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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Your were very right to call GM before taking the dealers word as gospel. The dealers make a lot of money off warranty repairs, and often inflate the troubles to increase their profits. I have seen too many cases where a $500 repair was made when in reality, a $100 fix would have been just as good. GM, as well as all other manufacturers, has to rely on the honesty and integrity of its dealers to help ensure customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, profit sometimes takes the priority. Its kind of like seeking a second opinion if the doctor delivers bad news. The consumer has to be wary of what he is being told, and be wise enough to question something that doesn't sound right.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    It's odd the dealer would do this. It's in their best interest in trying to get things for you for free such that you come back for things that aren't (like oil changes). Our dealer operates like this and it creates good will rather than distrust.
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    I think the problem is the particular Service Writer that I dealt with today. He was on vacation in July when the intake manifold gaskets were done, and I got far better service. I'll avoid this jerk in the future. In March, he hooked me up with a salesman to try and move an '03 Malibu after I told him I didn't want the exact same car again. He also tries to pressure me into filling out the customer service survey on site (yeah, right) with a promise of the next oil change for free (I get them free anyway - part of a promotion when I bought the car). Obviously an idiot. Finally have his number. I'll bet he never even called GMPP to begin with....
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    There is a built in conflict for dealers. Warranty work has to be done according to warranty labor rate manuals for various repairs. The warranty labor rate manual is not penurious, but requires someone knowing what they are doing, doing the job right the first time.

    Regular repair work is handled in two interesting ways that are different: the "flat rate" manuals provide much more generous times; and the hourly labor rate is much higher.

    Thus the flat rate manual may say it takes x hours to remove and replace a radiator, while most good mechanics (the ones that don't get fired from the dealer after a while) can do the job, most of the time, in half the time. In addition, the labor rate posted and charged by the dealer is usually double what the car maker will allow.

    BTW, "flat rate" manuals don't mean there is a fixed price for a repair. It means there is an "agreed" time for the repair, and if it takes longer, the dealer absorbs the extra cost, if it takes less time, the dealer profits.

    So who publishes the flat rate manuals becomes important. The cleanest manuals are those published by the manufacturer, but there is a cottage industry of manual publishers who essentially crib the manufacturer's manual, but boost the times.

    I have personally discovered quite a range of prices for things like routine services, strut replacements, etc., from dealer to dealer. It pays to shop different dealers.

    Independents have the same structure, but (i) don't have any current factory manuals, (ii) work on too many different makes to be good at them, (iv) and don't have any factory training. The ASE certification program is a pale imitation of what good factory training does.

    In other words, dealers screw their customers, but they are the only semi-reliable game in town, and it is worth shopping for different dealers, or even different service writers, and keeping your eyes open.

    I think they try to screw the manufacturers, too.
  • I think it's almost cheaper to always lease your car and never pay for a repair! But, of course, it depends. Usually, it's still cheaper to own for 10+ years, though occasionally you do have to pay just outrageous labor fees to the dealer. But if you go to an independent garage, they are usually not trained as good as the dealer's mechanics, and probably don't care as much to do a good job. That's it, I am switching to biking, walking, and rollerblading!!!
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    The issue of domestic vs imports couldn't be put much better, especially the misconception that Japanese cars are now "made" in the US. Better be careful with what I say...
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Now if the assembly line can hit the quality goals GM wants to hit with the Malibu.
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    I agree. I thought the Lutz interview was dead on. If the new Bu is as good as they say. I'm willing to chance it.

    But, in fairness, after what I've been through with my '98 this year, don't expect to see a "Recommended" for the new one in Consumer Reports (they won't segregate Bu generations) for a few more years. Mine alone will squash that. Heaven help us if memeber Jeremy is a subscriber. Fine with me in a selfish sort of way - slower sales, bigger rebates for the next year or two.

    By the way, my dealer seconded an e-mail that I received from a disgusted former member this week. The new Maxx is going to have a tough road to hoe. And I'd completely forgotten. The Equinox arrives in showrooms a mere 2 months (March) after the Maxx. Same features, but the all-important "SUV" title. Good. Forget the $3,000 rebates, let's go for $4,000 (gets me into an LT rather than an LS with "Uglycloth"). Maybe it'll be $3,000 with $1,000 owner loyalty (now bc, could even you pass that up? Don't think so.)

