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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • ...First time posting anywhere. Prompted to find information on '98 troubles due to a power loss problem that has popped up in the last two months.

    I purchased a new '98 Malibu LS in December 97. Selected it because of price and V6. I knew going into this that I could expect more vehicle problems than I had been used to. (Previously owned Subaru-156K miles, Acura-160K miles and 2 Hondas 130K and 90K) My experience with the previous cars was great - nothing more than the usual brakes, belts, tires, oil changes at the expected intervals. Of course, I take VERY good care of my vehicles. I'm a firm believer auto care has more to do with reliability than make or model - your car will take care of you as well as you take care of it. At least that is what I thought before I purchased the Malibu. Honestly, nothing but problems - some big, some little - 39 trips to the dealer in all including regular sevice trips.

    Ok, I'm getting to the point, my latest problem loss of power. The Malibu experiences a loss of power and "bunny-hops" as one poster stated. I can't reproduce it but it has happened 7 times in the last two months under varying conditions. Now have 42,900 miles. It has been to the dealer 4 times for this specific reason. Yesterday being the 4th. The dealer has not been able to pinpoint the problem although he was able to experience it this last time and wants it back on Monday to do more diagnostics. The mechanic that did the test drive didn't have the portable computer connected so he could pull data when it happened and wasn't able to reproduce the problem after returning to the shop to get the unit - Thanks guys.

    Anyone experience this problem and find a solution? If you haven't experienced this particular problem first hand you have no idea how frustrating it is! And it is definately a safety issue. Any assistance will be appreciated.
  • One of my Malibu 97's brake lights was broken. Put in the new bulb and it still did not work.

    Read the manual that come with the car about two fuse boxes in car(one under the dashboard and another one above the engine). I have hard time of finding which fuse for the brake light. Did not notice any bad fuses that I might miss. Noticed several Malibus on the road at night with brake light out. Did you have any experience with this? Thanks! Greg
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    I believe the problem was with the module where the light bulbs are connected to. Someone broke the lens (right side) of my Malibu and I had to buy a new unit but the old one works fine just a busted lense. My 99 never had problems so if you find out that that is the problem let me know and I can mail you the module ( no charge ). Good luck.
  • I have a 99 LS and had to have the right rear taillight bulb assembly replaced. One of the bulbs was burned out so I put two new bulbs in and then 4 weeks later the same one was burned out again.

    So I took it in to have it looked at, and was told that the circuit panel (where the bulbs plug into) was bad and that was causing the one bulb to burn out quickly. This was replaced under warranty, so I don't know what the cost would be to get a new one.

    I have also seen several Malibu's driving around with the same problem. Must have been a manufacturing problem with the earlier models.
  • I had a long and hard look at the fuses last night after taking your tips and no luck. Knew that fuses and bulb lights were fine till the art guy brought it up. It was no question about the bad circuit behind the light panel.

    Just called my dealer and they believed there is a bad circuit. Well there is no factory recall at this time. They will call me back for the replacement cost soon. I will stop by the auto store tonight and see if they have it.

    Checked the NTSB's consumer complaints section and there are no news about this. We need to report this incident to the NTSB since the Chevrolet does not recognize this as a serious problem.
  • Am looking for suggestions for replacing the original Firestone Affinity tires that came with my 98 Malibu LS. I would like something with less noise and handling. Have found the Affinitys to be noisy and they seem to be a bit soft on curves. I have the tires inflated to the recommended levels front 29/rear 26.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Replaced the Affinity by Firehawk SH-30. About $465 at local Firestone, all included. Tires, installation, alignment, road hazard warranty, taxes, fees...

    Like the handling and cornering very much. Much better than Affinity in dry weather, as I expected from the performance tires.

    But the difference is even higher on the wet pavement, absolutely no comparision, head and shoulders above. Practically the same as if dry.

    This is important in our places: New England, hilly terrains, winding roads, fast changing weather.

    Had no problem with the tire noise before nor after: always drive with tape on.

    The SH-30 tires are substantially more stiff than Affinity. But I am also inflating them a bit higher, to 32/29: with my driving style all tires are wearing-out on edges first.
  • The Chevrolet dealer just informed me that the circuit board for brake/tail lights costs $43 each. Well my car is no longer under the warranty.

