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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Probably just the starter solenoid,GM has had their problems with them.
  • It is my third input. Hope it helps for the folks out there considering to buy Malibu.
    Miles Problem
    22,000 - replace battery, all 4 window realign, trunk realign, still make click-click sound when the windows rolling down
    32,000 - A/C control unit replace, A/C on and off
    40,000 - diver side door and diver side seat belt rattle
    59,000 - all 4 firestone tires replaced with 4 mich. due to tire wearing out in the middle of the tracks, and hydroplate alot.
    64,000 -some rattle inside the panels
    72,000 - coolant leaking, clamp replaced.
    98,000 - manifold leak problem - considering put the car for sell...

    I drive the car 95% on highway here in Texas, the A/C can only keep the car inside warm in Summer. No doubt, there is alot of power from the V6 engine, and the Auto transmission shifts very smoothly, i change oil every 5000 miles, use brand name gasoline. replaced air filter twice, fuel filter once at 50,000 miles, flush the coolant at 70,000 miles, replace the belt, plugs and wires at 80,000 miles...

    good luck!
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    Doesn't sound so bad to me! The first 2 items (22k and 32k)should have been under warranty. The seat belts rattled and you needed new tires with ONLY 59000 on the originals and then a clamp on a water hose.Those are real problems LOL! Seems like the current manifold leak at 98K is the only SERIOUS problem you've had in 98K that wasn't covered by warranty. You might as well fix it and drive it a couple more years as a 99 Cutlass with 98K can't be worth much. My neighbors have a 96 cutlass they bought new and have put 80K+ on it with NO problems. The Malibu has been refined to the point that now it is a great car for the money. Not perfect but as close as any other car in their price range.
  • Oh! don't get me wrong. My car services me good and there are no any major problem. However, coolant leakage due to manifold is not acceptable for 3 years old car with 98K miles. I have faith to GM engine and transmission, they are powerful and smooth shifting. If compared with toyota and honda engines, GM still have some to catch up with. No doubt, Ford have alot to catch up... anyway thinking to get saturn in a year, the LS looks very classy! what do you think, Artis?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    leaks,they all have them,Ford,DC and GM.GM is going to inline 5 & 6 cylinders I think to eliminate that problem.
  • artwisartwis Posts: 66
    If you like the saturn then that's what you should buy. Service it "by the book" and it will give you good service. I won't be buying our next new car til next spring but I'm already researching the purchase on the internet. It seems as though all models have some kind of problems. Just pick any model and then look for it here on the Sedan pages and you will find people unhappy with it! It seems to be human nature to complain when something is wrong but not give credit when everything is ok. Most do not have major problems with their car if it is maintained properly. And I like to figure that if 1% of a particular car has problems then my purchase will have a 99% chance of being problem free. That's pretty good odds I would say! Good Luck with your next auto purchase.
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    I too have a 99 Cutlass GLS with almost 70K. We have the same problem that you had at 40K with the driver side door, but i found out it was the wood trim touching the vinyl on the door. Had the intake manifold problem too only ours was discovered a couple of thousand miles ago. We recently had it fixed and luckily we got an extended warranty so we only had to pay $50. Do you have a GLS? If so, has the metal spring in the driver seat torn a small hole in your leather?
  • Hello everybody,

    Just had the intake manifold coolant leak repaired. Chevy dealers wanted $775 to $800 to repair. I said no way. I took it to a trusty side mechanic and had it done with GM parts for $280. A good price for labor considering the amount of parts that had to be removed to get to it. The gasket set (including valve cover and manifold gaskets for both cylinder banks) was $64.00. I jumped on his deal and I was off and running in a day. The job actually took about 5hrs. I just drove it 90 miles and no problems. We all agreed that the gaskets fail to early, but I do have 77700 miles on it. I still think it should have lasted longer though. Those Dealers have excessive mark up on repairs or labor. Well, that's it. If anyone can find a good side mechanic, do it. I just could not see paying that much for a simple problem. While at the dealer a man with an Olds mini van with the 3400 V6 which is a bored and stroked 3100 had the same exact problem, his was newer and under warranty. Lucky Dog he was. But he was still upset because of his inconvience and price he paid for this van.
  • Hello everyone!

    My husband & I are looking at a 2002 Malibu LS with the 1SB option package which includes the sunroof. The only other option is the enhanced gold package, the car is black with grey leather interior. It certainly is a very sharp looking car for the money.

    I was hoping someone might have some info on the sunroof, any problems? Good and bad responses welcome. We hope to purchase the car this week.

    Thank you in advance,
    J. Bennison
  • I read in a recent post about the above and wondered how a person receives these certificates?

    We have previously purchased a GM car and have never received one.

