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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    GM is so on the up and up with this, that it is a service bulletin sent to dealers. I believe you can read about it on the NTSB or NHTSA web sites. Owners of the vehicles are on their own to find out about this potentially serious engine problem. GM has not come out on their own to say anything, and the government has not made them. Nice, huh?
  • bill138bill138 Posts: 1
    It's been a while since I've posted something on this board although I do check in regularly to see what's going on. I have a 2000 Malibu with a ticking V6. My dealer swears the problem is NOT piston slap, but actually the fuel injectors. I'm really concerned about the post from sparky51 who has a 2001 with the ticking problem. This has been going on for a while now, more than a year, right? Does this mean CM still has not corrected the problem during engine production?
    Another question I have is what are the long-term affects if repairs are not made? I don't know whether my dealer is correct, or not, about the fuel injectors, but they are not about to replace the pistons in my car. After 16000 miles, the engine is reliable, powerful, and does not use any oil, etc. If this is piston slap in my car, I'm inclined to think, maybe incorrectly, that it's not all that serious.

    The only thing that is occurring in my car now is rattles showing up from several places. One particularly annoying rattle is coming from under the dashboard. I'll try to fix it myself as the dealer claims they don't hear anything. I guess I can't really blame them too much for not wanting to tear the dashboard apart for just a rattle.
  • malibuinscmalibuinsc Posts: 10
    Hello everybody. I have a 1998 Chevy Malibu LS and has owned it since new. The V6 has roller lifters and rockers for fuel efficency and more power with less friction in the valvetrain that will rob power. Those noises are most likely the pushrods pushing up on the rockers and the rollers on the lifters and rocker arms making noise until properly lubed with engine oil and engine operating temperature reaches the first or second notch above the half mark on the temperature gauge. This is completely normal. I have over 70,000 reliable trouble free engine miles with no oil use in between 5000 mile oil changes. Do not worry or panic. The only major repairs I have had were Alternator and a brake job that was first done at 56,000 miles. Yes I get some brake rotor vibration with the so call new rotor design, but because I ignored it for awhile, it has actually smooth out. To get that perfect new car brake smoothness I'll get them resurface one day. This car has been driven every weekend for 3 years (no lie) for over 300 miles and she's still strong as brand new with 27 to 32 mpg of gas. Small gas tank makes this car look like a guzzler but it actual isn't.
    Anybody with A/C problems meaning system cutting on and off at will should have dealer look at wires near the Air Intake hose on a sensor. Had to a chevy dealer that had the car every spring and could only temporarily fix it. Took it to my selling dealer and the fix was done right and hadn't been back since. These compressors are the Delph Thermal System V5 model and it's a continuous varible operating unit that cools interior on the demand of the system and outside ambient air conditions. Ex. Very hot outside, compressor runs at full capacity and both varible engine cooling fans run at full speed. Cool outside, Compressor runs at lower capacity and the engine fans run slower and quieter. It's a smart car but it can be annoying when you want cold air anytime, but it saves gas and part wear.

    Malibu in SC
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I had an intermitted dash rattle with 2000 Buick Regal. No rattle at all most of time, but a very bad on some pavements with some speed, for miles. Not a big problem - my wife did not pay attention at all. However, the specific pitch was annoying me very much.

    The service adviser at dealership refused to fix it: too much work for the small nuisance.

    I found a road near the dealership where the rattle happens reliable every time. Than I made an appointment for a test drive with service manager. He did not like the rattle too and ordered the problem to be fixed.

    My car was at dealership for 3 days. The dealership mechanics had to dismantle the dash three times - the rattle disappear only after the third attempt.

    A month later the same rattle appear again. This time the mechanics and manager found the dash panel to be warped. They ordered the whole new dash panel, replaced it, and the rattle disappear.

    So it helps to be persistent.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    My brother bought a Malibu a couple of days ago so I'll keep up with the service bulletins posted in NHTSA and NTSB. He doesn't have much use for computers. As long as I'm looking up stuff for my car, I may as well look up stuff for his as well.