    Do you know where i should go shopping on the internet?
  • The next generation Malibu is looking even better now thA gm has given olds the ax!! It means that the next generation will be built on the grand am/alero platform!! This will not only give us a bigger care, but hopefully it will also improve the quality and styling as well!!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Are you kidding?

    1. Alero and the current GA are built on the Malibu platform. Already.

    2. They are smaller cars than Malibu.

    Good as coupe, but unconvenient as sedan. Hard to get to the rear seats, less legroom here. OK for occasional use, no way if you have kids.

    Additionally, they have smaller trunk.

    3. No difference in quality. Including the infamous brake rotors: the same parts.

    4. Do you like the GA styling more than Malibu?
  • the malibu's styling makes me yawn!! Now, if only gm could infuse some of toyotas quality into it..opps i forgot it is typical gm to cut costs and make quality suffer.
  • Have a 1998 Malibu, base 6 cylinder with 20,000 miles. Have had minor problems, all fixed under warranty and with rental car supplied when part not in (dealer is good). Warranty is up in another month and I have one repeated problem: the low coolant chime and light coming on, this happening 5 or 6 times over the past nearly three years, several times they finding a small leak around the rubber hosing, other times nothing stating the sensor is very sensitive, several times doing dye test, as now putting in dye and advising I come back in two weeks; once said it reflected a sharp change in the weather. Should I expect coolant problems in the future or that this be fixed once and for all? Also noted remark about A-frame recall repair on another message. Is this something that should be done and what should I ask for? Have had no other reported problems (once overly sensitive sensor; no rattles, always starts/stops fine, good mileage, all around great car except for continuous worry about coolant leak). Thanks to all.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    1. Given your problem occurred while the car was under warranty and this is well documented, GM have obligation to fix it for free even after the warranty will expire.

    2. There were reports on this board about coolant leaks through the engine intake (or exhaust?) manifold or its gasket. It was hard to find and a major job to fix.

    3. Are you sure this is a leak, not just an evaporation? The car manual says that it is OK to add coolant twice a year.
  • Hello All. Drove in the fiance's 9 month old Malibu for the first time in a while today. No major issues to report of yet.

    Only thing that caught my eye was this evening took the car for a ride. The car had sat since Friday afternoon, but given the rapid drop in temperature in NJ today, all the windows were fogged up. NO ICE. In my estimation, it took the rear defogger over 5 minutes just to clear the fog to where there was some visibility. Anyone with similar experiences/opinions?
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I ended up renting a Malibu LS a couple weeks ago, and really liked it alot. Great power, roomy inside, and not too bad handling either. But, how is the reliability? I read a few places that they don't hold up well. Looking at the maintenance schedule made me think about buying one, since all you basically do is change the oil for the first 100K. And the prices seem low enough too. But how is reliability?

    Also, I noticed the lower back part of the seat kinda bulges out towards you. It gets a little uncomfortable. Is there an adjustable lumbar support available in the LS with leather seats or something? Or even individually? Let me know... Thanks!
  • aniazianiazi Posts: 39
    Just wondering if you guys use fuel injector cleaners in Malibu? I heard gasoline already have additives that don't let the deposits stay in the fuel injectors but not sure? Do you think is it safe to use those cleaners?
  • aniazianiazi Posts: 39
    Look at messages from #202 - #208 for your some of the answers.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    But what about adjustable lumbar support? Does the Malibu come with that option or not?
  • Last Saturday I test drove a 2001 Malibu sedan.

    I was not bad, especially considering the $1250 rebate matching the dealer's discount of $1250. I would have purchased the car on the spot, but the dealer was giving me nothing for my trade-in.

    I used for my reference price. They said my car has a "trade-in" value of $6515. The dealer offered me $5000. That is too big of a difference for me to overlook. A State Farm use car book said it has a "loan value" of $6000.

    Has anyone found a good reliable source for determining what my car is worth?

