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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
    Hmmm..I hadn't heard about a Malibu hybrid yet. Perhaps you should create a discussion for it on our Hybrid Forum? Use the "Browse by Board" drop down to your left.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email,, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • lasergamelasergame Posts: 5
    If you try and start your 99 Chev Malibu and oops, the key will not turn in the ignition, you may have the same nightmare situation on your hands, like I did the other day!!!

    1. Do everything you can to get the key to turn. this is your best chance to save time and money. After spending hours and countless attempts with multiple keys, and tapping on it with a hammer, and yes even some silicone lubricant, the key would just not turn....damn... you have a problem.

    2. Tow your car to the nearest Chevy dealer and have them fix it. $200 towing and $550 to replace the lock cylinder. Fortunately the first time this happened it was under warrantee. Now if you choose to fix it are somethings to consider:

    a. Your car has a Passkey II theft deterent system. So smart, in fact, it is stupid. The system is designed so you can not start your car without a working ignition key coded to your Body Computer Module, BCM, and your Powertrain Computer Module, PCM. This is the easy part. Now comes the hard part.

    b. Removing the radio/ignition trim is easy. Remove the dashboard trim is alright, and remove the 4 screws and slide the instruments out of the way. Unscrew the radio for easy access, slide it out of the way. Unscrew the 2 ignition fastners, and push back the ignition and slide it over the front of the instrument cluster. Everything is relatively easy up to this point.

    c. Now the hard part. Your ignition system will not allow you to unplug the switch, or remove the lock cylinder unless you can turn the key in the cylinder. So you ask HOW THE HELL DO I FIX THIS PIECE OF SH....T CAR!!! I have a solution but maybe not the best answer. This is what I did, and completed the job in 2 hours for $230.00.

    1. Buy the correct lock cylinder from Chevy. $180.00 incl tax.
    2. Take your key and new lock cylinder to a locksmith. They will properly code the cylinder for about $50.00. My locksmith took the best part of the morning because it is not as easy as making a key.
    3. Now that you have your new cylinder, make sure you have the original key, or you will be screwed, take it to the car.
    4. Since you cannot easily remove the old lock cylinder, you will have to drill part of the bottom of the switch to remove plasic material where the metal lock mechanisim holds the cylinder into place. Pry the piece of metal lock and pull and remove it with some needlenose pliers. Now your cylinder can easily slide out of the switch.
    5. Place the new cylider into the switch, and try it. If your theft system is on you will disable your fuel injectors and your car will not start. GM Service Centers do not like to tell you that there is an easy way to re-code your passlock II system. Turn your key over for a second and leave it in the on position for 10-30 minutes until the THEFT light goes out. Your car should now start.
    6. If you do not want your cylinder to slide out each time you remove your key, place some body filler in the hole you drilled to add strength to that area.
    7. Total cost for this job $180.00 for the cylinder, $45.00 for the locksmith to code the cylinder, and $3.50 for an extra key. Plus $40.00/day parking in an airport parking lot where my car was stuck for 4 days. Total = $269.00

    I could not find this information on the web for this specific problem, so I hope this will help others. I did find lots of very helpful information here, and wanted to thank others for their contributions. Bribing the GM Tech helps too!
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    Luckily this is a somewhat rare happening with the ignition. I have seen this problem with other cars as well including the Ford Focus. From what I have read usually it's the ignition control solenoid that is causing the problem, not the ignition switch.
  • lasergamelasergame Posts: 5
    Thanks Poncho.

    Unfortunately for me it has happened twice to me in three years. I was lucky the first time. GM paid for my towing and repair because of my warrantee.

    I was not so lucky this time.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The new Malibu is a great improvement. It is still no Accord,

    If the Malibu were an Accord, it would not be a Malibu. ;)
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    The Malibu is also a better value and better looking than the Accord

    hmmmm.... check out Intellichoice and you'll see the accord is actually the better value. as far being better looking, that's in the eye of the beholder.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    The quality that you talk about is not quality, it is a perception of quality. The comparable quality has been there for years with GM cars, its about how to change peoples perception of quality.

    when you speak of quality you're speaking of one aspect of quality - reliability. the current malibu sedan has a below average reliability rating according to CR subscribers by the way.

    there are other aspects of quality and this is where the malibu and other GM sedans continue to fall back compared to the top asian brands. and these other aspects of quality are noticed immediately with a test drive.

    there's quality of materials used both inside and outside.
    how good is the fit and finish?
    how do the doors sound when closed including the trunk?
    how refined and responsive is the engine when pushed?
    how well is the transmission matched to the engine?
    how well does the suspension handle the road at various speeds?
    does the car feel solid and composed over broken pavement?

    the accord and camry simply come across as more sophisticated, refined and, yes, higher quality vehicles when compared to the malibu. and the market reflects that!
  • jeromebjeromeb Posts: 31
    I own a 2004 Malibu with the V6. It has not been driven much, because I bought it for a kid who was not yet 16.
    I've driven it occasionally on trips and such, and lately have been driving it regularly while my daily driver, a 2003 Ford Focus, has been in the shop for warranty work and body repair. I also own a 2003 Malibu with the V6 which my oldest daughter drives. I am very satisfied with both of them, and have no complaints with either of them. The '03 has over 40,000 miles. The '04 is a pleasure to drive, gets over 35 mpg on long highway trips at 70 mph with the A/C on. I know, I did that last weekend and it got up to 35.6 mpg on the in-dash display.
    Go ahead and get the Malibu. Make sure you get the full 30,000 mile service done, and buy an extended powertrain warranty if you think it will make you feel better. It's an excellent value car. It's cheap. It works. What else do you want?

