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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • 02bu02bu Posts: 2
    In my case, the chev shop foreman said that the bushing material between the struts and the control arms is prone to getting floppy real soon (see post 1619 re. cheap parts!) and the off-the-shelf replacements are no better, so I should be prepared to possibly need to deal with this every 20K. I would think that when you get new struts you would receive new bushings as good practice, unless the knocking eventually deteriorates the control arm hole to the point that new rubber doesn't thanks for your consolation on my first post, bcmalibu99ls!

    I am still wondering, is it normal for the a/c compressor to come on when you hit the recirculation button? (a/c button OFF) friend's 02 does it too, his dealer told him it's normal..I haven't asked mine about it yet; if you mention too much in one trip, not everything gets done!
  • breetai52breetai52 Posts: 91
    This happens in my 02 as well. I "think" they do this because your breath would cause the humidity to build up inside the car. AC not only cools the air but it sucks the humidity out of it as well. This is only a theory. I'm working under the assumption that they must have done this on purpose because so many people are talking about it.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    You are correect breetai52. When you recirculate the inside air, the A/C takes the humidity out of the air. Air coming out of your mouth is pretty close to 100% humidity. The windows would fog if the A/C did not turn on.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    I was putting some washer fluid in our '03 LS this afternoon, and noticed a sticker in the engine compartment I had not seen before. It says " NOTICE AVIS..Do not place jack under oil pan to lift vehicle". I can't believe there are machanics that would be dumb enough to do this, but there must be some, and they must be working for AVIS. Chevy must have gotten tired of replacing engines for AVIS and started putting a "bonehead" sticker under the hood for these characters. I'll bet AVIS has removing this sticker on its checklist when it takes delivery of a new car. Its no wonder that so many people have trouble with used rental cars. Between the abuse they get from customers, and if this is an example of how they are maintained, I wouldn't buy one on a bet.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    Oh my that made me laugh.

    AVIS is the french translation of Notice.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    AVIS is indeed French for "Notice"

  • breetai52breetai52 Posts: 91
    I knew they made us take thermodynamics for a reason. :)
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    I guess I cracked you Canadians up with that post. Heck, German is my second should have said Achtung! You guys up north gotta keep us Yankees honest! I still would not buy a used rental car...I know I've beat the Hell out of a few of them over the years.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    If, say, it said there NOTICE BUDGET...etc etc etc, and "budget" meant "notice" in some language I didn't know, I, too, would think they wanted to warn Budget Rent-a-Car mechanics

    And I agree that buying a rental is a bad idea, unless it's a rock-bottom price and YOUR mechanic examines it and tells you it's a good car
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Mine is a 2002 LS. I tried hitting the recirculation button with the AC off, and nothing happened. The AC did not turn on. For whatever it's worth...
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    It only works with certain settings. Also make sure the fan is on as well.
  • spratt1spratt1 Posts: 53
    The recirc will work with the AC off. You just have to have the fan on. I use it in that mode when I get behind a smoking/smelly vehicle.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    The fan was on when I hit the recirculation button, and the AC didn't turn on. Not that it's a problem, I'd rather be able to manually control the AC anyway.

    Spratt1 seems to have the same thing happen to him, which is contrary to what y'al are experiencing. Hmm, interesting.
  • breetai52breetai52 Posts: 91
    I'm pretty sure that the AC button doesn't light up. But the air coming out of the vents is clearly air conditioned. I haven't used the recirc button since the end of last summer... My memory might be a little fuzzy on how it works.
  • buguybuguy Posts: 16
    Just as a reminder, the malibu is famous for having a bad a/c switch. Should have been a call back but it isn't dangerous so probably won't get fixed unless we pay. My 99' has done it for about 3 years. Not bad enough to change yet but if you think the car has a slight miss climbing a hill, it is probably the a/c cycling on and off due to a bad switch. The light also flashes when it is doing this so it is easy to spot.
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    ...IS DRIVING ME CRAZY! I just reported that it was nice to have it on and it's cool...Not any more. It keeps shutting off whenever it feels like it. I know it's a known problem with these cars, but I just don't have the money to fix it. I guess I'll have to either not use it, or put up with it cutting on and off.
    Oh and p.s., I think the worst part about it is the power difference. It wouldn't be so bad if it just turned on and off every now and then, but it bothers me when I'm accelerating and it does it. It just makes my car feel like a piece!
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I guess we'll have to go to the manual to figure this one out.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Hertz car sales does sell 02 Malibu LS models with anywhere from 24-30K miles on them for $9995. Check out their website at for more information. Definitely a good way to save some cash and depreciation on a new car.
  • spratt1spratt1 Posts: 53
    OK, here is how it works. I read the manual, tried it on our new 2003 Malibu, and talked to the dealer.

