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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    If it were a Malibu they would say "While we enjoyed our time with the Malibu, the warped rotors and leaky cylinder head cover gasket made us wonder about the reliability of these cars". With a Camry, it's just a fluke.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    That's exactly right. Couldn't be better said. You must read a lot of car magazines :)
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    Check out these pics, guys

    The car looks sharp compared to the current model, except, IMHO:

    1. The front doesn't look as pretty (the new rear is way, way better)

    2. The steering wheel is not very attractive in the middle - a big yellow bowtie inside a black circle? Puhlease

    3. The knobs and buttons look just tiny, could be a problem while driving

    4. The antenna on the roof up front is out of place - would've looked much more natural in the back

    Small things! Otherwise, looks like a very fine vehicle, probably the best GM has to offer vis-a-vis competition, except, maybe, Corvette. Too bad for GM I love my 99 Bu way too much, and won't be buying the new Bu any time soon :-)
  • 02bu02bu Posts: 2
    Whose A/C comes on when recirc selected? Is the HVAC designed this way, dealer says yes(..?)

    ..other than that, I have the same shoddy build, leaky head, brake (new pads needed already) and squeaky/rattley front end issues as everyone else; 20K on my '02.
    About the rattling, one rep at dealer initially said 'never heard of that', they lubed front end parts and re and re'd the sway bar, started doing it again as soon as I drove away. Shop foreman said, oh yeah, it's common, GM tells us to replace strut bushings only if first the lube doesn't work..fine now after 2nd trip. Whatta waste of time and $$..I don't know who they talk to about this initial quality stuff!
    After owning used Hondas as a student, with this car I've now taken a new, trade-rag-recommended ride with each of the Big 3 and this is the last time. Forget doing the right thing; vote with your wallet people, and for now just buy the best darn japanese label cars you can afford, preferrably built here. It's the only way these giants will make the cars they're capable of making; they haven't learned yet. Talk to your fellow domestic-label (non-truck) owners and you know it's true.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    Sorry to hear about your negative experience with Malibu! It all depends, really. Some 1997 models have much fewer problems than some 2003 models, but, as a rule, with each model year, especially in 02 and 03, Malibu has been tops in initial quality among its peers. Looks like you just got stuck with a bad one
  • Hey, people how's it going. Okay, i had the opportunity to test drive a chevy impala for 24 hours, with the GM 24 hour test drive promotion. I was rather impressed with the impala. It is bigger then the Malibu, of course, and drives very nice. It had a very soft ride , but not at all floaty. The feature content was actually about the same as my bu, except my bu has anti-lock brakes. The impala didn't have anti-lock brakes, nor cruise control, but it had power windows, power and automatic door locks with remote keyless entry, and separate driver and passage temperature control. To top it all off, it had a huge trunk, it was about the same size as my parents, they have a 2000 Cadillac Deville. The impala would actually probably hold more, because the things that hold the trunk open are located completely out of the way, vs. the Deville. The Deville has the traditional arms that actually swing inside the trunk opening, that takes up space to where you can not pack the trunk to the rims. (I sure hope you know what I'm talking about, if not you'll have to look for yourself, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about)

     I'm a single college student so i didn't have the family factor, but i did have the friend factor. I picked up some friends of mine, three, and we went around town, drove a total of a little over 100 miles today. We noticed it didn't have any rear cup holders, took us all by surprise. We all liked the sound systems, it was really nice, esp. for a factory system. We all felt comfortable and could talk with each other easily, but we did think it had a little bit more wind noise than it shoulda of had. We all agreed that it must have just been the test car we were in, we hoped.

    The car was nice, and i would guess dependable. It had about 6800 miles on it. Don't know exactly why a new car would have so many miles on it, but anyway, the sticker price was around $21000.

    Like i said earlier, it is a very nice car, but I would not want one. It was very boring to drive, and i look forward to getting my car back. I wish i would have test drive a Buick regal or a Saturn L series.

    (I sure hope everyone understood that, that's the longest I've wrote ona public board. Ya see, I'm from Oklahoma and we have our own little language and sometimes spelling).
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    I drove Impala for about a week, and must say I didn't like it. It was bigger than Bu, but that's about all the benefits, but the bigger size means more problems parking and moving around. What I disliked the most was horribly overboosted steering (could barely feel the road) and gas pedal (my right leg got quickly tired because the pedal wasn't supporting it like Bu does, so I basically had to keep my foot in the air all the time!). Impala is for older folks, it seems, and for cops!
  • You know what, that is sooo true. I forgot to mention it. I did notice the steering was completely different. At first i didn't know what was going out, i thought the tires were low or something. Anyway, i've decided to take it back early, and get my car. I can keep it until 6:00, but i'm taking it back now, like within the next 30 min or so.