    The dealers are supposed to notify us of recalls aren't they or do we have to find out about them on our own as well?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    TSB is not a recall,safety problems are a recall and you will be notified.An engine knocking is NOT a safety related problem.
  • katty2ukatty2u Posts: 3
    Hi, I looked at several '97 Malibus this weekend. They are nice looking cars, in my opinion. I'm worried about their reliability though, or lack of. (I'm new to this community). Consumer Reports says to avoid the '97 and '98 models, and other places I've visited on the internet don't think much of these cars either. Edmunds here likes them, and so does a Consumer Guide book I bought. I'm confused as to what to believe! Would some of you be nice enough to give me your opinions? I'd appreciate it.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Most probably, the reliability is already reflected in the car price.

    I have a 98 Malibu, built in July 97. Base with 3.1l V-6 engine. Bought is used, with 15k miles, and have it for almost 3 years now, 41k miles on odometer.

    In my experience the car was not exactly reliable - a lot of things was repaired. On the other hand, none of problems was dangerous or made the car undriveable. Mostly small things like bad speakers, sticky door sensor, bad resistor in the A/C switch, a cord holding the fuel tank cap broke. Fixed them when changed oil. Often just a drop of lube was enough to fix. Was covered by warranty.

    Currently the illumination of the power window switches does not work, and the glove box door became creaky... Do not plan to fix this till the 45k miles service.

    There were three expensive repairs, though:

    1. The first does not concern reliability: the car was rear-ended, and needed $5,000 body work. The repair took almost a month.

    2. Warped brake rotors needed replacement. Cost about $400 at dealership, took couple of hours.

    3. A coolant leak developed through the intake manifold gasket. Costs $550, covered by extended warranty. I was for a whole week without the car: the repair itself took 3 days, plus 4 days waiting for the extended warranty approval and payment.

    As you see, most of repairs needed only couple of hours or so and are not expensive. Though, the car have two weak points:

    1. Some brake rotors are prone to early warping. At 8-15-20k miles. 50k would be normal... This is not a safety item: the brakes works even better. But the warped rotors are eating pads rather fast - they will serve only 7k miles or so.

    The symptoms: the brake pedal is pulsating when braking, at first at highway speed only, 70 mph or so.

    Most probably, with the problem is already fixed with older car, built in 1996-97. Or the specific car have no problem with this random production defect. Nevertheless, check for warping when test-driving.

    Adjust the price $400 down if rotors are warped. Replacing rotors and pads will cost about $400 at dealership, and probably half of this at independent service stations. Some aftermarket rotors are better than original, and have a warranty.

    2. This concerns the V-6 engine only, and happens much less often than the brake rotor problem:

    The intake manifold gasket is somewhat prone to leak. If the coolant leaks outside the engine, this is less important, but if antifreeze gets inside, into oil, corrosion will happen soon inside the engine.

    The pressure test of the coolant system costs than $30. I would suggest to perform this test before buying the car. I probably would not buy a car if my mechanic has a slight suspicion that the coolant ever leaked inside the engine.
  • dottiez1dottiez1 Posts: 1
    I currently drive a 1988 Chewy Celebrity (used to be my Dad's car) and Ii am going to have to buy a new car since this "GM Senior Citizen" is in the shop on a monthly basis with something new wrong with it (it's currently there now having the engine mounts replaced). I've narrowed it down to either a 2001 Impala (which I lust after) and the 2001 Malibu, which is more in my price range. Would it be wise for me to purchase a Malibu? The base or the LS? Any major problems? Next year, we'll be moving out of Chicago to the Las Vegas area and I will need a car that is a real "road warrior" since you drive everywhere; do you think the Malibu can handle it? Not to mention the 1700+ miles drive out to Vegas in the first place? Do you think it would be a good car to have in the desert? Safety?? I know I sound kind of silly but I'm so confused!!! I've done research on soooo many cars, and the Chevy models keep coming back to me!! I refuse to put any more money into "Ye Olde Rust Bucket" (even though it has sentimental value attached) and I may have to do this car purchase sooner than I wanted. I'm hoping the Celebrity will last me at least until September (WITHOUT any more costly repairs) and then shop around for the new car. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.. and sorry this is so long.
    By the way, that ticking noise that was mentioned I also hear in the Celebrity's 2.4 V6 (think it's a v6) engine. I thought it was just a normal sound coming from a GM engine!!
  • katty2ukatty2u Posts: 3
    Like my title says, I'm still thinking of buying a Malibu. The brake problems worry me. I don't want to be in the repair shop every month. Yurakm was kind enough to post his opinion. What he said about a coolant leak worried me. I had a coolant leak repaired in my '90 Buick Century earlier this year, and it was quite expensive to repair.... now I"m told my Century needs an exhaust manifold, so I am looking to get rid of it. that's why I'm considering a Malibu. Also, my car with a 3.3 liter engine has a tick in it too, especially when I accelerate. I'm still confused though, and I"m rambling now!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I did not want to scare you, only to tell where to look and what to check when buying car.