    So, who's received their December issues of car mags (C&D, MT)? Sure most everyone but me. What's the news?
  • I noticed that I have a little crack in the paint (looks more like a cut). It is the size of the tip of a nail. Very small. It is located on the front driver door panel near the edge close to the mirror. The dealership said that the service manager would have to look at it first. One guy said that they may just paint the whole panel. I am thinking that touch up paint can fix it. I do not know if I should get some touch up paint and fix it or let them paint the panel. They said they may have to keep it two days. What you guys think. It is not rusted. It just looks like if you cut the paint with a razor. Hard to describe. If I use touch up paint, can it still rust?
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    Don't quote me on this, but if you clean out the scratch of dirt first, and the cut isn't all the way down to the bare metal, I doubt it'll rust after touch-up painting it. Remember to shake the touch-up paint bottle VIGOROUSLY before you use it.

    BUT, the color of your Bu comes into play here. In my case, the touch-up paint is an exact match (have used it on the rear bumper twice) (my car is Bright White, kind of easy to match), but metallic colors are often just a tad off. Seeing that the cut is pretty small, I'd say go for it. If the dealer repaints the whole panel, you might end up with a bigger mismatch (if it's in fact metallic). With metallic, it might look like a perfect match in some light, but not in others.
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    Sleep? What sleep? Actually crashed at 10 last night, but I'm used to 5-6 hours of sleep with the World Series (tonite just might do it, and yes, an offer has been made for the Marlins' new stadium in central Palm Beach County), so I'm ready to rip, and even without coffee. Might need a short nap mid-morning, but.....

    VERY surprised that no one posted about Survivor this week. If you're not a fan, yes, the new Malibu ad was in the mix, as expected. Now, the interesting thing is, after the tribes merge in a few weeks, and they have the inevitable "luxury competition" for a vehicle, which will it be? Can just see Jeff getting stuck in the sand in a new Malibu LT. No, think they'll save the Malibu for the "Reunion Survivor" series that starts right after the Super Bowl (hopefully we'll be in that too, by the way), and that'd be a Maxx. This time I think it'll be one of those GMC Envoy XUVs with the sliding rear roof (what a great idea), with Jeff driving on the beach with something big in back. Speaking of big, watch Rupert win it (oh, thank God it's not a Bu LT!! The UltraLux would never handle that).

  • wpbharry, it looks gray underneath. I do not see any signs of rust. My car is also white.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    CR currently recommends the 2003 Malibu so as long as quality / reliability continues to be average-good, I don't see that changing.
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    Go for it. We both lucked out color wise.

    I'm in shock, and thank God it's a Sat. nite, with time change.
  • wpbharry, so are you saying just to use touch up paint?
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    But don't have the caffeine shakes when you do it. "Word from the wise". Less is best.
  • I do not like the concept of them removing all the paint on the front quarter panel. I think that this would mean that they would have to take the panel off. I know that sometimes when they do this, you can have other issues later like rattels, misalignment and possible paint mismatch.

    I just hope that after touch up paint, that it does not rust underneath or continue to crack underneath. I would think that this would stop it.

    What if I use touch up paint and the problem comes back. Will the warranty cover it?
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    As I posted a while ago, we had some serious scratches (with dents) on our redfire LS too. The area is white colored, I don't know if this means very deep? Harry, help me on this if you can. I was going to have it repainted too, but now that I think about what mazdaprofour said, I could end up with other problems if they don't do it right. My scratches are too big for touch-up and our color is hard to match too. I'm not sure what I'll do, probably just live with it though this winter and see what happens rustwise. The midwest winter can be very rough, maybe this wouldn't be a good idea...
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    Maz (what's your real name; bud name needs to change); I don't think the 3/36 will cover paint issues. Just do it when you're not shaky - less is best.

    tamu, I'm jealous. Didn't offer that color when I bought. Assume you've got neutral leather. Nice. Try the plan above, but be VERY careful.

  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    Sorry. My attention span lapsed a touch. If what you're seeing is greyish white, that's the primer, and you're good to go. Do the touch-up bit, using my prior advice.

  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Thanks Harry for the quick response. We do have the neutral interior (cloth), very pleasing to the eye indeed. The area is almost pure white color without any hint of grey. I'll double check. With the scratch being as big as 3'X2', I'm really afraid to make a mess with the touch-up...Well, I'll see...
  • I think I will just use touch up paint. Will it rust under after using touch up paint?
  • bporter1bporter1 Posts: 229
    I am new to this discussion, but I had a 94 GMC
    Sonoma that had some minor chips and a large chip oout of the paint. I used the touch up paint, with pretty good results. You really had to look close to see the smaller ones, but the body did not rust out in the 5 years I owned it.

