Chevy Trax Turbo Engine: Problems, Longevity, and Specs (2023)

In 2023, we still can buy the previous generation of the Chevy Trax and are expecting to get our hands on the new one in 2024. But while we are waiting, we want to answer some of the most common questions that we are asked about this vehicle - is the 1.4L Turbo engine OK? And we have prepared a big article that will try to answer all of these questions.

Today, we'll tell you more about the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that powers the new Chevy Trax and will also reveal everything we know about its common problems. You should know that the current generation of the Trax only has two trims, both are powered by this engine, so there is no other alternative if you want exactly this model.

Chevy Trax Turbo Engine: Problems, Longevity, and Specs (1)

Here's what we'll tell you about:

  • Some facts about the 1.4L Turbo engine in the Chevrolet Trax.
  • How long will this engine survive in your new SUV?
  • What are the common problems with the 1.4L turbocharged Chevy engine in the Trax?
  • What should you know and do to drive this vehicle for a long time?

Let's get started!

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What should you know about the 1.4L turbo engine in the Trax?

The current version of the Trax has been manufactured since 2012 with a restyling in 2017. In 2023, the new version will be available. But if you think that you should wait and get a better, more technological engine, you should think twice. The 2024 Chevy Trax is going to be available with the 1.2-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged engine, and it's not that good, we should say.

The current first-generation Trax is available with the 4-cylinder 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that is perfectly known to many American drivers. It's the LE2 General Motors engine that is based on old good EcoTec engines and is basically perfect for this vehicle giving it enough power and torque and consuming just a little fuel.

So, here's what you should know about this engine:

  • this is the 4-cylinder unit with a simple turbocharger that provides 155 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque and it's really a lot for the displacement;
  • the engine is pretty simple in its construction, there are no super-modern technologies which is good for longevity and reliability;
  • the same engine was used in many American Chevy cars like the Cruze, for example, so, it's a well-known technology;
  • the engine is pretty good in terms of fuel consumption, it offers 32 mpg on highways and 24 mpg in the city, it's not bad for an SUV;
  • the engine is coupled with the 6-speed automatic transmission which is really not bad in terms of durability, it's almost problem free;
  • the engine has a direct injection system which makes it even more economical but adds some problems with maintenance and repair.

It's not completely correct to say that the engine is the same as the old first-gen Cruze 1.4 Turbo. This LE2 engine was presented in 2016, it got the direct injection and some other changes making it a little more up-to-date and technological. But still, this is the good old engine that you may know a lot about.

And one of the main advantages is that many owners write great reviews and say in forums that the engine is really durable and doesn't have a lot of problems. Also, people say that it's not that expensive to maintain or repair. Was this the last normal GM engine with small displacement? And should we still say that 1.4 liters is a small displacement? We still don't know how to answer these questions.

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How long will the 1.4L Turbo engine live in your Trax?

LE2 engines were introduced in 2016 in GM models, so they are still considered new and no one will tell you for sure how many miles they can go. But still, we can predict that these engines will go over 180,000 miles with no major issues if maintained well. Also, we can say that some poorly maintained units will die sooner than they reach 100,000 miles. Why?

The problem is that the wrong oil will highly likely reduce the lifespan of these engines. And bad fuel will also clog the valves over time making the engine bad to drive. So, this Chevy engine needs TLC more than any other GM engine but those new 3-cylinder versions.

If you maintain this unit properly, buy good oil and filters, never buy bad fuel, and regularly check the oil level, you will be happy with the longevity of the Chevy Trax 1.4L turbocharged engine.

What are the common problems with the Trax engine?

The Chevrolet Trax 1.4L Turbo engine is not a completely problem-free unit. It's going to spoil your mood from time to time and it will make you spend some money on maintenance. Especially, if the engine has already gone over 100,000 miles and is considered to have a high risk of some minor problems attacking it now and then.

Here are some of the most common issues you can expect:

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1) Piston problems in the early engines

In 2016 and 2017, GM had some defects in these engines. Pistons may just get cracked and the engine will start drinking up oil like crazy. There is nothing you can do, GM changed something in 2017 and the engines stopped doing that. If your engine is affected by the problem, the best solution is to replace the block. But simple piston change will also solve the problem.

