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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • dizarddizard Posts: 1
    We have a 2001 Malibu LS - been back for service 3 times. The front brakes seem to be sticking to the point that they smoke and the whole front of the car shakes - (as the rotors warp?). Milage is only 1,200 miles!

    We are afraid to take the car for any trips over
    10 miles . . . which is about when the shaking starts. There is
    black brake dust ALL over the wheel hubs!
  • florinflorin Posts: 11

    We have a 2001 Malibu LS - been back for service 3 times. The front brakes seem to be sticking to

    the point that they smoke and the whole front of the car shakes - (as the rotors warp?). Milage is only 1,200 miles!


    One more unsuccessful repair and it's officialy

    a lemon (at least in some states).


  • themaysthemays Posts: 1
    We bought a 2001 Malibu in early January and love the car. Immediately replaced the Firestone Affinitys with Goodyear Eagles (gotta support the home town tire company here in Akron, OH). No problems with engine ticking or braking yet and we've gone almost 5000 miles. Only "problem" is the static charge I get when I get out of the car. Solved that by opening the door and grabbing the metal on the open door or around the door frame before stepping out of the car.
  • ferraro1ferraro1 Posts: 44
    I had the Affinity's changed to Goodyear Eagles @ 36,000 I have the 4 cylinder, are their any known problems with the 4 cylinder??however this one has most of the LS options including Alloy Rims (dont care for the huncaps :), i could not live with a totally stripped Malibu!
  • skipper8skipper8 Posts: 7
    I don't know...but where are the Malibu's made. Could be a factory problem. Does anyone know if they are made at more than one factory.

    I really like my 98 LS.....bought it last June. Only problem was the rotors..which were replaced under warranty. I just bought a 98 Corolla LE for my wife to drive. Got tired of reading the bad things about the american made cars and bit the bullet and paid more to get the Toyota. It's a peppy car with 120 hp. Has a 1.8 liter engine. Their reputation is great..hope that holds true for me.

    Sorry to here about the "above" problems with 2001 Malibus. It's a shame when you pay that much for a new car..and have a problem with brakes occur. It takes the real joy out of owning a new car. It is suppose to be a pleasurable experience. These manufacturers should have the brakes figured out by now..after all...they've been on cars since their inception.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    To answer the above question, the Malibu is made in Oklahoma City.

    I picked up the Malibu today after it had the pistons re-done. Dealer had car for 4+ days. Would have cost $1750 if not on warranty. Runs like a champion so far, we'll see what the future holds.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Are a serious malady among GM's N-body cars such as the Malibu, Grand AM and the Alero. It figures that by now, GM would already have resolved the brakes issue on newer Malibus. I read about too many complaints about the N-bodies everywhere. Its a shame because the Alero, Grand AM do look attractive on their higher trim levels but quality is not yet straighten out. Safety ratings make the N's a big No No in my book.

    Has anyone tried aftermarket 'cross drilled' brake rotors with good results?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi folks,

    Now that we have moved to our new platform, we no longer have the requirement to stop and restart discussions after the numbers of posts exceed a certain limit. To keep from confusing our newer members down the road, we are going through the discussion list bit by bit and dropping the "part" numbers associated with some of our extended discussions.

    Since this will be the permanent home for discussion of the Malibu, I have removed the "III" from the title of this discussion and altered the name of the archived version to distinguish it from this one.

    Please continue....

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • mottsz71mottsz71 Posts: 4
    My 1997 Chevy Malibu (108,000 miles) has had TOO MANY problems: theft system issues/ignition module (replaced countless times because the car wouldn't start -even after 15 minutes- and we needed to be towed), brakes/rotors, etc.

    For the last several years, my husband and I have complained to the dealer about a coolant leak and was told there was no problem. However, we were filling it every month or so as the red light came on. Last month, we needed to fill it every week, so I decided to take it to the dealership. The morning I was dropping it off, the check engine light came on. I lose power on acceleration sometimes as well, I was told that it was the intake manifold, so $1000 later, I was told it was fixed. As I left the parking lot of the dealership, the check engine light came on again and I turned the car around and brought it back, I waited for about an hour, at which point I was told that one of the temperature sensors was reading incorrectly, wire replaced, problem fixed. So I go home that night and my husband checks the car out... the alarm doesn't work, and the coolant reservoir isn't filled (after $1000 dollars, the least they could do was fill it). I called the dealer and went back in two days. Surprise, surprise, on the way to the dealership, the check engine light goes on again. This time, I am told that it's the EVAP sensor and that it could mean a lot of things (gas tank not closed properly (WHATEVER!), hoses kinked...) so they say everything's fixed, a hose was apparently pinched. This morning while running some errands, the blooming light goes on again! Obviously it's back to the dealership I go, but it's getting OLD!!! I've heard a lot of complaints by Cavalier, Lamina and Fire bird owners about the check engine light. Unfortunately, we still owe money on this hunk of junk. We really enjoy the car with the exception of the fact that it's in the shop more than we can drive it. Any one else sharing the same experiences?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I have an early 98 Malibu, build date July 1997. Bought used, with 15k miles, September 1998. Currently a bit above 40k miles.