    I went to a local dealer to look at the new Malibu,very nice but why can't GM use better cloth? It looks like it could be used in a cheap Korean car,not a 22K car. Honda and Toyota put better looking cloth seats in their cars! It is not just the Malibu either. Grand Prix, Rendezvous CX, and others have similar looking cloth seats.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Well, they DID drastically improve the Grand Prix cloth seats. When the 04 first came out, the cloth seats had this weird pattern that looked like either a bad acid trip flashback or like the baby threw up!
  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    As always. One of my pinch hitters. And yes, he rocks.

    Even let me say it, it's UglyCloth (TM, Reg). More horrific than in the GP.

  • wpbharrywpbharry Posts: 399
    The reason why I'm being funky about the new Bu is, as nearly the whole world knows, the leather seats in the LT (obviously you saw an LS) are the suede stuff. GM, I WANT real leather, please. And not the stuff in mine.

    Let's hope somebody's awake.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I don't know why the cloth looks so bad in the 2004 LS Malibu, but so good in the Mercedes C230, VW Jetta's etc. Nothing wrong with the fabric in the Malibu, just the color and patterns.

    Believe it or not, the cloth in the LS is supposedly UPGRADED over the clothe in the Base model (the 2.2 version). Has anyone seen that cloth? Is it UglierCloth?

    I have so say that after driving a 2.0, 4 cylinder VW Golf down to LA this weekend (in the notoriously high revving stick shift version), I am strongly considering getting some good old fashioned low revving American iron. A low revving V6 would have been nice... Maybe it's time to rent an Impala or to see if I can find a 2004 to rent and take it on the road....
  • a black 04 Malibu LT on Saturday. The car had a msrp of $25025 and I believe that is loaded. Overall, it seems like a very good vehicle. The ride was very compliant and the 3.5 V6 very willing. Fit and finish seemed excellent and the seats were very comfortable. This car had the gray leather interior with aluminum accent trim - I like this better than the fake wood trim. I would say GM did a very good job with this car. Improvements could always be made like the cloth design pattern. Personally, I wish the front end would have had a different fascia more like the Opel Vectra. The only real complaint that I have is that the steering was to light at parking lots speeds, nicely weighted once moving but too much assist at low speeds. Maybe most people will think this is a good thing. My brother has an 03 Camry and in my opinion the new Bu is as good or better. I have not driven a new Accord so I can not make a fair comparison. I was quoted a lease price of under $300 (including tax,GMS pricing) for 36 months/12k per year with no money down. Seems like a very aggressive lease program.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    "And I would say one more thing. We've been reading a lot about the deindustrialization of America, and about manufacturing jobs going offshore. And, while I don't want to wave the American flag and say it's your patriotic duty, etc., etc. But, I think all other things being equal, the American purchaser should ask himself or herself when they buy a vehicle, "What am I doing for the American economy here with my purchase?" That's all I'm saying. And Toyota will say, "Yeah, but the Camry is made in the United States." Well, yes it is and no it isn't. And most of their vehicle lineup is not. And even the Camry contains a very high percentage of Japanese engineering, Japanese parts, Japanese supplier components, and so forth. So, I think at some point we're going to have to decide whether we want an automobile industry or we don't. And I would never expect the consumer to buy an inferior vehicle just because it's American. But these vehicles are no longer inferior. I think we've taken the last of the excuses away."

    Do you sense a desperation in Bob Lutz's interview with Edmunds? I mean, I don't want to demean the Malibu or GM, but he shouldn't appeal to people's patriotism to force them to buy GM or any other American cars. The fact is the Big Three has been promising us for more than a decade that the quality gap is narrowing yet if you look at long term reliability you see that the Japanese still have an edge. I see lot more early 90s Accord and Camry than Taurus and Grand Prix
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Just realistic.

    The new Malibu is just that... new, from the ground up. Yet you have people like you comparing it to early 90s Grand Prixes. In the early 90s, the only mid 80s CamCords I saw around were rust buckets. Apparently, that did not stop people from noticing things changed.

    Seems this generation is less perceptive. So you resort to beating them on the head.
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