    I do my own oil changes and use Mobil-1 oil and K&N oil filters. I don't yet have enough history of doing this to make any claims, but that's what I do to make me feel better.
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    "there's quality of materials used both inside and outside."
    how good is the fit and finish?
    It is excellent, as good as it gets in the industry

    how do the doors sound when closed including the trunk?
    Again, excellent, solid and better when compared to many asians.

    how refined and responsive is the engine when pushed?
    True at the wheels rated HP and response is great. The asians measure HP at the flywheel so take that into account. GM may look unrefined but the old pushrod engine has many decades of refinement. It's solid and simple, nothing wrong with that.

    how well is the transmission matched to the engine?
    GM has always been good at that, the V6 propels this car quite nicely, to the surprise of many asian car owners as they once again get a view of the back of it pullig away from them.

    how well does the suspension handle the road at various speeds?
    The suspension is great, being based on the 9-3 it always gets good reviews for handling.

    does the car feel solid and composed over broken pavement?
    Lots of rough roads here and its very good on them.

    All car companies have had their bad models, shall we use the 1st Civics as examples? I believe the new Malibu is a winner for GM and competes nicely against anything in its class. Mine was also purchased because of its safety rating, outdoing most asians. I drove the asians and picked this based on alot of criteria. Choice is a personal preference thing, most cars are of good quality and GM is going the right direction, try one out. GM is still the top selling car in Canada, the market reflects that.
  • lasergamelasergame Posts: 5
    I have owned a 1999 Malibu, 3.1L half dozen, second owner. When I purchased the car it had 9500 miles on it in Jan 2000. There are some things that went wrong with these cars common to many of this generation Malibus'.

    1. Intake gasket problem - Plenty of reading on the web about the Dex Coolant issue with the ethylene glycol eating away the intake gasket. My dealer charged me close to 900.00 to repair.
    2. Lock cylinder frozen, twice. The first time it was a 550 dollar repair covered by warrantee. The second time I fixed it myself for about 250.
    3. Fan blower switch does not work in positions 1 and 2. Common problem, apparently.
    4. Driver door power window switch inoperative. I fixed it myself for the cost of the part. About 150.00

    Otherwise, I have very happy with everything about the Malibu. Like others have said, good power, drivetrain, etc..
  • froggersjcfroggersjc Posts: 49
    I may have missed it elsewhere, but does anyone know some of the 2007 upgrades to the malibu? A 5 or 6 speed tranny would be fantastic. I know the V6 is getting VVT, anything else?
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 225
    Sticking with the same 4-speed. And it's not the same engine getting VVT, its the 3.5L VVT from the Impala that is based off of the 3.9L which is loosly based on the current 3.5L that's in the Malibu. Thats pretty much it, for a few more details:

    There's also word that it'll get a fairly extensive makeover for 2008 on the long-wheelbase version of the Epsilon platform that the Maxx, G6, and Aura use. Check more around GMInside news for some spyshots of the exterior and a CG of the interior.
  • froggersjcfroggersjc Posts: 49
    Thanks for the info. Everything looks good except there really should be a 5 or 6 speed auto. Too bad the Maxx is losing some mileage, I really like the car, the only reason I won't get one is the poorer MPG.
  • maxxindmaxxind Posts: 22
    As far as what the "market reflects" about the Malibu, Accord and Camry, keep in mind that people buy things for a lot of reasons. A lot of people want the Honda or Toyota name because they have a certain "sophisticated" air that you don't get by saying you drive a Chevy. I don't think that's something GM can do much about.

    The problem with Consumer Reports' reliability tables are based on that magazine's readers alone, which do not represent all car owners, and the reliability tables only go back 8 years. The average car on the road in America today is over 8 years old. I want a car I can keep, afford to fix, and drive 200,000 miles plus with few problems or expenses. The Chevys (and Fords) I've owned over the years have, without exception, done that.

    What about the J.D. Power studies, which show many GM nameplates to have better quality than most Japanese and European brands? What about the people who pay $50,000 for an Audi or BMW despite what some surveys say is poor quality in those cars? Obviously Audis and BMWs have qualities (driving feel, engineering excellence) that makes people want them despite the fact that some Consumer Reports readers wrote on a survey that they had trouble with one. Big deal. They probably didn't know what they had and had no idea how to drive or take care of it.

