The Camaro is a midsize coupe manufactured by Chevrolet (Chevy). Considered by many to be the Ford Mustang’s main competition in the Pony Wars, the Camaro is considered a Pony Car and depending on the engine, also a muscle car.
If you are shopping for a Camaro or are just curious about the lifespan of a Camaro, this article will provide some factors that can be used to roughly assess how long a Camaro may last.
How Long Do Chevy Camaros Last?
Generally, many owners have stated that their Camaros have lasted upwards of 150,000 miles prior to suffering a catastrophic failure that would “mechanically total” the vehicle. Other owners have been fortunate enough to clock more than 300,00 miles on their Camaros and the only reason that they chose to part with the vehicle was that the body of the car started to rust beyond reasonable repair.
In most instances, a driver who regularly maintains their Camaro should have no trouble exceeding 100,000 miles on their Camaro.
About The Chevy Camaro
The Camaro was first sold in 1966 and continued production until 2002. After an 8-year hiatus, Chevy began selling the 5th generation Camaro in 2010 and continued production through 2015.
The 5th generation introduced the retro styling of the 60’s Camaro with the addition of some modern technology.
In 2016, Chevy introduced the 6th generation Camaro which shares the retro styling of the 5th generation with more modern styling cues and updated technology such as rear-view cameras being offered certain trim levels of some later 6th generation models.
The 5th generation offered a choice between a 3.6L 6-cylinder engine producing 312hp and an 8-cylinder engine producing 400-426hp.
The 6th generation offers 3 engine choices, a 2.0L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine producing 275hp, a 3.6L V-6 producing 335hp, and 2 8-cylinder options.
The 8-cylinder engine in the SS and LT1 trims is a naturally aspirated 6.2L V-8 making 455hp, while the ZL1 is a supercharged 6.2L V-8 that produces 650hp.
How Long Will A Used Chevy Camaro Last?
The length of time that a car will last depends on several factors and the Camaro is no exception to this rule. To realistically estimate the lifespan of a vehicle we must accept one important factor, cars are machines and they are susceptible to mechanical failure.
Therefore, the simple fact that a used vehicle may need to be repaired during your time of ownership does not mean that the vehicle will not last long.
This article will attempt to measure the lifespan of the Camaro in realistic terms. We attempt to measure how long a used Camaro will last by examining several factors in the following context:
- The failure rate of major components that would lead to catastrophic failure,
- Mechanical failure of the vehicle where the cost of repair would exceed the value of the vehicle (“mechanically totaled”) or,
- When the car is mechanically sound, but the amount of rust consuming the frame and body is beyond reasonable repair.
Factors To Determine A Used Camaro’s Longevity
Some of the factors to consider when buying a used Camaro that will help to determine its longevity are:
How Many Miles The Vehicle Has At The Time Of Purchase
This is a factor that pretty much applies to most cars, especially if you do not plan to restore the car or perform engine rebuilds during your time of ownership of the vehicle.
In general terms, the higher the mileage of the vehicle at the time you purchase it, the fewer miles you will be able to drive the vehicle before it needs repair.
The Type Of Miles That The Car Has Been Driven
The type of use that the car has been exposed to is just as important as the number of miles that are on the odometer.
City driving can be harder on a car’s components than highway driving given the constant starting and stopping of the vehicle.
Since the Camaro is a sporty car and, in some instances, even a muscle car, many Camaros have seen their fair share of miles at the racetrack.
Given the nature of racing, Camaros that have seen their fair share of days at the track have gotten their miles ¼ mile pass at a time which can be pretty rough on the engine.
Another factor that can often be related to the racing of the vehicle are modifications.
While modifying a vehicle is not inherently damaging, many people who race their Camaros have performed heavy modifications of the engine which can significantly shorten the period of ownership before the person purchasing a car used under these conditions realizes a catastrophic failure.
In many instances people who have heavily modified their cars and suspect that catastrophic failure may be nearing will sell their Camaros before they experience the failure, leaving the unsuspecting buyer of the used car in quite the predicament.
Proper Maintenance By The Previous Owner
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a used Camaro is the maintenance history of the vehicle.
Choosing to buy a Camaro from an owner that has been regularly and properly maintained is essential in picking a used Camaro to purchase.
Obtaining and inspecting the service records from the previous owner is a good practice to implement before purchasing any used vehicle.
If you notice large gaps between the time that oil changes or other important maintenance have been performed.
This could be a good indicator that the car has not been properly maintained and it may be wise to inspect the car more diligently or to move on to another seller’s vehicle.
Your Maintenance Of The Car
In order to achieve the maximum useful life of the vehicle, proper maintenance must continue as you own the vehicle.
Accidents and major damage are another factors to research when looking to buy a used Camaro.
In many instances improperly repaired body damage can lead to premature rust which can lead to number 3 in our list of realistic factors which can impact the lifespan of a car (the body/frame rusting beyond reasonable repair despite the car being mechanically sound).
Fortunately, there are several sites such as CarFax where you can research the car’s accident history.
If you are using such a site, be warned that CarFax and similar sites do not always reflect when a vehicle has been in an accident.
