Print this page Notes: The Trailblazer emerged from an "upscale trim line" of the Blazer, but there's nothing upscale about its transmission problems or its wonky, unpredictable headlights.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
71,800 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new engine!!! (5 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer Owner Comments

problem #5

Apr 152011

Trailblazer LT EXT 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


On my way home from work one day, my engine in my 2002 trailblazer died. I had it towed to my local dealership, where I purchased it and have all the maintenance performed.

I was shocked to learn that they said the lower bearing was blown and it's a possible oil pump issue and will cost me $7,000 for a new engine and approximately $4,500 for a used one with 80,000 miles on it. I just had it had it in for an oil change 2 weeks before and told them that it appeared that I may have an oi lleak. Upon picking up my car, there was no mention of any oil leak and off I went. Then the above mentioned happened. I was sick to my stomach as I couldn't understand how this could happen with no warning.

I called the service manager who I know pretty well from brining my car there and he said sometimes things like this happen, blah blah blah... Of course my extended warranty expired in july 2010. So, I have been searching around for someone to put in a used motor which he cannot do until the end of June. During these past 5 or 6 weeks, I have been online researching possible defects and found this website. It just doesn't seem right that this happened when I have always maintained my car.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

- , Gloucester, MA, US

problem #4

Jun 192008

(reported on)

Trailblazer LT 4.2L L6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

6/6/08 Not hearing anything from Customer Service Rep Laura Fields in Argentina, I called another number for Chevrolet in Detroit, 1-800-222-1020, and spoke with a Nathan Gardner. Again explained everything to him, to which he asked me, if they haven't pulled the head on the engine, then how do they know what is wrong with it. I said you tell me, then we'll both know, maybe they're magicians. He gave me my Case # 71-632440-112 and assured me I would be talking with the District Mgr for Chevrolet, from Austin, Texas, that covers this region, and not someone from Argentina. (which was a lie).

6/7/08 Rec'd e-mail from Chevrolet, Jake Smith, that I would be hearing from Mr. Lukas Marangoni on 6/9/08. On 6/9/08 he did call, again went over everything, and Lukas Marangione asks how do they know what is wrong if they didn't pull the head. I asked him how the hell do I know. He says he understands completely (bullshit) and he will talk to the dealership himself. He does and then he tells me we need to pull the head to see what happened to the engine, and I need to authorize it. I told him to authorize it and for Chevrolet to pay for it. No deal - only way for Chevrolet to "HELP" me is for me to authorize it. 6/9/08 Called Autoway Chevrolet, Tampa, FL and told them to pull the head. 6/11/09 Lukas Marangione called says they pulled the head, engine is shot, need a new one. He says a "BALDE" broke and put a hole in the piston. He spelled it - I didn't misunderstand him. I asked what the hell is a BALDE, and he says he doesn't know, but it's not under warranty. He will find out what it is and get back to me. I asked what about the broken spark plug that caused it all. He says wasn't it. 6/12/08 Lukas Marangoni called says Autoway recommends a new engine, that this one is shot. He says he called his District Manager and filled him in on everything. I said wait a minute, I thought HE was the District Manager, what is going on here. I want to talk to the DM. He would not give me his name or number. Told Lukas I was really pissed off. 6/12/08 Called Chevrolet, Detroit spoke with a Mr. Miller, asked to speak to Nathan Gardner, who I dealt with before. They would not put me through to him and stated that Lukas Marangoni is handling the case now. I told him that Lukas was not worth a sh*t and I wanted to talk to the DM. They would not give me his name or number. 6/16/08 Lukas called and said he spoke with Service Mgr and they recommend a new engine and what was I going to do. I said - what is Chevrolet going to do - tell them to fix the engine, it was as internal part and only had 42,000 miles, and they have the service bulletins and all the complaints of an engine that is not worth a sh*t - fix it. Lukas, says they are not going to give me a new and asked "what was I going to do". He needs an answer from me before he can tell me what Chevrolet might do. I said bullshit, what is Chevrolet going to do? No answer. I said I want to know what they are going to do first and that I was not going to spend $6500.00 on a new engine for a 2002 vehicle which is only worth 10 - 12,000.00. We hung up. 6/15-16/08 AM Jacin Hogeland, Autoway called and explained that a "valve" broke and hit the piston and put a hole about the size of a quarter in it. I asked why can't we replace the piston and the valves. He says parts of the valve went into the other cylinders and scored them, the cam is shot, and a head job would all cost more then a new engine. I asked him where the hell did they expect someone to com up with $6500.00 for a new engine, and who would do it for a 2002 vehicle. He said he understood completely. we hung up. I asked Jacin what if I pulled the car out of the dealeership and did not have them fix it. He said that I would still owe them the $1400.00 to pull the head. 6/16/08 Jacin again called - and asked if I was the original owner of the TrailBlazer and where I bought it. He said the DM was there right now looking at it. I told him I bought it brand new from Ferman Chevrolet in Tampa. He said good, if anyone calls you and asks you that, tell them what you just told me. I said I will, hell if Chevy would look at their records they would know that. We hung up. 6/16/08 Jacin Hogeland, Autoway called and advised that Chevrolet will put a new engine in the car for $4340.00 and that includes tax. Jacin said Chevrolet would pay for half the parts and $500.00 of labor. I told him I thought that was bullshit, and that it was probably about the real price of an engine, $4340.00 and not that $6500.00 BS and that as far as I was concerned Chevrolet did not even meet me half way on something I feel they should've taken care of. I asked him where he thought everyone like me would get that kind of money to put into a car. If the car was old or worn out I would take my lumps, but this was BS. 6/17/08 Lukas called and said he talked to the dealership and they can't take anything more off the price. I said I was extremely dissatisfied and not at all happy. He said he was closing the case out and noting that I was dissatisfied. I haven't made a decision yet, not finished with Chevrolet