    You can pick and choose any information you want to back up a point you're trying to make. I'll just rely on the years of experience I've had with GM cars to help me make my decision. And if I ever strike it rich and can afford to buy an Audi or BMW, I'll buy it without even getting Consumer Reports' approval first.
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    Well said Maxxind. A purchase of any particular brand and product is a reflection on personal style/taste. If everyone simply listened to Consumer Reports, who are obviosly biased for many reasons, then we'd all be driving the same vehicles!

    I have to snicker sometimes. I am driving one of the highest rated cars for safety, only slightly beat out by Audi and Subaru, for a fraction of what those cars cost. AND I love driving it, its simply a good car.

    I simply do not like toyotas and hondas, I've tried em. That doesnt mean I'm an idiot, it means I can be strong enough to be an individual and follow my own ideas and tastes. As far as quality difference between a Malibu and a Hondayota, thats been proven recently to be negligible if any at all.

    I love saying to some smartass [non-permissible content removed] car lover, show me your 1982 honda/toyota, etc and I'll show you my 1982 and 83 GMs. IF they have one, then show me how much it's cost you to keep it on the road, and I'll show you how much its cost me. Then lets drive the both of em, do some comparing. You guessed it, my old GM wins that little contest.
    So who's the idiot?
  • maxxindmaxxind Posts: 22
    That's true; one thing the reliability surveys don't measure is how well cars hold up over time -- like 20 years. But just by looking around, I really don't see a lot of 80s Hondas and Toyotas. The Camry has been a sensation among the "Consumer Reports" types since its introduction, which I think was in 1984, and I know exactly what those '84 Camrys look like. I can't even remember the last time I saw one. A buddy back then had an '83 Civic, so I know what those look like too because I rode in it often; haven't seen one in ages.

    The bottom line, to me, is very simple. The car business has changed a lot in the last few decades, and the cars now are a lot more alike than they are different, as far as build quality. People talk about things like "tighter tolerances" in Japanese cars, but that's a lot of malarkey. Everyone in the auto business knows how to build an engine, and the tolerances are what they need to be. If you make them tighter, the crankshaft won't turn, or it will turn only with great effort.

    What they mean to say is not that the tolerances are tighter but that they are closer to the center (less variation) and that's true of all cars, U.S., Japanese, and European.

    And as far as the 5, 6, and 7-speed automatics, that's largely a marketing move. An engine with a reasonably flat torque curve (such as the 3.5 V6 in the Maxx) does not need that many gears, and having them offers no real benefit and introduces extra complexity and more things to break for no reason.

    If you don't believe me, check out the fuel economy specs on the Dodger Caliber with a CVT, which, in effect, has an infinite number of gears. Mileage with CVT isn't really that impressive; 26/30 I think. That's with a four-cylinder. The Maxx, which is bigger and heavier, does almost that well with a V6 and a "lowly" 4-speed automatic.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    What do you mean by reliability? Most people think when a magazine says reliability that means will it start in the morning when I have to go to work. If that is the case the Malibu is probably the most reliable and may outlast most other cars for longterm. Reliability generally means no radio problems, leaky sunroof, tire rim leak, etc. The previous Malibu was a very good car and has a proven track record for reliability including longterm. The new platform like most cars will have some glitches when introduced, but most won't.
  • andy82471andy82471 Posts: 120
    I know bashing Consumer Reports is a daily ritual of the pro domestic car lovers because they see the domestics for what it is. Yes their quality has improved in recent years but to say that the Malibu will be more reliable in the long run than the Camry and Accord, I mean that is just absolutely ludicrous. And most people know that. That is precisely why GM has to bribe people to buy the Malibu. If the Malibu was as good as the Camry and Accord than GM should price it like the Camry and Accord. I am sure sales would really take off. ,LOL :P
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    "To say that the Malibu will be more reliable in the long run than the Camry and Accord, I mean that is just absolutely ludicrous."

    Absolutely not, thats simply a nonsense opinion based on nothing except what....CR? Again, go on past history and base reliability and cost to run over a period of 10-20 years. There's alot of older GMs on the road. Every day I see those early 80's rear wheel drive Cutlass, Malibu, etc but very few imports of that vintage. And as for cost effectiveness, those GMs cant be beat. I know, I still drive 2 rear wheel drive GMs of that vintage and they have cost me virtually nothing to keep running.

    There's no indication that the new Malibu is going to be a long lasting vehicle but that that also goes for any newer vehicle. I'd say it certainly has the potential to be but only time will tell. I gave up reading CR many years ago for their ridiculous information and ratings on consumer electronics. I gather all the products they review and give ratings to are as silly.
  • andy82471andy82471 Posts: 120
    Why are you comparing car from the 80's Lol. How many 80's era car foreign or domestics do you see on the road? 90% of the car buying public don't keep a car for more than 7 to 8 years anyway. You may not like what CR has to say but most car buying public to pay attention to their ratings. Otherwise FORD and GM wouldn't be in the situation they are in today.
This discussion has been closed.