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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • is out of whack, but, hey OK for a bit. Sure Pat is OK for the moment, let's hope. ;)

    Regal and Century are near death and to be replaced by the LaCrosse, which we'll see in a few weeks at Chicago.

    Start crossing the fingers and toesies.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Its not a moot point if buyers are going to compare and cross-shop the two.

  • mtracmtrac Posts: 4
    I bought a base 2002 fleet car in September 2003 and like it quite a bit. Has approximately 38K miles now. I have a couple of questions:

    1. It needs new rear struts. I would like to make the car handle better without giving up too much ride comfort. Since I have to replace the rear suspension anyway, what can I do front and rear to accomplish this?

    2. What would be involved in making the rear seats fold? Is this just some hardware? Or, would I need to replace the seats?

    3. I've read this forum and noted various drivetrain issues. My (mis)understanding is the 3.1 is derived from the 2.8 used in the X-cars and problems should have been ironed out eons ago. I bought this car as a stopgap and didn't take an extended warranty. Since I now intend to keep it a few more years, is it worth getting an aftermarket warranty?


  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I just put a set on my Cavalier and they firmed up the ride and gave me a "sporty" handling that was lacking before.
  • About the rear seats, you will most likely need to purchase new seats (if that's even an option).

    Also, depending on how long you plan to keep your Malibu, I would definitely get the extended warranty. The Malibu's, as you may know, are plagued with alternator problems, engine gasket problems, suspension problems, and a few issues with the HVAC control head. On my 1997 I had each and every one of these problems, and then some. Also, GM's tend to have many of their issues between 60-80K miles, so once again, if you plan to keep it that long get the extended warranty.

    Good luck with your Bu in the future!

  • Buy the extended warranty, but make sure it covers all of the issues we've discussed. Also, check the company out to make sure it doesn't leave town before the car is next traded by you.

    Folding rear seats? My opinion is that since this is a stopgap vehicle for you, and you'll be out of it in a few years, just live with it as is.
  • 237kmd237kmd Posts: 3
    I just purchased a 2000 MalibuLS, with 66,000 kms (that's 41,000miles). Unfortunately we didn't research much, but knew there were some complaints. Now I'm REALLY worried. Does anyone like their 2000? We don't know what's been replaced or not.We did purchase an extra 3 yr. powertrain warranty, but not the full warranty (yikes!)It's rides beautifully right now... I had all these brake problems with my Mazda Protege (1999) - on 4th set of brakes at42,000 miles, so I figure why are you complaining at 30,000 miles getting your first? I need to hear some good news from people...please!
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    With regard to your rear struts and improving handling...if you live in a fairly large metro area, keep an eye out for a special on struts from one of the major national shops..Midas, etc. Replacement struts are usually valved heavier than OEM, and will give a slightly stiffer ride, and will probably carry a lifetime warranty. I replaced the struts on a car I had a few years ago, and the time and aggrevation was hardly worth the I still had to take it in afterwards to get the alignment redone. Other than getting a good set of replacement struts, there is probably little you can do to improve the handling without spending major dollars.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    If you haven't done so, get a Carfax report on your Malibu. I think the charge is about $25, and will tell you if there has been any repairs or problems reported against your VIN. When buying a used car, that is $25 well spent. I wouldn't get overly concerned about some of the stuff you read here, as I'm sure it is not typical of the vast majority of owner experiences. If the Malibu was as bad as some of these people claim, on a wide-spread basis, GM would have gone bankrupt from all the lawsuits. Personally, we have about 14K on our 2003 LS, and have had Zero problems. If/when we experience any brake problems, I intent to go to O'reilly Auto parts, and buy their best lifetime warranty rotors and pads, and that will probably put an end to it for less than $150, and 3 or 4 hours of fairly easy work.
  • I have a 99 and am a happy camper. This car rules! Just enjoy it, do the regular maintenance and an occasional intake manifold gasket, and that's all there is to it!

    For those of you with 1997 and 1998 Malibus, GM is recalling those vehicles due to power steering problems. Here's the link
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Saw my first Malibu yesterday after I left the Chevy dealer to play the HOT BUTTON game. Sadly, they weren't open unlike some on Sundays. It was a lady with 2 kids and she was driving next to us. I know it was an LT, white with I think a beige interior. It also had a spoiler which made it look good. At the dealer, I also saw a lot of MAXXs on the lot, but I don't exactly care for them. The rear looks kinda bad. The darker colors on the Bu really make it look better.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Dark colors on all Malibus look better. The silver trim is then more visible.

