First introduced in 1999, the Chevrolet Trailblazer has been in and out of the market for the past 20 years. Chevy made a push for the model in the early 2000s. The Trailblazer was discontinued in 2009 for the US market, replaced by the Traverse. It was later reintroduced in 2020. Over the years, the Chevrolet Trailblazer has undergone several redesigns.
Its most recent iteration is the 2023 model year. It’s powered by 1.2-liter and 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engines. It features either a front-wheel drive (with a continuously variable automatic transmission) or all-wheel drive configuration. It’s also equipped with other modern features like rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking. Adaptive cruise control is optional. Currently, Chevy offers its Trailblazer models in four trim levels: LS, LT, Activ, and RS.
Even as a subcompact SUV, the Trailblazer offered decent performance and ample cabin space. The front passenger seat and rear seats even fold flat so you can have plenty of cargo space if needed.
The Trailblazer’s reliability rating for its 2021 model year is “very good,” according to J.D. Power & Associates. This isn’t surprising, as these subcompact SUVs have been well-received since their inception. But how reliable is the Trailblazer, exactly? Let’s find out.
Chevrolet Trailblazer Lifespan
When most people purchase a vehicle, they do so with the hope that it will be the last one they have to buy for some time. Does the Chevrolet Trailblazer have what it takes to last? Let’s examine its warranty and the lifespans of its essential components.
Standard Warranty: The standard warranty period for the Chevrolet Trailblazer is 3 years or 36,000 miles. This includes a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Rust Coverage: Chevrolet also offers a rust warranty, which covers the body of the vehicle for 6 years or 100,000 miles. Any corrosion that occurs due to materials or manufacturing defects will be repaired or replaced by Chevrolet, free of charge.
Accessories Warranty: The warranty for accessories is considerably shorter than the previous two, as it is good for 12 months or 12,000 miles. Please note that in all years-to-miles cases, whichever comes first will be the one honored by Chevrolet.
These are industry-standard warranty periods, and they speak to the confidence that Chevrolet has in the Trailblazer.
But how long can we realistically expect the Trailblazer to last? Most equate the vehicle’s lifespan with its major components.
Engine: The engine in the Chevrolet Trailblazer is expected to last around 200,000 miles. There have been reports of engines lasting significantly longer than this, but this is a reasonable estimate.
Transmission: The Chevrolet Trailblazer nine-speed automatic transmission has an estimated lifespan of 130,000. With proper care and maintenance, your transmission may last even longer.
Suspension: Most Chevrolet Trailblazer suspension components last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. If you take your Trailblazer off-road or run over bumps and potholes often, expect to replace components earlier.
Will a Chevy Trailblazer Last 200,000 Miles?
Yes. In fact, this is the estimated lifespan of this small SUV. If you provide adequate maintenance throughout your ownership, your Chevrolet Trailblazer is likely to last longer.
Will a Chevy Trailblazer Last 300,000 Miles?
There have been a handful of reports claiming the Trailblazer will last 300,000 or more miles. It’s worth noting, however, that this is not the norm for this vehicle and typically applies to strict highway driving.
Maintenance to Extend Chevrolet Trailblazer Lifespan
Any car requires regular upkeep to ensure optimal performance. The Trailblazer requires maintenance at these intervals.
Preventive Maintenance Service Intervals
Here are the common maintenance tasks for the Trailblazer:
- Oil Change: You should change your Trailblazer’s engine oil every 7,500 to 10,000 miles if you’re using synthetic oil. Chevy recommends changing conventional oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Oil filters are changed every oil change.
- Tune-Up: When you get a tune-up, the mechanic should check and replace spark plugs and air filters. While every 30,000+ miles is the norm, some vehicle owners opt to tune up their Trailblazers around the 20,000-mile mark. This is perfectly acceptable. Belts, however, should last up to 100,000 miles before needing to be replaced. It’s important to note that the frequency of tune-ups may vary depending on the model year of your Trailblazer and how it’s driven. For example, if you frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic or in other demanding conditions, you may need to get a tune-up more often. Keeping your vehicle tuned helps with fuel economy.
- Fluid Changes: The transmission fluid is typically good for 30,000 miles. The same holds true for engine coolant. Since models with the 1.2L engine front-wheel drive variants have CVT, it’s important to have the CVT fluids checked every tune up.
- Tire Rotation: Tire rotation is another critical maintenance item for the Chevrolet Trailblazer. This should be done every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or as specified in your owner’s manual. The purpose of tire rotation is to evenly distribute wear and tear on all four tires. This helps extend the life of your tires and can also improve your vehicle’s handling.
Major Components that Need Replacement
Aside from routine maintenance tasks, you should also be prepared to replace major components when it’s time.
One of the major maintenance tasks in Trailblazers from the early 2000s is the replacement of transmission cooler lines. Consumer reports cite that they wear out quickly and often. Thankfully, they’re simple to replace and relatively cheap. So make sure to check your transmission lines during every service.
Other components require replacing at the following intervals:
- Battery: The new Trailblazer packs a lot of electronics including the infotainment system and driver assistance features. These can put additional drain on the battery. Batteries can last between 3 to 5 years. It’s recommended to replace the battery every 4 years. However, start checking the voltage by the 3rd year.
- Brake Pads: Trailblazer brake pads can last for 50,000 miles but this depends on your driving style. Aggressive driving styles can wear brake pads out quickly.
- Filters: Fuel filters should be replaced every 5 years/50,000 miles.
- Pumps: There are no particular intervals for replacing pumps like the fuel or water pump. Swap them out as needed but have them check for pressure and leaks every tune up.
- Timing Belt: Timing belts can last 100,000 miles. But they should be replaced before that. 90,000 miles is a good threshold.
Chevy Trailblazer Common Problems
The Chevrolet Trailblazer has been plagued by several common problems over the years, especially the older model years from the early 2000s. Some don’t affect the performance of the vehicle, such as CD player and gauge failure, while others are more serious. The three most common complaints are as follows:
- Fuel Level Failure (Sensor): GM has agreed to cover 50 percent of the service charge to fix this issue.
- AC Blower Not Working (Failed Resistor): Check the switch first to determine if it operates. If it works, the problem is likely the resistor block.
- Cooling Fan Clutch Failure: If this component is faulty, you’ll usually hear excessive noise coming from the fan.
A Reliable Vehicle with Proper Maintenance
The new Trailblazer is shaping up to be quite a reliable SUV. It is known for its comfortable ride, ability to handle different types of terrain, spacious interior, and safety features. Older Trailblazers can be a hit-or-miss, considering the major issues that plagued model years from the 2000s.
Any vehicle can be reliable if it’s properly maintained. Paying close attention to the maintenance schedule and fixing problems as they arise will help prevent more serious issues down the road. As long as these are kept in good working order, the Trailblazer should provide its owner with many years of trouble-free driving.