2004 Chevrolet Malibu LT problems - can someone advise?

bav_fan07bav_fan07 Member Posts: 68
Hello everyone, was wondering if someone could describe possible reasons for the some of the issues we are having with our Malibu.

a) We can no longer down shift to 2nd or 1st gear. When we go to 3rd gear and press the down shift button on the shifter, nothing happens. Dealer says it will cost $100 / hr for inspection to see what's going on.

b) When we fill up our gas tank, the fuel guage still says empty. Then suddenly after a quarter tank, the fuel guage seems to work fine. Could this be a problem with the sender?

c) When we turn, we constantly get noises from the steering. its like a clunking noise. Dealer claims there is no issue, but when we drive and we make turns, it almost feels the car isn't making a smooth turn.

Any input on these issues would greatly be appreciated.


  • bav_fan07bav_fan07 Member Posts: 68
    Also another problem:

    Our horn doesn't work correctly. When you honk, it's not very clear...it sounds like you are pushing air and you can barely hear the horn...can this be easily replaced or fixed?
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    not sure why you need to due the downshifting.....isnt it an automatic?...do you use the shift button that often.....I havent touched mine in 6 years of ownershi

    gas tank issue...would agree is probably the sending unit

    steering clunk....notorious issue with the 04-07 MY cars....poor engineering design, have it inspected by an independent mechanic...check control arms and tire rods. Again an issue that I have lived with..and 158K on the car with no ill effects

    horn...no clue
  • boodonboodon Member Posts: 1
    The car has proved a good one for quite some time, 82,000 miles with very little problems. Until now!!! Was leaving the house a few days ago, everything seemed fine at slow speeds. When I hit the interstate, it felt like the front end was gonna fall to pieces. It only does it at speeds above 45, and it does not do it during acceleration, rather when you let off of the pedal after acceleration. It was a sudden onset, without any prior warning. I shook the bearings, checked the rotors and brakes, inspected the tires. I'm about to start throwing parts into this thing without a diagnosis, so if anyone knows what the heck is wrong with my car please let me know. Thank y'all for your help!
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Check your axle shafts for looseness.
  • rhtransrhtrans Member Posts: 84
    Thats kinda strange for sure. The only thing I can think of is a possible sticking brake caliper if you see nothing wrong with the tires...good luck!
  • julbucjulbuc Member Posts: 1
    running a trouble code P0401, egr problem, had it tested and no one can find the problem, does anyone know of any suggestions, or has there been any computer updates on this car computer? :cry:
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Not sure what you mean by tested. The code is insufficient flow, either the EGR is not working or the passages are plugged with carbon and need to be cleaned.
  • greenizegreenize Member Posts: 8
    Mine started this in February and thinking it was the "rotors" and pads, I changed them out, that didn't help and I knew I needed new tires, so I bought new tires in March. It is STILL doing the shaking and NO ONE seems to feel it but me and I am the one that drives it all the time. Did you ever find out what was wrong with yours? My mechanic said since I didn't buy the tires that was made for it, I would never be happy with the ride again.. I bought Cooper tires and that was for around $400+, so I am not sure what to do next. Thought about getting an alignment, but it doesn't seem to pull too much while driving down the road, but I am at my whits end and my mechanic is not helping... Thanks!
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    as long as you replaced your tires with the same size, brand doesnt matter. Does is shake or shimmy when driving or when braking.....rotor warpage can cause it...the lugs should be hand torqued and not tigthen with an impact wrench....overtigthening can cause the rotors to warp....

    also check the tire rods...on both sides...inner and upper...to see if they are worn/loose....insure the tires are properly balanced and probably not a bad idea to have a front end alignment check..

    same model here with 168K on it...and still going strong...
  • greenizegreenize Member Posts: 8
    I bought Goodyear tires the first time and this time I bought Cooper. They are the correct size/width, but my mechanic said (after they were purchased and on) that I would never be happy with these tires. As for the shaking, it only happens at higher speeds and you can feel it all over the car, including in the steering. The rotors were replaced (both back and front) right before I bought the tires. My mechanic has checked everything over to see if anything is loose (i.e. tie rod ends, etc) and says he cannot find anything at this time that would cause this issue. The mechanic also checked the weights on the tires thinking that might be the issue, but says it is not. Mine has 120 thousand miles on it right now, hopefully it will last me another 100 thousand! ;0) I have always had good luck with GM products, but this one has me stumped!
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    have you had the tires properly balanced...the overall shaking leads me to beleive there is a balance issue here...dont know why your mechanic has a bias against cooper tires......find a tire shop that has a hunter balancer and have them do a road force balance....believe that is what its called.....costs more...but is more precise and more effective...