- , Lutz, FL, USA

problem #3

Mar 192008

Trailblazer 4.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

My complaint is similar to the first one who had it cost them $7000. No warning at all and bam the motor just died. This is a vehicle that will tell you that the door is open and yet it won't give any advance warning the MOTOR is going to die? That is just ridiculous. Now I realize that it has 108,000 miles but I maintain my vehicles and I have a 1999 Silverado that has 160000 miles and still going strong. Had I any warning I would have got the problem fixed now I am saddled with $2400 to put in a used motor. GM basically said "tough sh*t" so I am saying fine. I have been a GM guy since before I could drive. I have owned 10 of them in the last twenty years and I can promise you this...THERE WILL NOT BE AN 11TH!!!! Just remember I may be only one person but I sure as hell know a lot of people. So just remember when you are sitting in the boardroom wondering why profits and market shares are dropping, remind yourself of all the little people like me that you screwed over. My next truck will probably be a Toyota. I live in your backyard GM. Too bad.

- , Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #2

May 252008

Trailblazer LT 4.2L L6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

Came home from dinner, 5/22/08. Went out Sunday 5/23/08 to go to the store, car would not start. Chevrolet has a bulletin # 03019, that says the engine is bad and may experience cracking of an engine cylinder bore liner. The warranty has been extended for 7 years (but of course no recall). I had the care towed to a local repair shop. They did a compression check - O - and found the bulletin and told me about it. They also pulled the plugs to do the check. Then had the car towed to Chevrolet dealer - all of a sudden it's not a bad engine, a piece of the sparkplug broke off and went into the cylinder. No warranty, they want $6500.00 for new engine. My garage says they pulled the plugs to do the test - nothing was broken. Chevy says thats like a battery, they go bad. I said the car has 42,000 miles, garage kept, and you're not to touch the plugs for 100,000 miles. Chevy says - Too bad $5000 for a sh*tty used engine. The car looks like it is new and now it's a piece of sh*t. They'll check into it and get back to me. Yeah - hold on - I'll bend over for you.