If you notice high oil consumption in the Chevy Trax 1.4L engine, the best idea is to stop driving the vehicle and have the engine diagnosed thoroughly.

2) Turbocharger issues

A lot of owners admitted that they had minor problems with turbochargers. It means that the turbo is not that reliable in these vehicles. Yes, it's a budget-friendly car that is a little cheaply built, so some problems may start getting on your nerves after the engine has more than 100,000 miles on it.

But the good news - there is no need to replace the turbo. It can be perfectly rebuilt or repaired and this is not going to be very expensive.

3) Overheating issues

Well, it's not that this engine is really prone to overheat, but if it overheats, the problems will be really serious. For example, the head may lose its shape, then the antifreeze will start leaking because of the bad head gasket. Also, you may find some cracks in the head and even in the block after severe overheating.

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One more problem is that the overheated engine will gradually kill the turbocharger. So, keep an eye on the cooling system or you are going to spend a fortune trying to get this engine back to life.

4) Valve seals and piston rings

Again, we should say that the engine is pretty cheap, so the manufacturer had to economize on different small things like seals. Piston rings will start leaking some oil after 80,000 miles. Valve seals will get too hard and stop doing their job more or less at the same mileage. It means that after 100,000 miles, all of these engines will consume some oil.

Excessive oil consumption will also kill the catalytic converter and may lead to low oil levels and bad lubrication. It means that the vehicle will have some repairs or it will gradually come to the condition when you can't drive it anymore.

5) Coolant consumption

This is the very famous problem with the 1.4L turbo engine by GM. If you want to drive this engine after it has reached 100K miles, you will have to put up with some coolant level drops. Some coolant will leak through bad pipes and hoses while some may leak from the head gasket. It means that the engine will need minor repairs, otherwise, you will add coolant every other week and spend your money on pretty expensive antifreeze.

How can you drive this engine for a long time and many miles?

If you want to drive more than 150K miles in your Chevy Trax without the need to replace the engine, the best strategy for you is to maintain the engine thoroughly.

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Here are some tips you should follow:

  • buy good oil and filters to avoid engine damage;
  • provide the vehicle with regular maintenance;
  • avoid engine overheating;
  • always check up on the oil and coolant levels;
  • avoid aggressive driving, this is not a sports car;
  • buy good fuel, it may be regular but the quality should be high;
  • have the engine diagnosed if you feel something changed in the way it works.

If you just follow these simple tips, you will have a much better chance to drive the Trax for more than 150K miles without any expensive repairs. At least for the engine.

Final words

You shouldn't expect too much from the 1.4L turbocharged engine in the Chevy Trax. It's just a simple modern engine with not a lot of super technologies in it. And this is what we like about this machine. The engine is pretty good in terms of durability, it offers good gas mileage, and it won't take all the money out of your pocket. But still, this is just the budget-friendly engine made by GM.


How long will a Chevy Trax engine last? ›

That said, the Trax has a decent built-in shelf life, with a good chance of reaching 200,000 miles, through proper maintenance.

Does Chevy Trax have turbo problems? ›

According to a recent report from GM TechLink, units of the 2012 through 2022 Chevy Trax equipped with the turbocharged 1.4L I4 LUV gasoline engine may exhibit a loss of power or other engine performance issues in extremely cold weather.

How reliable is a Chevy Trax long term? ›

The 2022 Chevrolet Trax has a predicted reliability score of 83 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

How much will it cost to fix a turbo system in a 2015 Chevy Trax? ›

The Best in Auto Repair

The average cost for a Chevrolet Trax turbocharger assembly replacement is between $1,315 and $1,430. Labor costs are estimated between $440 and $555 while parts are priced at $875. This range does not include taxes and fees, and does not factor in your specific model year or unique location.

How many miles can a Chevy engine last? ›

Drivers who take good care of their engines can expect to get 200,000 miles or more out of them. However, there are some factors that can shorten the lifespan of this engine.

How long does the average Chevy engine last? ›

If a Chevy is treated well and maintained regularly, it should last about 300,000 kilometres or more. When you buy a car that is known for its long life, you could use it as long as you could drive it.


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