    The first two years the car was serviced at dealer, oil change every 3 months. The coolant level decreased, but the dealer mechanic just added it.

    The difference between full tank, to the notch, and the "add coolant" light on the dash, is one quart. Only once lost so much coolant between oil changes. According to manual, it is OK to add it every 3 months. My impression is it is a bit too often, but who I am to argue with manual. I had no reason to complain, and did not care.

    After warranty expired, I switched to local Firestone with oil change etc, and to adding the coolant myself. Did not like how fast it decreased: had to add a quart every 3 months exactly. Then, in cold winter day, the signal appear one month after the last adding the coolant...

    Replaced the tank cap to exclude evaporation. After this the coolant did hold better, but still decreased.

    Last week, told the Firestone mechanic about the problem and asked to replace coolant and flush and check the cooling system. Turned to be, they can check the system without flushing and replacing the antifreeze. Just pressure check. A simple and cheap work, costs something between $25 and $30, do not remember exactly.

    Turned to be, there is a small leak from the intake manifold gasket. Fortunately, it leaks outside of engine, not inside it.

    Called my dealer, to check if GM had a recall or hidden warranty concerning the problem. The answer was negative.

    The next week I am planning to fix the problem by replacing the gasket.

    I have a third-party extended warranty from an Internet company named Warranty Gold. Will look how it works. Have an impression, that my mechanic does not like the third party warranties, though. He told me to call the company myself and to check if the gasket is covered (according to the policy, it looks as it is covered). Probably, calling the company adjuster means too much trouble to mechanics. At least, when I called them, the line was always busy and the comapny did not answer my voice mail.

    My suggestions to owners of Malibu and other cars with the same engine: ask for pressure-check of the coolant system. Do it before the warranty is going to expire, and/or when buying the car, if buying it used. You will waste $30 for peace of mind if there is no problem, but can save a lot of time and/or money if it leaks.
  • tlin2tlin2 Posts: 1
    We have a 2001 LS Malibu. I notice that the air blown out of the fan is always cool when we turn on the internal air circulation whether we turn on the AC or not. Is this normal, or a feature, or something wrong? Thanks,

  • skipper8skipper8 Posts: 7
    I've noticed the air is always "cool"...not cold when on without the A/C button pushed. If you are getting "cold" air all the time...something is wrong! Could be the A/C is engaged.
  • truckdude1truckdude1 Posts: 88
    in 99' we bought a new malibu 6cyl auto, fully loaded. It has been junk, all it does is break down,can you share some similar experiences. the motor was smooth for a short time, and tended to get un refined and when we turned on the air the motor ran bad. CAn you tell me about your malibus out there..we service our car alot , but always tend to floor it when accelerating. Plus the sucker only has 83,021 miles , our camry can run over 100,000 in two years , unlike chevy......please share all you can with us.thank you for your time
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Well, in the last two or three years you bought:

    - new 99 Malibu, and put 83,021 miles,
    - new Grand Am, year unknown, put 15888 miles,
    - new 99 Cavalier, now 36555 miles,
    - new 00 Hyndai Elantra, now 41,632 miles, and
    - just bought used 95 Toyota Corolla, with 126,917 miles.

    You also have a 97 Toyota Camry, with 82,556 miles on odometer (either bought used or owned it for years) and currently you are planning to buy a Honda Civic. Of these new cars you love only Elantra.

    Well, probably you have somewhat unusual tastes. Are driving a lot. And have a very big garage, ha?

    Or, possibly, just like spamming.
  • truckdude1truckdude1 Posts: 88
    Hi, we were being sarcastic, i only own two of these specific cars, my family always likes me to post articles on their cars and what they have done based upon their opinion, i am not against many cars, since they are transportation.i have never driven the malibu, so i cannot say.I let them type this up or they email the info to me.
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    His name is Paul Pattillo.
  • truckdude1truckdude1 Posts: 88
    why do you have to be sarcastic??????? Larry Rymal thinks he is something, what a piece of sarcastic trash.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    He's been in the Chevy Cavalier forum stating that he had a Cavalier and it was junk so he bought a used Corolla and unlike chevy he will never buy chevy junk. Now he is here saying he had a Malibu and then be bought a Camry and unlike Chevy he will never buy that junk. This is that fastfoodman guy with a different user name. Let's keep the forums informative as they have been for teh past few months and let's ignore this guys comments which are only meant to stir up conflics. I bet if I check in the Impala forum he has been in tehre also claming he ha an Impala and it was junk. Ignore people like this.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    through the intake manifold gasket. This was found a couple a weeks ago. Fortunately, it leaks outside the engine, not inside it.

