How many miles can a Chevy Cobalt last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand Cobalt, that’s a very reasonable question to ask. After all, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck. In this blog, we’ll look at this question in great detail but first, let’s start with a quick answer:
On average, a Chevy Cobalt lasts between 190.000 – 210.000 miles. A Cobalt needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.19 times per year, with a 9% chance of the problem being severe. Furthermore, Chevy Cobalt owners spend an average of $453 per year on repair costs.
Having said that, we’re certainly not done. Below, we’ll explain in more detail how many miles a Chevy Cobalt can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a Cobalt costs annually and which production years are the most and least expensive. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have. Read on!
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How Many Miles Can A Chevy Cobalt Last?
To answer how many miles a Chevy Cobalt lasts, we needed to do market research about the Cobalt. For this, we went to autotrader.com and selected all Cobalts available for sale in the United States. In this case, we ended up with a sample size of 305 cars.
Then, we divided this sample size into groups based on the mileage they had driven. Since the Cobalt was discontinued in 2010, all available models have had time to reach a decent mileage which should give us a clear indication of what we can expect from this car.
We learned that 25.27% of this group (77 cars) had reached a mileage of more than 150,000. Furthermore, 70% had reached the 100,000 miles or higher mark. This gives us a first indication that Cobalts can reach higher mileage, given that we got a decent percentage of them for sale in the 150,000+ bracket.
|Amount Of Miles
|Percentage Of Cars
|Cars With 150.000+
|Cars With 100.000 – 149.000
|Cars With 45.000 – 99.999
|Cars With 0 – 44.999
But this is just the first test; we have plenty more. We usually expect a minimum of 3% to reach the 150,000 miles mark for us to say it’s a reliable car, but the Cobalt has 25.27%. This is mainly because they are old, and all of them have been running for more than a decade.
Now, this test doesn’t give us a complete understanding of the potential mileage of a Cobalt. Therefore, let’s get to our further rigorous tests to decide whether or not it’s reliable.
How Reliable Is A Chevy Cobalt Compared To Its Competitors?
The next test on our list is the comparison test. If we look at the numbers that we gathered on autotrader.com, we see quite a difference between the Cobalt and the rest of the competitors. The question we have then is if the Cobalt is still a good option? Well, maybe. There are many factors that you have to consider before you make your final choice.
When we compare the Cobalt to its main competitors, it performs decently. However, it’s beaten by cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and the Hyundai Elantra. However, these are newer cars that weren’t discontinued, and therefore their sample size is skewed by the fact that newer cars have better reliability.
However, if we compare the Cobalt to another car that was discontinued around the same period (we’re talking about the Mitsubishi Eclipse), then the Cobalt is a serious competitor. Ultimately, we feel it’s safe to conclude that the Cobalt is a reliable car that can achieve higher mileage quite easily. Furthermore, for its age group, it’s a strong competitor.
Chevys are generally reliable, but it’s essential to know where the Cobalt stands regarding its peers. After writing articles about each Chevy (and doing the research for each one in the same way), we found out that the Cobalt ends up on the lower end of the spectrum when we compare it to all other Chevy’s.
However, this is not to say the Cobalt is an unreliable car. For example, when we compare the Cobalt to the Volt and the Cruze (both sedans), we see they’re all pretty close in terms of their expected lifespan. Furthermore, Chevy’s line-up mainly consists of large SUVs and a pickup which makes for an unfair comparison because these cars are built for extreme mileage.
Overall, we think it’s only fair to conclude that the Cobalt seems to be a reliable car and that Chevy, when we look at its complete line-up, definitely makes cars that are built to last.
How Much Does Maintenance Cost Per Year?
To answer how much a Cobalt costs in terms of maintenance, we went to Repairpal.com. Here, we gathered data about each single model year and what maintenance for these model years typically costs. Overall, $453 is the average cost for annual maintenance of a Cobalt.
However, we have to say there are some things to consider here. The main thing is that the Cobalt is well over a decade old, so maintenance costs these days aren’t the same as when the car first came out. The data suggests that the Cobalt has never been an expensive car to maintain. Furthermore, given that the car is older now, costs are unlikely to have risen much.
|Annual Maintenance Cost
If you’re in the market for a Cobalt, the younger 2009 – 2010 models are undoubtedly your best choice. Not only do these cars have the most life left, but they were also at the end of their generation which means most problems that occurred throughout the generation have been solved.
