Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start?

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Being a full-sized crossover sports utility vehicle, the Chevy Traverse was built on the same platform as the GMC Acadia.

It was supposed to be a worthy successor to the Chevy TrailBlazzer and the Uplander, but in the eyes of many, it did not reach those heights.

The car was produced and released in 2008 and has since seen constant yearly models.

Many people think that the Chevy Traverse is not as good as what other cars offer because of the various issues surrounding the car.

While not all models have problems, for many years, the Chevy Traverse has had many issues that have made people ask, “Why won’t my Chevy Traverse start?”.

Additionally, these issues would not be cheap either.

Some of the main issues that you could face in the Chevy Traverse were:

  1. Dead/Low Charged Battery
  2. Electrical Issues
  3. Starter Problems
  4. Blown Engine
  5. Timing Chain Problems

Suffering from one of these issues is a major letdown which is why I will discuss them in great detail.

This will help you chart the best course of action that you need to take to get your Chevy Traverse back up and running.

What Would Cause A Chevy Traverse To Not Start?

What kind of starting problems does a Chevy Traverse have? Read my blog to find out

More often than not, the biggest reason why any car will not work is because of battery problems.

While I will be talking about the battery problems the Chevy Traverse faces, I will also mention various other issues that certain components of the Chevy Traverse can face.

This article will help you with various issues that the Chevy Traverse can face.

1: Dead/Low Charged Battery

Starting with the problem mentioned above, the battery is likely the most common reason cars do not start.

This is simply because the battery is an essential tool that your Chevy Traverse needs to start.

This, combined with the fact that the battery needs a lot of maintenance and care to stay healthy, makes it a recipe for the component to run into some issues.

The battery exists to provide power to the components of the Chevy Traverse. If you do not have a charged battery, you cannot hope to start your car.

A loss of charge is usually caused by long stretches of not using the car. While it may be able to start other components, it may not be able to do so with the engine.

Additionally, if you leave some of the lights and other gadgets of the car on, your battery will run out of juice eventually.

What Should You Do About It?

  • You should first assess how old the battery is.
  • If your battery is above five years, it may have outlived its life. You should then consider getting a new battery to replace the dead one.
  • If your battery is relatively new, you should perform a voltage test to see if the battery is causing the issue. The battery is to blame if the voltage test shows less than 12 volts.
  • At this point, you can jumpstart the battery. You will need jumper cables and a working battery in another car to do so.
  • You should try to drive the car afterward to get the battery charging and keep driving the Chevy Traverse regularly so that the battery remains in top shape.

2: Electrical Issues

In today’s day and age, cars are slowly becoming more and more electric. This increases the chance for electrical issues to occur.

Even if your Chevy Traverse is not a modern car and is on the older side, you may still have some electrical issues.

While battery problems may be included in this section, I will avoid them as I have already discussed the battery in extensive detail.

Instead, you should be aware of the wiring and cables of the Chevy Traverse and how they need to stay well connected and cleaned.

A lot of people have the misconception that the electrical system of the car only encompasses sections like the stereo system or the lights, but the electrical system is spread throughout the Chevy Traverse.

As such, you need to ensure the system is working fine; otherwise, you will suffer from a lot more dangerous issues.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Check the battery and inspect the terminals. You should clean the battery regularly and avoid any corrosion at the terminals.
  • You should then move to look at the wires and see if any of them are loose, frayed, or corroded.
  • If you see any such wires, you should attempt to reattach them. If you cannot do so, have an experienced mechanic take a look.
  • Replace any corroded or frayed wires with new ones.
  • More often than not, the electrical issue will be in a component or a part of the car which you may not be able to see.
  • As such, if you feel an electrical fault in the Chevy Traverse, you should have it looked at by a mechanic.

3: Starter Problems

You probably could have told by the name; this system is responsible for starting the Chevy Traverse.

The main part that I will focus on in this section is the starter motor which is responsible for getting all the parts of the engine moving.

Starter problems are usually caused by damage or bad relays. Additionally, if you do not take care of your vehicle, this can also be a potential cause of starter damage.

The biggest sign that your starter is having issues is if you try to start the car, and instead of cranking, you hear clicking or grinding.

Smoke is another sign that your starter may be acting up.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Remove the starter motor and see if it works outside the car. If it can work, then the problem lies elsewhere. If it does not work, it has an issue.
  • Has a mechanic checked out the starter motor?
  • You can attempt to have the component fixed or replaced. It may be more ergonomic to have the component replaced.
  • This will also help you avoid future issues if the starter breaks down again.

