Chevrolet Malibu Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)

First introduced in 1964, the Chevy Malibu is a popular mid-size family car.

It offers a stylish exterior design, good handling and several powertrain options.

In this article we’ll give you the full breakdown of its maintenance, tune-up and running costs.

Here is the short answer to are Chevy Malibu expensive to maintain:

The Chevy Malibu has reasonable maintenance costs. It would cost you around $532 to maintain a Malibu every year, which is slightly higher than the average of $526 annually for mid-size cars. A tune-up will be around $345, including the replacement of spark plugs.

Are Chevy Malibu Expensive to Maintain?

The Chevy Malibu comes with an affordable sticker price and its maintenance costs are fairly standard for the segment.

When looking to buy a new vehicle it’s important to assess maintenance costs to ensure you’re able to properly look after it.

Failing to stay on top of routine servicing and repairs will lead to poor reliability and shorten the lifespan of your vehicle.

Below you’ll find a complete price breakdown for some of the most common costs for the Malibu, all data is from RepairPal:

Malibu MaintenanceCost
Average annual repairs and maintenance$532
Tune-Up Cost$345
Alternator replacement $484 – $659
Oil change$96 – $113
Wiper blade replacement$67 – $74
Air filter replacement$58 – $80
Battery replacement$250
New brakes$175 – $250
Coolant change$130 – $164
New tires (set of 4)$424 – $572
New tire (one only)$106 – $143
New spark plugs$118 – $136
Tire & wheel assembly rotate & balance$79 – $100
New transmission$3500
Insurance$1412 / year (average)

How Much is a Tune-Up on a Malibu?

This will vary greatly depending on where you take your Chevy Malibu and you’ll likely have to pay more at a Chevy dealership than your local mechanic.

Chevy recommends having a tune-up every 5,000 miles or six months whichever comes first.

You can expect to pay in the region of $345 for a fairly comprehensive Malibu tune-up that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Replacement of plugs, wires and other parts in the ignition system
  • Thorough inspection of engine components
  • Thorough inspection of belts and hoses
  • Filters changed e.g. oil, fuel, air, and cabin.
  • Fluids changed where needed e.g. engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid.

Whilst your Malibu is under warranty it is advised you get it serviced at a registered Chevy dealership.

Regular tune-ups are highly recommended because:

  • They can bring more power back to your engine.
  • Helps your engine run efficiently and start smoothly, which equates to lower emissions and better fuel economy.
  • Ensures long-term engine health and performance

Alternator Replacement Cost?

A new alternator on a Malibu will set you back between $484 – $659 for a replacement which should last around 80,000 to 150,000 miles or 5 – 10 years

While the battery is used for starting your car when the engines off, the alternator keeps your car alive when the engine is running. 

The alternator powers most electronic components while you’re driving around or idling and is also responsible for charging the battery of your car while driving.

Oil Change Cost?

The cost of an oil change should cost in the region of $96 to $114, this includes parts and labor, however does not include taxes and fees. An oil change is one of the most meaningful and vital services for your car.

  • An oil change should be performed on the Chevy Malibu every 3,000 – 5,000 miles for conventional oil. 
  • Synthetic oil typically should be changed every 7,500 – 10,000 miles.

At most, oil change intervals should not exceed 10,000 miles, twelve months, or 350 hours of engine run time (whichever comes first)

Wiper Blade Replacement Cost?

This is a relatively simple and quick fix, and you can easily save yourself a few bucks by buying your own wiper blades and installing them yourself, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials on this. 

Most Chevy Malibus use a 26″ wiper blade on the driver’s side and 18″ on the passenger’s side, although you should double-check your owner’s manual.

Wiper blades for the Chevy Malibu can be picked up for around $25, and installed by yourself for free. 

However, if you want a professional to fit them for you then you can expect to pay in the region of $67 to $74 for parts and labor with taxes and fees on top.

You may also be interested in our article: 

You may also be interested in our article: Chevrolet Malibu Beeping? (8 Causes & Solutions)

Air Filter Replacement Cost?

According to RepairPal, air filter replacement cost on a Chevy Malibu is between $58 to $80, not including taxes and fees.

The good news is this task, which should be performed annually or whenever the filter is clogged or dirty, is another fairly straightforward DIY.

Simply open the hood, locate and open the air filter’s housing, remove the old one, insert the new one and replace the housing cover. 

This will help both your car and your bank account breathe a little easier, lots of tutorials on YouTube for this one also. 

Battery Replacement Cost?

According to Kelley Blue Book, the cost of a battery replacement for a Chevy Malibu should cost $250.

Whilst there are no specific mileage recommendations for when a battery needs to be replaced, they do eventually die.

In general, it’s a good idea to replace your battery once every 4-5 years.

A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many different factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.

To help your battery last longer:

  1. Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your car can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
  2. Limit short rides: Short rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
  3. Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.

New Brakes Cost?

Chevy Malibu brake pads can last anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 miles and necessary brake work isn’t a cost you can afford to neglect.

The average cost to replace your Malibu brake pads, according to RepairPal, is between $175 and $250.

Brake pads will wear out at different rates depending on factors such as climate and your style of driving.

Pro tip: To prolong the life of your brakes – Keep your speed low in heavy traffic and avoid any sudden braking.

Cost to Change Coolant?

If it’s just a top-up your Chevy Malibu requires then this is a simple task you can perform yourself. 

You can pick up coolant at any gas station for a few bucks and top up to the level required.

If on the other hand, you require a coolant change, which simply involves draining the coolant from the base of the radiator and then replenishing with fresh fluids, this is going to cost you a bit more.

