Buying advice ( 2004 Chevy Tahoe LT RWD )

I’m currently looking into the purchase of a 2004 Chevy Tahoe LT RWD. The dealer has it listed for $5900 and it has 148,152 miles on it. Clean title, no accidents, 4 owner vehicle. I really just need some general advice. It’s a pretty clean car, no cosmetic damage that I can see from the pictures. My main concern is reliability. Does this make and model year generally do well in that category? I have heard of these things getting 300k miles. Is that realistic? At close to 150k miles what kind of things should I be looking at replacing soon? I am basically looking to know if this vehicle will get me another 100k miles with minimal money put into it and trust that it won’t break down on me. I obviously have not purchased the vehicle yet but I am seriously considering it. From what I have heard these Tahoe’s are built to last. Just trying to confirm that and get some additional needed information as well as your opinions on whether or not this is a good deal, and a good reliable car. I’ll put the link down for you guys to check it out. I genuinely appreciate anyone who can take a min and tell me what they think or drop some knowledge on me.

Pay an independent mechanic $100 - $150 to check it out, cheapest piece of mind you can get. The maintenance history, body rust etc are going to have a big impact on the future life of a 15 year old car. 15 year old car and minimal money for maintenance usually are not used in the same sentence or even paragraph.

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The weak points are relatively cheap ones. Power window regulators fail. Blend door actuators fail. The brake lines and fuel lines rust until they fail. Fuel pumps fail at about this point. None of this is terribly expensive especially if you drop the fuel tank to replace the fuel pump and replace the brake lines while you are doing that.

The engine will run 300k if it has been well maintained. The transmission will go about 200K. Or longer if regular fluid and filter changes were done. Since it is 2wd, you don’t need to worry about the transfer case.

But get it inspected by a mechanic you choose, not the seller.


The thing is 15 years old and there is no way to say if it is a good vehicle , dependable or will run for 1 day after you buy it or longer. It is on a dealer lot so they might let you take it to a shop for inspection but then again they might not .
You are buying a used vehicle so anything you have heard is just that , something that you heard and will not apply to every 2004 Tahoe.

ANY used car with more than 10 years of age and/or 100,000 miles on it is going to require some money be spent on maintenance once you buy it, and more money after that. If you are expecting to do nothing but change oil, tires, batteries, and brakes, you will likely be disappointed. For the first 10 years/100,000 miles, many cars recommend little more than that. Maybe a coolant change at 5 years, which most people don’t do, especially if they’re planning to keep the car for less than 10 years, hence my next recommendation.

When buying ANY used car, I would immediately change the engine oil and filter, check the condition of the transmission fluid and change if it looks dirty, replace the engine air filter, inspect all belts and hoses, check the condition of the coolant and change if it looks dirty. I would also check the brake pads, replace if low, check the battery, and replace if over 5 years old. If the engine uses a rubber timing belt, which the Tahoe does not, then I’d replace that (together with the tensioner, idler, water pump, and anything else which is driven by the timing belt) immediately after buying the car.

When buying a used car with over 100,000 miles, or upon reaching 100,000 miles, I would also replace all of the radiator hoses, heater hoses, transmission cooler hoses, accessory belt(s), and water pump. If there is any evidence of neglected coolant changes, or “sludge” in the coolant, I’d replace the radiator too. I’d also replace the spark plugs and ignition wires, transmission fluid and filter.

If you are doing the work yourself, with parts purchased from Rock Auto, none of this is likely to cost more than a few hundred dollars. But if you’re paying a professional mechanic to do the work, expect to spend $1500 or more to have all this done.

On the plus side this is not in the rust belt so that will help the longevity .

I’m going to come out WAY against the purchase of this vehicle

We have tons of GM trucks of various vintages in our fleet, including a few Tahoes of that same model year

For one thing, I’m not terribly impressed by the reliability . . . lack thereof, actually . . . of the 5.3 liter V8 which this truck has, as per the listing

It’s also got almost 150K miles . . . you should expect many things to fail, and quite frequently

Depending on how well maintained it was . . . the automatic transmission may soon need a complete overhaul.

Only if you have extremely deep pockets

The suspension and steering . . . shocks, ball joints, pitman, idler, tie rod ends, etc.

I think you should spend more money on a newer vehicle with far less miles


I’m not a big fan, why do you want/need a Tahoe?

2004 was a peak trouble year on

A guy at work has an Avalanche with the 5.3 with 315k miles. The motor just started knocking. But hey, 315k is pretty good. I believe he’s had the trans overhauled once. Still not too shabby.

I’d put the reliability of the Tahoe, Silverado, etc. right up there or above any other domestic vehicle in it’s class.

But no one knows how this vehicle was maintained or if it has a pending problem. So that’s something you’ll have to try to ascertain when you go look at it, or pay someone else to do if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

I bought an 05 Sierra with 137k a couple of years ago. I feel more confident in the engine in it lasting than I would in an 05 Ford 3 valve 5.4, db.

My father in law also has an early 2000’s Silverado (same drivetrain) with over 200k miles. He has not, and will not, change the plugs or transmission fluid and filter. He hasn’t had any real issues with it. I replaced a wheel hub on it once when I was down there, but nothing serious. I’d so love to change the plugs and wires, clean the throttle body, and change the trans fluid and filter. I think it would help that truck a ton.

Anyway, I think 200-250k is absolutely realistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had to overhaul the trans once along the way. 300k miles might be a stretch. But 300k miles is a stretch for any vehicle. It can be achieved with regular maintenance, but I don’t think 300k is the norm for anything. I work at a scrap yard, and I see Honda’s and Toyota’s scrapped with under 200k miles frequently. Admittedly, owner neglect most likely played a role.