    I'm sooo disappointed, cause i really did like that car, til i drove it.
  • larryt22larryt22 Posts: 125
    Ispy2 - I have this same problem since purchasing my 99 Malibu LS. I have had it in 2 different dealerships a total of 6 times for this same problem. Except for replacing an o-ring, all they have ever done is take it a part, put it back together and make sure everything is tight. It always will work after taking it apart. I finally discovered after a couple of years that I could sit in the driveway and turn the steering wheel and in some positions it would work and some positions it would not work. It is still like that today, but it has worked when I am heading straight probably 95% of the time for the past year. That is the best it has ever been.

    I have had all of the "normal" "built-in" problems that come on ever Malibu such as warped rotors, squeeking suspension due to warn out bushings, a/c that kicks off, fan switch that does not work in positions 1 & 2, and the absolutely terrible Affinity tires.

    Overall, I still like the size and design of the Malibu. I just wish they would pay closer attention to these "little" items that make me a very irriated owner.

    I really want to buy something different next time, but it is hard to find a better value (price vs what you get) on any other vehicle in the marketplace. Then they make it difficult for me to consider anything other than a GM product because of the huge discount I can get from using my GM Mastercard.

    It really bothers me that this vehicle can get such a high initial owners rating, because my experience says the quality of parts used are cheap, cheap, cheap. For a few pennys more per part, they could really have something nice here. To bad they will never do it!!!

    Good luck with your horn.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    larryt22, I think it's general concensus that '97 and '98 had below average quality, '99 to '01 average, and '02 and '03 above average
  • robby8robby8 Posts: 17
    I have a 2000 Malibu LS and have been noticing a hesitation between first and second gear when I accelerate from a stop light. If I accelerate on the slow side it does not happen. Is this normal or is it something I should get checked out? Any advice would be appreciated.
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    This is in response to post 1596. I have 60K on my Malibu and I just did my 60k service. (This type of service is also due at 30K.) As part of the service, I had my induction system cleaned...HOLY COW! I felt a great deal of power and at idle my car sounds much smoother. I just filled up for the 1st time since the service so I'll see how much my MPG increases. Hopefully it increases it by a least 15 miles per tank. Anyway, I'll let you guys know.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    We just returned from a good driving vacation with our '03 LS. We left central Missouri, and drove to Denver to visit the folks for a couple of days, then thru the mountains, and on to Las Vegas for a week, then back thru the desert county on I-40. Total miles traveled were 3410, and total car troubles were ZERO! The Malibu did great, and the gas mileage for the entire trip came to 31.6 MPG. The best was 34.7 going across western Kansas/eastern Colorado at 70MPH, and the worst segment was driving thru the mountains..we got 26.3 mpg. Coming back thru Arizona/New Mexico, we were doing 85 or better just to stay with traffic. The engine felt strong, and never seemed to be laboring while climbing some of the long grades we hit. The ride and comfort was quite acceptable, and even with an old back injury, I found that by making minor adjustments to the power seat every couple of hours, I could stay in the car all day and still feel good after several hundred miles. We still don't have a squeak or rattle in the car, and there have been no problems of any kind. We were almost ready to buy an Infinity I35 before we checked out the Malibu. After this trip, I am glad we decided to save $12k. I didn't baby the car on this trip, so if I can run this long at this speed, and the only thing I had to do when we got back was to change the oil/filter, and clean gobs of bug goo off the front end, I am now convinced that the 03 Malibu is a good car, and a great value for the money!
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    Hey, Robby!

