Family sedans are hardly cars you would consider if you wanted something both stylish and functional. However, the Chevrolet Malibu sedan does both at an affordable price.
Since such qualities are useless if the car doesn’t last long, we dive into the longevity of the Chevrolet Malibu to see how durable these models are.
Here is the short answer to how long the Chevrolet Malibu lasts:
Chevrolet Malibus are known to last between 150,000 to 200,000 miles. Barring any unforeseen problems, your Chevrolet Malibu should be on the road for up to 13 years or more with proper maintenance if you drive an average of 15,000 miles per year.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Chevrolet Malibu?
Family sedans are great mainly because they offer increased cargo capacity, comfortable cabins and affordability. If you want a family sedan that will last long, the Chevrolet Malibu is an excellent choice.
The Chevrolet Malibu can provide over 200,000 miles of service, provided it receives regular maintenance.
According to owners, servicing your Malibu at intervals will preserve its good condition and ensure you get high mileage out of the car.
Sure, you may have to replace certain components with time including timing belts, water pumps, sensors, and so on.
But adequate maintenance will reduce the chances of getting a severe problem that may force you to abandon your car.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a Chevrolet Malibu?
From our research, rust appears on Chevrolet Malibus within three to five years of use.
The rust can appear in many places, although the frame, side skirts, side panels, and rear wheel wells are particularly susceptible to rust.
If you live in in the North or Midwest where cities salt roads in winter, your chances of getting rust are higher. This is because the salt on roads is corrosive and will often encourage rust on your vehicle.
We found multiple complaints from customers about rust on the fuel door/gas cap area.
On Car Complaints, a vehicle complaints site, a frustrated Malibu owner said he noticed rust on the gas cap, only to be quoted $2,200 for the repair.
Another owner said he noticed the gas cap rusting even though the vehicle was barely up to 16,000 miles. He got the rust fixed under warranty, but some were unlucky and had to fix it out of pocket.
Frame rust is also common to Chevrolet Malibus, especially the older models.
Car Problem Zoo, another complaints site, has various complaints of subframe rust, especially for the 2000 model year Chevrolet Malibu.
You can protect your Chevrolet Malibu against rust by applying anti-corrosion products on the vehicle. Doing so may not completely solve the problem, as some rust issues result from defective manufacturing.
However, you will rest well knowing you’ve done what you can to prevent rust from affecting your car.
Please also read our article about driving the Chevrolet Malibu in snow and winter.
How Long Do Chevrolet Malibu Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
The Chevrolet Malibu is a great midsize car. But it has many competitors in the midsize car segment. How does its lifespan compare to that of its rivals? We answer that question below:
Chevrolet Malibu vs. Toyota Camry
For years, the Toyota Camry has routinely beat almost every midsize car, including the Chevrolet Malibu. This isn’t particularly surprising, given that the Camry boasts a higher lifespan than most of its rivals in the midsize segment.
The Malibu itself is a victim of the Camry’s dominance, offering just 200,000 miles of service life against the latter’s 300,000 miles.
Sure, the Malibu has better styling than the Camry; but if you want durability, the Camry is the better option.
Chevrolet Malibu vs. Ford Fusion
The Ford Fusion and the Chevrolet Malibu are both great midsize cars that will last you about the same time.
We estimate you will get around 200,000 miles out of a new Ford Fusion, the same as the Chevrolet Malibu.
Chevrolet Malibu vs. Honda Accord
Along with Toyota Camrys, Honda Accords are among the most reliable midsize cars ever released.
With this, it only makes sense that you’ll get more miles out of a Honda Accord compared with a Chevrolet Malibu.
According to owners, the Honda Accord can go up to 300,000 miles with adequate servicing. In contrast, the Chevrolet Malibu is only good for 200,000 miles.
Chevrolet Malibu vs. Hyundai Sonata
After analyzing mileage reports, we can safely say the Chevrolet Malibu and Hyundai Sonata have the same lifespan. The Hyundai Sonata can get between 150,000 to 200,000 miles, which is what you’ll get from a Chevrolet Malibu.
How Reliable Is a Chevrolet Malibu?
Although Chevrolet may not be famed for reliability, the Malibu is a decently reliable model. Most owners say the issues they’ve encountered on the Malibu are common problems found on most cars.
The Chevrolet Malibu receives above average reliability ratings from both J.D. Power and RepairPal. J.D. Power gives the 2020 Chevrolet Malibu a 3.5/5 predicted reliability rating, which places it in the “better than most” category.
RepairPal gives the Malibu a 4/5 reliability rating, ranking it as the 9th most reliable vehicle in a midsize car segment comprising 24 models.