- , Lutz, FL, USA

problem #1

Dec 192007

Trailblazer LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

December 28, 2007

To GM Service Assistance,

Our 2002 Chevy Trailblazer is at Connell Chevrolet in Costa Mesa, CA having a new engine installed at a cost to us of approximately $7,000. The vehicle has 82,000 miles. We have been without the use of the vehicle since December 19 when it became inoperable going down our street. The only sign of trouble was a massive amount of steam coming out of the exhaust pipe. The heat sensor malfunctioned ($7000 malfunction). There were no warning lights, no bells, no alarms, no indications of any trouble...and then...nothing. My husband had the car towed that night to Connell Chevrolet.

On December 27th we visited Connell to get the full story. Apparently the head gasket blew again (see Attachment 1), and since the heat sensor wasn�t working properly, the engine overheated and blew (again, no sign of any trouble before this incident). Now we are without a car and have a $7,000 repair bill. No one I know has ever heard of two head gaskets going on a vehicle of this age and mileage. The first gasket went at 39,000 and the second at 82,000 miles....hmmmm. To us that indicates that there is a defect in this vehicle, and we want to know how you are going to assist us.

I am also attaching (Attachment 2) an interesting collection of Trailblazer Troubles I have collected over the last nine days while trying to figure out how this could have happened. We are first time GM buyers (we bought the vehicle brand new), but this will be our one and only if assistance is not received.


Maybe this is why the sensor didn�t function properly:

Make : CHEVROLET Model : TRAILBLAZER Year : 2002 Manufacturer : GENERAL MOTORS CORP.

Attachment 1 Hand delivered to Connell Chevrolet

Our 2002 Trailblazer overheated and got a new water pump here on 5/10/04. It had 39,000 miles, but less than 36 months, so Everett Morrow (who sold us the vehicle) goodwilled the repair.

While on vacation in Fallbrook, the car overheated and Paradise Chevrolet in Temecula said it shouldn�t be driven. They rented us a car for $50 a day on 6/5/04. Needless to say, our �vacation� didn�t end up being very fun. Car trouble is NEVER fun, but it�s much worse when you�re 75 miles from your home.

When we returned from our �vacation� we had a call telling us that my husband�s father had been taken by ambulance to the hospital and he was in ICU (he almost died).

My husband used the rental to visit his dad, but we can�t afford $50 a day when we already have a huge monthly payment of $614, so we brought back the rental on 6//8/04 incurring a bill of approximately $200, plus a day off of work for myself and my husband. We are both teachers and this is an especially difficult time to not be at work. It is many times more difficult for my husband as he teaches Severely Emotionally Disturbed children who are in 4th, 5th or 6th grade (one of them even has a Parole Officer) who get suspended/expelled when he�s not there.

Since 6/8/04 my husband has had to scrounge up rides to work in Anaheim - we are still without our car as of today. He has also spent much time on the phone trying to take care of this problem.

On 6/12/04 we received a questionnaire from Chevrolet about our satisfaction with the vehicle and the repair - long version : we are not at all happy. I can�t believe the trouble/angst this car problem has caused us on top of an already difficult time. I can�t believe we pay $614.39 a month for a car we haven�t even had for 8 days. I can�t believe we haven�t been offered more help with this problem. To make me happy, I want an extended warranty (I have a bad feeling that there will be many more problems with this vehicle) and I want a loaner car for my husband.

This is the first new car my husband has ever had (he�s 43). When he saw it he wanted it badly, but I had my doubts. I have always had a Japanese car with none of the problems I�ve seen him have. Before this, he had a Chevy Astro which had many, many repairs here at your shop (you can check your records on this). We decided to be good Americans and buy the Chevy Trailblazer. We put our trust in this company and your business. I hope there is a way that our trust can be regained. The repair was the head gasket, and GM stepped up and paid the bill.

Attachment 2 Reports from the Internet

I have a 2002 Chevy TB, 88,000 miles, extremely well maintained, but never the less, it needs a new engine! I noticed a "knock" that sounded as though it was a diesel, and 2 days later, it blew off a hose to the crankcase ventilation system (doesn't have a pcv valve)and lost almost all the engine oil. Needless to say, I could have cleared out any mosquito's within a 30 mile radius with the blue smoke coming from the exhaust! Took it to the dealer, diagnosis: to much crank case pressure. Solution: $7000.00 for a new engine! or a used engine for $2100.00 + $54 per hour labor at 4-5 days + any updated parts necessary etc...hell, if I had that much cash lying around I would invest in a new vehicle, and not a chevy! gotta tell ya, did my shopping around for an engine, found one for $1100.00 (off a crashed one), but I still have a call in to GM with a complaint. I have 8 pmts left and feel as though I am paying on a "DEAD HORSE"! I will never again buy a GM product! I hope that none of you ever have this problem!

