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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions

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  • hickorydhickoryd Posts: 57
    My thought exactly. The dealer did it to me too, even though I bought mine December 31. They probably don't get reimbursed for the recalls until the vehicle has been sold. As soon as I registered it at the "My Chevy" site, the recalls appeared.
  • hickorydhickoryd Posts: 57
    After two failed attempts to get my Chevy dealer to diagnose this condition, the salesman suggested taking it to the dealership that was in negotiations to buy this Chevy dealer out. In just 25 minutes, this Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealership informed me that they had ordered a steering part. Last week, they installed the replacement part. Problem Fixed! The service writer said he would mail me the details but it included an electric motor on or near the steering column.
    By the way, that dealer decided he was getting ripped off and decided not to buy my Chevy dealer out...but his cousin went ahead so it gets a new name and new ownership anyway.
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 612
    Two of the three recalls were started in April (sticker on visor) and May (seatbelt retainers). The Third (programming ABS module) started in December. Dealerships are supposed to do all recalls prior to sale.The Dealership did mess up by not doing the first 2 recalls on your car when they came out, however, they've fixed it now, no harm done.

    If you had gotten into an accident and the seat belt had broken, I suppose you could have sued GM, or the dealer. But you didn't have an accident, so that is a moot point, and speculation gets no one anywhere.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Has anyone had their dealer become annoyed at being given a TSB number?

    My Maxx has had the hard starting issue about 8 times since I bought it at the end of September, 4100 miles ago. The very first time it happened, I figured out what the problem was with everyone on the Forum's help, and I got the TSB from the board. It wasn't serious, so I didn't hurry in to the dealer. This past week I was out of town, so I asked my father (retired and with very little to do!) to take it in. I wrote out a list of things to do: the ABS recall, the seatbelt recall, (both from the GM website, not from any official notification), fix the left rear speaker that wasn't working, and do the PCM reflash. I included the TSB number for the reflash and wrote that the car had hard starting problems and a rare rough idle.

    To make a long story short, my dad told me that the service manager grilled him about how and where he got the TSB number, since they are only meant for Chevy dealers. My dad said I got it from the internet, but that was all he knew. Apparently, the SM was very unhappy that a customer had this info.

    So, I have two concerns -- #1 am I endangering the people who give us these TSB's by letting this dealer know I have them, and #2 where can I take my car now? I'm not very happy about that SM, not to mention they said they fixed the speaker, but it still doesn't work. This makes me wonder if they did ANY of the work at all. This dealer has been around for 40 years and is supposed to be one of the best Chevy dealers in L.A. Like too many people here, I love my car but don't like the dealer.

    Thanks for reading my rant. Any ideas?
  • Unless you divuleged the source (who I am very grateful for, btw) __directly__ (url, etc.), I don't think the SM would bother taking the time to track a TSB down on "the internet.
    The GM Chevy Owners web site also posts recall information (all 3 of mine were listed there).

    Your SM sounds like "old school", is way too typical and will do nothing to further repeat business, let alone inspiring a future Mailbu purchase. Sadly, I too have yet to find a decent service center in Los Angeles, CA (have been to three klutz outfits so far - am becomming very concerned).
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    My SM has been very helpful so far, and even seems to be glad that we've brought the appropriate TSB #'s when needed, since it saves them time. I've said it in here before- with so many TSB's released on each vehicle and the service department having to deal with all the vehicles, I can see how it would be hard to track down the TSB for every problem (assuming there even IS one), let alone KNOW about them. Having the customer in the loop can't hurt the dealership or GM, surely?

    Hope not anyway, because my list now includes the same TSB as you used for the hard starting issues. Our LT sedan has had to crank itself over 2x many times in the recent past when the first attempt didn't work. Every time the car was still somewhat warm from previous driving. Then this past weekend it actually failed to start at all, and took me around a minute of repeated attempts before it finally cranked over.

    Anyway, thanks to all who provide us with the information and TSB #'s that lets us make sure our cars are in the best possible condition and keeps us from having to spend unnecessary time and money in the service department as the mechanics have to figure out the problem on their own.
  • ericw55ericw55 Posts: 53
    Just brought my Maxx in (first time)for the pull to the left, and fuel gauge/check gas cap problems. I mentioned the TSBs, but didn't give the numbers (didn't want to be pushy). They claimed the pull was due to uneven tire pressures, and the fuel gauge issue was because of a faulty sensor.
    Well, the Maxx still pulls to the left, and when they install the new sensor next week, the gauge will still show 3/4, when full.
    When I go back next week, it will be with TSB numbers, and a "no excuses" attitude. I hope to get better results.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    That's why I like to carry the TSBs in with me, if I know of them. If the SM / mechanics don't know about the TSB and don't find it when searching (assuming they even try to, I'm betting some don't), you run a risk that they won't find the actual cause of the problem the TSB addresses.

