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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • m257257m257257 Posts: 8
    The gas meter pointer in my '98 Malibu flipped over into la la land, presumably when my alternator died. I don't know if this is a common occurrence or not, but I wanted to share that you shouldn't need to take the instrument panel apart to fix this. I just straightened out a paper clip and snuck it through the hole for the odometer/trip meter selection stick. If a recall correctly, I left a little bend in the paper clip so it resembled a hockey stick. With a little luck, I was able to flip the pointer clockwise back on top of the little resting post and all was well.
  • I wish someone could have told me about that sooner. It's to late know, I've already took it apart, and i took out the little stoppers that holds the gas and temperature needles so the can hang down when the ignition is off, I personally thought it looked kinda cool. I'll keep them though, so maybe i'll put them back in later. But if it spines around again, it wont matter.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I think Jt and chevy answered yur questioned. Personally, not unless it is covered by an extended warranty, I would take it to an independent garage and save yourself some money.
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    Definitely take it to an independent. It wasn't worth getting it done at the dealer. It would have been a piece of cake to do myself but I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. You can get a decent alternator at Checker's for about $75 bucks I would guess. The GM part alone was $120 through the dealer then $240 of the bill was all labor. If you want the GM alternator, go for it. It comes with a one year warranty, but I'd just go with a cheaper part that will last longer than, IMHO, than any GM part, considering yours has only lasted you 33K.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    You should be able to lower the front end of the seat using the controls. I actually need more leg support and tilt the seat up slightly.

    They are not the most comfortable seats but i have driven much worst.
  • mjohns7861mjohns7861 Posts: 41
    Well, driving to work today (I live about 2.5 miles) from where I work the battery light came on again. Then the ABS light, then every other light on the dash. The car then died in a busy intersection. A panhandler working the corner and a co-worker of mine who happened to be driving by helped push my '99 Malibu LS to the curb.

    I call my motor club - after some debate in my head (and some duress on a very humid Virginia day) I directed the driver to the Chevy dealership almost walking distrance from my work. While convenient a big mistake. Unfortunately, I had not read the posts above with the sage advice of taking it to an independent shop.

    I took it in and yes, it turned out to be the altenator. Final cost $506. $348.29 for the part and $151 for labor according to the receipt. I told the sales guy this seems VERY high for an alternator (referring specifically to the part) and he indicated this is the price and some BS about some lifetime warranty and that in fact I was paying "going rate". In disgust I paid my bill and I got out of there. Basically, I think I got ripped off - plain and simple. Any other thoughts?

  • mjohns7861mjohns7861 Posts: 41
    Yup, it was a GM Goodwrench Plus dealer. Any recommendations on a follow-up? Got a written quote via e-mail from another Chevy dealership for $362 for the same repair. Will likely be going back today to complain and follow-up my complaint in writing. Lesson learned.

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,858
    have been shopping with my mom for a new car.
    she bought an '03 malibu base model(sticker almost 20). traded in her 94 lebaron with 99k and some weird body damage down the right side. didn't leak and everything works. both cars dark green. price after everything was a lincoln under 14k.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    This is a repost. I had to fix a few things since it violated the member agreement:

    That price was horrific! The same alternator problem happened to me, but mine was about 200 less than your's, and I went to a Goodwrench service dealer. Is it a GM Goodwrench service provider that you went to? If so, you REALLY got ripped off. I would call the customer service # and complain. It's weird how a guy (me) in Denver got the thing replaced for $360, and a guy in Virginia (you) got it done for $505. I don't think location had anything to do with it! Sometimes parts and labor charges vary dealer to dealer, but by $200! No way in heck. I'd DEFINITELY complain.

    Oh and about all of your indicator lights comming on when the alternator finally took a crap - It's weird you mention this because the night I got my alt. replaced, I went to start the car (we were going to dinner). It wouldnt start and all the lights stayed on for about 10 seconds. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I told you guys the Malibu was possesed!
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    i say you got raked over the coals. Not unless there was more to your bill. This is why I always suggest taking it to an independent garage once your warranty is up. The Malibus are not complex machines. Any competent mechanic can install an alternator in the Malibu. And you would save tons of money.

    explorerx4: Sounds like you got a great deal!!! Congratulations! Enjoy.
  • mwellmanmwellman Posts: 6
    To AM98, I had the same problem with the AC that you describe on my 2000 (one of many problems I have had with this car). AC turns off by itself or AC light flashes on and off. Dealer replaced the control head ($270 repair since out of warranty).
  • mwellmanmwellman Posts: 6
    Just had my brakes serviced yet again on my 2000 Malibu. They were never able to fix them under warranty despite new rotors at 22K miles, turning the rotors, replacing the hub assembly, etc. The dealer is now doing something with a "shim kit" that came out 6 months ago; they say this will fix the problem for good (at my expense) but will not guarantee the fix. Has anyone else been told this or had this work? Are there other solutions? The car is not even 4 years old with 29K miles. I am seriously considering selling it and buying a more reliable (non-GM) car.
  • according2meaccording2me Posts: 236
    Are the alternators in the Malibu made by Delphi?