The Primary Area Where The Car Is Driven
Examining the ownership history of the car can also be useful in selecting a Camaro that will have a longer lifecycle. In examining the ownership history look to see the various states and areas where the car was titled.
Certain areas like the northeast United States have wintery precipitation and cars driven in these areas can be prone to rusting prematurely since they are exposed to salt and other chemicals used to treat the roads to prevent freezing.
Also, beware of vehicles that were owned in areas that are in close proximity to bodies of saltwater since the salt in the air can also contribute to premature rusting.
What Is Considered A High Mileage Camaro?
Like most vehicles, a Camaro with 100,00 miles or greater is considered to be a high mileage vehicle (but could still be reliable). Owners of Camaros often state that they have in excess of 200,000 miles on their vehicles and they are still running strong.
Although with higher mileage often comes more repairs and more pricey repairs.
Is The Camaro Reliable?
The Repair Pal gave the Chevy Camaro a reliability rating of 3 ½ stars rating out of 5 and lists the annual repair cost as $585. Keep in mind that the type of repair that needs to be made and the cadence at which repairs need to be performed can increase as the vehicle ages.
Also keep in mind that Camaros like any other car can become less reliable and have less useful life if neglected, abused, or otherwise not maintained properly.
Most Reliable Chevy Camaro Years
As measured by the number of recalls and tsbs issued, some of the most reliable years of the Chevy Camaro are the later model years of the 6th generation Camaro between 2018-Present.
While still overall reliable cars, Chevy has issued a larger number of recalls for Camaros built between 2011-2014.
Is The Chevy Camaro Expensive To Maintain?
While expensive can be a relative term, the Camaro is not expensive to maintain by most standards. Since Chevy does not charge a “luxury brand tax” on parts and labor, the Camaro can be a budget-friendly vehicle to maintain.
Common Problems That Can Affect the Camaro’s Lifespan
We have noted below some common issues with Camaros that can impact the car’s longevity. If you are considering buying a Camaro, research some of the issues listed below along with other common issues to determine if the model year Camaro that you are shopping for is impacted.
Some common issues and Technical Service Bulletins (TSBS) are:
|Thermostat Housing Gasket Leak (5th Generation V-6)||Generally Non-Catastrophic||Coolant leaks from the housing. Generally fixed by replacing the gasket.|
|*Can lead to catastrophic failure if the leak persists and the car is driven without coolant|
|Coolant Leak (V-8)||Generally Non-Catastrophic||Coolant leaks from a fitting to the engine block. Commonly fixed by replacing the fitting.|
|*Can lead to catastrophic failure if the leak persists and the car is driven without coolant|
|Timing Chain Stretching||Generally Non-Catastrophic||Replacement of timing chain|
|*If caught in time this failure can be prevented from becoming a catastrophic failure. In the event that the timing chain stretches to excessive limits or pops, the engine could be destroyed rendering this a Catastrophic failure.|
|Shuddering of Steering Wheel at High Speed||Non-Catastrophic||Typically fixed by static balancing the wheels|
|Trunk Not Opening||Non-Catastrophic||Typically caused by the wiring used to operate the trunk release fraying and disrupting connectivity.|
|Paint Chips||Non-Catastrophic||Some of this can be prevented by applying a clear bra or ceramic coating to provide additional protection|
|Starter Motor Premature Failure||Non-Catastrophic||A defect in the heat-shielding used fails to protect the starter from engine bay heat causing premature failure.|
|Stalling or Rough Idle||Non-Catastrophic||Often caused by a dirty throttle body.|
(Bulletin No: PIP5159B)
|Non-Catastrophic||Could be caused a missing or damaged c-clip on the end of the spark plug wire. Fixed by replacing the sparkplug wire. by loose sparkplug wires|
|Needle Bearings Found in Oil Pan|
(Bulletin No: PIP5226A)
|Could be Catastrophic||Roller rocker arm needle bearings can be found in the oil. The fix is to replace the damaged rocker arms.|
|*If the needle bearing fragments are small enough to bypass the oil pump pickup screen these metal fragments could cause catastrophic failure.|
How Often Has The Chevy Camaro Been Recalled?
Here is a list of the number of recalls for the Chevy Camaro for the past 10 years:
|Model Year||Number of Recalls|
When viewing the chart, remember that not all recalls are related to a catastrophic failure of components, and some recalls were issued for safety reasons such as missing airbag warning labels.
Tips To Extend the Life of Your Chevy Camaro
Proper and timely maintenance are great ways to extend the useful life of your Camaro. The following list will provide some tips that you can use to properly maintain your Camaro:
- Perform vehicle maintenance at the scheduled intervals.
- Change your oil, differential fluid and other fluids as recommended by the manufacturer
- If you plan to track your car, change the oil before and after your track day
- Regularly check the levels of fluids such as oil and engine coolant and add fluids as necessary
- Wash road salt off of the vehicle regularly if you live in an area that gets wintery precipitation.
Chevy Camaros have reputations for being reasonably reliable cars. A Camaro can be expected to last at least 150,000 miles and many owners have reported that they have between 200k to 300k miles on their Camaros.
The main key to ensuring that you can get the most life out of your Camaro is to properly maintain your vehicle within the manufacturer’s specified intervals.