    I still don't see why GM would worry if we know of the TSBs. It HAS to at the very least save them some time in the shop when we already have the problem's solution in hand. And that translates to money, not just in mechanic man-hours either, but possibly in parts, when they replace something that wasn't bad in the first place. We also lose time, just not money. (er, except possibly lost wages, in some cases..)

    Obviously this is talking about things still under warranty. The situation is even worse for out-of-warranty repairs, where WE are the ones out of money.
  • hickorydhickoryd Posts: 57
    Filled the tank last week right after picking up Maxx last week from the dealer for correction of the "pull to left" problem. As usual, reset Average mpg, Trip A, and Average speed. Maxx had been getting a steady 27 mpg before the repair.

    Filled up again yesterday having driven almost 400 miles.

    This time the actual mpg was 30.589!

    For the first time, everything works like it is supposed to, the Maxx drives just great, and the fuel economy shot up!

    Could the pull to left have actually diminished average mpg by 3.5 miles every gallon? Time will tell or maybe 4,000 miles was a loosening up point.
  • sgmsgm Posts: 23
    Hello:

    I would like to ask current Malibu owners: if you had to do it over again, would you buy a 2004-2005 Malibu Maxx. My reason for asking is that my girlfriend may be in the market to replace her 95 Saturn SL2 soon and one of the cars she might consider is the Maxx.

    This past 12/30, I was in the market for possibly getting a new car, as the engine in my Olds seized (partially my fault). I ultimately got a slightly used engine put in, but had looked at the Maxx and liked many features on it.

    I could have gotten an 05 Malibu LT for $18,300 including all taxes - out the door, including the GM 5yr, 60k extended warranty. The car factory stickered for like $24k plus taxes. (A Maxx would have been about $500 more.)

    With GM's sales going south, and their bond ranting near junk status, I have not doubt they would be willing to make the same offer again, especially around June 30th.

    So, again, knowing what you, as an owner know today, would you make the purchase again?

    Thanks, in advance, for any and all replies!

    Cheers,
    Steve
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    Without a doubt but then we're fairly new owners with only 2200 miles on the clock.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I'd have two in my driveway if it wasn't for the fact that I bought a new Vibe back in '03
  • This has been one of the most enjoyable and highly satisfying cars I have ever had. I have a little over 8,000 miles on my 2004 Maxx LT, and, yes, I would definitely consider another one.
  • ericw55ericw55 Posts: 53
    Yes. The problems are all fixable, and it's a great car to drive. A great bang for the buck, too!
  • madmaxxmadmaxx Posts: 44
    I would--and did. I'm on my second 2004 Maxx LS. Traded the first in on the second. Racked up 15,000 miles on the first, and currently have 6,500 on the second.
  • ktcktc Posts: 30
    Yes I would, I only owned my Maxx (2005 LS) for 3 months, but it drives nice.
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    I put 12,750 miles on my Maxx in 9 months. I replaced an eight year old pickup truck. I bought the Maxx because it had carrying capacity and my wife said she would drive the Maxx. The car is everything I wanted it to be. It drives great, good gas mileage, remote start is a big plus in the summer as my wife does not do well with high temps. I have not had any of the problems mentioned. The vin falls within the recall parameter for steering but it is not scheduled at the dealer yet.

    Having said all that, I wish I had bought the full size GMC truck. I miss having a truck as a daily driver.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    After 6 months and 4200 miles I probably would ONLY replace my Maxx with another one. Mine has been almost perfectly reliable and the combo of price/drivability/features cannot be beat.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Moved from an '01 Elantra that I liked a lot. Smaller size was easier to throw around, and I miss the 5-speed, BUT:

    Maxx gets within 2 mpg around town-- pretty good, I haven't had a chance to take a long trip yet.

    Maxx has more features-- even though the Koreans knew how to option.

    Chevy has a better dealer network.

    I for one LIKE the ohv engine. Not a real screamer, but good torque, and no timing belt to replace.

    Can't figure out whether I like the styling or not, but at least it's unique. That's the great thing-- strange but interesting styling and normal but competant inside. If I don't like any of the dealers lots of people should be able to do repairs.

    Still out for further thought-- the much maligned steering. It's much better than I thought but the car tends to wander if the road isn't perfectly crowned. I also think that the steering is better on some days than others-- probably road conditions. Lots of people knock the OEM Bridgestones, and maybe that's the weak link.

