This article was written by Brian Jones, trusted ASE Certified Master Tech and Lemberg Law Expert Automotive Contributor
Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019
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Problems with the Suspension
It’s not every day that you encounter a vehicle with such a serious issue that it needs to be recalled. With the 2018 Chevrolet Trax, many users faced a failure with the control arm weld. Unfortunately, this leads to serious safety concerns while on the road.
One user on the NHTSA stated, “the control arm weld was improperly welded on both sides of the car which can lead to fatigue causing the wheel to rub and causing an accident. After being notified by OnStar of the potential issue, I had my vehicle inspected. The car failed inspection. Chevrolet is claiming that there is no recall and therefore not covered by the warranty and want me to continue to drive it despite the dealership stating it failed the inspection and is unsafe to drive.”
It’s clear that this comment was made in the early stages of the problem because GM later did issue a recall. The recall affected particular 2017-2019 Chevrolet Trax vehicles. The front lower-control arms might have an improper weld in one or both of the joints. When this occurs, the car might have a partial separation of the lower-control-arm from the SUV. The dealers had to replace the parts to repair it.
The control arm connects the wheel hub and steering knuckle to the frame of the vehicle, so it’s vital that it operates correctly. Hopefully, this driver got the Trax fixed once the recall was issued. It probably brought some relief to get the repair done once and for all. At least it opened up the door to focus on some of the other troubles.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Trax Suspension Problems:
TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 CHEVROLET TRAX. WHILE DRIVING ON A VERY CONGESTED HIGHWAY, ON-STAR ADVISED THE CONTACT TO TRAVEL AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE AND GO TO THE NEAREST DEALER. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO APPLE CHEVROLET (1200 LOUCKS RD, YORK, PA 17404) WHERE IT WAS DIAGNOSED THAT THERE WAS A LOWER CONTROL ARM WELDING FAILURE. THE DEALER PROVIDED ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION UNTIL A REMEDY WAS AVAILABLE. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED AND PROVIDED CASE NUMBER: 95258825086. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE APPROXIMATE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 10,500.
TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 CHEVROLET TRAX. THE CONTACT RECEIVED NOTIFICATION OF NHTSA CAMPAIGN NUMBER: 19V312000 (SUSPENSION). THE CONTACT CALLED PREMIER CHEVROLET BUICK AT 304-292-9446 (LOCATED AT 5392 UNIVERSITY TOWN CENTRE DR, MORGANTOWN, WV 26501) AND WAS INFORMED THAT THE PARTS WERE NOT AVAILABLE. THE MANUFACTURER WAS MADE AWARE OF THE ISSUE AND WAS NOT ABLE TO CONFIRM WHEN THE PARTS WERE TO BECOME AVAILABLE. THE MANUFACTURER DID NOT PROVIDE A LOANER VEHICLE. THE CONTACT HAD NOT EXPERIENCED A FAILURE. VIN TOOL CONFIRMS PARTS NOT AVAILABLE.
Problems with the Electrical System
Among the numerous complaints about the Trax is the electrical system. Whether it’s dealing with the radio or the rear camera, users have plenty to say about the malfunctions. When we get behind the wheel of a vehicle, we all want to use our equipment the way it was intended, but Chevy owners aren’t always able to do that.
Let’s look at one comment made by an owner on Edmunds. The review states, “So yeah I have one of these Trax Redline and let me tell you something…stay far away. Horrible engine, transmission,seats, all noise and no go, can’t fold the rear seats down and have anyone taller than 5’5″ person sit up front. Gas milage is 17.4 mpg. Creaking and cracking noises in the interior and seats. Seat foam is caving and collapsed. My vehicle has 4600 miles on it and I’ll be lucky to get 60000 miles on this car…the transmission has started to slip and shift rough, front windows crack when being put down and back up, my fancy Bose radio shuts off and doesn’t come back on along with the rear camera, and OnStar. This is by far the worst vehicle I have ever owned and will be trading this POS ASAP!”
While some of the complaints weren’t related to electrical issues, you can see what aspects matter. The radio shuts itself off plus the rear camera and OnStar doesn’t turn on sometimes either. Among the many ways GM attempted to address these situations, Service Bulletin #17-NA-405 discusses an intermittent radio screen when the vehicles starts.
Sometimes the radio restarts and takes time to reset. The radio display also goes black and changes to a white screen for some customers. GM points to a problem with the infotainment system attempting to download massive amounts of data. If that’s not the case, then they are willing to say it might be an internal radio concern.
In typical automaker fashion, they simply aren’t willing to take responsibility for problems, even though multiple people complain about the same things. Maybe they just don’t feel that having a working radio is important. Let’s take away their Taylor Swift during a commute and see how they feel.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Trax Electrical System Problems:
2018 CHEVROLET TRAX-LS AWD. CONSUMER WRITES IN REGARD TO MANY SAFETY DEFECTS (STALLING,BATTERY LOSING POWER ,POWER STEERING AND ALL WHEEL SYSTEM ISSUES) WITH VEHICLE. *AS *TR
Problems with the Airbag Sensor
Along the lines of electrical problems, the 2018 Chevy Trax is also plagued with a malfunctioning airbag sensor. Drivers also find that the battery light and other warning lights tend to illuminate for no apparent reason. This isn’t just annoying but also makes it impossible to find out if something is wrong with the vehicle.
There’s a letter posted to the NHTSA website from one driver who states, “The 2018 Chevrolet TRAX which we leased on July 31, 2018, from Graff Chevrolet in Okemos Michigan, has a defective passenger Airbag sensor or a faulty electrical connection. This is a serious safety problem. The vehicle was taken to the Graff Service Department on August 13th for a correction of the defect. The passenger airbag indicator light indicates “off’ at least 50% of the time when my wife is in the seat. She is an “adult-sized occupant” as referenced in the operations manual on page 81. Also, no additional covers or materials have been placed on the seat. The manual also indicates that the light may indicate “on” when a bag of groceries or a lap-top computer is placed on the passenger seat. Those items certainly do not equal the weight of an adult. After raising our concern, nothing has been done to address the issue.”
At this time, we couldn’t find any communication from the manufacturer regarding the airbag sensor itself, but there are other bulletins. For example, Service Bulletin #11-08-49-001Y relates to a Transport Mode On Message or the Battery Light display on the dash. The trouble with Transport Mode is that it requires a specific procedure to turn off. The bulletin walks the technician through the steps for each model but doesn’t suggest how to stop it from happening.
What we’ve learned is that the Trax prefers to turn off the equipment we want, such as the radio, but illuminate other things we don’t want to see. Between these annoyances and the safety recall, we understand why drivers are so upset with the automaker.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Trax Airbag Sensor Problems:
2018 CHEVROLET TRAX. CONSUMER WRITES IN REGARDS TO ISSUES WITH PASSENGER AIRBAG SENSOR.
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