    The car is basically sound. I enjoy it - especially after replacing the OEM Affinity tires by Firehawk SH-30. Just today we discussed with my wife, how much fun is to drive our little Malibu. Even when compared with our newer car, a very fast and comfortable Buick Regal.

    However, practically every model have its weak points. For example, with Ford Taurus this is head gasket and mediocre transmission. With 97-98 Malibu - brake rotors and, if equipped with 3.1l V-6 engine, the intake manifold gasket.

    Of course this is not as bad as you fear. The brake rotors do not need to be replaced every year, even more "every month". I bought the car with already warped rotors, 15k on odometer, and nevertheless could use them for almost a year and 7-8,000 miles. Replaced at 22k or 23k miles.

    Moreover, I believe that we would drive longer before the replacement, if not the accident. When the car was rear-ended by an absent-minded girl, who did about 40 mph, my wife braked strong to spare the car in front of her. ABS had to be repaired. The pads started to scratch rotors the next week after the car returned from the body shop. Looks as they did not inspect the brakes, ABS only.

    Currently, two years and 18k later, with 41k on odometer, there is no sign of the warping problem to repeat.

    Still, the brake problem is relatively widespread. According to Consumer Reports survey, 10-15% of Malibu developed it during the first two years.

    As to the problems with the coolant system (including the intake manifold gasket leak), it happens with at most 5% of cars with the 3.1l engine. More probably with about 2%. Consumer Reports does not give exact numbers, only the range(s).

    In other words, it happens often enough to deserve a special check when buying a used Malibu. But definitely not with all cars of the model, not with majority, not even close.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I test-drove Impala, both base and LS, and I have a base Malibu.

    The price overlaps somewhat: a loaded Malibu LS costs about the same as a striped-down Impala.

    Personally, I did not like the base Impala. Nor my wife. The engine is not strong enough for the weight. Malibu have much better acceleration. Malibu also is more nimble, and the Malibu brakes much better.

    My wife skipped the first turn when test-drove the base Impala, and I had difficulty to turn too. Feel absolutely unsafe. But, probably, the brakes just needed some tuning - the car was just delivered to dealership.

    Impala equipped with 3.8l engine, though, is much better car, than Malibu. More firm suspension, good brakes, very good acceleration. Plenty of space. Unfortunately, it costs substantially more.

    Know nothing concerning reliability in desert: I live in Connecticut.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    My brother and I were both looking for cars at the same time. I test drove the Malibu and really enjoyed the test drive. I didn't buy a Malibu though because of a blind spot in seeing over the headrest. My brother did buy the Malibu and really loves it. He's only had it for a week though.

    katty2u - Having owned some really bad cars in my life, I wouldn't buy a car that gets "below average reliablity" in Consumer Reports. Starting in 1999, the Malibu gets "average reliability". If you're looking for used, I'd try for a 1999 or later.

    dottiez1 - I live in the New Orleans area where it gets very hot in the summer. I bought a Grand Prix with a 3.1 L engine. It's the same engine as the Malibu. I noticed that my temperature runs normally at 185 degrees. I'll give my brother a call and ask him what his temp normally runs. (My '91 Grand Am normally ran 160 in the summer.) It's already getting pretty hot here but we're 5 - 10 degrees shy of our summertime highs. I don't know enough about cars to know why some run hotter that others. It could be with the Grand Prix, it's heavier whereas the Malibu is around 300 pounds lighter.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    Forget what I was saying about car temperature. I found out that's a factory setting with the thermostat. The reason my Grand Am ran cooler is because my father changed thermostat. I don't really know how all that works.
  • crazymalercrazymaler Posts: 16
    I just took my '99 Malibu to have the brake pads replaced. The whole job cost $99.99 (including labor). I know my rotors are warped, but I chose not to have them resurfaced (they were too thin already because they were resurfaced once before), and I chose not to have the dealer install new rotors ($270 seems like a rip off to me).

    I've heard that Raybestos rotors are pretty good, and I plan on taking the car to Pep Boys for them to change the rotors. But, the cost of these Raybestos rotors is only $125 for both front rotors, including labor. This seems VERY low, and I am not sure whether or not it's a good idea to get these rotors since they are so cheap. Anybody care to give any suggestions?

