Chevrolet maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a long-time Chevrolet owner, understanding what upkeep costs can be almost as important as what you pay for your vehicle upfront. We’ve done the research for you so that you can make a confident decision about whether owning a Chevrolet vehicle is right for you.
Keep reading to see what you can expect to spend maintaining and repairing a Chevy, how that compares to other makes and what you can do to save money if you want to keep your car or truck on the road long-term.
- Chevrolet has a mixed reputation for reliability, which means you might spend significantly more or less than the industry average on maintenance and repairs.
- Your model might have a big impact on how much you spend on upkeep, but so can your model year.
- A prepaid maintenance plan or extended warranty can help save you money at the mechanic and provide peace of mind.
Are Chevrolets expensive to maintain?
Though Chevrolet is beloved by many Americans, its vehicles tend to have just middling reliability ratings overall, with different sources having fairly different opinions of the brand.
Here’s a glimpse into how conflicted reports on Chevrolet’s dependability are.
How Chevrolet compares to other automakers
Consumer Reports ranked Chevrolet 20th out of 24 manufacturers for reliability in 2022, but J.D. Power ranked Chevrolet a much higher fifth out of 33 car brands in 2023.
RepairPal, the automotive data aggregator, claims that Chevy owners can expect to pay an average of $649 per year on maintenance and repairs. That’s just under the $652 per year industry average, despite Chevy’s position in the bottom half of RepairPal’s own reliability rankings (No. 20 of 32 automakers).
|Make||Average maintenance and repair costs*|
|Chevrolet||$649 per year|
|Honda||$428 per year|
|Toyota||$441 per year|
|Ford||$775 per year|
|BMW||$968 per year|
According to CarEdge’s data, though, Chevrolet vehicles cost an average of $9,625 over the first 10 years of ownership in maintenance and repairs — an average of $962.50 per year. That’s more than $2,500 over CarEdge’s estimated industry average for the same period, and it’s a more than 48% increase over RepairPal’s estimate for Chevy.
Steve Sunkel, a lifelong mechanic with experience working on nearly every car brand, told us: “Though Chevrolet is among the most popular American brands, it’s less reliable. … That’s due to lower-quality materials used — especially for its engines, which often have defects. Just look around — how many older Chevrolet S-10s do you see driving around? It’s a testament to the brand how many cars are still on the road — or not on the road.”
While it’s possible that these mixed opinions could be because of a recent resurgence in Chevrolet build quality, it’s hard to say for certain. Given that different sources have such polarized opinions about Chevy reliability, it’s tempting to assume the truth falls somewhere in the middle, and overall, it probably does. However, that doesn’t mean your costs won’t be significantly higher or lower than average.
If you want a better picture of what keeping your Chevy on the road may cost, it’s important to take a look at the data for your particular model. Full-size trucks tend to be costlier to keep on the road than small cars, for example, and these model-by-model differences can really make a difference over the life of your vehicle.
Chevrolet maintenance and repair costs by model
Though some Chevrolets are considered unreliable and incur high repair costs, other models tend to be more dependable (or at least cheaper to fix). Chevy Cobalts, for instance, cost relatively little to repair and don't need frequent visits to the mechanic, according to RepairPal. Meanwhile, Silverados tend to incur more in repair bills.
|Model||Average maintenance and repair costs*|
|Cobalt||$453 per year|
|Malibu||$532 per year|
|Silverado 1500||$799 per year|
While this data provides an overview of each model’s average yearly upkeep cost, it still doesn’t specify how much goes toward scheduled maintenance or repairs, even though these are different services. (Maintenance covers routine services such as oil changes, while repairs fix malfunctioning parts.) To give you a better idea of how these services are different and how they may impact your budget, we’ve broken them down in further detail below.
Chevrolet maintenance schedule
Getting regular maintenance is vital to your vehicle’s health. You can see Chevrolet’s general maintenance guidelines below, but be aware that your vehicle may have its own specific maintenance requirements, which you can find in your owners manual.
|Every 7,500 miles||
|Every 15,000 miles||
Cabin air filter change|
Parking brake adjustment
Brake fluid replacement
Suspension, exhaust and cooling system inspection
|Every 30,000 miles||Spark plug check/replacement|
Chevrolet maintenance costs
Maintenance costs are fairly easy to calculate once you know how much your local shop charges. Just plot out the cost of each recommended service based on the maintenance schedule in your owners manual to see how much you can expect to spend over time.
It’s also worth mentioning that Chevrolet offers Complete Care for new vehicles. Complete Care is an owner-benefit program for new vehicles that provide your first oil change, vehicle inspection and tire rotation for free. That’s not a huge value in the grand scheme of things, but it’s something.
2017 Chevrolet Tahoe maintenance costs
As an example of common maintenance costs, we’ve gathered estimates for a 2017 Chevy Tahoe below. Just be aware that your costs may differ depending on your mechanic and vehicle.
|Tire rotation||$69 to $88|
|Air filter replacement||$100 to $124|
|Oil change||$178 to $197|
|Spark plug replacement||$426 to $525|
|Brake pad replacement||$441 to $1,256|
According to RepairPal, the average cost of a spark plug replacement is between $207 and $264, which is about 50% less than it estimated for the same service on our example Chevy Tahoe. That’s not entirely unexpected — SUVs tend to incur higher expenses than smaller cars, but it’s something to consider.