    I upgraded to 17 inch aftermarket rims....and running 225/45/17 tires....just replace the BFGs Sport A/S which I got 35K out of with Goodyear Eagle GTs with a 50K warranty....best set was Michelin but didnt want to spend $200 a tire this time......the Goodyears were $135.....
  • lw5lw5 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2004 Chevy Malibu that has had ongoing power steering issues. My Malibu has on several occasions lost power steering suddenly as I am driving. I then get a power assist message that displays on the radio screen. I am afraid to drive my car as I have no warning before it happens. It seems that a recall was done on the Malibu Maxx for this same exact issue, but not for the Malibu classic model that I have- makes no sense at all- It is a huge safety issue- If you value your life, do not buy GM- they do not back their products at all-

    I have read on many car forums that this is a widespread, well known and documented issue and that GM does not take responsibility for it. I have seen hundreds and hundreds of complaints on the NHTSB forums and cannot figure out why this issue has not been reinvestigated. Apparently it was checked into in 2004 or so but was closed with no recall ordered. I get NOWHERE with GM, or the NHTSB. Guess my next course of action is with the Federal trade commission. I am tired of GM pretending that there is no issue with the steering in the 2004 Malibu's. I would love to see a class action lawsuit get started on this as I can't seem to get GM to respond to my safety concerns. I am afraid to drive my car and don't want to pay to have it fixed as it appears that this issue is ongoing even after repair. Stay Away from GM cars- The customer service/complaint dept is aware of the numerous complaints but does absolutely nothing. Does anyone know of a class action lawsuit that is in process for this yet? If not we need to unite and start one before someone gets killed-
  • blazer6973547blazer6973547 Member Posts: 24
    i would not go so far as to say avoid GM because in my experience they are one of the better ones out there, this coming from an owner of not one but two chrysler intrepids with the 2.7 motor and the lord himself knows that should of been recalled but never was, and still wasn't replaced under warranty. one motor giving out at 55k miles and the other at 68k. at least GM replaced the awful 2.4 until the warranty was up on it. EVERY car dealership has its faults but they all have the few cars that never did die on anyone. boycott the certain type of car not the whole make. if there is a safety issue endangering your life then spend the couple hundred bucks to get it fixed. dodge wanted 5200 to replace the faulty engine that was under warranty
  • malexbumalexbu Member Posts: 169
    Maxx and the "2004 classic" are totally different cars. If your 2004
    is "like Maxx", it's not a 2004 classic. Present your facts straight,
    please, if you want to be believed.

    It seems that a recall was done on the Malibu Maxx for this same exact issue, but not for the Malibu classic model that I have- makes no sense at all-

    Can't find much sense in your manifesto.

    It is a huge safety issue- If you value your life, do not buy GM- they do not back their products at all-

    Nonsense -- who are you to make this blanket statement?

    I am afraid to drive my car and don't want to pay to have it fixed

    Pay to have it fixed if you are afraid to drive it -- there can be no other sane opinion.

    Stay Away from GM cars

  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    I own a 04 Malibu Maxx (169K)...and there hasnt been a recall on the steering issue to the best of my knowledge...and agree...if you have a classic....they are two different cars entirely....

    there is a power steering issue documented in the 04 MY new design malibus...and GM in most cases has made repairs under warranty and in some cases has even issued extended warranties for this particular issue

    NHTSA did investigate this issue....an engineering design study is what I believe it was called...and looking at the percentage of complaints vice total production....it was determined GM was handling the issue properly under warranty repairs...if you go to the actual NTSB website....there arent hundreds and hundreds of complaints as you describe....perhaps there are on numerous internet forum sites.....but not officially documented at the gov website....

    How many times have you had this problem documented with the dealer? How many times have you attempted to repair the problem?....you leave many facts out of your broad brush statement....and yes..I own two other GM cars other than my Maxx
  • tia16tia16 Member Posts: 1
    when I purchased the 04 malibu at the dealership it had about 75k miles on it and I purchased the warranty they sold me. The car wouldn't start when I got in it-I'm so superstitious I wanted to cancel it then, but they said earlier they had locked themselves out of the car bc of an electrical issue with the alarm. The locks went up and down all the way down the road-they sent it to a Chevrolet Dealership to have the key fobs replaced and reset and it quit. Then 4-5x per month it didnt want to start mostly when it was already warm and still does but the other day it just shut off after 10 min of warming it up in the morning. The last two wks it has no power but not like the tranny is going out, almost like it's not getting enough gas, battery and charging all checked out good. As far as steering, yes, clunking in front end right after I got it, under warranty the interior steering for a faulty int. steering shaft and also replaced RF Hub. The not wanting to start intermittently cont for 2 yrs now. I put some STP cleaner in the gas tank yest, today much more power but still I can tell it's not at it's normal get-up-and-go. It has 139k miles, all new brakes front and back, RF outer tie-rod replaced in march and alignment, now just had to get another front end alignment bc it chewed the tires up. The gas gauge when I first bought it would do the same thing yall are saying, fill up light said empty but then as I went down the road same day or next day it would always register, now last two months the light is always on. With no engine lights, can they pull codes for the car on a diagnostic test to give me a clue. It would not start 2 wks ago and I thought I was out of gas(which I was darn near sure I was) but before when I did run out and put gas in it-it fired right up. I had it towed to the Chevrolet Dealer(courtesy of Verizon roadside no charge). It started right up for them and was fine the whole day it was there. (Murphy's Law LOL). they said possible fuel pump..but wondering if that could be a plug/dist cap problem but I think it's electrical just bc everything else that I've seen it do...don't have the money for fuel pump if it won't help so any advice would be great. I'm in a 100% better credit condition to buy a car now but I owe too much on it bc I had no choice when I bought it and they took FULL advantage of me. Thanks for your help:):):) :sick:
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