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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • The GM Card redemption limit on the Impala is $2,250 vs. $1,000 on the Malibu (I didn't expect THAT much).

    So now, I basically have a $29K Impala down to $21,250 (including dealer discount).

    How on earth will they sell many new Malibus with that kind of discounting on a larger (and more prestigious to the uninformed) vehicle?

    This gets stranger the deeper I look......
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Regarding your report of a Thump seeming to come out of the rear after you come to a stop, I had a similiar problem on a Nissan pickup I owned years ago. Mine turned out to be a corroded link in the self adjusting brakes linkage in the rear drum brakes. After you stop, then release the brakes, the springs are supposed to pull the brake linings back away from the drum. However, in my case, one of the links had rusted/corroded, and was holding the lining up against the drum, until I got rolling good again, and then it would release with a noticeable clunk. I would suggest that you pull the rear drums, and look for a buildup of dirt/rust/etc. I fixed mine with a liberal application of penetrating oil..let it set for a 1/2 hour..then hosed it all off good...worked great afterwards for another year until I traded the truck.
    Another possiblity might be a sticking brake cylinder on either rear wheel. Brake fluid attracts moisture, and after several thousand miles, this "water" in the brake fluid can cause pitting and scoring of the brake cylinders walls and pistons. If this happens, you can get the same symptoms..brakes sticking and grabbing and failing to release properly. This problem is usually worse if you live in a more humid climate..deep south, for example. Its a good idea, even though most owners manuals don't say so, to have the brake fluid flushed and replaced every 30 to 50 thousand miles.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    Prestigious Impala? I think thats a bit of a stretch, we are talking bread and butter Chevrolets here. SOme people don't like driving large cars.
  • vc, reread my post, kindly. I specifically said that the uninformed (read: most consumers) would consider the Impala more prestigious than the Bu. It is bigger, but still a manageable size for most.

    deminin: Thanks for the advice. I'm thinking the same. It happened 3 times this morning, and I'm pretty certain it isn't the trannie (and yes, obviously in FL it's humid most of the year). Have to drive a lot this coming week, so if it gets worse, will take it in the following week (and then I can play Hot Button; winning that would solve all of my quandries, now wouldn't it?). What ticks me off about this is that the rear brakes were redone a year ago (13K miles ago). Brakes are one of GMs continual sore spots on most of their vehicles, mine being no exception.
  • Unless you buy a Lexus LS 430, which is outrageously expensive, you are likely to have quite a few big or small problems, no matter what car you buy these days. Too many electronics, too powerful unions, suppliers having to squeeze every cent out of products they deliver to manufacturers, and voila, you've got problems. Of course, some cars have more problems than others. But Chevy has a higher reliability than industry average per JD Power, so it would be unfair to brand the entire make as low quality. I am sorry if you are not satisfied with your vehicle, but the fact is that you are almost as likely to have the same number of problems with Hondas and Toyotas, and you'd pay much more to start with
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836

    You got the first part right. But to say that Toyota and Honda will likely give you the same amount of trouble as a Malibu is either a lie or a misinformed statement. Both Honda and Toyota has better to much better than average reliability in the last eight years. The best the Malibu could do was an average rating. GM likes to quote JD Powers initial quality survey a lot because it paints there car in a positive light. But they neglect to mention long term reliability. That's when there car goes po po.
  • I actually had few problems with my Malibu in the first 18 months or so. Then the stuff started.

    Recent problems with the latest version of Camrys and Accords seem to be the reverse, and the cars get better with age (this info from the Edmunds forums).
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 10,409
    You can't go by what you read on here. The Accord forum in particular seems to be populated largely by members of the Honda cult. Even the problems are actually "features".

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • The Camry forums are much the same.

    However, I did fail to mention Honda's intermittent propensity of tranny problems, which do occur after the intial ownership period.

    Just to be fair.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Difference in problems per hundred cars is not that great. Camcords are about the best but if you factor the premium prices you really should get more!!
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 10,409
    One of the guests on Autoline Detroit today was talking about the "problems per 100 cars" index and said that the Camcords were at 116 while GM was at something like 124. That really is virtually no difference. David E. Davis was saying on that same show that the worst car you can buy today is better than the best car you could buy 10 years ago in terms of defects. Really the quality these days is generally very high.

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • the Accord members with. If you look closer in the Accord problems and solutions, you will see people expressing their dissatisfaction with some of the recent Accord problems. Also, just as Malibu owners discuss known failure areas and fixes/costs, so too do Accord owners.

