The GMC Savana is the GMC Division’s equivalent of the Chevrolet Express.
The model was introduced in 1995 as a full-size van for the 1996 model years and has only had a single generation so far. However, different variants of the Savana/Express have been manufactured over the years.
Known for its enormous towing capacity, the GMC Savana also features powerful engines and advanced safety features. From what we’ve seen so far, the Savana is an exquisite van.
Does it also score big points for longevity? Let’s find answers to that.
Here is the short answer to how long GMC Savanas last:
The GMC Savana can last for 250,000 to 300,000 miles and possibly more if you take maintenance as seriously. If you drive 15,000 miles per year like the average American driver, that would mean the van can last anywhere from 17 to 20 years.
How Many Miles Can You Expect From a GMC Savana?
We came across testimonies of a few Savana owners who claimed to have crossed the 300,000-mile mark. However, there is one thing they all stressed which is the need for a solid maintenance plan.
If you own a GMC Savana, you can expect 250,000 to 300,000 miles from it before the vehicle needs major upgrades. All you need to do is place the utmost premium on the vehicle’s maintenance and cultivate proper driving habits.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust On A GMC Savana?
Certain models of the GMC Savana have had a few rust problems over the years. In 2012, GM recalled thousands of 2003-2004 GMC Savanas because of a possible fuel pipe corrosion.
The truth, however, is that the rust and corrosion problems are not common in recent models.
GMC Savanas can stay rust-free for about five to eight years. However, if you live in the Salt Belt (states where the roads are salted during winter), you might need to take some preventative measures. That includes anti-rust coating, especially for the undercarriage.
How Long Do the GMC Savanas Last Compared to Similar Models?
Without a doubt, the GMC Savana is one of the longest-lasting vehicles in the van segment. But, where does it rank among its competitors in the full-size van class? Let’s compare.
GMC Savana Vs. Ford Transit
The Ford Transit has been in production since 1965 and is one of the best-selling vans of all time. It rivals the GMC Savana and boasts stellar ratings across the board.
The Ford Transit can last as long as 200,000 to 300,000 miles, subject to regular maintenance.
While the Ford Transit enjoys better and more positive ratings than the GMC Savana, they have an equal life expectancy. Both vans reach about 200,000 miles before needing any major repairs and could go 100,000 more with adequate maintenance.
However, records suggest the Ford Transit is more reliable.
Please also read our article about how long the Ford Transit lasts.
GMC Savana Vs. Mercedes Benz Sprinter
The Mercedes Benz Sprinter is a 4-door van currently in its third generation. It was launched in 2001 in the U.S. and went on to become one of the top full-size vans in the country.
Subject to proper care and maintenance, most Sprinters will last between 250,000 to 300,000 miles.
We also found a couple of owners who claim to have hit 400,000 miles with their Sprinter. However, one of the owners added that the van underwent major repairs when it crossed 200,000 miles.
The expected lifetime mileages of both vans are pretty much equal, but we are inclined to put the Sprinter slightly above the Savana. Our judgment is based on the Sprinter’s much better reliability ratings and testimonies from owners of both models.
You should also be reading our article which talks about How Long Do GMC Terrains Last?
GMC Savana Vs. Ram ProMaster
Known as the Fiat Ducato in Europe, the Ram ProMaster made its debut in the US in October 2013 for the 2014 model year. Thanks to its excellent quality, it has grown to become one of the top-rated cargo vans in the country.
From what we got from forums, the Ram ProMaster can be expected to deliver at least 250,000 miles.
Some owners even reported surpassing 450,000 miles with theirs. It is hard to argue against the ProMaster’s longevity with these numbers.
The ProMaster will probably last around the same time as the Savana, as we have seen from the numbers. However, the GMC Savana is the more reliable van and would likely go a bit longer than the ProMaster.
Make sure to also read our article about how long the GMC Yukon lasts.
How Reliable Is a GMC Savana?