    I've recently noticed that my 'Bu sometimes (quite rarely) but does hesitate for a fraction of a second when switching from 1st to 2nd gear after very hard accelerations. It feels like it switches to neutral for that fraction of a second. Do you have the same thing? No such hesitation after slow starts. What I think it could be - the transmission fluid is due for a change. I've got 40.5K, and GM recommends changing the fluid at 50K, if you drive in a hilly terrain (my terrain is quite hilly). Plus, I almost always, situation permitting, accelerate very fast, even when going uphill. But if the tranny dies, it would suck big, big time!!! Though I doubt it would die, but you never know
  • robby8robby8 Posts: 17
    Thanks for your response. My Malibu has 54k on it and is due for servicing. I will have the transmission fluid checked. The car is still under warranty, so hopefully I'll be covered for any problem. Thanks again.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    The original warranty, if I am not mistaken, is 36 months or 36K miles, whichever comes first
  • malibu1malibu1 Posts: 52
    I have a 98 Malibu LS and after extended periods of idling - and then trying to accelerate again - the Malibu will sputter and choke - sometime for quite some time before again taking back off. Any ideas what this might be? It's really unsafe as it could happen to my wife while trying to get into traffic or crossing traffic. Seems to happen whether I have the AC on or not. It will even die sometimes - then start right back up and be normal. Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I would get that check out. It could be a number of things, Oxygen sensor (check engine light should have come on), EGR valve, bad injectors, fuel filter, tune up, etc. Since you are out of warranty, take it to an independent garage to save yourself some money.
  • malibu1malibu1 Posts: 52
    If it was the fuel filter wouldn't it happen all the time and not just after long periods of idling? I understand the other things that you mentioned, but what is the EGR valve? My check engine light has never come on.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    The oxygen sensor should definitely trip off the check engine light. The reason i suggest an independent garage is simply to save you money. The Malibu (like other Chevys) are not complex machines and are relatively easy to maintain and repair. Any competent mechanic should be able to analyze this problem and fix for a lot cheaper then the dealership.

    The EGR valve allows the unburned fuel to return to the manifold tank. If that valve becomes inoperable, it causes the unburned fuel to heat up to the point it becomes sludge. Teh sludge backs up and causes the engine to stall. I had it happen to my 1989 Tempo (despite the bad reviews, it was a great car for me). The valve itself was $70-$80 but they had to cleanout all the sludge. My Tempo stalled while I was waiting at a stop light on a highway. I had already driven over 150 miles (all highway) without incident when this happened. I pressed on the gas pedal and the car sputtered and stalled. Luckily I kept my cool, shifted to neutral and re-started the car within a few seconds and drove off. It was fine until I reached my destination. Later that day I took it over to Sears (big mistake), they changed the fuel filter. And I drove back home the nxt day (175 miles) without a problem. Then i had some sputtering the next day and took it to my Ford dealership. It cost me somewhere around $180 (1992 dollars).

    Here's a link on EGR valves:

    Good luck.
  • wilfj1wilfj1 Posts: 52
    I ask my dealer for the radio code just in case I required the battery to be disconnected on our vacation trip. Well, that took a board meeting of the customer service group. it was my understanding they would contact GM with serial # and code would be provided. Not so, I'm still waiting for the code. I'll have to go to the upper level on this one. I read on this site that you can make up a gadget to plug in the cigarette lighter plug which will hold the radio memory. Using a standard cig. plug and attach a 9 volt battery. Q what kind of 9 volt battery, one that you use in a lantern or one used in radio's etc. Also what's positive/negative on the cig. lighter plug.? The service fellow says most GM mechanics have one in their tool box,but ever got to see one. Any help would be appreciated.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    So, the guy would steal your radio (by destroying half of your dash, no doubt, as it's the only way to take the radio out), and then he wouldn't be able to listen to it. You think he would immediately come back and re-install the radio, apologizing all the way? Nah. Too much trouble with this code. I've never programmed it, and if someone takes my radio, Good Lord would take care of him
  • wilfj1wilfj1 Posts: 52
    Let me clarify my posting. If the battery in the car is disconnected , for any reason the radio goes dead. In earlier models you could input your own code to the radio and just reset the code if the battery was disconnected. in 02/03 models you cannot set your own code, it must be done by a GM dealer who obtains the code from GM by phone.
    Now the gadget that plugs into the cigarette lighter will hold the radio memory when the battery is disconnected. Does anyone know just how to put this little cheater together ??
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Your post got me to thinking. I checked the owners manual on my '03, and it says that the THEFTLOCK automatically senses a portion of the VIN, and resets the radio. That tells me that upon initial power up after a dead battery, the radio interfaces with the computer, and if the radio is installed in the proper VIN, it will powerup and operate normally. Just to be sure, I called the service manager at my dealer, and he verified that. Your '02 may be different, and you may want to check your owners manual to be sure. If you have to make a "cheater", it should not be too hard. Radio Shack, or most auto parts stores, sells power adapter plugs for accessories that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. You can get one of these for a couple of bucks, and if you get it from Radio Shack, you can also get a plug for a common 9V battery. The center pin on the adapter plug will be the positive (+) terminal, and the side contact will be negative(-). Just wire the 9V plug to the adapter, and hook up a 9V battery and you will be set. A word of caution, though...I would not leave a 9V battery plugged into the cigarette lighter socket for more than a few seconds with the car battery hooked could easily overcharge the 9V battery and have it blow up.
    I must confess, I think resetting the radio code is misinformation. Sooner or later, every car is going to have a dead battery, and if a person had to take the car back to the dealer, and spend $50 and kill half a day to get the radio reset, there would be a lot of highly PO'd car owners. Double check your owners manual and see if it says the same thing as my '03.
  • jalemyjalemy Posts: 1
    Just bought today and now realize can't get cd player to play...any trick to it. Don't have owner's manual, but will talk to dealer tomorrow. Just wondering if anyone knows tonight. Thanks
  • wilfj1wilfj1 Posts: 52
    Thanks for the detail reply and it's most helpful. I'll quote my manual" Theftlock is designed to discourage theft of your radio.The feature works automatically by learning a portion of the Vehicle identifation Number [VIN]. If the radio is moved to a different vehicle, it will not operate and LOCKED will be displayed. "
    There is no reference to loss of battery power. I checked under Battery in the Manual and there is no reference to the radio.Your Manual made reference to the battery?
     What I was told by the dealer and they showed me a service print out from GM while I was there, if the battery is disconnected on 02 the radio will go to LOCK. The only way to unlock the radio is to obtain the code from GM by phoning 1234567890 this is from there service print out. that's the reason why the boys have the cheater plug as they don't want the hassle calling GM.every time they disconnect a battery.
     I know it does'nt make much sense, but perhaps in 03 they changed the setup so the radio will hold the code and when the battery is reconnected away it goes.
    While my Manual makes refernce to VIN it seems your manual also mentions the battery, is this correct??. Finally the dealer even quoted the price to UNLOCK the radio min. labour $ 45.00
  • aub789aub789 Posts: 19
    I noticed in post 1614 another Malibu owner with front end squeak/rattle problem. My 98 LS has had the same annoying problem for last 3-4 months, worse on right side under slow speeds (10-30 mph) and over uneven pavement. First took to dealer who said needs new lower control arms (for $800). Next went to Firestone for second opinion; shop manager said he could find no problem but had his guy lube everything possible-this solved the problem for ten minutes out of the shop. Finally went to local recommended indy shop and mechanic said needs new struts ($400); I let him do this 4 days ago and guess what? Now the problem is worse than ever and squeak is so bad on the left side I can't tell whether the right side is fixed or not! Of course I will take the car back after the holiday, but can anybody shed any light on what went wrong and what I might intelligently say to the mechanic? I'm hoping I won't now have to go back to the dealer and pay (the original $800!) for control arms. Thanks.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    Ah, man, that's a sore issue! I was taken for a ride at an independent shop to the tune of $300 once, and don't want to go to anyone except the dealer anymore. First of all, and it is (almost) a 100% guarantee, the dealer's mechanics would know your car much better, would be trained much better, and would have seen cars just like yours many more times, than independent mechanics. Second, dealer has to sell cars, so he would be trying (at least in theory) not to upset his potential customers with bogus charges and crappy repairs, while independents do not have this incentive. So, as far as I am concerned, I'd rather pay 20-30% more at the dealer's shop.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    The dealer is probably right about the lower control arms especial since this seems to be a known problem with the Malibus. Not sure i would have taken the advice of a Firestone technician over the dealership mechanic.

    I guess it is possible that you could have needed both struts and lower control arms esp. considering your car is 6 years old. From where you are standing, I hope this is the case. Right now youhave 3 mechanics and you don't know which one to trust. Personally, I would go back to the independent and tell them the squeaking is worst. Obviously they did not fix your original complaint. See what they do. You can always fall back on the dealership.
  • malibu1malibu1 Posts: 52
    I changed the battery in my 98 Malibu LS this weekend - had the battery out of the car for at least 20 minutes before the new one was installed and the radio powered back up fine and it even remember my preset radio stations. I was expecting to have to re-enter those - but they were still there. I would NOT want all this hassle of having to obtain a code to re-start my stereo - that should be an option that they allow you to choose when ordering the car.
This discussion has been closed.