Owners’ Reviews Of The Cobalts Reliability
Besides knowing all the data, it’s, of course, also essential to see how owners experience the Cobalt. For this, we went to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Everyauto.com. All three platforms have gathered hundreds of reviews from actual car owners. We summarized our findings in the image below.
We found that car owners generally describe the Cobalt as a reliable car that gets the job done. As with many other Chevy vehicles, it’s also budget-friendly when it comes to regular maintenance. Furthermore, the price point at which it was sold was great for people who weren’t looking to drop significant money on a commuter car.
On the other hand, there have been some Cobalts that have had problems, including some electrical issues and unwanted noises. However, overall the car seems to have given most people what they expected.
(…) To be clear, it is a cheap car – the interior is not fancy, it comes with very few features and it does not have the performance of the 250hp sports car. However, it does get from A to B reliably and I have had no maintenance issues and my actual mileage is around 34 mpg. (…)Source
When trying to find a good Cobalt, you should know the commonly occurring problems to save some expensive repairs. Furthermore, you will know what to look out for and what to expect while looking for one.
NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.
The ignition would get stuck in the lock cylinder and wouldn’t come out. This problem is caused by the fault of one of the connections supposed to let the system know that the transmission is, in fact, in neutral, and you are good to go so you can safely take the key out. When this connection goes bad, the signal is no longer there, and the key will be stuck. Fixing this problem will cost around $120.
Misfiring Can Occur
This isn’t a common problem, but it can occur these days because the Cobalt is typically an older car. The culprit here is that the ignition coils require replacement every 60,000 miles for better performance and long-lasting reliability. The cost of replacing the ignition coils is about $330.
Timing Chain Can Break Prematurely
This is again one item that requires replacement, typically after 100,000 miles. If you’re in the market for a Cobalt, the condition of the timing chain is worth checking. This is because replacing timing chains can cost $700 – $1,000, which is something to factor in when buying a second-hand Cobalt.
In the case of the Cobalt, a bad tensioner is usually the culprit when the chain breaks. If you hear rattling noises from the engine, this is most likely the timing chain and/or tensioner.
Cobalts have a problem with a loosely fitting gas cap which makes the check engine light illuminate. If you spot a check engine light, it’s worth checking if your vehicle’s gas cap is sealing the gas tank correctly. If not, buying a new gas cap will only set you back $20.
Transmission Won’t Last
One final problem is that the transmission of the Cobalt has had some issues. Specifically, we’re talking about problems with the shifter cable, which seems to give out first. Trouble getting the transmission into gear is one of the most common symptoms of a failing shifter cable. Replacing a shifter cable will cost around $200.
Whether or not it’s worth buying a Cobalt depends on your situation. One of the main things to consider is that the Cobalts on the market these days are old cars. This means they are cheap to buy but also won’t last you a long time. Assuming you can find a model with less than 100,000 miles, you can probably expect another 4 – 5 years of driving before it goes out.
However, in those 4 – 5 years, you can most likely expect a car that has very few problems and is affordable to maintain. A Cobalt can be great if those are the criteria you’re after. However, don’t expect anything in terms of comfort because that’s never what the Cobalt was designed to provide.
Are you in the market for this Chevy? Don’t forget to check out our extensive list of the largest Chevy dealers per state!
This is an old car, so you should expect rust, but make sure to carry out preventive measures and don’t let the rust eat away your Cobalt.
- This is where most of the manufacturers recommend changing engine oil and oil filter, but you should consider changing them before 7,000 miles to get the best performance and long-lasting reliability.
- Check the brakes
- Tire rotation
- Check for any rust
- Lubricate the components that require lubrication; it will reduce the rattles.
- Lubricate the sunroof seals
- Check for any electronic issue
- See the condition of the spark plugs; given that this car is already in high mileage, you would need to change the spark plugs sooner or later if the previous owner hasn’t done it yet.
- Check the brakes
- Rotate the tires
- Check the suspension components
- Check the transmission fluid level
- Inspect the timing chain; if it does have a fault, you will hear a lot of rattles from the engine.
- Inspect the PCV system along with the EGR valve and the hoses for any leaks or clogs; usually, these are the culprits in making your car have poor idle and then lose power.
- Coolant replacement
- Drive belt replacement
- Transmission service
- Cabin filter replacement
- Brake pad/rotor replacement
- Brake fluid replacement if necessary
- Tire replacement
- Change the ignition coils
- Replace the spark plugs
- Replace the fuel injectors
- Replace the fuel filter
- Replace the connecting harness for the spark plugs if necessary
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!