Re: How far will a 2009 Malibu go with the 3.6L VVT engine
Are you sure it was a 2005? The only engine that came with it was the 3.4, 3.8, and 3.8 supercharged. I think the 3.5 started with the next gen 2006 models. It was also available for the fleet versions of the 2008-2009 Chevy Malibus. But I had a 2005 Impala and that's a big reason I dumped mine because the transmission was wonky and I took it to the dealer several times and they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. I kind of think part of it was losing transmission fluid as the gasket was reported to be leaking a bit but when I'd check the fluid, it was always up but burnt and that was even after a fluid change. Plus it would slip a lot from take off and then slam into gear. So I traded it in for my current Malibu.
Honestly, as long as these cars are taken care of, they will go a long time. They're not quite like the previous generations, specifically the 5th gens with the 3100s that had the intake/head gasket issues. Both 2.4L and 3.6L are strong and reliable engines but both need to have been taken care of as well and the most important thing with both engines is regular oil changes. The 2.4L can have timing chain issues and the plastic gears can chip teeth off which can be repaired but some dealers go so far as to say the engine needs to be replaced completely. The 3.6L has several timing chains which can cause issues as DrivenDaily stated above.
I just changed my oil over to AmsOil and so far I'm quite happy with it. I used the top of the line signature series 5w-30 and while it does not have the Dexos logo on it, it is beyond qualified for the engine since it truly 100% full synthetic which my 2011 requires. I'm not that aggressive with my 'Bu so I plan on leaving it in until next spring, which I'll probably only put on about 12,000-15,000 miles in that amount of time. I also have the AmsOil Signature Series ATF fluid on order as well and will be changing out the cheaper stuff I put in sometime last year. I want to get as much mileage out of this car as possible after I put so much work into it and it's in my opinion, the nicest car I've ever had. But at 121k miles, it's still chugging along just fine, but I always keep up on its maintenance and that really is the key to having your vehicles last as long as possible.
2011 Chevy Malibu 1LT (LTZ) Silver Ice Metallic / Cocoa-Cashmere 2.4L
2003 Chevy Impala Base Bronzemist Metallic 3.4L - Second Daily Driver
1986 Chevy S-10 Light Blue Metallic 2.8L w/Western Isarmatic Mark III Plow - Damaged from engine fire, definitely repairable!
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2005 Chevy Impala Comfort Plus Base Light Driftwood Metallic 3.4L - Primary Driver
1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera S Light Adriatic Metallic 3.1L - Primary