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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    THe LS has the armrest built in to the back seat ( maybe the base model has them as well but not sure, the LS for sure has them ). The Malibu does not have programmable locks, unfortunately, they saved this feature for the Impala and up.
    The LS is pretty much well equipped witrh every option ( except sunroof). The sunroof opens to the outside of the car, it sort of pops up and slides back a bit so it doesn't hide inside the roof area. Let's see, yea I think I covered some of the questions. Good luck, you'll find you will like the car, very smooth. Good luck!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    on the board poisondartfrog "Common General Motor's 2.8, 3.1, 3.4 V6's engine problems" Apr 4, 2001 8:36pm

    boardpoisondartfrog put a very useful link

    Look at the pictures. The last one, with coolant tank, is especially informative for Malibu owners.

    There are tell-tale signs of rust (iron oxide) in the coolant system. The rust is very easy to see on the inside walls of coolant tank. A retired housewife can recognize it. With my car the sediment was more thick, and was also on the floor of the tank and even on its cap. Had it from the very day I bought the car used, one year old (from build date) and with only 15k miles.

    The only problem is the rust have the same color as the orange DexCool coolant. The sediment looks natural.

    My car had serviced by ASI certified mechanics, first at dealership, than at very good local Firestone shop. They added the coolant every 3 months, but never mentioned the rust. Probably even mechanics do not know this is rust, not natural...

  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    The following link:

    tells that at least 3 types of the dark-brown sediments can be found in the coolant system filled by DEX-COOL. The rust (iron oxide), hose material, and sealant pellets. All of them are looking the same.

    The rust is the worst, it can clog the radiator. If the rust is developing, the system needs in chemical flush. Fortunately for the Malibu owners, the 3.1l engine is not prone to the rust sediments. Only to the two other ones.

    GM is also suggesting to overfill the system a bit. To fill it to the full (hot) mark with the cold engine.

  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    yurakm - I used to see your name come up in the Impala forum when I was considering buying an Impala. I then went on to the Taurus and had to eliminate that because of blind spot. A lot of cars are making head rests that go a good bit over my head causing a problem for seeing merging traffic for lane changes - I don't like to rely strictly on mirrors. I test drove the Malibu today and the vision was so-so but I enjoyed the test drive. I'll have to test drive it again. Surprisingly enough, the Impala may give the best view so will retest that.

    I thought my top priority was reliablity, safety, etc. but now it's just blind spots.

    Anyway, if I buy the Malibu, I may be posting over here some. Hopefully I'll be buying this week sometime. I like the Malibu price better than the Impala price but seeing traffic will have to come ahead of price.

    truckdude struck the Taurus forum this weekend. Maybe he's just a kid cutting up. I guess we get a few pranksters from time to time.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    The Malibu drivers have decent field of view. At least my wife and I had no problem with driving, changing lanes, etc. I am using mostly mirrors, but my wife looks back.

    It was somewhat difficult at first to backing up at parking garage at our work (we work together). The garage is very tight - an old city building, converted. We are backing up usually till there is two inches left to the wall, and with the high Malibu trunk lid touched the wall several times by bumper. Well, I touched - my wife is more accurate.

    Though, the Impala and other W-body cars have outstanding field of view. Much better than Malibu. Our other car is Buick Regal; we are comparing the view from the car to the view a fish have from a glass tank.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    backing up. That's something I will do on the next test drive. I got into a fender bender several years ago in a parking lot and hit a Mercedes Sports Coupe. Didn't do much damage but it sure was expensive! I definitely want to see backing up.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    It seems like we are looking at the same cars. I like Malibu too but two star side impact rating makes me think, I spoted 2000 Taurus 17K miles they are asking 14.5K. 2001 Malibu (brand new) $16.1K (w/power windows). I love impalas too but even second hand is high. My favorite is Accord but I don't want to dump 18K-19K for a car. So in my virtual garage I have 2 Taurus, 1 Impala, 1 Malibu, 1 Buick. They are al ranging 13K 14K except Malibu that is 12K. My consideration is crash test results, component reliablity. Ford appears to be the best bang for the money but transmission is scaring me in a long run.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    I was concerned about the transmission on the Taurus as well. If you test drive one, see how it does at lower speeds. When I test drove one, it seemed a little jerky at 20 to 30 mph. Maybe it was just that particular car.