The transmission went out on my vehicle 3000 miles after the extended warranty expired (bought it used). My transmission repair shop guy tells me this is the third one in 3 weeks they have worked on for the same problem. I went online(typed in 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer Transmission Problems & found quite a few websites. They were all full of complaints & stories from people whose transmissions had died. I called the Chevrolet Consumer Helpline. They told me that they were not aware that there was a problem with these transmissions & basically since it was out of warranty too bad. I asked her for the number for the NHTSA (they do the recalls). Unbelievably she gives it to me (1-888-327-4236). I called them, they asked a lot of questions & told me there had been a recall on these vehicles on Feb 25, 2003 concerning the transmissions. She suggested I call GM Corporate & talk to them. They informed me my vehicle had been serviced for that problem but they could not give me the date it was done since I was not the owner at that time. The guy at GM Corporate I talked to was Kyle . His direct number is 1-866-790-5600 ext 31503. He asked a lot of questions including where the vehicle was now & why I did not have it towed to the dealership. I told him that was because I know the dealership would not replace the transmission only replace the sun gear part & that it would happen again & I didn't want to have to have it done repeatedly. He said he would call my guy & check into how many complaints they had on this problem. Then he would call me back to let me know what they could do. He called back as I was leaving the transmission repair place & told me they wouldn't be able to help with the cost because they did nt consider it to be a defective part or problem on their part. He also said that they have had very few complaints on this.


General Motors has admitted that they have a problem with the 4L60E transmissions that they use in the Trailblazer, Envoy, and Bravada lines. The reaction sunshell and reaction sungears fail. These are faulty parts from the manufacturer and us as the consumers are having to pay for this. They admitted the problem in their TSB #00822B but don't want to help pay for or all of the repair cost. You can also find this problem on the NHTSA site under #10005474. Get the word out, GM needs to own up to this and help their customers.

I am happy I found this web page. I have been fighting with GM since 2003. I noticed my 2002 Chevy trailblazer was not running properly shortly after I bought it. I took it in for service under warranty and they did some minor adjustments and sent me on my way each time. When my vehicle reached 48,000 miles the engine started literally burning up oil and about to catch on fire. Not to mention my radio stations would just change from station to station on its own. Also, my tail lights would burn out every week because the back light panels were defective. The sockets for the lights were burning the plastic of the bulbs that were put in. I got a lemon law attorney after going back to the dealership because they told me the only way I could get out of the vehicle I was if I upgraded to a larger vehicle like a Tahoe or a Suburban. Other than that there was nothing that could be done. Also, the sales associates and GM service people, representatives and specialist became verbally insulting and nasty. The attorney did not get the situation fixed which was a new engine or new vehicle. Now in 2006 at 84000 miles I am paying for an SUV that has no engine and I am told I am responsible for a 5,000.00 engine and the cost of the engine being broken down. The strange thing is on August 3, 2006 I took the engine in for service and told the service department my engine light was coming on and running funny. I was told nothing was detected. There was a problem 200 miles ago and the only thing they had to do was reset and reprogram the power trans, but on August 11, 2006 the engine blew while I was driving down the street. While I was in motion the engine made a noise like I ran over a can or something and the car shut down and coasted a little ways. Posted by Marchelle Bryant on Aug 17, 2006 at 11:01 PM - Com

The Trailblazer LTZ blew its head gasket because the cylinder head was flawed when it was manufactured. They showed me and I have a 5 megapixel picture of it. The dealership got the area rep. involved and I did not have to pay anything for the repair. It was an additional $1,000 for a new cylinder head. I appreciate what the dealership did for us, but the Chevrolet "Customer [no] service" people were just awful.

