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Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Brake Questions

I purchased a 2004 Malibu Maxx one year ago, brand new. I love the car. I travel a lot for work and live in Washington State where the weather is wet and inclement in the winter. Highway driving is fantastic... it handles great on wet roadways. I love this car.
I noticed some shimmy when I break so I took it into to the shop. The rotors all around the car need to be machined (they are warped...) Three of the pads are at approx. 80% wear and one of the rear brakes is at about 30%. GM warranty will not cover brake repair if any of the brakes are over 50% worn... this is what the dealership told me. I have the 800 number and will address this issue with the warranty folks directly. It is obvious to me that the dramatically worn brake is defective in some way (and hopefully not indicative of some other problem). At this point in time the dealership is telling me the car needs a $275 brake job at my cost. This is the pits because I like the car so much and what a drag if my 72K warranty isn't going to help out with this. I will stay in touch. Please post if anyone has input or similar experiences. :confuse:


  • rferdrferd Posts: 28
    I had work done on my 04 Maxx's breaks under warranty but do not remember what they did. I will check it up tonight and give you more details tomorrow.

    I have a question, though. My breaks make a lot of noise in the morning when I start from cold but they sounds fine after a while. I wonder if anyone (e2helper?) can tell if this is normal or if I should report it. My 36,000 warranty will be up after 200 more miles.
  • It is possible that the rotors need to be machined and that is covered under warranty as long as the brakes are within the first 50% of wear.
  • I spoke with GM warranty. I am really disappointed in the dealership. One rear brake worn 70% and all three other brakes are between 20 and 30% wear. Also, the car has 19K miles on it, 12K of which is highway driving (I have also noticed that most are not needing brake work until 40K or so). GM was ready to fix the problem under warranty but the 'service advisor' who told me it was a GM issue, not his choice, told GM that it is from normal wear and they should not cover it on warranty. I think I will be looking for a new dealership to cover my warranty's and service needs. I still love the car.
  • Can anyone driving a 2004 Malibu Maxx LT tell me the mileage driven before the OEM brakes needed to be replaced? I have read on this site 49K and 52K, is this the norm? If possible, please refer to front and rear brake replacement. Thank you!!
  • I have an '04 with 63K and the brakes show minimal wear. It has everything to do with city v. highway driving and hard or easy braking. My wife's car has 116k on original brakes. That's a record for us. The Maxx should have wear indicators that screech when they need changing.
  • islandpeteislandpete Posts: 94
    On June 14 brought my LT Maxx 2004 10,368 Mi in for the following. 1(Brakes shudder on braking at high speeds and seem to feel a slight pulse when braking lightly approaching a traffic light 2) Front suspension is noisy and clunky over bumps. 3) Rusty knuckle joint connection to recently replaced steering column assembly.4) oil change 5) NY State Inspection. On 1 Brakes they note "Pulled off All Four Wheels and Inspected Brakes. Brakes Safe and operation at this time to Spec.Possibly was due to ABS kicking in?? On 2, Suspension noise, they state"could not duplicate customer problem. No problem found to be driven by service writer,no problem found. 3) rusty component on steering link was explained away as "A lot of parts get rusty and as example the service writer gave exhaust parts. I told him this part controls steering and he said the check showed it to be OK. Got the Oil Change and it naturally passed the NYS Inspection. :D Car seems to be running OK but still get the double bounce and a clunking noise over some bumps. Going to be interesting as more info comes out on the TSB. Thanks to Pao, Maxx4Me , minn_maxx and all that contributed to this glaring problem. Stay tuned ;)
  • islandpeteislandpete Posts: 94
    Last month I had my Maxx 2004 LT(10,900mi) in for inspection and servicing. One of my concerns was a roughness or pulsation on applyinfg the brakes at speeds in excess of 40MPH and even can be felt as a subtle pulse aprroaching a traffic light at very low speed. Problem seems worse after driving for awhile . What they found and the following is taken from their work sheet "Customer Requests Brakes Checked,Pulled All Four Wheels And INSPECTED BRAKES,BRAKES SAFE AND OPERATION AT THIS TIME TO SPEC". OK , this was in addition to the front end clunking also they found nothing. "COULD NOT DUPLICATE CUSTOMERS PROBLEM". For now I am living with the front end but the brake problem is more prevalent after driving a distance. I would suspect, not being a mechanic ,it may be something out of round as a warped rotor. Does anyone relate to this as far as If you are driving do the rotors heat up even if you are driving highway to a point that they may warp from excessive heat and when you have to apply the brakes they pulse or shudder like you are on a bumpy road? Comments welcome. Called in for an appointment this AM and was told they could not schedule me until the middle of next week. I told them this is a brake problem that was not fixed a month ago and I am concerned. The best they could do is to "Squeeze" me in on Friday. This time I will get the car there early and hang around and make sure they know what I am talking about ;)
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 225
    Pulsing seems highly likely to be warped rotors, the clunking is possibly the steering column. If you get your rotors turned or replaced I'd recommend busting the lug nuts loose and then tightening them in the right order and to the right pressure. The impacts tire shops and dealers use have a tendency to unevenly torque the wheels and over torque the wheels which will cause your brakes to warp again fairly quickly.
  • I posted here in January of this year (2006)about excessive brake wearing. After bringing the Regional Auto Tech in to take a look at my brakes, GM decided to pay for the replacement. My 2004 Maxx LT is in the shop again, 11 months later. The rotors are warped and the brakes are at about 60% 12K miles after being replaced. I have spoke with auto techs not affiliated with GM or Chevy and have been told that this problem is caused by excessive heat. Does anyone know what would cause this and if it is repairable? Or do I have to consider replacing the brakes every 20K miles? Seems excessive to me. I drove fords for years and never had to replace brakes earlier than 40K miles.
  • The pulsing is the brakes and caused by warped rotors. It seems that the Maxx, especially the 04's are known for excessive heat that causes this problem.
    As far as the clunking, GM is replacing the steering box on my Maxx for similar clunking, under warranty.
  • The brake rotors on Malibus have been notoriously bad for years - just check old postings on pre-04 Malibus. The rotors warp and you get a shimmy/pulse when you try to slow down from speeds over 30 mph. I have had the rotors turned twice, and the pads, both front and rear, replaced at 25K - for which my dealer charged me $748.00 with tax - that's about $690 for a full brake job - way way overpriced. My fault for telling them to do the job before getting a price - they were doing a lot of warranty work and did the brake job too.
    This is just one more example of why Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are selling so many more cars than American manufacturers - the engineering on American cars just plain sucks!
    It hurts me to admit it, because I've always been a supporter of American cars, but my next ride will probably be a Honda - they hold their value and remain reliable for years and years.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    way too much for a brake job....had mine done at 64k for $400 by a local shop...not a they wanted over $600 for the job....mine pulsed once..but the rotor turning helped...and I insisted they hand torgue vice using an impact problems since.......82K on the car....