    I do like the prices on the Malibus. And I also liked the way it handled on the test drive - lots of pickup. Guess you have to weigh the crash test results with the price. I've got to test drive the Malibu again before I decide. If I can't see backing up, I'll have to move on to something else.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I just got my June issue of Consumer Reports. It recommended the LS version of the Malibu as a good value and good performer. Only thing they did not like was the poor side-impact scores it gave, because there are no side air bags. Pretty good for a design that's 4 years old, they said. It competed with the Olds Alero, Hyundai Sonata, and new Chrysler Sebring sedan. It came in third. A feat, might I add, since the Sebring is all new this year and the Malibu's design is 4 years old.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    In the cars that I looked at, the Impala has the best side impact scores (a 4 out of 5). Both Taurus and Impala score a 5 for front end crash. The Malibu scores a 4 for front end crash and 2 for side.

    I may be sacrificing safety to find a car I can see out of when looking over my left shoulder for traffic. Although it's even more unsafe when merging onto the interstate where cars are usually going 80 and I hit one because I can't see.
  • I read some of the other messages regarding the loss of power on the malibus. I agree with it all. Recently I was trying to cross three lanes of traffic and my car refused to go faster then 30mph the speed limit is 45. A car came up behing me fast and had to move qucikly. I actually braced myself for inpact. I thought I was going to get hit. I toke my car in to the Chevy dealership, talked to everyone even the general manager, and I called the Chevy number. Everyone I talked to told me the problem could not be reproduced even when they saw it do it they told me that I needed to Floor it. Well that doesnt work. Now I wont drive my car I am scared of a terrible accident.
  • acordell2acordell2 Posts: 1
    At 5000 km the brakes were pulsing and so the dealer changed the rotors. Now at 15000 km there is a creaking noise coming from the front discs just before stopping. Creaking can be heard from inside the car and outside as well.

    The dealer said the calipers were the problem: leaking, rusting, etc. They changed (and or rebuilt) the calipers. You guessed it. Creaking continues. Dealer says bring it back. Any suggestions on what I might suggest to the service people on what might be the problem?
  • mk12345mk12345 Posts: 2
    Hi, all! I am new to this board and have a 98 Malibu LS (sympathy and cash donation accepted:-)bought as new at the end of 97. Currently has 54k on it. Coolant leak started less than a year ago. Had to top off about every two weeks and got it fixed recently(bad gasket was the culprit). Now, there is another problem. After every cool start, engine seems to stall or choke(??) while stopping for red light and after every gas fill. Grinding noise come from bottom of the car. My mechanic friend did a computer diagnostic and it showed P1441 problem but w/o explanation. I searched on the internet and found it means "Evaporative System Flow During Non-Purge". My friend said it means a leak in the fuel system. I am wondering if anyone has the same problem and know how much it will cost to fix it?

    I recommend and read other owers' reivew to anticipate any upcoming problems. Good luck to you all.

  • spindly_mspindly_m Posts: 1
    I have a '98 Malibu LS--piece of unreliable crap. Anyway the switch that detects whether parking brake is on is busted (yet again, was fixed under warrenty), and every time I stop and then start the car I am treated to a 10 second dinging of the warning bell. Anybody got any ideas how to simply disable the switch? Since it serves no purpose other than breaking I think it can get the boot.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    Just a note to let you know I finally found a car I can see out of. It's the Grand Prix sedan. I think it has to do with the fact that the headrest has a hole in it and I can see through that.

    I've been to a couple of places and couldn't work out a good deal so will keep looking. I hope I can find something this week.

    I'm curious about one thing, though. In an earlier post, you mentioned the W body. Would the Grand Prix be a W body? The vision between the Grand Prix and other cars I've sat in is like night and day.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    A lot of GM cars are sharing few basic designs, or "platform". The following current cars are built on the "W" platform: Buick Century and Regal, Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Intrigue, and Pontiac Grand Prix. All of them have close dimensions, a lot of common parts, etc.

    The sheet metal (the upper body) is different, but the windows / vision is the same or very similar.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    Thanks for the explanation on the W platform. I hear this mentioned all the time but never knew what it was.

    I finally bought a new car today and got the Grand Prix SE. It's a 3.1 L engine so I would guess it's the same engine as the Chevy Malibu. I think the crash results are about the same too.

    I've owned white cars for 20 years so it seems strange to have something in the garage that isn't white--got the dark bronzemist. I liked the galaxy silver but couldn't work out a deal with the car place that had one.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345

    I saw the dark bronzemist color, and like it very much. Definitely more than silver.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    I've been enjoying my car but haven't been doing a lot of driving. I thought my insurance company was going to send me my policy by overnight express. I called them today and they sent it out in bulk mail. They said it could take 2 weeks before I receive it. I'm nervous about driving a car without having the proof of insurance card with me. I'm having them send me the card anyway by overnight express.