Chevrolet repair costs
While it’s fairly easy to anticipate maintenance costs, it’s harder to predict repairs because you don’t know when your car will break down. The two main problems reported by Chevrolet drivers, according to RepairPal, are hard/erratic shifting and vehicles that fail to start.
Steve Sunkel, the mechanic we spoke with, confirmed the former, telling us: “Transmission problems can be a burden for Chevrolet owners. … Due to overly complex automatic transmissions now, it’s usually the end of the vehicle’s life because it’s so expensive to fix a bad transmission. If you have to dump four grand on a transmission repair, you may as well go put it down on a new car instead.”
While we wouldn’t recommend scrapping a vehicle that still has much of its value when fixed, having to abandon an older, out-of-warranty Chevy because of an expensive repair is not out of the question.
Reports of transmission problems are also backed up in some consumer reviews. James, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Virginia, told us, “I come from a family that prided itself on owning Chevrolet trucks — trucks that ran for 200K-plus miles. That came to an end for me today.
“I own a 2016 Suburban LT. … At just over 64K miles, the car started to show signs of a delayed shifting. … The dealer first suggested reprogramming the transmission and a fluid flush at a cost of $700, but the symptoms persisted. Upon further investigation by the transmission technician, I was presented with a price of $7,000 to replace the transmission with a remanufactured one.”
» MORE: How much does a transmission cost?
2017 Chevrolet Tahoe repair costs
Each vehicle will experience different hiccups, though, and major repairs like transmission replacements aren’t going to be needed for every Chevy, even if they are a common weak point.
For a closer look at what other repairs might cost you, we collected repair cost estimates for the same 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe we used to get maintenance estimates above.
|Blower motor resistor replacement||$107 to $135|
|Window switch replacement||$193 to $234|
|Suspension control arm bushing replacements||$205 to $258|
|Emergency brake cable replacement||$285 to $315|
|Fuel pressure sensor replacement||$309 to $367|
|Airbag control module replacement||$621 to $644|
|Control arm replacement||$650 to $738|
Chevrolet generally provides a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile warranty on new vehicles to help protect owners against repair bills, but if you intend on keeping your Chevrolet past its warranty period, it’s a good idea to have a plan or budget in place in case you get stuck with an expensive repair bill.
» LEARN: What is a manufacturer’s warranty?
How can an extended warranty or maintenance plan help?
If the cost of repairing and maintaining your Chevy has you in a panic, there are ways you can lower your financial liability. Notably, a prepaid maintenance plan or extended warranty can save you money on upkeep, and Chevrolet even offers its own versions of these products. Just take the time to understand what these products do and how they stack up against your other options before you buy.
» MORE: Pros and cons of extended auto warranties
Chevrolet prepaid maintenance plans
Prepaid maintenance plans let you pay for maintenance services ahead of time. This can result in savings because some dealerships offer discounts when you buy ahead. Paying in advance also protects you from possible price increases or inflation.
Chevrolet offers two prepaid maintenance plans: Pre-Paid Maintenance and Pre-Paid Maintenance Plus. Both include engine oil and filter changes, tire rotations and inspections for up to six years or 12 services, whichever comes first. Pre-Paid Maintenance Plus adds coverage for replacing cabin air filters, engine air filters, brake fluid and windshield wiper blades.
These plans are available for new, pre-owned and leased vehicles. Just know that you’ll need to have all of these services done at your local Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac dealership.
Chevrolet extended warranties
While prepaid maintenance plans only apply to scheduled maintenance services, extended warranties, also called vehicle service contracts, cover the cost of unexpected repairs when your vehicle breaks down.
Chevrolet offers three extended warranty plans: Powertrain, Silver and Platinum. When we investigated these plans, we found they were often more affordable than warranties from third-party warranty companies (possibly due to those companies playing it safe regarding Chevy’s mixed record for reliability). However, it’s still important to shop around for the best deal. (We’ve seen warranty price quotes fluctuate substantially between companies with little rhyme or reason.)
Bottom line — if you’re concerned about getting a massive bill for something like a transmission replacement, an extended warranty might be the way to go.
» MORE: Car warranty vs. car insurance
- Article sources
- ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
- RepairPal, “Chevrolet Reliability Rating.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- RepairPal, “Chevrolet Cobalt Reliability Rating.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- RepairPal, “Chevrolet Malibu Reliability Rating.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- RepairPal, “2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Repair & Maintenance Costs.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- Allen Turner Chevrolet, “CHEVY MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- CarEdge, “Chevrolet Maintenance Costs.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- RepairPal, “2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Repair & Maintenance Costs.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- RepairPal, “Fair Price Estimator.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- Chevrolet, “COMPLETE CARE.” Accessed April 6, 2023.
- Chevrolet, “PRE-PAID MAINTENANCE.” Accessed April 7, 2023.
- Chevrolet, “CHEVROLET PROTECTION PLAN.” Accessed April 7, 2023.
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