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How long should I expect a GM SUV to last?

I’ve been searching for a full-size GM SUV years 2007+ (This means the Cadillac Escalade ESV, Chevy Suburban, or GMC Yukon XL). Due to my financial situation, I can’t afford a new one. All that I have been able to find in my price range have at least 100,000 miles (unless I can manage to find the cash up front and buy from a private seller). I want to know if it’s worth my money to buy one of these SUVs with 100,000 miles already on it. Everybody says, “As long as you take care of it, it should last 400,000 miles or so.” My problem is I don’t know if the previous owners took well enough care of it to get this life expectation. I take great care of my vehicles, though I don’t know if that can undo damage from any previous mistreatment, and I’d say I’ll probably put about 15,000 miles on it per year. Will any of these cars last me past the 5 year loan? How long should I expect one of these to last me? I know this is a hard question to ask and your input is greatly appreciated.

The first question isn’t “how long will it last?” It’s “what do you consider dead?” The only thing that truly “kills” a vehicle is structural damage to its body/frame from accident or rust. The rest of the thing is just “parts” and all of them can be replaced - including engines and transmissions.

These days, if a vehicle has been well cared for, then 100K miles is not a lot. Since you don’t know then its a gamble. But an experienced mechanic can pick up on “clues” about such things. It’s just that no one can tel you for certain.

But really - I’m not kidding about what you consider to be “dead.” Are you asking about the engine?

If you can’t afford a new one, than why do you feel you have to have one of these overpriced behemoths? Why can you not simply get what you can afford?


If you’re buying any used car, you should assume that the previous owner didn’t do squat, as far as maintenance is concerned

If you buy any of the aforementioned vehicles, they’ll last you more than 5 years, provided you take excellent care of them, from the instant it’s yours

Here’s what i would do

Oil and filter change
air filter
fuel filter (if it has an external one)
spark plugs (only use AC Delco)
transmission fluid and filter . . . only use Dexron 6, and NO flushes
coolant drain and refill with Dexcool
Brake fluid flush
cabin air filter
take a good look at the serpentine belt and the separate AC compressor belt
If the truck has leather seats, clean them and apply leather conditioner immediately

Another thing . . . on any car you are seriously considering, I’d bring a scan tool or code reader along with you. That way, you know what may be headed your way. It could let you know if an oxygen sensor will come calling . . .

Some more advice . . . don’t buy any truck that is slammed, lifted, or has aftermarket rims. It’ll be more trouble in the long run

Also don’t buy anything with a modified air intake or exhaust system

No offense intended to anybody who favors this kind of ride

It goes without saying to avoid cars with a bad title or ones that have been in a major accident

Try to find a one owner vehicle, and an owner who was as careful as you would be with maintenance. The best predictor of future longevity is the care the previous (one) owner took of the vehicle.

So shop for a good previous (original) owner who kept service records.

One of these could last you to 200,000 miles or so but it helps to start with one that has been cared for. I know someone who traded in their Escalade EXT with 123,000 miles and it’s been well maintained by a very fussy owner who upgraded to a new Range Rover Sport. Things like the ride control can go wrong on any of these big GM suv’s (one of my co-workers has a Suburban of the same genration as you are looking at).

Large GM SUVs can last well over 200,000 miles if they are well maintained. When you find a one owner truck, have a prepurchase inspection by a trusted mechanic and only buy the truck if it has a clean bill of health.

You may say it’s not my concern, but if you need to take a five-year loan on a car with over 100,000 miles, you’re likely to dig yourself into a financial hole. In general, if someone needs to take a loan to buy a car, the plan should be to pay off the loan while the car still has some good years left so that money can be put away toward the next car during those good years. That doesn’t seem likely to happen here.

400K is a stretch,200k is more like it before it becomes a money pit,these are pretty good,but like anything else not that good(see a lot of 130# horse moms driving them around in a town near here for some reason) if it had close to 200K on it avoid it like the plague,they are definitely not that economical to operate and they are hard to find a parking slot for-Kevin

If you buy a truck with 120K miles in 5 years you’ll take it to 200K miles. Most GM SUV’s should still be running OK at that point. Look for an SUV with service records from the previous owner to document it was serviced up to GM recommendations. Get a pre-sale inspection to check for compression and other signs of engine wear and body damage due to accident or rust.

Then when you get the vehicle spend money in the 1st year and have all the fluids changed at some point during that year, including the transmission, transfer case, and differentials.

If you are so worried about a neglectful prior owner, then downgrade your requirements and buy something new that you can afford.