    I've read several posts about pings and my car does have that ping sound when I get out of it. I'm hoping it's just from being new and it will quit with time.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Dealer would not release the car to you from his parking lot without the proof of insurance. The insurance company must fax a copy of a new insurance card to dealership.

    The proof of insurance is required by banks: no loan without insurance. I am not sure what if you paid cash, but I believe that in most of states the dealer still must check for current insurance. Either it is explicitly required by a state law, or because the dealer do not want to be sued in case of an accident with an uninsured motorist.

    So I am pretty sure that your dealer have a copy of the insurance card. Probably you already received it with other documentation for your car. If not, you can ask the dealer to Xerox it and to provide the copy to you.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    The dealership may have gotten a fax copy of insurance coverage and I didn't notice it--so much going on. When I called the insurance company yesterday, they offered to fax me a copy of the proof of insurance card. Some states won't accept a fax copy of the card and it turns out that Louisiana is one of those states. Hopefully, I'll get the card today.

    I'm probably worrying about nothing. When people buy a new car, they've got to drive it off the lot. And no one is going to get their actual card that moment.
  • tomhameltomhamel Posts: 2
    I had the same problem. It's been pretty much fixed by installing raybestos ceramic pads as recommended at another Malibu site. I hear that you should also put in aftermarket rotors ("cross-drilled" I believe). My rotors were replaced by the dealer on warranty with a newer version (my car is a 99). I have 85,000 kms (51,000 miles) on this car now and the brakes have improved with age since the ceramic pads. They are expensive: List is $107 CDN for the pair (I got them for $80 CDN, but I have an "in"). I installed the pads myself with the help of a mechanic friend. The local dealer quoted me $83 CDN to install my pads, labor only.

    I've also put on Michelin Xone tires. This was a big improvement over the stock Firestones, which were very poor tires that wore out within 30,000 miles, handled poorly and were noisy.

    Except for little annoyances, the car is working out pretty well at about 60% the cost of an Accord (though I'd buy the Accord in a second if it were in the budget).

  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I have a 98 Malibu, base with 3.1l V-6 engine. Bought used with 15k miles 2.5 years ago, 09/1998. Currently approaching 41k miles.

    I have three questions:

    1. Does Malibu produce a chime warning when trying to drive with parking brake engaged? I have a slight remembrance it did this when we bought the car. Did not hear the chime for years, though. Not sure if this is a false memory, or the chime simply does not work for years.

    2. My son pointed yesterday to what looks as small lights on the power window buttons. Small clear strips on the the big square buttons. Do not remember the lights ever to work, though. Is Malibu equipped with the lights?

    3. The air flow knob is somewhat tight. I mean the left-most air condition knob. The 5 position switch, directing the air flow to windshield, feet, the dash vents, etc.

    Do I remember right that the knob was very easy to turn - as easy as the air speed knob?
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    1) Yes a chime warns you that the brake is on, it makes 3 dings.

    2)The window switches for the FRONT ONLY are iluminated.

    3) The knob gives more resistance when switching it all the way to the right.

    Hope that helps.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
  • sparky51sparky51 Posts: 2
    I recently purchased 2001 Chevy Malibu LS. When starting up the car, anytime it has been parked for eight hours or more I noticed a ticking noise that goes away in a couple minutes. When I took the car in for an oil change I asked for this to checked. I was informed that the reason for the ticking noise was because the 3.1 liter engine uses a short skirt piston. This reason sounds like BULL to me, I suspected valves or lifters. Has anyone experienced this?
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    I just purchased a new Grand Prix about 10 days ago. It's the one with the 3.1 L engine so I would imagine it's the same engine as the Malibu. I haven't heard any ticking noises in my car. If you're already getting an oil change, I imagine you've had your car longer than mine. How long did you have your car before this started?
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    GM issued a service bulletin about this. It is more than likely piston slap. It is a know manufacturing defect in GMs 3.1 V6. Speaking from experience, I would be leary about getting the repair done unless you absolutely need it.

    It took the dealer 5 days to do the job (Would have cost almost $2000 if I had to pay for it).

    Problems since the repair...1- The car almost overheated one day. Checked the coolant, and it was bone dry. Oil also had a funny smell to it, I thought for sure the head was blown. Dealer had it half a day, said there was an "air pocket" in the coolant system which worked it's way out with driving, therefore when it looked full, the coolant was actually low as air was in it's place. They filled the coolant, changed the oil for free. It still smells the way it did, so I hope I was wrong. 2-Burning smell coming in vents. Beats me as to what is wrong.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    How do you find out about service bulletins? I know some are mailed to car owner but is there a web page for looking these things up?
This discussion has been closed.