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  1. #11


    Ok, let's keep the topics clear on here. This boils down to a few different issues, let's handle them one at a time.

    1) You claim there is an odor in the cabin (coming through the vents).
    2) Other people have complained and GM says it's from the PTU vapors, issued TSB to change charcoal filter.
    3) Filter change didn't remedy the problem for you.
    4) You're now looking for other answers and fixes, etc.

    Ok, so my first question is are you the first owner, or did you purchase used? Also, are you the only one(s) who can smell it, or does everyone who gets into the Traverse (and I drove Traverses on/off for a year or two, they're pretty sweet vehicles) smell it and get sick to their stomach? Since you've documented this out so well I also assume that this is a first-time occurance for you with getting a bad smell in a car like this? I'd like to see the TSB to see how many people are complaining about this, maybe it's something that builds up over time.

    Thoughts: Can you try to mask the smell with something like an air freshener or ion-based air purifier, or is it beyond that? Those things can do wonders, and just because it might work doesn't mean that you have to do it. It's just a suggestion to help you otherwise enjoy what in my opinion is the best full-size crossover platform on the market today in it's price range.

    Other Thoughts: If this was a big enough issue, then GM will come up with a fix. Just because they don't have a "fix" now, doesn't mean that they won't have a solution in the future that will alleviate your concern on this.

    Also, not to get too personal (and more for the sake of my personal curiosity), but do you have a sensitive sense of smell anyhow? I know that doesn't really matter, my wife could be a substitute bloodhound I think and she smells things all the time that I can't smell at all.

    10 Chevy Traverse LT AWD
    02 Chevy Trailblazer LS (110K+ miles - loaded except for 4WD - WRECKED!)
    99 Chevy Cavalier LS (105K+ miles - commuter car)
    78 Chevy Suburban Silverado (454, 3/4 ton)
    62 GMC 3/4 ton Pickup (350 police interceptor)

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  2. #12


    ... also, just to add one more thought. I would seriously doubt that this would qualify for a lemon-law issue. In order to deal with what would be considered to be a "sensory issue" like smell, you would have to find a testing house that could test particulate matter in the air of the cabin and do a before/after test with the a/c running in fresh air mode, then find some statistical data on what other vehicles of this age and category usually see. It would be a lot of hassle as smell can be very subjective and hard to quantify and qualify as we all know ... bbq steaks smell like heaven to some people and like death to others, etc.

  3. #13
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Pearland Texas


    Thanks for the reply. Yes I bought the car from a Chevrolet dealership here in Texas. I did buy it with a few miles on it, so to answer, yes it was a used vehicle still carrying the remainder of the factory warranty. As far as who else can smell it-everyone that rides in it. The service writer smells it, the tech smells it and even the mechanics in the back. I get what your saying about smell being subjective, however, its subjecting itself all over the interior. As far as masking the smell, its my wifes car. She has the fruity "chick" thingys (not insulting women), and that doesnt help. It just makes it smell like like fruity hot gear oil. Having said all of that, you maybe right as far as this incident not fitting within the scope of the lemon law, I'm simply frustrated at the situation. I do like the design and functionality of the Traverse and feel that it fits the needs of my large family.

    The TSB is 10-01-37-002 DEC 10 A/C - Gear Oil Type Odor in Interior of Vehicle. I typed that into google and have found several other references to this, but am not savvy enough to find the genuine GM bulletin. I can to scan in what the dealer gave me.

    .......and as a side note, now I want a steak.

  4. #14


    Ok, that helps break it down. If I'm not mistaken, you are down by Houston, wonder if the heat and nudity of the gulf climate have any effect on what the smell is like.

    I used to have a car that leaked oil all over southern California when i stayed the summer there, but when i went back to Seattle for school, the oil leak stopped in the 30+ degree temp change.

    Let me see if i can get the TSB on this and see what it says. Probably be Monday.

  5. #15

    Default 2011 smelly Traverse LTZ

    I have this issue also but I do not smell the mystery odor until I am in the process of hauling hiney in order to get up to highway speeds on an entrance ramp or accelerating past a rock hauler.

    From what I have read..this odor may be venting whilst at low speeds or sitting idle but for some reason my Tverse sucks it into the cabin when I jackrabbit.

    Will be going into Classic Chevy in Grapevine Tx in the morning for the recall for the coolant tank seal that just posted and have them look at it. Will give them the info I learned from this forum. Thanks to those who commented.

    As a side. We drove Suburbans for 20 years until the kidos FINALLY grew up and I love my Tverse LTZ. Bought it new in
    Dec 21st 2010 and have racked up a little over 50k with -0- issues other than rotten eggs while launching.

    My last road trip to PA from DFW was spent in relative comfort whilst listening to Killin Lincoln on the CD. I averaged only 24 mph because I was in a hurry.

    Totally awesome vehicle.

    Again, Thanks for all the info!

    Last edited by Timbo55; 05-16-2013 at 05:55 PM. Reason: paragraph relign

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