It’s not an overstatement to say that the Corvette is one of the most iconic American cars in history.
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While the model has seen a lot of transformation over its 70 years of production, its consistently sleek design, top-notch performance chops, and hairpin handling have earned it a permanent spot in the hearts of car enthusiasts.
But the car’s evolution has seen both highs and lows, and you may be wondering what the most reliable years for the Corvette are. Read on to find our research on the model below.
Note: we looked mainly at the last 25 years of Corvettes to judge their reliability and features. A vintage Corvette model can certainly offer its own perks, but will, on average, require a lot more maintenance and restoration compared to a more recent model.
The Best And Worst Years For Chevrolet Corvette Are:
Over recent years, the best Corvette models include those from 2018, 2009, 2000 and 1997. These years tend to have great features and high reliability. Years to avoid include 2017, 2015, 2008 and 2005, which have some of the worst performance records and most driver complaints.
What Chevrolet Corvette Years Are The Most Reliable?
The 2018 model is a perfect example of what the Corvette does best.
It was lauded for both its performance capabilities and its ease of driving, finding the ideal balance between a strong, zippy ride and interior comfort and convenience.
The 2018 also features the sharper and more aggressive exterior styling that has defined the newer model years, so if the edgier design is up your alley, you’re sure to love the look.
Besides a few minor tweaks, the 2018 model didn’t receive many updates from previous models.
This means, however, that Chevrolet had had the chance to perfect its most recent additions – the number of complaints dropped sharply for the 2018 model, down to 47 from more than 200 in 2017.
The model also experienced zero recalls, and that level of reliability and performance lands it a spot on our best-of list.
2009 saw the revival of the Corvette ZR1, which hadn’t been in production since 1995.
The model featured a supercharged new engine, an LS9 V8 with a whopping 683 horsepower, a jump of over 100 horsepower from the previous model.
The Corvette is a very popular car for road trips.
This power is evident in every maneuver of the vehicle, and pushed the Corvette into direct competition with legendary makes like Lamborghini and Aston Martin.
The ZR1 could do 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds, and had a top speed of 205 miles per hour.
With stats like that, it’s no wonder that the 2009 Corvette tends to pop up on best-of lists across the web.
The 2009 and following ZR1 model years also had relatively few mechanical quirks, showcasing some of Chevrolet’s best work when it comes to quality and design.
The 2002 model was right near the end of the fifth generation, and had accumulated all the improvements made to the Corvette since 1997.
In 2002, the Z06 model was equipped with more strength as well as a lighter frame, giving it an ideal power-to-weight ratio.
The new design also led to improved rigidity and suspension, leading to a superior driving experience.
Drivers also gave the vehicle an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars on the Edmunds review site, with many praising its comfortable ride and long-term reliability, even after 15 or 20 years of driving.
The 1997 model definitely deserves a mention here, as it was the beginning of a new era for the Corvette.
Following a decline in sales over the early 90s, the vehicle received an entirely new redesign, planting the seeds for the sixth and seventh generations.
The model featured vastly improved dynamics and weight distribution, reaching a new speed record of 176 miles per hour.
It also introduced new features to prioritize passenger security and comfort, such as active handling and increased shock absorption.
The model’s long-term reliability record isn’t bad, either, with fewer than 200 official complaints over more than 20 years.
Considering all the overhaul that the vehicle received, that’s a pretty impressive number.
What Chevrolet Corvette Years Should You Avoid?
While the 2017 model didn’t see a dip in overall performance, it did have a few downsides that many other years were immune to. The model received criticism for its
The 2017 model received 221 NHTSA complaints, a peak in recent years. An overwhelming number of complaints had to do with the model’s tires, which tend to have manufacturing defects that lead to cracked rims and a loss of tire pressure.
The problem often occurred at fewer than 15,000 miles, with many drivers noticing a slow leak in one or more of their tires.
Left unaddressed, the issue could lead to complete tire failure and potential damage to the car if the failure occurred while driving at high speeds.
Considering that most Corvette drivers are looking for top performance capabilities and excellent power from their vehicles, the low-quality tires were a bit of a letdown.
Most drivers said the cracks were inexplicable, and occurred under normal driving conditions.
Despite this, no recalls have been issued addressing the defects in the rims. The repairs could run drivers between $800 and $1,300 for a single wheel.
The vehicle also experienced a few issues with its power steering system, with several drivers reporting instances where their steering locked up, making it difficult to control the car.
A recall was issued concerning this problem, affecting nearly 30,000 vehicles.
We have more here on the Chevrolet models with most recalls.
The 2015 model may have only 53 complaints on the NHTSA, but a large number have to do with serious issues such s problems with the transmission and drivetrain.
Many drivers report issues with:
- slow shifting through gears,
- as well as occasional stalls.
Often there would be a delay when accelerating, with the vehicle responding slowly to the driver’s input.
Many drivers pointed out the potential dangers of such slow acceleration, particularly when accelerating from a full stop into moving traffic.
Again, the problem often occurred at low mileages, sometimes within the first year or so of driving.
Chevrolet issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) addressing the problem, which recommended a full transmission flush and refill.
However, this solution didn’t always solve the issues completely.
Some drivers even ended up having to replace their entire transmission, a fix that could cost around $7,000.
These problems, along with four recalls concerning potentially defective airbag systems, lands the 2015 Corvette a spot on our list of years to avoid.
The 2008 has a worrying number of complaints on the NHTSA site, with 543 reported at the time of writing.
The complaints cover a wide range of issues, but a majority have to do with the Corvette’s fuel system, with many drivers stating that their vehicles were prone to gas leaks.
The culprit is most often a faulty fuel pump, which can crack and lead fuel and fuel vapors to escape from the engine.
Besides causing an annoyingly strong smell of gasoline, the problem can potentially allow gas to leak into the exhaust and catch fire.
Despite the common occurrence of the problem and its implications for the vehicle’s safety, GM hasn’t issued a recall concerning the 2008’s fuel pump.
For some drivers, the issue appeared shortly after their vehicle fell out of warranty, leaving them to cover the costs, which could run up to $2,500.
Needless to say, this is one potential problem you won’t want to have to deal with, so make sure to steer clear of the 2008 model.
The sixth generation of the Corvette debuted in 2005, and Chevrolet reportedly wanted to focus on “refining” the vehicle rather than executing a complete redesign.
However, things got off to a bit of a rough start with the initial model year.
The model received over 500 NHTSA complaints, along with 6 official recalls and 4 safety investigations.
The main area of contention was the electrical system, with many vehicles experiencing problems with the exterior lights and the electronic stability control system.
In some cases, the vehicles automatic handling kicked in unexpectedly, applying the brakes or initiating lane changes without warning.
While the problem often occurred at lower speeds, it was still a frightening experience for many drivers.
The root of the malfunction was likely the steering wheel position sensor, where an interrupted signal could lead to the veering issues. A recall for the defect affected more than 40,000 cars.
The model also tended to suffer from structural issues, with reports of the top roof panel becoming separated from the body of the car.
GM also issued a recall for this problem – an especially good thing, since in many cased the entire roof needed to be replaced.
What Are Some Typical Problems With The Chevrolet Corvette Models?
We have a full list of problems across the Corvette models here.
Some of the most common problems experienced in recent years by the Corvette include:
- Bent wheels and defective rims
- Faulty fuel pump and gasoline smell
- Electrical system malfunctions
- Transmission and power train
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.