    Thanks for your responses,
    J. Bennison
  • After reading these posts,I have come to the conclusion that G.M. initially had some quality issues with the Malibu but now the car is quite reliable and durable.There are some great deals on now in Canada on 2002 Malibus.Would anyone be scared to buy this model if they were expecting to keep it 10 years or 100,000 miles?Thanks in advance for all answers.Regards,Brian
  • Well, Himomer, I don't have GLS model but GL with power leather here ...too hot for Texas Summer, and i don't have problem with the seat, maybe it is because i only weight 130 pounds? The A.C in my car doesn't work very well...also the car light dims when I reverse or foot not on the gas pedal...i saw people complain this problem too.
    Actually the leak was found almost a year ago with 50 thing thousand miles on had a little kinda greasy track dripping from the maniford gasket...i did ask my mechanic..he said don't worry!!! it maybe just some old oil....
    the coolant leak was found on the right hand some of the i can see some orange coolent sit on the machanic put 2 big tablets, that can stop the small leak...I don't know what it was but we see...since the leak is not that big....he said that the dealership will do the same if you are still under warranty. I am still thinking about fixing it...Man! a thousand dollars is pretty expensive...i am thinking it is gasket design problem or assemble liner worker mistake...if it is a design will leak later after 50,000 miles..and then fix it again? or it is the coolant problem i mean coolant dissolve the gasket...
    oh by the way, Himomer...the rattle is from the driver side seat belt adjustment thing...and also some from the inside of the door..around the power lock area...

    anyway keep in touch to discuss the problems and post the way to solve those annoying problems.
    thank you, himomer and mailbuinsc

  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    1. Had the intake manifold leak recently. Replaced the gasket last May, at local Firestone.

    Cost about $550. Mostly labor, the gasket iself only $50. Labor is very expensive in Connecticut, and probably it would cost less in TX. Definitely not $1000.

    2. The sooner you replace the gasket, the better. After the leak/rust contaminates coolant, it can clog the radiator. Another expensive repair.

    3. I have read on another board, that the problem is somewhat common with 2.8l, 3.1l, and 3.4l V-6 GM engines. Proabably because a steel engine block and aluminum intake have different thermal expansion.
  • blgrosblgros Posts: 6
    I've only had my '01 LS for about six weeks, so take it for what it's worth.

    No problems with anything yet, including the sunroof. We like the sunroof, and are really happy with the car so far.
    Except I don't seem to get quite as good radio reception as my old VW. Stations fade out sooner. Cheap antenna?
  • Thank you very much for your response, I appreciate it!
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    There are indeed some great deals out there. From what I understand, the only outstanding issue with Malibus was the brakes. I think that problem has now been addressed, but I'm not 100% sure. Anyone out there know?

    Otherwise, the car seems quite good from what I understand.
  • Am an owner of a '99 LS. Bought new and read posts in this group before buying. Have had for over two years and 20K and have been satisfied. Have had the rotors replaced at 10K and a a/c problem repaired - otherwise I have been very satisfied. One thing that did bother me - I did have the lock cylinder replaced when my key no longer worked. Was covered under warranty. My question is keeping my Affinity tires adjusted to the correct tire pressure. Apparantly the proper pressure recommendation is noted on the tire but trying to read the numbers on the tire is like reading braille. Can anyone give me the correct pressure my tires should have? Thank you!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    For my 98 Malibu GM recommends the following tire pressure: 29 psi front / 26 psi rear.

    For some GM cars the information is put on the back side of the trunk lid. For 98 Malibu it can be found on the door jamb.

    The pressure recorded on the sidewall is, roughly, the maximum what the tire will endure before blowing up - not immediately, but on a wrong road, when it is hot, etc.. Something like 40 psi. Way too high for driving, bad grip. Especially on the wet road.

    Personally, I am inflating my tires 3 psi above the GM recommendation, 32 psi front / 29 rear. This fit better my driving style: I like to turn fast.
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 1,974
    My '99 Cutlass GLS with 20600 miles is a fine car, but I've been plagued with a Check Engine light that is hyper-active. The car runs perfectly even with the light on. It has come on 4 times in the last 2500 miles. The last time it came on it was less than one day of getting it back from the dealer. The dealer keeps telling me that the gas cap was not tightened enough. I click it at least 5 times once it becomes tight. I smell gas around the fuel filler area after the car is filled with gas, even a day after. Has anyone experienced the same? Also, it seems my car has a rattle that seems to be coming from the right corner of the dash. It sounds like a constant tapping noise. I joke that the car is sending messages in morse code! The dealer said my rattles are typical of the car and they can't do anything to correct it. If anyone has had the same and knows how to correct it, I'd love to hear about it. It also squeaks at will, always temperature induced. The cooler it is , the worse it is. Its the little stuff that will drive you batty and negatively influence your overall opinion of what is basically a good car. Enough negative. It's a fine car. It's comfortable,roomy,drives nicely, reasonably quiet,has good power. It has never left me stranded and I'm pleased with the consistent 23+mpg (city) that I get from it. I know the Cutlass is no longer produced, the Malibu, it's sister, is still being's a fine car and a solid value.

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX

  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Probably, there is sense to visit another dealer. Or at least to discuss the problems with service manager of your dealership.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    If the rattle is coming from the right side of the dashboard, it could be in the glovebox. And it could also be temperature related. Cold weather always brings new rattles and such. that is typical of any car.