    I like the Maxx a lot. I would buy one over the sedan most likely.
  • 237kmd237kmd Posts: 3
    Thank you! I'm breathing a bit easier now. We certainly plan to get the regular checkups and now know to keep an eye on the intake manifold gasket. Keeping my fingers crossed...
  • I am looking at a 2001 Malibu Std, it has 26900 miles and is really clean looking. It has power windows,locks, cruise, cd, split back seat. the car is a Beige color. The dealer said that they just turned the rotors and put new brakes on it. I looked at the service record and it's basically had no problems. They said they will sell it for $7700. Good deal or not? I can get a G.M. master care warranty fpr about $1000 for 3 years 36,000 miles, do I need the warranty?. Please let me know what you think. Thanks
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    It sounds like a car worth considering. The miles are fairly low, and if its coming from a Chevy dealer, they have probably had one of their mechanics check it out good. If they keep it on their lot, its probably ok..they usually wholesale the junkers quickly. As for price, check the "used car" sections here on Edmunds. There are areas where you can can get a pretty good idea on what the price should be. If the dealer is asking $7700, he probably has a generous profit in that should be able to work that down. As for the extended warranty, read it over carefully..especially the exclusion items. Many of these warranties aren't worth the paper they are written on, or they are so pricey that you would have to have several major troubles before they pay for themselves. And, be sure that it is indeed coming from GM..some dealers sell warranties from 3rd party companies who go belly up before the ink on the contract is dry.
  • The dealer had it marked down to $8000 from $8995, I worked on him until he would go to $7700. The Dealer only sells GM warranty's, he does not sell any 3rd party type warranty. I have looked in Kelly Blue book, Nada, Edmunds and all shoh the car to be in the mid $8500 range. I just wasn't sure how accurate these guides are in todays market. See my previous post about cars condition and options. Thanks
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    It sounds like you've done your homework. If all the major rating services put the car in the mid-8's, $7700 would probably be a fair price. Kelly/NADA/Edmunds are all usually within a few dollars of each other, and very close to the real world prices. If the car fits your needs and you like it, go for it. You probably won't get a much better car for twice the price. Good luck!
  • Called a local garage highly recommended by a co-worked. They said they have done this repair a "million times" and is a common problem on GM cars. Their quote for a new intake gasket:

    $525 (price includes full radiator flush)

    My first impression was this was a great price with the flush.

    Optional extras:

    $27 Oil Change
    $215 Full tune-up (he pushed me on this and said this would be a good idea for a '99 Bu at this point - includes plug replacement, filter, PCV valve, etc.) This seemed high to me.

    Any thoughts on my Bu needing the tune-up and does this price sound right? It has never been tuned. Is a '99 LS with 37K and been driven 4.5 years.

  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    The oil change sounds reasonable and so does the gasket replacement including radiator flush.
    On the other hand, if they have done this job "a million times", they should be able to do it in less time and charge less. But that's how they make their money, they charge the number of hours the job takes according to their shop manual(Chilton or other).

    The tune up I would do myself. The air filter and the PCV valve are really easy to replace. The spark plugs may need replacement. If they are of the platinum variety they can stay until you reach 100k miles (I would take a look at them anyway). Even if you replace the belts it should not cost more than $ 100 altogether.
  • 237kmd237kmd Posts: 3
    Well, I've had my Malibu for 5 days and trouble's a starting. First, the windshield washer doesn't work (which the dealer passed on the safety...hmmm..)He says it froze when they washed it, but they'll fix it Friday ( a must for the saftey inspection - their expense). I told my husband to try the fan on 1 and 2, and, you guessed it, doesn't work. He told them about that too, also to be fixed by Saturday. Canada has a 7 day "lemon" return policy I'm sure, so we just might be needing that option if things don't look better by Saturday (the 7th day)
  • genetageneta Posts: 23
    Does anyone have a good explanation for the total cost to own by Edmunds? I'm interested in the Maxx with all the bells and whistles, power moon roof, MX Radio, DVD player -- however I'm also interested in the Honda Accord EX-V6.

    Checked out the total cost to own and the Maxx comes out at $36,847 based on a cash price of $23,387 versus the Accord at $29,188 based on cash price of $25,910. Looks like the major differences are 1st year Depreciation - $4,892 (Accord) vs. $8,744 (Maxx) and Maintenance (5-years) $3,384 (Accord) vs. $7,639 (Maxx).