    Since Honda started using Delphi alternators in the US built Accord, alternator problems have increased somewhat.

    Mine is a Denso unit and still original at 101K miles.

    After reading this forum for a while, it appears GM has some room for improvement in longterm reliability.
  • mwellmanmwellman Posts: 6
    For all of those experiencing problems with your Malibu (brakes, etc.), YOU CAN FILE A COMPLAINT with the Center for Auto Safety ( and with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - NHTSA ( Both offer online filing of complaints. These complaints are used for investigations and as the basis for forcing manufacturer recalls on defective products. You can also indicate if you would like to be part of a CLASS ACTION lawsuit.

    Both sites have a wealth of information about what you can do with a defective vehicle (info about lemon laws, attorney referrals by state, complaining to the manufacturer, "secret warranties" to extend the mfr's warranty, technical service bulletins, recalls and investigations, etc.).

  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    That is a really good website your talking about and I agree...if you are having problems with you car, report it. IMHO I believe this can make an auto manufacturer better in the future. I would report problems with my car, but since I have a salvage title, I don't think there is much they can do. On the other hand, if you have experienced one problem that has been fixed and is not recurring, it would be a waste of time to report it.

  • spratt1spratt1 Posts: 53
    I too do not like any sort of problems with anything I buy, but the problems with the Malibu are not all that great. Brakes are a weak point and a few other things. However, if you REALLY want to see complaints by owner's of cars, go to VW, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Saab and other supposedly top rate cars. Read about fifty of those and you will run away screaming !!

    I have owned two Volvo's and two VW's. The problems I had with those make Malibu problems very pale by comparison. Malibu owners complain about a $250 fix. You need to realize that repairs to the Malibu are VERY inexpensive. You can not look at most other cars for less than $250.

    Just realize there will be problems, but accept that the Malibu (especially since the 2001 redesign) are actually relatively reliable cars that are cheap to repair.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    I totally agree that the Malibu isn't nearly as bad as some of the so-called "great" cars. Just spend some time on the HOLY Accord and Camry boards, if you want to see some serious High dollar problems. And don't even talk about the SAAB..what a junker!
    Many people complain about the Malibu brakes. After reading some of the notes here, I decided to check my '03 LS out. When I tried to remove the lug nuts, I found some that came loose with as little as 65 ft/lbs. and a couple I had to get my cheater bar and a length of pipe to break free. The book says 100 ft/lbs of torque on the lug nuts. If you are taking your Malibu to a garage for tire rotation, and the mechanic is putting the wheels on with an impact wrench which may be set way too high, you are Going To Have Brake and Rotor Problems. The only way to install aluminum wheels is to torque them in stages, and in the proper sequence. This is especially important in cars like the Malibu which have the rotors held in place by the wheel. If you don't put the wheel on correctly, you WILL warp the rotors. This is but one example of problems on the Malibu that may be more of a "people" problem than a basic design flaw. I fully agree that the early Malibu's had room for some improvement, but the last couple of years, they have become quite good. Sure, GM could make them better, and fancier, but then, they would cost $27K, like most of the Camcords. For a $20k car, the Malibu has few, if any equals.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    VW, Mercedes, Saab, etc make great driving cars but I have never heard anyone refer to these cars as being reliable. Durable, yes. But not reliable.

    Also I would also suggest that people complain file complaints about the Malibu. The problems that people are refering should not happen to a car in its 7th model year. The complaints on the Malibu are rotors, intake manifold gasket, alternators, A/C switches, suspension problems (strut mounting plates), rear brake cylinders, leaking problems, electrical ghosts that are untraceable by the mechanic. I think I got most of them. The rotors could be fixed with thicker rotors. That excuse that deminim comes up with for the rotors is lame. I had my Malibu maintained at the dealership and still had warped rotors. Based on his theory, GM did not train their technicians properly to avoid this "people" problem. So either way, shame on GM. How long is GM going to allow the intake manifold gasket leak to go on? It affects all of its small block V6 engines and they refuse to come up with a permanent fix. The other problems should have been simple mid year fixes that never happened. Why? Basically, GM is too cheap to solve the problems and they wait for the consumer to have a problem and fix them. Plus GM is stuck in the 80's. They squeeze every bit of profit out of their suppliers and still expect them to make a decent product. It ain't gonna happen. True, None of these are safety issues but very annoying and things that should not happen in the 7th year of a model. And they wonder why nobody is buying this car. At least with VW, Mercedes, Volvo you get the reward of a great driving experience. With the Malibu, you sit and wonder why I didn't spend the extra money to get the Camry or Accord. I may have some problems but at least my car is still worth something after 3-4 years. My 2001 Malibu LS with 29k miles may be worth $9000. A 2001 Accord LX (4 cylinder engine, same mileage) is worth about $14k. And they MSRP for about the same price.
  • mwellmanmwellman Posts: 6
    I've seen a few postings about the fan not working on the 1 and 2 settings. Mine did not either (ever) and I recently started having problems with the A/C and air recirc going on and off at will. This is on a 2000. The dealer just replaced a "failed control head" for the second problem and the fan now magically works on the 1 and 2 settings.
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    On the type of HVAC system the Malibu has, the control head sucks. I only have 62K on my car and the AC cuts in and out. The control head was most likely your problem behind the 1 and 2 fan settings.
  • according2meaccording2me Posts: 236
    LX auto for 18K + ttl. It will be the 4cyl model, but still is very near the HP/torque of the 3.1 Malibu 6.