    As far as the Check Engine light, if you have an independent mechanic you trust, I wouldhave them check it out just to be sure there is nothing else going on in the engine. the dealer could be right that it is only the gas cap not being tight enough. If it is only the gas cap, iwould consider getting it replaced. The last thing you need is someting major to happen to your car, out of warranty, and it couls hve been prevented if this Check Engine LIght had been investigated further.

    Good luck with your car. Still loving mine with 5500 miles on it. No problems and great gas mileage. Lowest mpg so far is 22mpg.
  • Thank you very much for the answer. Thanks!

  • In response to post #741 - ask the dealer to check the passenger side airbag. I had the same problem and was convinced it was coming from the seam off the dash on the passenger. After a long search they figured out the airbag on that side was not properly placed and the problem was fixed. Good luck!

  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 1,974
    I just got my Cutlass back from being serviced at the Olds dealership. The Check Engine light was being trigerred by a bad gas recirculation valve (emissions equipment) and the part has to be ordered. I mentioned the rattle in the dash, and the service advisor indicated that he thought the rattle was coming from the air-bag housing. The service technician tried to isolate the rattle, but it's still there. Will try again next visit to eliminate the noise. Also, they replaced the front brake rotors and brake pads with revised parts that should not be subject to warpage as the original parts were. (This was a pleasant surprise, as I didn't think they were that bad!) A friend of mine who had never driven a Cutlass/Malibu drove mine last week. A fan of Japanese cars, he was surprised at how well the Cutlass drove and how responsive and smooth the transmission is. He also liked the roominess and the spirited performance from the V-6 engine. If it only had a sunroof...

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX

  • aub789aub789 Posts: 19
    Greetings! I am a newcomer and will welcome any advice on my concern. Bought 98 LS new in July 98 and have had almost every problem mentioned by other Malibu owners (brake rotors twice, both rear light circuit boards, headlamps, AC control head replaced, new alternator/battery, rear bushings) and I am now starting to worry about the dreaded intake manifold leak. 54K on car. Can anyone tell me how to know whether I'm getting this problem, and how I might prevent it from ever happening in the first place? Thanks in advance for your collective wisdom.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Intake manifold leak:

    1. How to find it?

    If you need to add coolant often, for example, every 3 months, this is suspicious. Rust deposit in coolant tank also can point to the leak.

    However, these signs are not reliable. The best way to know is pressure test the coolant system.

    GM recommends to have this test yearly. I also have a 98 Malibu, and found this recommendation in manual couple days ago.

    I read through the manual after buying the car, but did not remember the recommendation. Dealer failed to suggest this test even with the 30,000 and 45,000 mile services (this is about 1.5 year with my driving pattern).

    The pressure test costs something between $20 and $25 at Firestone, do not remember exactly. Probably about the same at other places.

    2. How to prevent the leak?

    I do not know, and doubt if it is possible to prevent it. However, it would not hurt to change coolant.

    I do not know anything specific, but the common sense is the old coolant would accumulate more impurities, would became more aggressive chemically, and would easier eat the gasket.

    According to GM, the orange coolant is good for 150,000 miles or 5 years. Given few people drives 30,000 miles per year, the 5 year limit is much more relevant. However, everybody remembers the 150,000 miles and few remember about 5 years.

    I believe, it would be even better to change the coolant after 4 years. Do not know, when your car was built. You can find the manufacturing date (month) on the door jamb. When you bought the car is less relevant , because it could spend several months on the dealer lot.

    I had the coolant service recently. It costs about $100. Roughly $20 the coolant itself, $75 one hour labor including flush, with the balance being sale tax.
  • I am getting ready to purchase a 1999 Malibu. Research indicates that other owners of this car give mixed reviews. The promenent dissatisfaction is the performance of the brake system.

    I have read that the break pads are too large for the rotors, and therefore cause overheating and warping of the rotors resulting in frequent required replacement.

    Can anyone confirm this? Is there a resolution? Has there been any recalls?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Never hear nor read what you wrote about too big pads. The same with brake performance: just the opposite, the brakes are very efficient.

    There was a lot of problems with rotors warping after 15k miles, 8k miles etc. It can happen with all cars with rotor brakes, but with 97-99 Malibu and other N-body cars (Alero, GA, Cutlass) it happened way too often.

    Later GM changed something with the brakes, either manufacturing process, or supplier, and the current rotors behave more or less average in this respect. Or you can use aftermarket rotors.
  • Looking to by a 2002 Malibu (not the LS). Any hints regarding recent actual pruchase price, and/or information on manufacturer-to-dealer incentives?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    check out the Edmunds TMV for a 2002 malibu. I paid about $150 over the TMV (1% advertising fee) for A 2001 Malibu LS in July. Plus I got the 1500 rebate. Although I would have rather had the 0% financing.

    Overall, I have 7000 miles on the vehicle and it has been running great. Worst tankful so far has been 22 mpg with 60% city driving. Averaging 28-30 mpg on the highway. Would be even better if I slowed down a bit. No rattles, No nothing. Only complaints i have are the tires are loud (Firestone Affinity) and no change holder (solve that problem with a $1.99 coin holder frm K-Mart). So far surprisingly happy with my first Chevy purchase.
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