    Something seems out of kilter that a car based on a price $2,000 less over 5-years costs $7,000 to own. To me that looks like a value swing of $9,000 to the Honda. What is the deal here? I'm looking for enlightment!!
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Your note pique'd my interest..I had never really looked at Edmunds TCO figures. If you go into the detail on this item, you will note a couple of interesting points. First, I will give them the increased first year depreciation as the Honda in perceived (note, I said perceived) slightly better car. However, if you look at Edmunds projected maintainance numbers, you will see that they are forcasting $5400 for repair costs during the 5th year. I don't think so!!! Are they saying that every Malibu is going to have a new engine and transaxle somewhere around 60,000 miles??? I call that a total BS figure. Then, even with this totally wrong number, the Malibu figures out to cost 50 cents per mile as opposed to the Honda costing 44 cents. This again is a rather bogus number, and is based upon what the IRS allows for tax purposes for someone who is using the car purely for business. When I was working for IBM, they reimbursed our car usage at the rate of about $110/month and 9 to 12 cents per mile, depending upon what the current gas prices were. They had a rather large accounting staff which looked at these costs closely because it came to millions per year. I would really take these Edmunds numbers with a big grain of salt, especially the repair numbers. To reach those numbers, you would have to have a total lemon, and be taking your car to the dealer for everything, including adding windshield washer fluid. I have always done my own car work, and I figure my cars cost me about $200/yr. for oil, filters, brakes, tires, struts, etc. The only time I have ever spent any serious money for repairs was a few years ago when the A/C blew up on my Z28, and I had everything replaced and converted to the new R22 cost was about $1000. Either Edmunds has made a mistake on these numbers, or every Malibu out there blows up at 60,000 miles.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Slow down and take a deep breath. Its a 4 year old car, and is not going to be perfect. And, it didn't cost you $23,000, so there may well be some glitches you will notice. If you are dealing with a reputable dealer, you will have some period of warranty..30 to 90 days..where you should be covered for most of what you find. Something freezing up in Canada in January would not surprise me...its colder than a witches you know what here lately, and I'm hundreds of miles south of you. Insofar as the blower motor, I guess that has been a frequent problem on some of the earlier Malibu's, and if you approach your dealer in a calm manner, he will probably fix it for little or no cost. Go thru the entire car..try every control and gizmo, and make a list of every concern. Then make an appointment at the dealer, get with your salesman, and calmly ask for the appropriate repairs. Dealers are people, too, and like everyone, they usually respond to reasonable requests positively. Threatening the dealer with a "lemon law" action before he has been made aware of, and given a chance to handle the problem will only put you in an adversarial relationship, and you will probably not get anything done right.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Its not completely accurate, not even close.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    $215 for a "real" tune up sounds great, out here they charge you $300-$500 for maintenance on "sealed cars" (100k spark plugs etc.) just for what is essentially a fluids and filter servie, plus visual inspection.

    The gasket replacement price is a steal too, there is actually a lot of work involved. Check out the prices for Neon head gasket replacements in urban markets, for example....

    And yeah, based on your mileage you've got deferred maintenance to catch up on....thus the tuneup is a good idea.
  • Hello everyone,

    I just found out today that they are mailing out more of those "GM in the Driveway" certificates to us GM employees. I think these new ones are good till March.

    We're supposed to give these things to friends to allow them to purchase a GM vehicle at the supplier discount. Like I've said before, my wife and I don't know a lot of people in the area, so I'll give them to anybody interested out there.

    I don't know exactly what the savings are, because it depends on the vehicle, but I think it's roughly 3% above the GMS price. These can be used in addition to other incentives.

    If anyone is interested, please contact me via e-mail, and I'll give you my address to send me a SASE. I think the last time I got these I sent out about 8 to you folks out there. Did anybody actually use them? If so, could you post your savings as an example for others?

    Honestly, I'm just trying to save people a few bucks. I think others here will vouch for me.

    By the way, the 04 LS Malibu is doing quite nicely, except that I accidentally left the passenger floor mat at the car wash. Wonder how much those things cost.

    Other than that, it's been a great car. I know some here don't think much of the electric steering, but I'll take it any day over power steering. Heck, if you want to really want feedback from the road, then lose the shocks!

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Are the certs good in Canada?
  • I bought the 2001 Malibu I was looking at. It has 26900 miles and has all the options you could get on the base car except the spoiler. I paid $7500. I also bought the best GM warranty for 3 years 36,000 miles. The car is for my wife and I want it to not cost a lot in repairs. I have never purchased a warranty before, but after hearing some of the common problems thought I would buy it so we don't have to pay any big unexpected expenses. The car appears to be very tight and handled better than her 1995 Toyota which I gave to my daughter. I also went out and bought a new set of Michelin tires for it and got rid of the OEM firestones. We are hoping the car is a good one and gives us pleasue and trouble free driving.
  • buy your cars in December. Many of GM's 2003s here in Vancouver were discounted by close to 25%, with some SUVs being almost 10K off the sticker. And that's even before you would "ring in and win" a guaranteed additional discount of 1,500 on any vehicle, and you could win as much as 5K or 10K off, or you could even win your entire car. And then you could also add your GM card earnings on top of that (1,500 on midsize sedans).

    How on Earth does GM make money? Hmmmmm, let me think. I know! My dealer's labor rate is a cool 95 bucks an HOUR! Yeeeeeehhhhhaaaaa

    So, as far as I am concerned, unless some kind person showers me with a ton of money, December will be my car shopping month from this time on
This discussion has been closed.