How many miles can a Chevy Malibu last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand Malibu, 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 Malibu lasts between 230.000 – 250.000 miles. A Malibu needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.28 times per year, with an 11% chance of the problem being severe. Furthermore, Chevy Malibu owners spend an average of $532 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 Malibu can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a Malibu 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 Malibu Last?
To know this, we had to do some research. First, we went to autotrader.com and searched how many Chevy Malibus were on sale in the US. In total, we found 12.634 Malibus. Then, we divided these Malibus into groups based on the miles they had driven.
In doing so, we get a first understanding of how many vehicles have passed the 150,000 miles mark. In the case of the Malibu, we learned that 4.76% of the sample size, or 601 individual cars, had a mileage of 150,000 or higher. This is a good number, given that, after analyzing more than 100+ models on this blog, we expect a percentage between 3 – 5%. The Malibu ends up on the upper end of this range.
|Amount Of Miles||Percentage Of Cars|
|Cars With 150.000+||4.76%|
|Cars With 100.000 – 149.000||19.06%|
|Cars With 45.000 – 99.999||60.94%|
|Cars With 0 – 44.999||15.24%|
However, this number merely gives us an initial understanding of the reliability of the Malibu. It’s also essential to compare the Malibu to other vehicles to see how reliable it truly is and how many miles you can expect to get out of it.
How Reliable Is The Chevy Malibu Compared To Its Competitors?
The table below shows the statistics of mileage comparisons between the Chevy Malibu and its competitors. After our research, we found that the Chevy Malibu has an excellent potential mileage compared to its competitors.
During our research on Autotrader, we found that most Malibus with higher mileage were sold around the 240,000 miles mark. After this point, very few models seemed to be available, suggesting that very few pass this mark. However, we did find a couple of Malibus with 300.000+ miles, with the highest one having 380.000 miles on the odometer.
|Model||Sample Size||Expected Mileage||Highest Mileage|
When we then compare the Malibu to its competitors, we see that the Malibu is one of the most long-lasting vehicles in its category. Only the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord slightly beat it in terms of potential mileage. However, the Malibu beats the Optima and the Mazda 6 with ease.
All of this seems to suggest that the Malibu is a reliable vehicle that can reach mileage that’s expected from a commuter car. However, this is certainly not the end of our analysis.
After discussing Chevy Malibu’s performance in terms of reliability when compared to its competitors, it’s also necessary to look up its reliability when compared to other Chevy models, as this will give a clearer understanding of the car’s potential and also give us an insight into the quality standards of Chevys.
So, to do this, we researched the other Chevys and compared them with Chevy Malibu. The following explains the potential mileage of several different Chevy models. We find here that the Malibu is as reliable, if not slightly more reliable, than other Chevy’s.
The Malibu is on par with the Impala and beats other sedans like the Cruze, Cobalt, and Volt in terms of potential mileage. Furthermore, it can hold its own compared to the SUVs and the pickup truck that Chevy sells. All of this speaks in favor of the Malibu.
Now that we have discussed the comparison of the Chevy Malibu with its competitors and other Chevrolet models, it’s time to discuss the maintenance cost per year. For this, we used Repairpal.com and retrieved the statistics and data, which show the average costs per year.
First, let’s look at the average maintenance cost per year of Malibu. We found that, typically, you can expect to pay between $450 – $610 per year in annual maintenance costs depending on the year of Malibu you have. Overall, we would have to say this is not incredibly cheap, but it’s also not highly unaffordable.
|Model Year||Annual Maintenance Cost|
Owners’ Reviews Of The Malibu’s Reliability
Besides knowing all the data, it’s, of course, also essential to see how owners experience the Malibu. For this, we went to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Truecar.com. All three platforms have gathered hundreds of reviews from actual car owners. We summarized our findings in the image below.
During our research, we found a set of mixed reviews from owners of the Chevy Malibu. The differences in review mainly had to do with what generation of the car the owners had. The seventh-generation (2007 – 2012) and eighth-generation (2013 – 2015) got much more positive feedback than the ninth generation (2015 – present). Not only will it last longer, but it also seems to be cheaper to maintain compared to many other Chevy models.
The ratings displayed in the image apply to the ninth generation of the Malibu. We see here that, in some cases, the car barely gets a three out of five stars rating. The reason for these low ratings is summarized well by this 2020 Malibu owners:
Unfortunately, this car is a representation of Chevrolet in 2020. I’ve owned Chevys since 2010 (4 of them) and every year I replaced one with another, the built quality and sturdiness has gone down dramatically as the options have gone up in numbers (a bit) but with unimpressive punches.
(…) All in all, it is a pretty looking car that feel like it was built with saving pennies from top to bottom in mind more than anything else.
