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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I bought a used car warranty for a used 1993 Bonneville, and had great luck with it. I bought it from AutoConnection (, but the administrator was in Chicago (don't remember which one). Since the car had 67K on it when I got the warranty, I got some good use out of it (brake master cylinder, water pump, power window motor, etc.). Also, when I sold the car, I got a prorated refund on the warranty. Paid $1037 for 3/36K coverage, used it to the tune of like $1500, and still got back $450 at the end (which was at 77K and 6 months). Gotta love it. :)
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Thank you!

    By the way, did you replaced the tires already at your 99 Malibu?
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    No, I still have the Affinitiy tires on. They've worked ok for me, a little noisy at highway speeds but I'm not the kind that is bothered by road noise. I want to try and keep them for a while. I'm extending my lease on my Malibu until the redesign is released ( I hope by late 2003 ) so I might have to replace them before then. Still love this car though :-)
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I also was happy with the Affinity, till they became worn-out at about 32-35k. But after replacing them at 37k by SH-30, I know what the car needed from the very beginning.

    There was a joke popular in Russia in 1980-th: "the Soviet shoes are very good. Everybody would be happy with them, if only he could not try the Italian ones".
  • crazymalercrazymaler Posts: 16
    I replaced my Affinities at 20,500 miles (they were almost worn out) with Michelin Pilot XGT H4s. Now there's absolutely no more squealing tires, even on hard turns, and the car handles so much better than with the Affinities. The Michelins were pricey ($90) but are worth it. I've also read that the SH-30s that yurakm has are great as well. Just get rid of the Affinities ;-)
  • maw1982maw1982 Posts: 62
    I am looking at a '98 Malibu LS with all options including CD, leather and sunroof. It has 70k mi and looks like a very good deal but I wanted opinions on buying one of these vehicle sespecially with high mileage. If I can get it cheap enough Iwould invest in an extended warranty. I read some reviews on the '99 Malibus and wondered if the following item are included on the '98 also:

    Cupholders and tabletop in the rear center armrest?
    Split-folding rear seat?
    Sunroof that opens to the outside of the vehicle (doesn't slide back into the headliner)?
    Battery Rundown protection?
    Programmable door locks?
    Automatic Headlights?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    1. My base 98 Malibu definitely have cap holder, just on front of rear center armrest and behind the transmission handle. Plus there are two cap holders behind the armrest, for rear seat passengers. My son is using it all the time. The forth cap holder, to the left from steering wheel, is never used. Probably the feature is intended for left-handed drivers.

    Do not understand what you name "tabletop".

    2. When shopping for my car, I read somewhere that the 98 Malibu LS has the split rear seats as standard (option for base Malibu). Not 100% sure though.

    3. Do not know anything about Malibu sunroof.

    4. Battery protection - if you mean the car switches off itself the lights after several minutes, than yes. I read about it in my car manual, but never tried to experiment.

    4. Do not remember anything about programming door locks.

    5. Automatic headlights - definitely yes. Very convenient.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Concerning the extended warranty: my currently is in the shop with repair covered my extended warranty. In my experience it does not pay. Too much troubles and delays. And my mechanic, who have a huge experience with the warranties, told me the same.

    Mechanics do not like the warranties, and for good reason: the warranty companies make it difficult to collect the payments, possibly intentionally. Manager of the repair shop, or its owner, or mechanic must call the warranty administrator (a separate company) to approve the repair. It typically takes a hour or so on hold. The mechanics are too busy for this nonsense.

    In my case the administrator has a voice mail, but it took two days to receive the call back, and only after I called the customer service of warranty company and asked them to push. Even for them it took 15 minutes on hold to connect the administrator with the shop manager/owner. With him on hold too!

    Now, with engine disassembled, the mechanic prepared the full payment sheet and faxed it to the administrator this morning for payment by credit card. But it is Saturday today, and to the best of my understanding, the administrator will be open on Monday only. Another two days of delays - even if administrator will answer immediately.

    I bought the extended warranty for peace of mind. Now, with the experience, I would rather check the car thoroughly before buying, and would take the feature risk myself.

    The 98 Malibu is not very reliable car, but only two expensive problems are common.