    The car must be fixed today. Currently it is in the my local Firestone shop - for the third day.

    Why so long? I have an extended warranty. When buying, I believed this is for peace of mind. How dumb I was...

    It turned to be there are warranty companies, who are selling the warranties, have consumer service, etc. Though, the decision on repair is farmed out to the third party - the "independent administrator". I have a policy from Warranty Gold, Austin, TX, with Independent Warranty Management Corporation, Arvada, CO as administrator.

    The repair was approved immediately, from the very first attempt. But it took two days to get to the warranty administrator. No busy mechanic would waiting on hold for hours, and the administrator did not call back even on second day.

    I had to call the customer service of the warranty company, and they called the shop and connected the manager to their administrator. Even for customer service, with direct connection, it took 15 minutes on hold!

    By the way, the same administrator is servicing several warranty companies. Eight companies, if I remember right - they list them when you call their 1-800 number.

    Of course mechanics do not like the extended warranties. How can a busy professional be happy to wait on hold for hours, or waiting for days for call-back? But it is bad for car owners too.

    Fortunately, I had the problem while at home, and I have a spare car - without A/C, about 90F outside temperature, but better than nothing. But what if you need a repair while far away?

    I will not drop the warranty - it is too late and expensive - but will not buy them in future.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    Those third party warranty companies can turn into a ripoff. You are lucky it got approved quickly but I've heard about the nightmares. Good luck, I couldn't imagine driving around without A/C, yikes!!!
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I bought a used car warranty for a used 1993 Bonneville, and had great luck with it. I bought it from AutoConnection (, but the administrator was in Chicago (don't remember which one). Since the car had 67K on it when I got the warranty, I got some good use out of it (brake master cylinder, water pump, power window motor, etc.). Also, when I sold the car, I got a prorated refund on the warranty. Paid $1037 for 3/36K coverage, used it to the tune of like $1500, and still got back $450 at the end (which was at 77K and 6 months). Gotta love it. :)
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Thank you!

    By the way, did you replaced the tires already at your 99 Malibu?
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    No, I still have the Affinitiy tires on. They've worked ok for me, a little noisy at highway speeds but I'm not the kind that is bothered by road noise. I want to try and keep them for a while. I'm extending my lease on my Malibu until the redesign is released ( I hope by late 2003 ) so I might have to replace them before then. Still love this car though :-)
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I also was happy with the Affinity, till they became worn-out at about 32-35k. But after replacing them at 37k by SH-30, I know what the car needed from the very beginning.

    There was a joke popular in Russia in 1980-th: "the Soviet shoes are very good. Everybody would be happy with them, if only he could not try the Italian ones".
  • crazymalercrazymaler Posts: 16
    I replaced my Affinities at 20,500 miles (they were almost worn out) with Michelin Pilot XGT H4s. Now there's absolutely no more squealing tires, even on hard turns, and the car handles so much better than with the Affinities. The Michelins were pricey ($90) but are worth it. I've also read that the SH-30s that yurakm has are great as well. Just get rid of the Affinities ;-)
  • maw1982maw1982 Posts: 62
    I am looking at a '98 Malibu LS with all options including CD, leather and sunroof. It has 70k mi and looks like a very good deal but I wanted opinions on buying one of these vehicle sespecially with high mileage. If I can get it cheap enough Iwould invest in an extended warranty. I read some reviews on the '99 Malibus and wondered if the following item are included on the '98 also:

    Cupholders and tabletop in the rear center armrest?
    Split-folding rear seat?
    Sunroof that opens to the outside of the vehicle (doesn't slide back into the headliner)?
    Battery Rundown protection?
    Programmable door locks?
    Automatic Headlights?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    1. My base 98 Malibu definitely have cap holder, just on front of rear center armrest and behind the transmission handle. Plus there are two cap holders behind the armrest, for rear seat passengers. My son is using it all the time. The forth cap holder, to the left from steering wheel, is never used. Probably the feature is intended for left-handed drivers.

    Do not understand what you name "tabletop".

    2. When shopping for my car, I read somewhere that the 98 Malibu LS has the split rear seats as standard (option for base Malibu). Not 100% sure though.

    3. Do not know anything about Malibu sunroof.

    4. Battery protection - if you mean the car switches off itself the lights after several minutes, than yes. I read about it in my car manual, but never tried to experiment.

