problems. We learned what are the main issues that bother the Traverse. We listed engine problems, transmission problems, and other miscellaneous issues. Lastly, we discussed the recalls and the overall reliability of the model.

And while you’re here, we’ve also looked into the 2012 Traverse’s predecessors, if you’re keen on considering those, instead. As such, be sure to check out our guide on the 2010 Chevy Traverse problems, as well as the 2011 Chevy Traverse problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Where Are Chevy Traverse Made

The Chevy Traverse is made in the US. More specifically, the model is assembled in Lansing, Michigan at the Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant by GM. This model is assembled together with the GMC Acadia and the Buick Enclave.

How Much Does A Chevy Traverse Weigh

The first generation model weighed about 4,673 lbs, while the current model weights about 4,362 lbs. It is a heavy vehicle. But there are even heavier models. Namely, the Tahoe and Suburban.

How Long Is A Chevy Traverse

The first generation of the Traverse is 203.7 inches long and this length was increased to 205 inches in the following production years. The current second generation is 204.3 inches long.

Is Chevy Traverse A Good Car

Generally, this is a good car. Even though the first model years were not one of the best. Namely, because of timing chain issues and oil drinking problems of the engine. So, if you can afford it, go for a 2013 model year or newer.

How Much Is My 2012 Chevy Traverse Worth

Depending on the condition of the car, between $3,700 and 12,000. This is the price for which these vehicles are sold on the used market. There are many factors that determine the value. But most important is the condition of the car and the mileage.

Do Chevy Traverse Have Problems

Yes, they have some problems. Specifically, the first 4 model years have problems with the engines. Oil consumption, oil leaks, timing chain stretching, and engine damage because of oil starvation are very common. The transmissions also tend to overheat if pushed too hard.

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