    One of them are brake rotors prone to warping. Most usually develops at 7-15k miles. Most probably, the rotors are already replaced after 70k miles and this is not relevant. Though:

    The symptoms: pulsation of the brake pedal, initially at highway speed, about 70 mph. It may cost about $400 to replace at dealership, with genuine GM parts, but much less at independent shop, with aftermarket parts. Some of the parts, like Rasbestos, have better reputation than the OEM ones, and often are covered by a long or even lifetime manufacturer warranty.

    By the way, the rotors are never covered by extended warranties.

    The second problem, which usually develops with time, is a coolant leak from the engine intake manifold gasket. If it leaks slightly outside engine, for time being owner can just add the coolant for time being. Much worse if it leaks inside the engine, leading to its corrosion.

    The repair costs about $550 at independent shop and takes several days. Probably much more expensive at dealership. But the problem is not expensive to diagnose with pressure test of the coolant system - about $25-$30.

    With my experience, I would not buy a used Malibu without this test. And would not buy the car at all if my mechanic find the traces of the internal coolant leak.

    The only other problem which merit to mention in my experience were speakers. The right rear speaker simply died, and the right speaker at door started to make noise - probably was blown-out after the first died.

    Had several nuisance problems, but the most expensive of them costs $24 if I remember it right. Other costs $5 or so, or were solved with a drop of lube.
  • maw1982maw1982 Posts: 62
    Some coarifacations for yurakm

    I was confused about the tabletop in the rear center console. Like I said, I got these feature out of the review of a '99 model. I think what they mean is a flat plastic area on the rear armrest. Here is an excerpt from that article to clear things up:

    Standard equipment in the LS includes such popular staples as anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, automatic transmission, power windows, power locks and AM/FM stereo with cassette, plus a few other goodies such as tilt wheel, power trunk release, remote keyless entry, cruise control and a fold-down rear-seat armrest with dual cupholders as well as a small tray to hold snacks.

    By programmable locks I mean they are automatic and you can change the behabvior of them (IE you can turn them off, have them no automatically unlock and have the locks lock and unlock when shifting into and out of park). My parents' '99 silhouette has this feature and it is incrediblly handy. If the malibu has programmable locks, there should be a section in the owners' manual about how to program them. I know it involves removing a fuse and hitting certain switches certain number of times to cycle through options.

    Thank you for al of you advice though.

    BTW, I noticed that you said that your car is the base model. Is it the 4-cl or the 6-cyl. The one I am looking at is a 6-cyl and I don't which engine the coolant leak is common in. Thanks
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    My Malibu is base, but with the same 3.1l V-6 engine, as LS. I do not know statistics, how common is the coolant leak - very possibly only 5% or 10% of engines develop it. But it is frequent enough to be mentioned several times at the board.

    The engine is also used with several other GM cars. There is a separate discussion board dedicated to problems with the engine and its close relatives:

    rbenton "Common General Motor's 2.8, 3.1, 3.4 V6's engine problems" Feb 4, 2001 12:15pm

    My base Malibu have no rear armrest. Do not know about LS.

    I do not remember reading anything about the programmed door locks. The car manual is in the glove box, while the car is sitting at repair shop, so currently I cannot check. The locks are optional for base model, if I remember it right. My car is equipped by the power locks, but without remote control, and we are using them manually.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    THe LS has the armrest built in to the back seat ( maybe the base model has them as well but not sure, the LS for sure has them ). The Malibu does not have programmable locks, unfortunately, they saved this feature for the Impala and up.
    The LS is pretty much well equipped witrh every option ( except sunroof). The sunroof opens to the outside of the car, it sort of pops up and slides back a bit so it doesn't hide inside the roof area. Let's see, yea I think I covered some of the questions. Good luck, you'll find you will like the car, very smooth. Good luck!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    on the board poisondartfrog "Common General Motor's 2.8, 3.1, 3.4 V6's engine problems" Apr 4, 2001 8:36pm

    boardpoisondartfrog put a very useful link

    Look at the pictures. The last one, with coolant tank, is especially informative for Malibu owners.

    There are tell-tale signs of rust (iron oxide) in the coolant system. The rust is very easy to see on the inside walls of coolant tank. A retired housewife can recognize it. With my car the sediment was more thick, and was also on the floor of the tank and even on its cap. Had it from the very day I bought the car used, one year old (from build date) and with only 15k miles.

