Causes of Stuttering Chevrolet Trailblazer Automatic Transmission

Causes of Stuttering Chevrolet Trailblazer Automatic Transmission – Automatic transmission is already worth mentioning as a full replacement for manual transmission. Moreover, there is pressure from environmentalists who demand energy efficiency for vehicles. Then automatic transmission is the solution. The problem is the automatic transmission turns out to require us to do maintenance that is not cheap. And this also happens to the automatic transmission of the Chevrolet Trailblazer.

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The Trailblazer is a large SUV from the Chevrolet manufacturer. This SUV started on the market in 2012 with a choice of 2.5L and 2.8L Duramax engines. Then in 2017, the Chevrolet Trailblazer issued a facelifted version with only a choice of a 2.5L engine and 5-speed automatic transmission (AT).

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Causes of Stuttering Chevrolet Trailblazer Automatic Transmission

After several years of use, many Trailblazer owners have complained about the automatic transmission. Most of them feel a jolt when driving. Not only that, the condition is further exacerbated because when a jolt occurs, the engine feels less powerful. This condition almost happens to everyone, but the most important thing is the 2017 trailblazer and above.

We check some cases. From the results of our observations, we find that physically the condition of the automatic oil looks normal. Meanwhile, when we checked using a scanner, we didn’t find any DTC on the automatic transmission system. Even inspecting each car, we meet the same thing.

However, based on the findings in the field and information from GM, the Chevrolet Trailblazer especially in 2017 and above there is damage to the check ball on the automatic transmission valve body. Usually, along with the use of the check ball vehicle made of plastic, it will experience wear and tear. This wear can cause fluid flow in the automatic transmission valve body to be disrupted. The effect is that the pull of the automatic transmission becomes sluggish and less powerful.

Quality or Usage Issues?

We will try to answer based on our analysis of several cases. First, we have to agree that this case is mostly for 2017 and above. This means that not all Trailblazer automatic transmissions experience this problem. Second, we must agree that the use for 2017 and above means that the vehicle has reached 5 years of use.

Stuttering Chevrolet Trailblazer Automatic Transmission
Image source: The Daily Drive

From the manufacturer’s side, we already know that the damage comes from the check ball. The check ball is made of plastic. This means it is a plastic ball consisting of several plastic balls inside the transmission. The plastic ball works all the time while the transmission is working so it will always have friction with other components which are actually metal. If the vehicle owner always obeys the rules of an automatic oil change, the plastic ball is less likely to wear out. So, if this continues, the quality of the check ball is not good. And this problem comes from the manufacturer.

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Meanwhile, if it turns out that the vehicle owner is lazy to carry out routine maintenance, the transmission oil will experience a decrease in its ability to lubricate. Even worse if the transmission oil that is in there is not enough than the manufacturer specified. That is, wear comes from a lack of oil and transmission oil capability. In this case, we can confirm that the plastic ball is experiencing wear and tear and we conclude that this is the fault of the vehicle owner.

In the two conditions above, we get the fact that many automatic transmissions experience this. If it’s the user’s fault, it’s hard for us to believe that there is no routine in maintaining the vehicle. So, it is clear that the problem comes from the ability of the material in the transmission, namely the check ball which has poor quality.

Troubleshooting Check Ball Damage Automatic Transmission Trailblazer

Now we know that the root cause of the Trailblazer automatic transmission is a worn check ball. From here we will find out how to solve the problem. And this is a technical problem, not an electrical problem so the solution is a technical replacement. We won’t be able to solve it just by changing the oil or doing an error data scanner in the transmission module.

Stuttering Chevrolet Trailblazer Automatic Transmission
The image above shows the valve body on a Trailblazer. If you do the disassembly of the valve body yourself, then pay attention to each of the following work steps. In addition, if you think, the components are too many, please take pictures to make it easier for you to return to all positions when reassembling. Replace all check balls even if you think that only partially damaged – Stuttering Chevrolet Trailblazer Automatic Transmission.

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The solution to this problem is to replace the check ball contained in the valve body. There are 7 or 8 check balls in this automatic transmission. Here are the steps for replacing the Trailblazer check ball valve body.

  1. The first step is to drain the oil from the automatic transmission by opening the automatic oil reservoir.
  2. Next, remove the TCM shock and the TCM (transmission control module) lock.
  3. Remove the star bolt to remove the TCM and valve body at once.
  4. After the TCM and Body valve is released, then separate the TCM and Body valve.
  5. After the valve body is separated, remove the valve body bolt so that the valve body can be split. Be careful when opening the valve body, don’t let the check ball fall apart.
  6. Pay attention to the position of the check ball and replace the check ball with a new one. The easiest way is to video it as a document in case you forgot a position when you reassembled it.
  7. Carefully reassemble the valve body and TCM.
  8. Reinstall the body valve along with the TCM to the car.
  9. Replace the removed components in the reverse order of the disassembly process.
  10. Scan and do a test drive.


After replacing the check ball, the transmission should return to normal. Don’t forget to re-scan and clear error data for TCM. If you forget, it often appears that the transmission is even more damaged. Therefore, a careful inspection should be carried out after you assemble and reassemble the transmission to the car.

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