Nice truck, but no confidence in this GM product now.

by taekat: May 20 '03 - Updated Jun 26 '03

Product Rating: 3.0 Recommended: No

Pros: strong engine, quiet and comfortable ride, looks Cons: GM domestic car "annoyances" CRACKED CYLINDER (see update) The Bottom Line: Would still recommend for good looks, power, and ride, but beware the domestic pitfalls


This SUV has the smoothest and quietest ride of any vehicle in class. It's strong and powerful and really moves when you want it to. It's roomy and When I first got this truck, it was 100% love. I was swearing up and down that from now on, I would buy only American cars, saying how Chevy had hit the mark. And they have, to a point. But when you pay almost $30,000 for a vehicle, you expect it to be right, minus a few minor things that always seem to accompany a new car. The following two problems were issues the day I drove the truck off the lot.

Problems that have cropped up since:

1) Interior dash goes dead at times and does not register speed, miles, RPMs, anything. Unlike other owners, my dash does not reset itself if you turn the truck off and back on. You just have to turn it off and wait. RECALL FOR THIS RECEIVED THE OTHER DAY (SEPARATE FROM THE CRACKED CYLINDER RECALL). CHEVY SAYS THEY WILL FIX AT NO COST TO ME.

5) "Roaring" at startup. This is not an engine idling a higher speed because it is cold. The problem goes away after the truck gets warm, but for those few minutes the truck sounds like a 747 about to take off. GM says it's the PS pump and completely normal, but no other vehicle that I've had or my friends and family have had has ever done this.

2002 Chevy Trailblazer engine problems Greg____ I just bought a '02 Trailblazer Lt and have started hearing some disturbing things about the new I6 engine. I have heard of the engines quitting due to a cylinder sleeve disintegrating. If anyone else has heard of or had this problem please let me know. Thanks, A very concerned owner Phil___ I have heard Chevy had a problem with a certain run of engines - they wont release the VIN #'s for obvious reasons. I understand the engine blocks were made somewhere else and are cracking? $10000 Cdn repair. I want to buy but im worried. ------------ Greg at 4/2/2002 3:10:10 PM

ERN___ Look on the edmund site on the BB some early buyers had their engine quit and chevy replace with a new one. Seems a couple thousand of the early one's built had some engine problem form the factory. The say the one built after dec.2001 have no malfunction. I HOPE SO MINE IS A 01/02 BUILD DATE ------------ Greg at 4/2/2002 I had contacted GM during first three months of ownership because I found out that 02,TB was having engine failure in # 1 cyl. Gm advised me at the time that a sleeve was not pressed properly in some engines at a plant different from where my engine was manufactured.

Although I'm an Envoy owner, I'm posting this here because the TB has the same transmission.

At 68,000 miles my 02 Envoy transmission failed as a result of faulty sunshell gear. Failure occurred as I was merging into traffic..could have been very bad, but luckily there was a median so I could pull over. My local dealer diagnosed the problem over the phone...tells you how aware they are of the issue. Next day they called with an estimate of $1100.00. I called GM assistance (1-800-790-5600) and they've offered 50%. I have to pay the whole bill and then have to go through the hassle of sending in paperwork (original repair order, proof of payment, & proof of ownership) which I thought was bogus because I was going to a GM dealer to have repairs made...but since this multi-million dollar company doesn't have an online claims center I have no choice.

In the event GM issues a recall I'd get reimbursed the remaining amount. The only way we'll see a recall is if everyone reports their issue to the National Highway Transpiration & Safety administration.

Everyone needs to call GM and just fight for it........ask for a specialist........dont deal with the first person who answers the phone and know what you are talking about when you call them. let them know you did your research and this is a defective part, tell them you went on the internet and couldn't believe how many people had the same exact problem you did.....its called a silent recall!!!!when they tell you to take it to a GM dealer for a diagnosis tell them fine but that they are paying for it.....if you bought your truck at a "family" dealership you may have better luck than others.....i do believe that was why i got mine fixed for free and by the next day.