  • I know that leather seats are an option, but what about heated seats?
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    Heated seats are not available in the current generation of the Malibu, only the Impala has them. gearhead4, what kind of car and year are your trading. usually a dealership will give you less than what the blue book says. It all depends on the condition of your car, the condition of the paint/interior. It might be that they are figuring that it would take about $1000 for them to get the car to standards ( they always replace brakes, tires,...)so that could be the reason why. What model did you look at? The LS? color? Good Luck!
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Malibu, Grand AM and Alero are the same exact car as they all share the N-Body smaller midsize platform. The Malibu only gives you one engine choice, the 3.1L OHV V-6 with 175HP standard on both Base and LS models. The Malibu is more of a no frills, high value, smaller family sedan with reasonable power, room, comfort and amenities. The Grand AM and Alero are the two closest "Kissing Cousins" of the N-Body family as the Grand AM emphasizes on "Buck Rogers" style (Lots of plastic clad) and performance, while the Alero (Soon to be phased out) is directed to more Import oriented buyers that like a cleaner sheetmetal appareance, leather interior and a more "European look" added to the package.

    As far as sedans go, the Malibu is the roomiest. The Grand AM and Alero look more like sport sedans so they sacrifice a bit in rear head room to improve the looks.

    While I am not a sucker for Pontiac style, except the Grand Prix...but... the other day I saw a new Pontiac Grand AM GT red with tinted windows and I must confessed I really liked the distinctive racy/agressive/spacy looks of that little beast. The main advantage of the Grand AM/Alero combo is that you can get the awesome 3400 V-6 engine (Rated at 180 or 185HP) and with the stronger torque figures it can really move with authority the Grand AM GT "Ram Air" version. The 3400 V-6 turns the lighter N-Body cars into high performance pocket rockets...too bad this engine is not available in the Malibu (A Malibu GT Ram Air would rock!).

    So to summarize:

    If your "Sauce" is performance, go with the Grand AM GT or higher end Alero on either sedan or coupe versions. If your priorities are family comfort and a more restricted spending budget, then go with the Malibu.

    Things to look out for on the N-Body cars:

    * Durability concerns of front brakes

    * Poor crash testing scores

    * Not the best reliability record (Altough I am sure it really has improved)

    * Dismal re-sale value (If you buy one, drive it to the ground)

    Hope this helps.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    My wife and I have a Malibu for two years. We also have experience with GA: rented one long enough, for three weeks or so.

    In our experience: if you have kid(s) or plan to have, get Malibu. Too much trouble to get him/them to/from the rear seats with GA. And the kids also deserve comfortable, roomy place.

    On other hand, for singles or child-less couples, I would suggest GA with V-6 engine over Malibu. The 3.4l engine have about the same power as the 3.1l, but much better torque. Especially important when entering highway.

    Exception: if you have to back-up often. A crowded parking garage, parallel parking, etc. Malibu with its high trunk lid is not so good comcerning the rear view, but with the GA it is awful.
  • I have a 1998 Malibu with an interesting problem. It appears a piece of each hubcap has melted from brake heat so that they are impossible to remove without destroying them. A Chevrolet Dealer acknowledges this problem and I am waiting for an answer on how it will handle the situation. Each hubcap costs $86. Has anyone else heard or had this problem? The car is past the warranty period.
  • csb1csb1 Posts: 16
    I have read several of the posts on the Malibu and find them interesting. I am strictly a foreign car guy, I am a mechanical engineer, and I turn wrenches in my spare time. I have driven some of the highest quality cars on the planet, as well as some of the worst.

    My father-in-law loaned us his 1998 Malibu LS (3.1 V6), and as a favor I thought I would change the oil for him. Big CANNOT get the oil filter out of the engine bay area without spilling all the oil out of it all over the doesn't come out cleanly either from the top or the bottom. To get the new filter in, I ended up bending the AC hose out of the way, then dropping the filter down into the front of the engine compartment from the top, and then going underneath to thread the filter on and tighten it. This is absolutely ridiculous. I'd really like to meet the so-called engineer who designed this crap. I really can't believe it.