The GMC Savana isn’t the most reliable van of its class; at least, not according to thousands of owners on various platforms. However, it can be regarded as decent and slightly above average.
On RepairPal, the Savana scored a 3.0 out of 5.0 reliability rating, which places it barely above average.
The 2500 and the 3500 variants rank 11th and 16th respectively, on RepairPal’s list of top 21 commercial vans.
Also, owners on carproblemzoo.com have reported a total of 525 problems for all Savana model years since 1996.
The Best and Worst Years for GMC Savana
GM has produced over 20 models of the GMC Savana, and while some have been excellent, a few of them have been rather disappointing.
On Carproblemzoo.com, the GMC Savana has a total of 525 complaints as reported by owners over the years.
The 2000 GMC Savana has the most problems with 77, and the 1999 model is right next to it with 67.
The 2019 Savana has the fewest problems so far, with just one. However, some might argue that it enjoys recency benefits. The 2013 Savana is next with just two problems.
The 2000 GMC Savana also has the most problems reported for a Savana in the first year with 14. The 1998, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 models have the fewest problems reported in the first year with 1.
The 2000 GMC Savana is the worst year so far, with over 1/10 percent of the total problems. Considering its longevity, we are inclined to go with the 2013 GMC Savana as the best model year so far.
However, it would interest you to know that despite having the most problems, the 2000 Savana has only been recalled twice.
Also read our article about how long the Nissan Armada lasts.
What About Recalls for These Models ?
The GMC Savana has been recalled several times in its history. Below is a list containing the total number of recalls for each model year:
- 1996: 3
- 1997: 2
- 1998: 2
- 1999: 2
- 2000: 2
- 2003: 10
- 2004: 6
- 2005: 4
- 2006: 6
- 2007: 2
- 2008: 6
- 2009: 7
- 2010: 3
- 2011: 4
- 2012: 6
- 2013: 8
- 2014: 6
- 2015: 3
- 2016: 6
- 2017: 5
- 2018: 5
- 2019: 3
The 2003 model has the most recalls with 10, while the 1997 to 2000 Savana models have the fewest recalls with 2.
GMC Savana Model Years List
Below is a list of the GMC Savana Model Years:
Are GMC Savanas Expensive To Maintain?
RepairPal estimates an average annual maintenance cost of $1,114 for the GMC Savana. That is considerably higher than the average of $963 for other commercial vans and $652 for all vehicles.
Compared to most other vans, the Savana is very expensive to maintain.
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
GMC Savana brakes often last between 25,000 to 70,000 miles. It largely depends on your driving habits and driving environments.
However, we advise paying more attention to your brakes once they cross 20,000 miles. You should also report and fix any irregularities, whether it’s a squeaking noise or slow response.
How Long Do the Batteries Last?
Factory batteries on GMC Savanas last anywhere between three to five years. Warm climates and driving habits are among the factors that impact the longevity of these batteries. We advise regular inspection and maintenance.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The GMC Savana tires can last for about three to six years.
The longevity of the tires depends on your driving habits and maintenance of the tires.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
On average, the GMC Savana transmissions can last for 150,000 to 180,000 miles or more. Some owners have also reported their transmissions failing after 120,000 miles. We advise having your transmissions inspected once your van crosses 100,000 miles.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
The spark plugs often last between 100,000-150,000 miles. RepairPal advises replacing the spark plugs every 100,000 miles as a precaution.
What About Insurance Costs?
Car Edge estimates an average of $1,4699 per year in insurance costs for the GMC Savana.
Insuraviz says owners are likely to spend an average of $1,392 per year.
Please note that the costs vary depending on location, your age, driving history, and the insurers’ charges.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your GMC Savana
Below are tips that can help extend the life service of your GMC Savana:
- Have a maintenance plan for your van
- Service the van regularly
- Rustproof the van to forestall rusting
- Report strange sounds and general irregularities to a trusted auto expert