    Seating surfaces are probably durable but plain, thought Hyundai interior finishes were slightly better. Lots of people knock the gray interior, I have the neutral-- normally don't like wood trim, but I guess it's OK.

    Looked at a Scion xB which has the same space, better seating, but the damn thing cranks at about 3500 rpm at 70. Would be very tiring.

    Looked at a number of small suv's like the Tucson and the Mazda/Mercury/Ford triplets, Maxx has all the practibility but gets much better mileage.

    Looked at Mazda 3, Kia Spectra5, and Elantra 5 door. Even though I like the smaller size, the Maxx was a lot more car for a little more money.

    Looked at a Mazda6, didn't drive one-- would have if they had a 5-speed hatch or wagon (irrational, I know since Maxx isn't available with manual transmission). Was able to get a 6 cylinder Maxx for about a thou. less than a 4 cylinder 6 Wagon. Maxx gets better mileage even though the M6 is sportier.
  • Temp gauge, for the second time, is not functioning and engine cooling fan runs continuously.

    Has anyone determined the cause and permenant fix for this defect?
  • mfrchicomfrchico Posts: 4
    Well,
    I bought my maxx LT June 04 and have some sercous electronic steering crap going on. Have had it in 3-4 time's and the last, the big engineer came in and could not figure it out. am the first with this problem and now their are at least 10 others across the US c/o about the same thing. SO my advice is to wait.
  • mfrchicomfrchico Posts: 4
    At this point i would not. There is a serious GM problem going on. I was the first to report the problem and 4 time's being in, still ain't fixed. My 04 started with no power steering on backing up probably 3,000 miles ago (now have 7 on it). They have replaced all possible parts twice and the big engineer finally came in and he could not figure it out. Since my first c/o in the us, at least 10 others now have. So I am waiting for the big shots to figure it out. Very irritating to take it in so many time's and have to wait for rentals and then return the next day cuz they can't fix it.
  • jeromebjeromeb Posts: 31
    I own a 2004 Malibu LE.
    The only concern I have is that it has a noticeable pause in shifting between gears during light-moderate acceleration.
    I don't mind hammering it down, of course, but with gas at $2/gal I discovered that this was happening. Is it an issue?

    Other than that, I really like it. Strong acceleration, good interior comfort and gobs of conveniences. GM's idea of "entry level" has certainly made progress over the past 20 years.
  • 04malibu04malibu Posts: 2
    I have just found the edmunds forum. Great info. I have purchased a GM Program car in November of 2004 which is a 2004 Malibu LS. It had 8,765 mile when I purchased it from my local Chevrolet dealer. I was interested to find other owners on the edmunds website. I checked and my VIN did not come under the recall for the power steering. It was interesting to find the TSB info regarding the headrest replacements available. That was one of my wife's complaints when she rode in the passenger seat. My dealer did not know anything about it but the SM took the time to look it up and order the replacements. I have put approximately 2,400 mile on it since November. City mileage runs between 24-25 mpg. and on a trip I got just over 32 mpg. Otherwise the car has performed flawlessly.

    04mailbu
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    I doubt it is the fuel filter. The pre-2004 Malibus had issues with the ignition modules. That would cause the symptoms you are having.
  • sgmsgm Posts: 23
    Thanks for all the replies so far. Have it down to the Maxx and a Scion Xa or Civic.

    Cheers!
  • The maxx certainly has more pep and more room than Scion Xa or Civic, but I'd check out my Maxx dealer very thoroughly to make sure they can fix what they sell.
    While much improved, GM build quality is still no match for the Scion. Wrt Civic, the USA ones seem prone to rattles.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Good suggestion. But also keep in mind that there are many more Maxx dealer's available to choose from to service your car if you DO have to have them fix the car than Toyota / Honda dealers. This can be important if your first choice turns out to be a pita to work with.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    The xB was far too busy for me in 5-speed form, would probably be better (but lots slower) in automatic form. I've found Chevy dealers to be superior to their Scion/Toyota competitors.

    If the xA would have a sixth gear it would be a good competitor to say the Mini Cooper. Like the looks but it's a pretty small car. It's taken me the better part of two months to get used going from an Elantra to the Maxx. The xA would double that leap.
  • mfrchicomfrchico Posts: 4
    I was the first in the US to report this problem months ago. Now there are several others and this is a big GM problem. The big engineer could not figure it out and is working on it. Would like to know if anyone else has this problem. When I back up or even pull forward after the back up, I have NO power steering. I always have it when driving. But have had the car in 3-4 time's now and I am getting angry. Only 7,000 on it and got it end of June 04, new.
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