    4. Do not remember anything about programming door locks.

    5. Automatic headlights - definitely yes. Very convenient.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Concerning the extended warranty: my currently is in the shop with repair covered my extended warranty. In my experience it does not pay. Too much troubles and delays. And my mechanic, who have a huge experience with the warranties, told me the same.

    Mechanics do not like the warranties, and for good reason: the warranty companies make it difficult to collect the payments, possibly intentionally. Manager of the repair shop, or its owner, or mechanic must call the warranty administrator (a separate company) to approve the repair. It typically takes a hour or so on hold. The mechanics are too busy for this nonsense.

    In my case the administrator has a voice mail, but it took two days to receive the call back, and only after I called the customer service of warranty company and asked them to push. Even for them it took 15 minutes on hold to connect the administrator with the shop manager/owner. With him on hold too!

    Now, with engine disassembled, the mechanic prepared the full payment sheet and faxed it to the administrator this morning for payment by credit card. But it is Saturday today, and to the best of my understanding, the administrator will be open on Monday only. Another two days of delays - even if administrator will answer immediately.

    I bought the extended warranty for peace of mind. Now, with the experience, I would rather check the car thoroughly before buying, and would take the feature risk myself.

    The 98 Malibu is not very reliable car, but only two expensive problems are common.

    One of them are brake rotors prone to warping. Most usually develops at 7-15k miles. Most probably, the rotors are already replaced after 70k miles and this is not relevant. Though:

    The symptoms: pulsation of the brake pedal, initially at highway speed, about 70 mph. It may cost about $400 to replace at dealership, with genuine GM parts, but much less at independent shop, with aftermarket parts. Some of the parts, like Rasbestos, have better reputation than the OEM ones, and often are covered by a long or even lifetime manufacturer warranty.

    By the way, the rotors are never covered by extended warranties.

    The second problem, which usually develops with time, is a coolant leak from the engine intake manifold gasket. If it leaks slightly outside engine, for time being owner can just add the coolant for time being. Much worse if it leaks inside the engine, leading to its corrosion.

    The repair costs about $550 at independent shop and takes several days. Probably much more expensive at dealership. But the problem is not expensive to diagnose with pressure test of the coolant system - about $25-$30.

    With my experience, I would not buy a used Malibu without this test. And would not buy the car at all if my mechanic find the traces of the internal coolant leak.

    The only other problem which merit to mention in my experience were speakers. The right rear speaker simply died, and the right speaker at door started to make noise - probably was blown-out after the first died.

    Had several nuisance problems, but the most expensive of them costs $24 if I remember it right. Other costs $5 or so, or were solved with a drop of lube.
  • maw1982maw1982 Posts: 62
    Some coarifacations for yurakm

    I was confused about the tabletop in the rear center console. Like I said, I got these feature out of the review of a '99 model. I think what they mean is a flat plastic area on the rear armrest. Here is an excerpt from that article to clear things up:

    Standard equipment in the LS includes such popular staples as anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, automatic transmission, power windows, power locks and AM/FM stereo with cassette, plus a few other goodies such as tilt wheel, power trunk release, remote keyless entry, cruise control and a fold-down rear-seat armrest with dual cupholders as well as a small tray to hold snacks.

    By programmable locks I mean they are automatic and you can change the behabvior of them (IE you can turn them off, have them no automatically unlock and have the locks lock and unlock when shifting into and out of park). My parents' '99 silhouette has this feature and it is incrediblly handy. If the malibu has programmable locks, there should be a section in the owners' manual about how to program them. I know it involves removing a fuse and hitting certain switches certain number of times to cycle through options.

    Thank you for al of you advice though.

    BTW, I noticed that you said that your car is the base model. Is it the 4-cl or the 6-cyl. The one I am looking at is a 6-cyl and I don't which engine the coolant leak is common in. Thanks
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    My Malibu is base, but with the same 3.1l V-6 engine, as LS. I do not know statistics, how common is the coolant leak - very possibly only 5% or 10% of engines develop it. But it is frequent enough to be mentioned several times at the board.

    The engine is also used with several other GM cars. There is a separate discussion board dedicated to problems with the engine and its close relatives:

    rbenton "Common General Motor's 2.8, 3.1, 3.4 V6's engine problems" Feb 4, 2001 12:15pm

    My base Malibu have no rear armrest. Do not know about LS.

    I do not remember reading anything about the programmed door locks. The car manual is in the glove box, while the car is sitting at repair shop, so currently I cannot check. The locks are optional for base model, if I remember it right. My car is equipped by the power locks, but without remote control, and we are using them manually.
This discussion has been closed.