4: Blown Engine

The main component that makes the Chevy Traverse move is the engine. It is the main selling point of many cars and can make or break a sale.

This makes it only more shocking to see that the Chevy Traverse has had major instances of a blown engine.

This problem extended from 2009 to 2012, when all models of the Chevy Traverse would eventually not be able to start due to engine failure.

For those that do not know, the engine is the main component that causes the car to move.

If your engine is not working, you will never be able to start your car. This issue would occur in less than half the car’s life span and cost a lot to fix.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If your engine has failed, there is very little you can do personally.
  • Your best bet is to take it to a mechanic and have the integrity of the engine checked out.
  • Having the engine fixed is a long shot, but if it is economical enough, it is recommended that you do it. This will save you the cost of having to buy a new engine.
  • More likely, your engine will need to be replaced, and as such, you will have to pay a lot of money to do so.

5: Timing Chain Failure

Part of the engine, the timing chain, is a crucial component that ensures the engine is functioning as it should.

The engine has many moving parts that operate in a certain rhythm. To achieve this rhythm, a timing chain is used.

While it is common to have timing belts, which have the same job but do not last as long, replaced, it is not common to get your timing chain replaced.

People have reported the timing chain to get worn out extremely fast. As a result, they would end up changing it repeatedly.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you believe you have a faulty timing chain, you should stop driving the Chevy Traverse immediately.
  • Driving with a faulty timing chain can cause serious damage to the engine and should be avoided.
  • Timing chains usually last up to 150,000 miles. If you approach this milestone, you should have your timing chain replaced.
  • If your current timing chain has been worn out, you should also look for a replacement.
  • If you do not know how to replace a timing chain, have someone who knows what they are doing do it for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start With New Battery?

First, check to see if the new battery has been installed properly. Make sure that there are no loose cables or wires.

If the battery still does not work, it may be low on charge, and it might take a few tries before it can start.

Alternatively, there could be an issue with the ignition.

Q2. Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start Even With A Jump?

Starting by making sure that the setup for the jump is in order. If you have an unconnected wire or connected it the wrong way, the jump will not work.

If the setup is good, then you need to check other Chevy Traverse systems, as the issue is not with the battery.

Q3. Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start But Lights Work?

A low-charged battery can turn on the lights of the Chevy Traverse. The same cannot be said of the engine. This is because the engine needs much more power to start, which it cannot get.

To fix the issue, you should have your battery jumpstarted. Additionally, you could get the entire battery replaced.

Q4. Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start But Cranks?

If your Chevy Traverse can crank, then that means that the ignition and starting system are both working properly. Additionally, you do not have to worry about the electrical system.

The problem is likely in the fuel system and that the engine of the Chevy Traverse is not getting enough fuel to start properly.

Q5. Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start Just Clicks?

Clicking is never a good sign when it comes to cars as this means that there is an electrical issue. As talked about above, this is quite common with the Chevy Traverse.

Following what I wrote above, you should have the Chevy Traverse inspected by a mechanic so that they can find and fix the issue.

Q6. Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start In The Cold Weather?

The cold weather starts by preventing the battery from working properly. This reduces its energy output.

Combine this with the engine not being able to heat up; your Chevy Traverse will not start easy.

The cold weather can easily prevent the vehicle from starting, so you need to do your best to keep it warm.

Q7. Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start After I Get Gas?

Fuel blocks and leaks can always make it difficult for a car to start, regardless of whether the tank is full or not.

Check out the fuel system and patch up any leaks. Cleaning up the fuel filters as well to avoid further problems. If the issue persists, you have a defective component.

Q8. Why Won’t My Chevy Traverse Start But Radio Works?

The radio can only turn on when the key is turned and so can the engine.

However, both of them activate at different states. Something is likely preventing the ignition from activating the engine.

Have the ignition switch and column checked out by a professional? If all is good, then another likely scenario is that the battery is causing some trouble.

Related: What Are The Worst Years For The Chevrolet Traverse?


The Chevy Traverse is a great car heavily weighed down by problems and inconveniences. This is to be expected from a full-sized sports utility vehicle.

Not only are they extremely bulky, but they are prone to a lot of issues. While some can escape this fate, the Chevy Traverse could not do so.

This is the reason why many people ask, “Why won’t my Chevy Traverse start?”.

With the help of this article, you should be able to easily manage the situation and figure out what is wrong and how to fix it.