    BTW, the car had warping at 12,000 miles and I had the rotors resurfaced. Only 5,000 miles later, the rotors warped again, but I had neglected to go to the dealer until yesterday at 24,800 miles.

  • I have a '98 Malibu with approximately 42k on. I am hearing warping sound while making turns/hard brakes. I am guessing that it may very well be related to the infamous rotor problem with the early-model Malibu's. I will have it checked when I get my tires rotated next week.

    Anyway, if it is a rotor problem, I was wondering if anyone could tell me if I should have the dealer install the improved GM rotors or if I would be better off getting after-market ones, such as the Raybestos ones that many members on this board have highly recommended. What's the difference as far as the cost is concerned?
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    I read your post where your wife was hit at 40 mph. I guess the Malibu will hold up well in a rear end collision. I was rear ended at 50 mph a number of years ago and my car was totaled. I had a '80 Chevy Citation. Either those extra 10 miles makes all the difference or the Malibu construction is much better. I can't remember what Consumer Reports says for rear end collision for Malibus.

    I hope I didn't offend you when I said in another post not to buy a Malibu before 1999.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    First, I am not 100% sure it really was at 40mph and not, for example, 30-35 mph. This is my wife estimation. However, the posted speed limit is 30 mph on the street, with the overwhelming majority of people driving about 40 mph.

    There was no tracks from braking tires, though, on the pavement. The girl who hit our car was totally absent-minded.

    According to my wife (I was not here) it looked as that several cars ahead of her stopped. Up to the intersection a block ahead, on red light. It was a rash time, something like 5pm, with substantial traffic. She checked in the rear view mirror when started braking, and saw the headlights of the cart that hit her couple seconds later.

    In reality, it hit our Malibu not once, but twice. The poor girl broke the windshield by her head. Obviously, she did not use the seat belts. Probably, after her car bounced back, she fall back on the gas pedal.

    The hits were strong enough that the Malibu hit in its turn the car ahead - an older Accord. Also twice. Even while my wife braked at full force, trying to avoid this.

    My wife get a slight injury. Was OK the evening, but the next morning a very strong headache developed. So strong, she could not work - this very unusual for her.

    Had some headache and strong pains at neck / back for a whole week, but already could work. Had slight pains / inconvenience the second week. Doctor said this is normal, just muscles. I believe, this kind of injury is named "whiplash" in US.

    Our son, than 8 year old, was at the rear seat. Fortunately, he was not injured even slightly.

    I believe, our Malibu was not totalled mostly because it was hit by a small light car, an older Sentra. The Sentra most probably was totalled. My wife told that the whole nose part of the car was crushed, and fluids flowed on the street. Several fluids, not only the coolant. Plus the broken windshield. Looked as it does not pay to repair this - after all, how much can cost an older Sentra?

    The damage of our Malibu did not look so serious. Mostly the rear bumper and the rear panel - plus the trunk lid did not close well and the rear fenders went down a bit. The front bumper was just scratched. However, it turned to be that the floor of trunk was deformed badly. The body repair costs about $5000, including paint, and took almost month.

    At front only the fender cover was replaced. Probably it is easier to replace than to fix the scratches. The rear fender of the Accord ahead had much more damage. Probably, Malibu is made from stronger metal.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    I'm glad your wife and son were okay. If the Sentra got a lot more damage, I would imagine that the Malibu does have stronger metal.

    It could be that I was hit at a harder impact than 50 mpg. The man that hit me said he was going 50 and I figured that if he was going any faster, the glass would have shattered on my car. This was on the interstate where the speed limit was 50 at the time (back in 1990) but most people go faster.

    All in all, I wasn't seriously hurt. I did have some luck with me that day because the gas tank was ruptured. I filled my car up with gas before I left and that may have kept my car from catching on fire since it's suppose the be the combination of gas and oxygen that's so flammable.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I also am glad you were not seriously hurt.

    As to whether a car is "totalled" or repaired, it depends as much on its age/price, as on the damage. Whis 98 Malibu rear-ended in April 99, it definitely pays to insurance company to cover the $5,000 repair. A 10 year old car, very probably, would be totalled...
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    The blue book value on the car was only $1000 so it was definitely cheaper to total out the car. I was planning on buying a new car in another 3 months anyway.