    Then, I notice that one of his brake lights is out, so I go to trak auto to get a new one...well, they don't carry a replacement bulb...for a 1998 car, they DON'T CARRY IT. I have gotten replacement bulbs for everything from Peugeots to Hondas, and they didn't have one for this Chevy...that is more crap. Just for kicks I decided I'd take the rear brake light cover off. 5 screws and some trim pieces and 10 later, I finally had it off, and had to snap off the back cover of the unit to get to the light bulbs. Unbelievable...some "qualified" engineer designed this ???? No wonder GM is going down the tubes. I suppose none of you all have to deal with these idiotic design goofs, because you probably don't change your own oil or replace light bulbs.

    To contrast, I can change brake lights on my 1989 Honda in about 5 minutes (both sides) and the oil filter comes right out, no spills. Why can't GM do the is a mystery to to help me with an answer ???
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    Hmmm interesting how this individual critisized the design of the rear lights and complains that it took him sooo long to change the bulbs. A few months back I had the rear tail light assembly destroyed by an SUV. It took me 5 ( countem 1...2..3..4..5) minutes to unfasten 4 wingnuts, pop out the old tail light and put a new one in. Why isn't GM like Honda..well perhaps because not everyone in this God forsaken planet wants to drive a foreign car clone. Also if you would have looked carefully you would have noticed that in the front end you can remove a panel at the bottom of the engine by unfastening a few wing nuts and voila the oil filter come out mess free. Perhaps next time look at things with a more positive attitude and things will make more sense. Good Luck!
  • I'm pretty sure the rotors on my '99 Malibu are warped- whenever I step on the brake pedal, it starts vibrating, along with the steering wheel. I plan on taking it to the shop to get the rotors machined and some new pads put on. How much should I pay? Would it be better just to get new rotors? BTW, the car has 20,000 miles on it. I had the rotors resurfaced and new pads when the car had 12,000 miles, but the problem has come again. Everything else about this car is fine though.
  • csb1csb1 Posts: 16
    It's obvious that "malibu99" has a very objective outlook on things. I would counter that he has been brainwashed by the GM school of bad design.

    As an engineer I live by a simple motto...KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Obviously, changing out a whole tailight assembly is not going be as time consuming as taking a taillight unit out and then taking it apart to replace a bulb. You forgot that there are two wing nuts that must be removed to remove the carpet lining of the trunk and then there is a piece of trim that has to be removed in addition. (this may be different on your 99) is alot simpler on other well designed cars. Care to explain to me why I can't get a brake light bulb at a local auto parts store ?? (Could it be because GM wants to charge me 5 dollars for a 50 cent part ??)

    Also, thanks for the tip on removing some wing nuts and taking a plastic panel off the bottom of the car so I can cleanly remove the filter. What planet are you from ???? This is normal ?? I have never, ever, had to remove anything like that from any other car to get at the oil filter (I've done hundreds of oil changes). Again...KISS. It would seem to me that GM engineers could benefit from this lesson.

    And as for your slam about "foreign car clones..." I don't quite understand it. The GM Malibu IS a foreign car clone. The design of the malibu is years behind the Honda Accord (Toyota Camry, Mazda 626, etc.) Drive one of those other cars, and you'll understand. The malibu was made to compete with Honda et. al. because GM was getting (and is still getting) hammered in the mid-size sedan segment.

    Thanks for your comments, but I think we see this from different points of view. Oh, and I don't believe in luck.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I have a 98 Malibu. Recently changed the brake bulbs. Did it the first time in my life, with any car.

    Replacing the first pair of bulbs took less than 10 minutes, including cleaning carbon from contacts (but excluding buying the bulbs and sand-paper). Did it a parking lot of local Pep Boys. Next day replaced the bulbs on the other side; it took less than 5 minutes.

    Yes, there are three nuts holding the rear lights assembly, and it is more convenient to move aside the felt carpet, after removing another two nuts. But the plastic nuts are big and it is very easy to remove them without any tool. 20 seconds for nut or so.

    Do not remember any trim to remove. Probably, this is specific to the LS. My Malibu is a base model.

    Likely, it was easy for me because I am not a mechanical engineer.

    As to the bulb availability, I found them in the very first auto part store I visited. The Pep Boys even carries not one, but two sorts of bulbs: standard and long-life. Both are made by Sylvania. The standard ones are made in Slovakia.

    I believe, the same bulbs are used in most of modern GM cars.
This discussion has been closed.