    2001 LX
    112K miles
    2nd set of tires
    3rd set of front pads
    original rears
    recent transmission replacement

    Yes, they are not perfect and the 6th Gen trannies are a serious issue at higher mileages.

    I prefer Hondas road manners and seat firmness over most domestics, but I'm a car guy and research all vehicles.

    Sounds like the General may finally get my attention with some of their vehicles coming down the pike. That's a good thing, competition creates more choice and better vehicles for all.
  • is an engine failure. Some quality - a failed transmission!!! I am yet to hear about a single transmission failure on a Malibu, and I've been reading extensively about Bu on many forums for the past 4-5 years

    It's true that the average quality these days is higher than what it used to be not so long ago

    I simply dispute any statement which makes it sound as if Japanese vehicles (Camcords) are light years ahead of GM (not sure about Ford or DC, hehehe)

    In any case, you are only buying a CHANCE that your Japanese vehicle would be more reliable than a GM one. Out of 100 Camcords, let's say 50 would be better, 30 the same, and 20 worse than an average Chevy in quality. Is it worth several thousand dollars to get a 50/50 chance of getting a vehicle better than an average Chevy? The choice is yours :)
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Boy, this import reliability challenge is sure to draw lots of angry responses. Look out guys :)
  • Watch out, because the imports vs. Malibu discussions should be in the other forum, not in this one.

    To wrap up the comparisons issue on my part in this forum, I am also surprised at the number of late-model high mileage Accords out there (guess a big component of Accord sales is from those that drive all day and night, choosing an Accord based on the supposed reliability). Personally, I would probably never keep ANY vehicle beyond 80-100K miles, regardless of brand/model. So, I guess the trannie failures in the Accord are irrelevant to me.

    As I stated earlier, the Malibu is the first GM product that I am unhappy with (actually had a '98 Bu LS which was totalled by an errant 18-wheeler when, fortunately, the car was unoccupied. That car started off even worse than the '00. Problems crept up after only 3-4 months. Bought the '00 since I was convinced that the problems had been fixed. Ha on me.)
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    ...please do move this conversation to 2004 Chevrolet Malibu vs. Alternatives. Thanks.
  • Have been a poster in this group since the purchase of my white LS Bu in September of 1999. Am at 37K miles and have only 8 more payments on it. Rotors were placed under warrantly the first year and the alternator this year - being the only two significant repairs since I have had the car.

    My current problem: In October my radiator light came on. Checked the owners manual and then led me to add more coolant which I added to the appropriate level - Dexicool, etc. The light is now coming on again and I need to add more fluid. Should I be concerned? I seem to recall references to the intake manifold problem and this perhaps being a symptom. If it possiblity is - can I any garage diagnois and handle this problem? I have typically been taking my car to the dealership - which frankly I think has been expensive - try over $500 for my alternator in July.

    By the way, I have not yet had my radiator flushed since I bought the car.

    Any thoughts/advice appreciated.

  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 10,409
    It certainly sounds like it could be a manifold leak. I don't know what diagnostic is recommended for it - possibly a cooling system pressure test? Is GM offering repairs under any sort of extended/secret warranty?

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • Magnus;
    I have a June '99 LS, 33k Miles on it. Same issue. Had the low coolant light come on a few months ago. Topped up the reservoir and replaced the leaky water pump. I still have a very slow seeping leak from the driver's side front of the engine at the intake manifold gasket. (I cleaned up the side of the block in this area so I could see what was going on. The edge of the gasket looks like a black line between intake manifold and block. Follow the valve cover from left to right and look down the vertical surface on the right for the leak. Mine looks like condensation.) I've put some radiator sealer in the system to slow it down and this seems to be working for now. (I check coolant and oil for cross contamination every week).

    I'm hoping that the sealant will solve the problem or will delay the inevitable until Spring gets here so I can replace the gasket myself. The gasket set is about $50 from the local auto parts store. Getting it done by a shop seems to be between $350 and $800, depending on who you talk to.

    The gasket design on these engines seems to be flimsy. A guy I work with has two GM's with the 3.1 engine. He had both professionally flushed and pressure tested two summers ago. Last winter both started leaking from the front drivers side. He had both replaced by his local mechanic and swears the he will never have a GM flushed and pressure tested again.

    So look for coolant leaks under the car. Passenger side leak is probably a water pump ($23 for a new one locally). Driver's side is likely to be the intake manifold gasket.
  • The Owner's Manual recommends changing coolant at 5 years or 150K miles, whichever comes first. In my case, when the gaskets went last year, the coolant was also replaced, even though mine is now only 4 years old.