When a head gasket fails, there is usually a reason why. The most common cause is usually overheating, often as a result of a coolant leak, or a thermostat or fan failure. Even so, the causes for head gasket failure can usually be lumped into three categories:

* Design issues with the engine or gasket (hard to seal engine, thermal stress created by bimetal engine or weak gasket design). * Installation errors (head or block not clean, smooth or flat, wrong surface finish, using the wrong bolt sequence, procedure or torque specifications when tightening the head bolts, reusing stretched, damaged or dirty bolts, using a sealer on a gasket that does not require a sealer, etc.). * Operating conditions that overstress the gasket and cause it to fail (preignition, detonation and overheating).


CHECK THE ELECTRICAL PANEL - no sign of trouble on gauges

Am presently driving a 2003 trailblazer.(my new one) and i have not had the same problem. I've heard that there was a bad batch of the I6 in the first year of production with aluminum cylinder sleeves cracking.

The Secret Warranty Understanding After Warranty Assistance By Neil G. Chirico

Have you walked under any ladders lately? Broken any mirrors? Maybe you've had an expensive part fail on your vehicle just after the auto warranty expired? It could be that your luck is about to change.

Certainly, many of us have been frustrated with the thought of having to pay for a part that, had it failed a little sooner, would have been covered under warranty. Well, think again, because you may have a lucky penny in your pocket that you didn't know about. You may be eligible for a little-known program called after warranty assistance, or the "secret warranty" as some have dubbed it, offered through some vehicle manufacturers to help in exactly these situations.

After warranty assistance (AWA) is offered to customers who pursue help in paying for repairs that are past the standard factory warranty period. AWA cannot be used if the customer has an extended warranty available that covers the repair. Time and/or mileage restrictions exist with AWA just like any other auto warranty and if you are outside of the parameters, you are not eligible for assistance. For some programs, only original owners are eligible. It's no surprise that not every customer is going to be entitled to coverage. Not all of the manufacturers offer this type of program. However, based on our experience several manufacturers do have some sort of program in place.

There are several key factors the car dealer will examine before offering assistance. First and foremost, the dealer will look at the maintenance records for the vehicle, and specifically, the component in question to ensure that the vehicle has been maintained properly. We should point out here that in order to get the manufacturer to offer any assistance, they want to see that you are a loyal, dealership-oriented, maintenance-conscience customer. By offering AWA, the manufacturer hopes to keep you as a loyal customer who will remember this assistance the next time you purchase a new vehicle.

Before you say "hey, that's not fair" keep this in mind: why should the dealer offer any help on the manufacturer's behalf to customers that are not loyal to the dealer when having their vehicle maintenance performed? If you service your vehicle through an independent or aftermarket facility, what does the manufacturer owe you in terms of assistance? Manufacturers cannot control the quality of the parts used or work performed when you service your vehicle through aftermarket service facilities. Also remember that the treatment you receive as a customer has a great deal to do with you being a loyal customer to the car dealer and the manufacturer.

Once it has been determined that you are eligible for AWA, a decision is made regarding the extent to which the dealer and/or the manufacturer will participate. In some rare cases you may end up paying nothing for the repairs. Much more likely is that you, the auto dealer, and the manufacturer will split the bill.

With smaller repair bills a two-way split, with either the car dealer or manufacturer not participating, is common. Larger repairs will likely involve all three contributing a portion to the final repair bill.

The split in many situations may not be an equal dollar amount between all of the participants involved. Usually the customer pays either the same or less than the other parties. In some cases the customer may pay only for the replacement parts with the dealer picking up the labor (often the higher of the two costs). The dealer is the one who decides how the split is completed and what the split involves, and this is typically done with the vehicle owner coming out favorably.

As you can see, loyalty to an auto dealer could pay off in a situation where you are outside the range of the factory warranty and have been a faithful, dealer-service-oriented customer. You will most likely have to ask to get assistance, but isn't it worth your time to inquire about the possibility of AWA? The worst that could happen is you are declined assistance.

Now that you know the possibility of a secret warranty exists, aren't you feeling luckier already?

- , Huntington Beach, CA, USA

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