    careful on toyota...lots of problems with their transmissions now...check out the new camry and rav4......think they have gotten complacent with their position here in the US.....all makes and models have problems...with a mass produced item.....
  • I know that there is a "book" that sets the standard hours of labor for repairs to automobiles. Does anybody know how many hours is considered standard for a 4 wheel disk brake job including turning the rotors, but no rebuilding of parts?
    I recently made the mistake of allowing my dealer to do the brake job and was charged 5 hours labor @ $99.00/hr. I think this is excessive.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
    You might want to pose this question over in one of these Maintenance & Repair topics. There are some mechanics that hang out in there that may be able to answer your question.

    Dealer vs. Independent Shop

    Dealer Dis-Service Horror Stories

    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.

  • Once I retorqued my Maxx wheels to 8O Psi for all bolts (what one servicing dealer recomended) a fair bit of the previous brake shake went away.

    The torquing had ranged from 60 to 140 Psi on the same wheels bolts. One shop supposedly used a "torque stick", but the wheels were torqued no better there than elsewhere.

    Apparently there is enough elasticity in the rotor metal to recover from overtightening, provided the retorquing is done before uneven wear develops on the rotors.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I had some time to kill today so I had my 2004 Maxx's brakes checked out. At 37,000 miles, my mechanic said I was only half way down. I was suprised by this considering the dealer had turned the rotors twice while the car was under standard warranty. I figured the pulsing (now twice resolved) would have caused the brakes to wear unusually fast. Given that I only drive in the city, I am also suprised that I will likely get 50,000 out of the brakes.
    Pao: at what mileage did you get your brakes switched out?
    I also plan on going with an after market rotor when the time comes; give something else a try instead of going with these paper thin GM rotors.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I changed mine out at 64K....only the pads...the rotors turned....and now I have 93K on the car...and brakes are still solid.....
  • eronieroni Posts: 9
    I would like to compare my observations with other people and exchange ideas about this problem. I have a 06 Maxx and it presents this problem ONLY under certain conditions. Obviously, in my case, the disk's warping is not permanent, since it does not happen when driving at night or when temperatures are mild. It becomes very pronounced in heavy traffic at high noon here in Florida. It takes a good while to cool to the point of a smooth breaking feeling again. One has to drive a few miles at a good speed for that to happen; apparently the disks become straight again when cooled off. The differences in ambient temperatures here in Fl., between night and day, are not that great, so it does not take much to correct the problem. The dissipation of heat into the wheel, in my case, is minimal because I have steel stamped rims and their contact with the disk (hub) is very small. Since not everybody complains about this, I wonder if the magnesium/aluminum wheels, with a greater contact with the disks would dissipate enough heat, so that people with these rims don't experience the problem.
    Any comment on this subject will be greatly appreciated. Eroni.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    For the past 3 months, I have had an intermittent ABS light on the dash upon start up. The bell on the DIC also rings. Normally, once the car is turned off and started again, the light is not present. This all started prior to me getting a new set of front brakes and rotors, so it does not have anything to do with the brake job. This has happened about 4 times now. Anyone else?
  • My Mazz 2006 has 41K miles on original brakes and rotors..Still in the first set of tires and no problems, but if you guys can give me your opinions on: 1) when I apply the brakes on an icy surface TC and ABS stop the car pretty fast but as the front wheels grab and let go I feel this bouncing effect on the brake pedal which is not to light but not too pronounced. It happens only on icy roads, I even had to brake downhill with 6 people in the car, under normal road conditions and I don't see the problem showing. Normal ? or are rotors just starting to warp ? 2) How do I refill the back windshield reservoir, where is it, maybe I've been lazy to look it up. Thanks.
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