    If the outside temperature is above 32F, and you have the AC off, but the fan on, if you push on the recirc switch the compressor comes on. The AC light DOES NOT come on. This is done due to moisture from your breathing, not really to cool the car. You must have the fan on or it does not happen. If it is below 32F, the same conditions will NOT turn on the compressor.

    We have only had our LS Malibu for 4 months and 4,000 miles, but we are truly impressed with this car. And it really does have good power. The HP may only be 170, but the more important torque is 190 ft-lbs.
  • breetai52breetai52 Posts: 91
    Hey guys, Does anyone have a link to a torque vs RPM graph for the 2001-2003 malibus? I'd like to see how much power she has at lower RPMs. It really seems to kick in between 3000-4000 RPM. I know this is where the peak is, but I'd like to see how level the rest of the torque is.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214 anyone out there? I haven't checked in for a few days, but it looks like all the chatter stopped about 10 days ago. Did Edmunds change something..everyone go on vacation???
  • mjohns7861mjohns7861 Posts: 41
    My Malibu has rolled past 32,000 miles and I seem to running into more problems. I have a '99 LS I bought brand new. Latest problem is the check engine light has come on but I can detect no decernible problem with the car. Will obviously take it in but wondered if anyone else has come across this? Owner's manual points to emission issue. Per a prior post still dealing with a loud squeel from my front wheels. Love my Bu but starting to get worried.

  • breetai52breetai52 Posts: 91
    Deminin, yeah I thought everyone sold their cars :P

    MJohns7861, my check engine light came on last weekend. Scared the "S" out of me becuase I just started a mini road trip. The next time that I filled up I noticed that my gas cap hadnt been screwed on (couldnt believe I did that :)). I tighted it up and it took 5 days (probably 10-12 starts) for the computer to "restart" and turn the light off. I kinda missed it when it was gone. It was like a little friend :). And of course the engine felt fine. You still might want to have her taken in...
  • rob35ctsrob35cts Posts: 53
    I just fixed a rear squeak that was horrible. It was the rear sway bar. It has been squeaking for years but it has recently got much worse. I have a 99 with 70k miles.
  • I just got back from a road trip to Mississippi from Oklahoma City. The total distance was a little over 1400 miles after you include the driving back and forth from town to town within Mississippi and the missed exits. The car did a good job, it was loaded down. We had three adults and one adult sized teenager with a trunk overflowing with baggage. We went every step of the way running the A/C, it took about 12 hours there, we got lost a couple of times, and 10 and half hours back. Although we did spend a bit on gas, about $70. Its impressive how a car can run for so long at high speeds (80-90mph). It's the first trip over 5 hours for me. I was abit uneasy at first, but now, i'll take that little car just about anywhere. I now have nearly 130000 miles on it, or at least by the end of this week i will. We did have an incident i must confess. We managed to blow two speakers, one in the front and the other in the rear. We distroyed the rear on the way there and the front on the way back. Well anyway, i'll continue to keep give my updates, comments, and incident reports. If i can get off work next month, I'm making a four hour drive to Dallas for a family reunion, i'll inform the board about that later.

    Seems like i got a good apple.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    Congrats on your trip! 130K is a lot of miles, looks like you are doing fine. A couple of years ago I ran my Bu for more than 20 straight hours through the states, stopping only for gas, and it did very well, once getting me nearly 40 miles per gallon (fully loaded!), and it had about 30K at that time.

    If it weren't for the warping rotors and the intake manifold, Bu would've been a sensation for an American company, but as it is, it's just a very good car, compared to what GM used to make :-)

    BTW, my Bu now has 41K miles, and no warped rotors or manifold problems yet, but if it comes, oh well, 80% of the world population can't afford ANY car, let alone the one with 170 HPs, automatic, A/C, six-way power seats...well you understand :-)
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I changed the oil in my other car, a 91 Geo storm, and have them put in synthetic oil. Now it runs noticably better (hope it's not my wishful thinking). Maybe when I change our Malibu's oil next time I'll try synthetic as well. I remember somebody on this board is already using synthetic. Can't remember who though. My question is do you see improvement in milage and performance besides the presumably better engine protection?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Just got the car inspected today. Had to have the Strut mounting bracket replaced. Thankfully under warranty. The front brake pads need to be replaced. Brake pads are common but I didn't expect to have to replace them after only 28k miles. Not enjoying the Malibu as much anymore. I may have to start looking for a good extended warranty.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Synthetic oil will perform better under almost all conditions. The thing I like about it is that its "flash point" is over 100 degrees higher than normal oil. This means that it can run hot longer without breaking down. Most of the black stuff you see in regular oil is burned carbon from the oil being singed. I have used Pennzoil synthetic in all my cars for years with no trouble, and the engines run smooth and clean. I usually change the filters every 3K, and the oil at 9K. Doing that makes the cost almost the same as regular oil. One word of caution, however. Run your engine at least 10,000 miles on regular oil before switching over to synthetic. Synthetic lubes so well, that if you start using it on a new engine, the rings may never seat properly.
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