Make sure to also read our article about how long the Chevrolet Impala last.
The Best and Worst Years for Chevrolet Malibu
We analyzed complaints from owners to find the worst and the best years for the Chevrolet Malibu models. Based on our assessment, the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu takes the title for ‘the worst model year’. The clear winner for ‘best model year’ is the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu.
So, what’s bad about the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu? We’d have said buy one and see for yourself, but you’d be both disappointed and out of money on your investment.
Here are common problems on the 2010 Malibus:
- Faulty transmission
- Malfunctioning electrical system
- Erratic engine performance
- Widespread brake problems
- Brake system malfunctions on occasions
What of the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu, is it problem-free? To a larger extent, yes. This explains why the NHTSA received only 16 complaints for this model.
By comparison, the NHTSA received close to 2,000 complaints for the problem-riddled 2010 Chevrolet Malibu.
What About Recalls for These Models?
The Chevrolet Malibu has faced 55 recall actions since it started production. Below is a breakdown of recall data for the Chevrolet Malibu model years:
- 2004: 9 recalls
- 2006: 9 recalls
- 2016: 8 recalls
- 2013: 7 recalls
- 1997: 6 recalls
- 2005: 6 recalls
- 2007: 6 recalls
- 2009: 6 recalls
- 2014: 6 recalls
- 1998: 4 recalls
- 2008: 5 recalls
- 2000: 5 recalls
- 2002: 4 recalls
- 2001: 4 recalls
- 2010: 3 recalls
- 2011: 3 recalls
- 2012: 3 recalls
- 1999: 3 recalls
- 2017: 3 recalls
- 2015: 3 recalls
- 2018: 3 recalls
- 2003: 3 recalls
Chevrolet Model Year List
Here are all model years for the Chevrolet Malibu:
- 1997 Chevrolet Malibu
- 1998 Chevrolet Malibu
- 1999 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2000 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2001 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2002 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2003 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2004 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2005 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2006 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2007 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2008 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2009 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2010 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2011 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2012 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2013 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2014 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2015 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2016 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2018 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2019 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2020 Chevrolet Malibu
Also read our article about how long Chevrolet Silverados last.
Are Chevrolet Malibu Expensive to Maintain?
The Chevrolet Malibu has average maintenance costs for a midsize car.
RepairPal data suggests you will spend an annual average of $532 on maintenance for a Chevrolet Malibu. This is the same amount you’ll spend for the average midsize car, but lesser compared to the average car ($652).
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
On forums dedicated to the Chevrolet Malibu, we found reports of brakes lasting over 70,000 miles.
However, we estimate the general lifespan of brakes Chevrolet Malibu to be between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. Your brakes may last longer than this with frequent servicing.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The OEM tires on your Chevrolet Malibu should last anywhere between 30,000 to 50,000 miles.
As with other parts, your style/frequency of use and maintenance will determine the lifespan of the tires.
Driving frequently and aggressively will wear out your tires faster than if you drive infrequently and gently.
Also, your tires will fail earlier than expected if you don’t give them proper maintenance. To prevent this, we advise rotating your tires every 5,000 to 6,000 miles.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
With proper maintenance, you can get between 120,000 and 180,000 miles from your original transmission.
The longevity of your Malibu’s transmission depends on how much maintenance it gets.
Owners recommend changing the transmission’s filter and flushing the fluid between 30,000 and 60,000 miles.
You should also have your technician conduct regular checks on the tranny, so you can detect problems in advance.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Most Malibu models will need their spark plugs replaced close to 100,000 miles. We advise inspecting the plugs between 60,000 and 120,000 miles, especially if your model uses a turbo engine.
What About Insurance Cost?
The Chevrolet Malibu is a bit pricey to insure, costing about $2,856 per year. This adds up to $238 in monthly insurance payments.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Chevrolet Malibu
Here are ways to improve the durability and lifespan of your Chevy Malibu:
- Adhere strictly to the maintenance schedule: The maintenance schedule tells you the service activities your car requires and at what point it needs them. Ensure you carry out the maintenance activities at the recommended intervals.
- Ensure your car gets adequate rust protection: Rust can render your car undrivable–just look at the many abandoned “rust bucket” cars in salvage yards. You can do the rustproofing yourself to save cost.
Still, you can have rust-protection specialists treat your car. Whatever method you choose, ensure your car is as protected against rust.
- Avoid putting your vehicle under excessive stress: This means you should not attempt to race your car or use it to tow heavy loads–you will only destroy important components like the engine and transmission.