    Ironically, my dealer indicated that the gaskets normally go around 5 years or 50K miles, whichever comes first (I'd hit 50). A "fix" was supposedly in place, with a new type of gasket, a month or two after mine was done (the "fix" I think was announced around Sept.) (figures), so once you do it, it should be the last time. I've heard dealer quotes in this forum from anywhere between $500-1,200. I have the Extended Warranty (which has now paid for itself) for another 15K miles, which should last me about a year, so I can't tell ya what my fix cost.

    Don't you all want a Malibu Owner's Club? Remember, Pat (the Host) asked us to reply re: her post asking about that last Friday. If so, kindly say so!
  • OK. I will check out the things you have mentioned and see what is going on. Will keep the group posted.

  • I guess I should start saving my pennies for a new intake manifold gasket :) I'll let you guys know when it goes, so that you all can feel for me :)
  • Went out just now to inspect my car for the intake manifold problem from my prior post. From where the resevior runs for adding fluid I followed a hose it (standing in front of the engine - under the hood) from left to right and to the right of the oil dipstick (but lower) and to left of the battery (arout 11 o'clock direction-wise from the battery) I found a reddish substance that was slightly puddled. This hose connects to radiator on the battery side of the car. My knowledge of cars is limited - so this is the best way I can describe it. In checking the oil I do not see any mix of radiator fluid and the oil seems fine. How does this sound? Intake manifold problem.

    Saying it is - and this seems to be a specific problem with Malibu's - do you think I am OK taking it to the local garage (I have some co-workers who have given me recommendations for a local garage - my car has never been to a non-Chevy dealership save my tires)? It sounds like a pressure check on the radiator would be my next step.

    Thoughts/comments - I am all ears.

    Thanks guys,

  • Magnus, I can't help with that question. Maybe you'll get some more responses tonight. I do think the gasket problem is yours.

    Well, my brake problem only got worse today, so off to the dealer I go again tomorrow (will have to rent at my cost, I'm sure, since none of what I need done is covered by Ext. Warr.). I need a full brake inspection (and new brakes, probably), tire rotation (which I forgot last month) and a hard-start problem figured out. I think the latter is because my local Chevron station just became Sunoco and the car hasn't been happy. Probably a fuel-injector flush and possibly a fuel filter. Good thing I'm keeping it at least 6 more months.

    Also, I'll take the time to play "Hot Button" (wish me luck) and will snoop around a bit more re: the '04.

    Will advise....
  • Ok Here's My Story..

    99 Malibu Loaded Base Model Purchased it with
    39,000 KM on the clock.

    70,000 KM - Front pads replaced-rotors borderline

    71,000 KM - Lower Intake manifold gasket repair

    80,300 KM - CD Player Replaced (skipping)

    85,650 KM - Blower Motor Resistor replaced.

    94,000 KM - 4 tires replaced (Affinity = CRAP)
    Got Michelin Very GOOD

    99,350 KM - Rotors replaced(warped)pads, serv calipers clean adjust rear brakes emer cable etc.

    109,700 KM - Lower intake manifold gasket AGAIN !! Repaired

    110,500 KM - Water Pump Replaced

    110,580 Km - Alternator Replaced

    112,000 Km - Replaced right front wheel sensor
    related to ABS light coming on solid.

     So What Do You Guys Think ??

     Is this a family car or a good BOAT ANCHOR ??

    SRRY for the long post but had to Vent

  • but low quality for sure. I hope the second intake manifold gasket was repaired for free?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
  • These problems occured after 70K, and not all of them were serious enough to affect performance of the vehicle.
  • First things first: GET THAT GASKET FIXED NOW! A lady I work with has (or had) a 99 Grand Am SE with the 3.4 engine, which has the same gasket problems as the Malibus. I told her over and over again to watch the coolant and the gasket for any leaks. She had the "Low Coolant" light and simply kept adding Dex-Cool. Welp, driving home the other night, her gasket completely let loose, hydro-locking the engine, leaving her stranded. Now after replacing the engine to the tune of $3K, she traded the car in for an Altima. Like I said, GET THAT GASKET FIXED!

    As for the "Junk or Not", you've had the car for, what, about 75 km or so, right? That means you have had one problem every 10 km or so, which seems EXTREMELY excessive. I would dump her. I always complained about my Malibu, and I never had that many problems. There are much better vehicles out there, maybe even better Malibus...yours just must be a lemon.

  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    those wacky GM pushrod v6's and blown gaskets.......
This discussion has been closed.