Used cars are often priced by their worth with their ability to keep running as a prime component. A cheaper vehicle, given the same amenities usually cost more to run. The problem is, after so many miles, everything is so dependent upon maintenance for the basic components that vehicle history becomes important. When a vehicle gets to 100 k, things like the AC, power windows etc. and their life depend upon how much they are used. Even the most well cared for vehicle becomes a crap shoot and you are going to buy the most expensive vehicle to keep on the road “new”.

Bottom line is…there are no guranteed reliable full size SUVs with 100k if you count total operating costs as part of their reliability. You are looking for the most reliable vehicle of a class that is the most expensive ( large SUVs from GM) to keep on the road to begin with. With that in mind, you should have no trouble spending lots of money in 5 years. To tell the truth, your logic evades me. At the very least, do as much history research as possible but…Best of luck…you’ll need lots of it and lot’s of extra money in reserve, just to pay for gas. If there is much of a gas spike over the next 5 years( likely), you need to break all the mirrors in your house so the guy looking back doesn’t become the one you can blame for this choice of vehicles. Get a 2wd at least…

When it comes to a large luxury truck-based vehicle, if you can’t afford a new one, you might not be able to afford to maintain, repair, and fuel a used one.

Your best hope is to find a vehicle with good confirmed maintenance records and have it checked out by your mechanic before you sign anything. Vehicle brand matters much less than how the vehicle was maintained and its current condition, so the only answer to your question “How long should I expect a GM SUV to last?” is “It depends on a great many things.”

Another important factor is whether this vehicle spent its first 100,000 miles in the north driving on salted roads or if it has had a nice pampered existence in the south. You’d be amazed how many used vehicles get transported from the south to the north to be sold for this very reason.

Yeah, forget the ‘400,000 miles’ stuff, VERY few cars of any model make it that far. And since money is a problem, I’d avoid the Escalade. Look for a base Suburban in good shape, they shouldn’t be too hard to find, that way you’ll get a newer/lower miles model for the money you have.

What type of car do u have now? Why do u feel u need a suburban? Do u have 5 kids? Do u tow a trailer? Do u go camping? We bought minivan and hauling ability is good but driving feel is bad. Sure u want a bus? Why not get a ford e-van?

Yeah, forget the '400,000 miles' stuff, VERY few cars of any model make it that far.

I must be lucky…with the exception of our current vehicles…our Honda’s and Nissan’s all went past the 400k miles mark.

There’s luck, and there’s careful maintenance, which is you, Mike. I’ve done some searches for super-high-mile cars on the various sales sites, they are few and far between.

I’d also have my doubts about buying a used car with 100k and expecting 400k. Could happen, but who knows if the prior owner was super careful.

These trucks have some weak points but few are critical. The engines are very good, should go 300,000 easy with little more than a water pump and spark plugs. The 4WD transfer case has a design fault that costs about $1500 to fix at about 100 to 150,000 miles. The transmissions should go 200K if the fluid is changed at least every 75,000 miles. The brakes are a poor design and you may have to replace all 5 rubber brake lines and possibly the metal brake pipes if its a northern salt-belt state truck. The parking brake will never work right so if you live in Denver or San Francisco, buy another type. You’ll be shunned for driving an SUV in these towns anyway.

You will need to set aside money to fix the things that will come up on a 100,000 mile vehicle. Plan accordingly.

And a suggestion, never finance a 100,000 mile vehicle for 5 years, just don’t.

Short of body damage from rust or accident any vehicle can be kept on the road 400K. There is no objective or clear moment at which a vehicle is “dead.” Getting rid of one / taking it off the road is a decision made at some point - and a fuzzy one.

“any vehicle can be kept on the road 400K”

If somebody’s willing to spend lots of money, sure. But next to nobody is.

Of the 270,000 cars on with over 100,000 miles, only 250 (0.1%) have over 375,000 miles, and most of those are typos or semis.

Of the 3000 Suburbans with over 100k, 4 (0.1%, again) have over 375k miles.

“If somebody’s willing to spend lots of money”

But my point is that what counts as “lots of money” isn’t ever clear. The questions come up here all of the time. “Is it worth fixing?” Well, there’s rarely much of a way to answer that. For many cars a new set of tires is questionable in terms of expense.

Then there’s how the money is spent - over the long haul as things are consistently fixed/maintained as needed? Or are things ignored until they pile up?

Pinning it on how much money it is to fix something is odd since in many cases the costs of keeping an older car going will end up being less than the extra expenses that come with going to get something else. So anyway, reference to spending “lots of money” doesn’t clarify anything.