According to RepairPal, the average cost of a Chevy Malibu coolant change is between $130 and $164 (excluding taxes and fees).

Related: How Long Do Chevrolet Malibu Last?

How Much Does a New Transmissions Cost?

Transmissions on the Chevy Malibu typically last 10 – 14 years or around 150,000 to 200,000 miles, depending on how well they are maintained and how the car is driven.

The average cost for an aftermarket or rebuilt transmission for a Malibu could be over $3500. This range may vary depending on the model year.

Tire & Wheel Assembly, Rotate & Balance Cost

Tire rotation ensures each tire gets worn evenly whilst balancing ensures they roll smoothly and there’s no vibration (this also helps improve your fuel economy).

According to RepairPal, the average cost for a Chevy Malibu tire & wheel assembly rotate & balance is between $79 and $100 – this does not include taxes and fees.

How much Insurance Cost?

According to insruaviz.com, the average cost of Chevy Malibu insurance is $118 / month or $1412 / year (that is roughly $100 below the national average).

These figures can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as your age, driving record and state requirements etc. 

  • It’s always best to shop around and get at least 3 quotes, make sure the company you choose is reputable.
  • Use price comparison sites like Compare.com.
  • There are big discounts available for taking additional driving courses or being a senior
  • The best way to keep your insurance costs down is to drive safely

Chevy Malibu Repair Costs Compared to Similar Cars

In this section we’ll compare the maintenance costs of the Chevy Malibu to some of its biggest rivals, using data from RepairPal.

Chevy Malibu Vs Honda Civic

First introduced in the US in 1972, the Honda Civic is one of the most recognizable compact cars.

The Chevy Malibu is more expensive to maintain with an average annual repairs total of $532 Vs the Honda Civic’s $368.

Chevy MalibuHonda Civic
Reliability rating4.0/5.04.5/5.0
Repair Pal ranking9th / 24
Midsize Cars 
3rd / 36
Compact Cars
Visits to a repair shop per year0.30.3
Probability of a repair being severe15%8%

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Malibu is classed as a Mid-size car, while the Civic is rated a Compact.

Therefore if you need more space the Malibu is the obvious choice however the Civic is more reliable and has better handling.

You may also be interested in our article: Honda Civic Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs

Chevy Malibu Vs VW Golf

The VW Golf is a pioneer in the compact hatchback segment.

The Chevy Malibu is cheaper to maintain with an average annual repairs total of $532 Vs the VW Golf’s $630.

To put that into perspective the average annual repair cost for all midsize cars is $526 per year and $652 across all makes and models.

Chevy MalibuVW Golf
Reliability rating4.0/5.04.0/5.0 
Repair Pal ranking9th / 24
Midsize Cars 
25th / 36 
Compact Cars
Visits to a repair shop per year0.30.3 
Probability of a repair being severe15%11% 

The Golf offers more of a traditional hatchback driving experience however it lacks the trunk space of the Malibu.

You can find a full price breakdown of VW Golf ownership costs here. 

Chevy Malibu Vs Toyota Corolla

Introduced in the US in 1968 the Toyota Corolla is the world’s best-selling car.

The Chevy Malibu is more expensive with an average annual repairs total of $532 Vs the Toyota Corrola’s $362.

Chevy MalibuToyota Corolla
Reliability rating4.0/5.04.5/5.0
Repair Pal ranking9th / 24
Midsize Cars 
1st / 36
Compact Cars
Visits to a repair shop per year0.30.3
Probability of a repair being severe15%7%

The Corolla is the all-round superior car here however it is slightly smaller and this means less storage space.

You can full price breakdown of Corolla ownership costs here. 

How Long is the Chevy Malibu Manufacturers Warranty?

When you drive your new Chevy Malibu off the dealership lot, you’ll be covered by Chevy’s factory warranty of 36,000 miles / 3 years basic coverage and 60,000 miles / 5 years (whichever comes first) powertrain coverage.

This length of protection is actually quite common among car manufacturers however it is on the shorter side of warranties

You can check your vehicle warranty status, track your service history, view your Owner’s Manual and more on the Chevy website using your VIN. If you cannot find the VIN number, the only real way to check your vehicle’s factory warranty is to call or visit your local dealership.

Resources

  1. https://repairpal.com/reliability/chevrolet/malibu
  2. https://www.vehiclehistory.com/questions/how-much-does-the-2005-chevy-malibu-tune-up-cost-80741
  3. https://repairpal.com/estimator/chevrolet/malibu/oil-change-cost
  4. https://repairpal.com/estimator/chevrolet/malibu/alternator-replacement-cost
  5. https://repairpal.com/estimator/chevrolet/malibu-limited/windshield-wiper-arm-replacement-cost 
  6. https://repairpal.com/estimator/chevrolet/malibu/cabin-air-filter-replacement-cost
  7. https://www.kbb.com/chevrolet/malibu/2017/battery-replacement/
  8. https://repairpal.com/estimator/chevrolet/malibu/brake-pad-replacement-cost
  9. https://repairpal.com/estimator/chevrolet/malibu/coolant-change-cost
  10. https://www.goodyear.com/en-US/tire/search/2021_CHEVROLET_MALIBU_L_170411?addr=California%2C+USA&zip=null&lat=36.778261&lng=-119.4179324 
  11. https://repairpal.com/estimator/chevrolet/malibu/spark-plug-replacement-cost
  12. https://www.harechevy.com/chevy-malibu-transmission.html
  13. https://insuraviz.com/vehicles/chevrolet/chevrolet-malibu-insurance/ 
  14. https://www.carchex.com/content/chevy-warranty