    The only problem is the rust have the same color as the orange DexCool coolant. The sediment looks natural.

    My car had serviced by ASI certified mechanics, first at dealership, than at very good local Firestone shop. They added the coolant every 3 months, but never mentioned the rust. Probably even mechanics do not know this is rust, not natural...

  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    The following link:

    tells that at least 3 types of the dark-brown sediments can be found in the coolant system filled by DEX-COOL. The rust (iron oxide), hose material, and sealant pellets. All of them are looking the same.

    The rust is the worst, it can clog the radiator. If the rust is developing, the system needs in chemical flush. Fortunately for the Malibu owners, the 3.1l engine is not prone to the rust sediments. Only to the two other ones.

    GM is also suggesting to overfill the system a bit. To fill it to the full (hot) mark with the cold engine.

  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    yurakm - I used to see your name come up in the Impala forum when I was considering buying an Impala. I then went on to the Taurus and had to eliminate that because of blind spot. A lot of cars are making head rests that go a good bit over my head causing a problem for seeing merging traffic for lane changes - I don't like to rely strictly on mirrors. I test drove the Malibu today and the vision was so-so but I enjoyed the test drive. I'll have to test drive it again. Surprisingly enough, the Impala may give the best view so will retest that.

    I thought my top priority was reliablity, safety, etc. but now it's just blind spots.

    Anyway, if I buy the Malibu, I may be posting over here some. Hopefully I'll be buying this week sometime. I like the Malibu price better than the Impala price but seeing traffic will have to come ahead of price.

    truckdude struck the Taurus forum this weekend. Maybe he's just a kid cutting up. I guess we get a few pranksters from time to time.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    The Malibu drivers have decent field of view. At least my wife and I had no problem with driving, changing lanes, etc. I am using mostly mirrors, but my wife looks back.

    It was somewhat difficult at first to backing up at parking garage at our work (we work together). The garage is very tight - an old city building, converted. We are backing up usually till there is two inches left to the wall, and with the high Malibu trunk lid touched the wall several times by bumper. Well, I touched - my wife is more accurate.

    Though, the Impala and other W-body cars have outstanding field of view. Much better than Malibu. Our other car is Buick Regal; we are comparing the view from the car to the view a fish have from a glass tank.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    backing up. That's something I will do on the next test drive. I got into a fender bender several years ago in a parking lot and hit a Mercedes Sports Coupe. Didn't do much damage but it sure was expensive! I definitely want to see backing up.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    It seems like we are looking at the same cars. I like Malibu too but two star side impact rating makes me think, I spoted 2000 Taurus 17K miles they are asking 14.5K. 2001 Malibu (brand new) $16.1K (w/power windows). I love impalas too but even second hand is high. My favorite is Accord but I don't want to dump 18K-19K for a car. So in my virtual garage I have 2 Taurus, 1 Impala, 1 Malibu, 1 Buick. They are al ranging 13K 14K except Malibu that is 12K. My consideration is crash test results, component reliablity. Ford appears to be the best bang for the money but transmission is scaring me in a long run.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    I was concerned about the transmission on the Taurus as well. If you test drive one, see how it does at lower speeds. When I test drove one, it seemed a little jerky at 20 to 30 mph. Maybe it was just that particular car.

    I do like the prices on the Malibus. And I also liked the way it handled on the test drive - lots of pickup. Guess you have to weigh the crash test results with the price. I've got to test drive the Malibu again before I decide. If I can't see backing up, I'll have to move on to something else.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I just got my June issue of Consumer Reports. It recommended the LS version of the Malibu as a good value and good performer. Only thing they did not like was the poor side-impact scores it gave, because there are no side air bags. Pretty good for a design that's 4 years old, they said. It competed with the Olds Alero, Hyundai Sonata, and new Chrysler Sebring sedan. It came in third. A feat, might I add, since the Sebring is all new this year and the Malibu's design is 4 years old.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    In the cars that I looked at, the Impala has the best side impact scores (a 4 out of 5). Both Taurus and Impala score a 5 for front end crash. The Malibu scores a 4 for front end crash and 2 for side.

    I may be sacrificing safety to find a car I can see out of when looking over my left shoulder for traffic. Although it's even more unsafe when merging onto the interstate where cars are usually going 80 and I hit one because I can't see.
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