    That car belonged to my grandmother and passed on to me in 1988. It got me by until I was ready to buy a new one. I had gotten about all the use I could get out of my previous car.
  • ferraro1ferraro1 Posts: 44
    Hello ~
    I have a 1998 Malibu that has 42,000 on it and have just had the rotors replaced @ Chevy dealer, but i was just wanting to know What is that AWEFUL shaking/vibratng that is so apparent like at stop lights etc the entire hood is vibrating but when i go it, stops I need to know the cause !! I Want that to be fixed !!! is this a common issue with the early Malibu's ? if so what is the cause ?
  • ferraro1ferraro1 Posts: 44
    Hello ~
    It is me again, last night my brother took his Malibu out and when he got into the car at the end of the night it started then shut of and he tried to jump it an it did the same thing, so he left the car in the parking lot overnight , So we go back to the car the next day and it works fine , just a little sluggish at first, I would like to know what the problem could Be , becasue we are takin the car Wayyyy up to New England in just a few days and we had the car looked over at Chevy and got the rotors replaced and now this , could someone give me any ideas of the cause , before i go to Chevy ( so i dont get ripped off) I was thinking bad/dirty fuel injectors or dirty fuel filter ? ok well any advice would be great !
  • ferraro1, would you mind telling me how much it cost you to have the rotors replaced at the Chevy dealer--I think I am about to get mine replaced, too, and am deciding between the factory ones and the aftermarket ones.
  • stnelstnel Posts: 338
    It seems that I read in a previous post that it costs around $400 or $500. Don't know from personal experience though.

    The post would probably be within the past 10-15 posts. Since I'm not sure of the exact cost, you may be able to find the post.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Pulled the old invoice from file to answer your question:

    1. The brakes cost total $431.70 (or $457.60 after addition of $25.90 sale tax @ 6%), including:

    - pads $39.72;
    - two rotors @118.59 = $237.18
    - labor $155.00

    The labor includes diagnostics. The problem with brakes occurred very soon after the car was returned from body shop, and it was not clear at first what happened. The service adviser drove with me, and listened to brakes.

    The price probably would be less without the diagnostics.

    2. I replaced the rotors at dealership. Richard Chevrolet, Cheshire, CT. Connecticut is expensive state, and dealerships are more expensive than independent.

    3. The repair was performed two years ago, 06/03/99. The current prices probably are a bit higher.
  • astrolastrol Posts: 312
    What was the mileage at the time of service? Were you out of warranty coverage? I know brakes are pretty standard at 1yr./12K but that usually refers to the pads and linings.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    It was at 21,987 miles. The car was under warranty.

    However, the manufacturer warranty does not cover brake pads and rotors. Or at least did not cover then. Later GM started to cover rotors, but, I believe, not at 22k miles.

    The car was built July 97. We bought it used, with 15k miles, in September 98. The brake pedal pulsated when braking on highway from the first days. Both I and my wife felt it and we discussed the pulsation. Now we understand that rotors were warped, but than we thought that this was how ABS works.

    I wrote recently that the car was rear-ended while braking. It happened with 21,200 miles on odometer. I believe, the accident contributed to the brake problem. The rotors died just 700 miles and 20 days after the car was returned from body shop.

    By the way, I insisted on checking the brakes while in body shop - exactly because my wife braked hard when the car was hit. According to the records in my file, mechanic aligned wheels and bleed the brake system. But he did not found that the pads will scratch rotors metal on metal just 700 miles later. I believe, he made a mistake.
  • golfdog1golfdog1 Posts: 1
    I have taken my car in repeatedly because of a problem with the AC kicking on and off. The service department finally diagnosed that there was a short in the control head and fixed that.

    However, I also have a problem with my car squeaking loudly from underneath while driving down the road at low speeds. The dealer said it was the lower control arms and they said they replaced them; however, driving it from the dealership this morning it was SQUEAKING MORE THAN EVER!! They still have not fixed this problem.
    Has anyone else has a problem with the car squeaking and rattling?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    My car had a squeak when I test-drove it before buying. Used car, with 15 k. The sales manager told he know this is the control arm and it will be fixed before delivery. The particular squeak never returned, now for almost 3 years and more than 21k miles.

    There was another squieak a year ago. At low speed, over small bumps. The dealer simply lubed a strut and I did not hear the squeak since. However, it was coming not from under the car, but rather from behind the dash.
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