It also feels like there was too much emphasis in having a big empty space so the car feels big, which it does, but you end up with a car that feels empty. – 2020 Malibu ownerSource
On the other hand, we found that the seventh and eighth generation of the Malibu got much more positive ratings; anywhere between 4 – 4.5 out of 5 stars seems to be the norm for this generation. These generations gathered much more reviews like the one written below by a 2014 owner.
I bought my Malibu LT ECO in 2019 with around 67k on the dash. The only thing I’ve had to replace was both batteries which is normal. Only thing I’ve had to do is change the oil and brake pads.
The cars been very reliable for me. Ive driven the car in the hot Texas heat and it hasn’t skipped a beat. As far as quality goes, the car has enough options to be acceptable even in 2021. – 2014 Malibu onwerSource
Now it’s time to dive deeper into the specifics of the Chevy Malibu. Is this truly a reliable car? We can already tell you that this is where things start to become exciting and, unfortunately, take a slight turn for the worst.
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.
Ninth-Generation (2016 – Present)
Especially the 2016 – 2018 model years of this generation are problematic and have hundreds of complaints. The main complaint in these models is the loss of speed control. However, more complaints about this problem show signs of stalled engines, shaking, low idling and engines catching on fire.
The loss of speed control is caused by the fact that these cars are equipped with defective accelerator pedal position sensors and/or faulty electronic throttle controls. Eventually, owners end up paying for a new accelerator pedal themselves because GM has refused to recall the vehicles, which is one of the reasons a lawsuit was started.
Other problems with this generation include the car not recognizing that the transmission has been shifted into park, which means owners can’t turn their vehicles off, and more than ten separate recalls for more minor things such as welding problems, missing bolts, and seat belt retractors that don’t function. Again, most of these problems, if not all, occurred in the 2016 – 2018 model years.
Eighth-Generation (2013 – 2015)
Issues occurring due to the electrical system are this generation’s most common problems. Owners have complained about two significant issues caused by a faulty electrical system: complete power loss and complete loss of power steering. Eventually, most owners found that malfunctioning batteries or defective cables caused these problems, and replacing them helped a lot.
However, these certainly weren’t all symptoms. Other electrical glitches include a turn signal switch failure which activates the hazards instead of the left or right indicator, incorrect fuel gauge readings, instrument panel lighting failures, and poor terminal contact at BCM connectors.
There have also been reports of ignition failure due to a passcode sensor error and a malfunction of the ignition module. Taken separately, these seem like minor issues, but the number and type of electrical problems significantly affect the Malibu’s safety and reliability.
Seventh-Generation (2007 – 2012)
Steering problems are so frequently reported in this generation that it seems impossible. Hundred of complaints in this generation are related to a complete loss of steering. Eventually, GM issued a recall under number 14E044000 in which they recalled 2004 – 2012 models because: “Affected steering shafts may have a yoke that inadequately supports the u-joint bearing resulting in a premature failure.”
Furthermore, the Chevy Malibu has had severe transmission problems over the years. This is especially true when it comes to the 2010 model. According to Carcomplaint.com, most transmission problems occurred in the 2010 and 2011 models. Owners complain about rough shifting, which quickly turns into complete transmission failure. In most cases, GM didn’t help, and the whole transmission had to be replaced.
All things considered, is the Chevy Malibu a car worth getting?
Overall, our research shows that Chevy Malibus can go well beyond the 200,000 miles mark. Furthermore, owners of seventh and eighth generations of the Malibu are enthusiastic about their cars and consistently rate them 4 – 4.5 out of 5 stars.
However, there are some model years to watch out for. The 2016 – 2018 model years of the Malibu are the least reliable and have significant problems with complete power loss, built-quality related issues, and numerous recalls.
Furthermore, the 2013 – 2015 model years also had electrical problems, although these seemed to be more easily fixed. However, it’s worth it to keep an eye out for these problems if you’re in the market for one. Finally, the 2004 – 2012 model years had significant issues with the steering shaft that simply fell apart and caused a complete loss of steering for these owners.
We would suggest that you go for a 2019 model year Malibu if you want a newer car that has almost no problems. Furthermore, if you want a model that’s a bit older, we would say a 2015 model year is most likely your best bet because these suffered from relatively few electrical problems and almost no mechanical issues.
Are you in the market for this Chevy? Don’t forget to check out our extensive list of the largest Chevy dealers per state!
Proper maintenance is required to use the Chevy Malibu to its full extent. Knowing what kind of maintenance is needed to keep your Chevy in great shape is essential. Here you can find the regular maintenance that you need to carry out.
- Rotate tires
- Change engine oil and filter
It would be best if these are done at every 7,500 miles to have better mileage, and the car remains in its utmost performance.
- Replace the passenger compartment air filter
- Inspect the tires
- See if there’s any prevailing rust
- Check for any fluid leaks
- Inspect the evaporative control system
- Change the automatic transmission fluid
- Replace engine air cleaner filter
- Replace air intake filter
- Replace/Inspect spark plugs and ignition coils
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!