    I had a '66 Malibu (283ci V8 Chevelle) which I loved, but got hooked on Honda in the 70's. Sure, even Honda has problems, but they usually announce their problems to their owners (if a little belated) and fix problems well outside of their 36K warranty free (free 100K-150K extended warranties are not unusual). Its that reality, plus the overall excellence of their products, that GM most confront if they really want to compete in the mid-size market.

    I wish GM would bring back the small block v8, rear drive Chevelle sized 2 doors again, except with FI, no carburators please. LOL
    This was something they use to do very well.
  • bcmalibu99lsbcmalibu99ls Posts: 625
    yesterday. Restarted with a portable battery I have at home, had it replaced at the dealership for CAD 221 taxes included (purchased a "high-end" battery, whatever that means). My Bu has 41.5K miles (bought in USA), and it's the second battery which died on me. Both died during heat waves. The first in San Antonio - it was REALLY hot, and the car was about one year old. The second in Vancouver - wasn't all that hot, about 30C (90F), and it was a "6-year" battery, according to the sticker on it :-)

    I guess what's unsettling is that both batteries died without any warnings, such as a week or two of labored starts, or something like that. It's a good thing both times I had a very quick access to a portable battery which saved the day.

    By the way, I highly recommend getting one of these batteries, especially if you plan on a trip to an area far from auto repair shops. Bugging people (especially strangers) for a jump start is also not much fun. A portable battery costs about 90 - 100 bucks
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Jeremy: You have had lousy luck wiht that car. It seems like it is possessed.

    bcmalibu: YOu may want to get that checked out. A battery should not die without warning and so quickly. It could very well be a sign of a bad alternator. I would take the bad battery back to get a refund or at least a prorated refund. How much is 221 Canadien dollars anyway? I paid $55 for a battery 3 and half years ago at Walmart for my Explorer.
  • Yeah, it is possessed at times. I love it when it's running well and I don't have problems. =)
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    you would agree styling is subjective? and the styling of the accord doesn't seem to be hurting sales and with no rebates and/or subsidized financing. at least until a couple months before the 05 accords come out.

    and sorry, i don't believe the taurus/sable with the duratec and all the premium options would make a difference to me except for the added power. i didn't find the car dreadful because it lacked features. it was the way the car drove and build quality.
  • dtownfb, the first battery, which died after one year, was replaced under warranty. This last battery lasted three years. How long does an average battery last? Does anyone know?

    The battery itself cost CAD 125 (about 80 USD), and it's a "high-end" model. The rest of CAD 221 were labor charges and taxes. Welcome to socialist paradise :-)
  • Holy cow! That means you paid almost $100.00 USD for the installation of a battery. You got screwed! How come you didn't just put it in yourself?

    One lesson I have learned with batteries, alternators, water pumps, and flushing the cooling system, is it's much easier and cheaper to do yourself. The only of the above that I have had to get replaced was the alternator, which I got screwed on. I found out I could have gotten one from Checkers for about $75 - $80 and it would have taken me an hour to put it in. Just by looking at the water pump, I can tell it wouldn't be that hard to do. And as for a battery...I'd NEVER pay anyone $100.00 to put one in.
  • The rate is approximately 1 USD = 1.5 CAD. Then, the taxes on the battery were about 15-20 dollars

    I agree that it would have been cheaper to do it myself, but I am so bad when it comes to even the simplest of repairs, that I'd rather overpay than screw the engine. Sad but true :-)
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    My mother-in-law is interested in a Malibu. She has had them as rental cars when traveling and she likes them. My question is: almost any car will seem nice if you only drive them once and a while, do these make good daily use drivers? She's no enthusiast, but are you owners generally happy with your Malibus? Thanks.
  • we are very happy. And as long as she buys a 2001-03 model, chances are she'll get a problem free car
This discussion has been closed.