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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    That tells you that the emission system does its job in diagnosing leaks. In regards to the XM that is what I was looking for, thanks. If I come up with anything I will repost
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    I read somewhere...I can't remember exactly where...that that small, louvered thing is where the OnStar mike would be.
  • markf57markf57 Posts: 38
    Yeas, that is what I thought. e2helper also confirmed that it would be the mike if I had onstar.
  • wuvwuv Posts: 5
    The build date on the door is 9/04. When I took the car in to be checked the first time they said it came up with heat sensor reading. Which they told me was just a flook. Said that they haven'c come across a reading like that so really didn't know what to tell me. Both times the light has come on and stayed on it has snowed or freezing rain. Thanks about the trunk delayed response didnt know that, will try and see if that makes a difference.
  • chrpaichrpai Posts: 32
    I just got a new '05 Malibu LS ( sedan ) on Saturday. During the test drive I noticed a strange smell but I thought it was maybe just the city. It wasn't until I took it home that I smelled it again and recognized the odor. It smells exactly like when your warming up a soldering iron and you tin it. Just that smell, not anything else like the odor of burning silicon from a smoked transistor.


    I'm wondering if I should take it to service or just wait and see if it stops doing it. Perhaps some kind of burn in / off dripped fluid or something.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    My Maxx had a strange smell for the first week or so. It went away and everything is fine with it. I also noticed a smell when I bought a new Jetta. Must be a new car thing.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I have no idea what the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve looks like on your 6cyl. Malibu but, I would hazard a guess and say that is what is causing the knocking sound you are hearing. I'm sure that is the "little green thing" you describe. It has a one way valve in it and it's quite possible that it has been installed the wrong way around. That might also be giving you the false "check gas cap" message.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 159
    Did you have that shimmy before they replaced the chain and sprocket? If not, I would bet something was messed up by technician when they installed the new chain/sprockets. That job requires a major dissembly, reassembly of the switches, wires and hydraulic valves that make the trans shift correctly. If car is under warranty and they say this problem can't be fixed, why wouldn't they just install a new transmission?


    I can only assume you've been through all this with dealer, or you wouldn't be going the lemon law route.
  • I am trying to add XM to my 04 MAXX LT and after hours of research I found this link

    This is a XM receiver that claims to work on xm ready 03-04 Malibus. The website does not specify Malibu Maxx, Malibu or Malibu Classic. Do the connections differ? Did GM offer XM on the 04 Malibu Classic?


    I plan on taking this to a high end car audio place for the install. I sure hope it will work. any thoughts?
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Upon further inspection, I've determined that the tech broke it when they were replacing the transmission shift cable (being right above the transmission), its broken right where it goes into the connector, and has glue on it so after breaking it they just glued it back on. So later today when I can come up with a ride from the dealership I'm going to go take it to them. I'm also starting to lean towards taking it to another dealer next time something breaks, even though the nearest Chevy dealer is an hour away. I wouldn't be as upset if they would have told me they broke it, but since they broke it while fixing the wrong thing and glued it back together and figured I'd never notice, I'm fairly angry.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Ok, they were aware that there was a part broken by their tech. Had, the part ordered which came in a couple days ago, and so I dropped it off and they fixed it in ~15 minutes. Maybe they just forgot to tell me? Who knows? Now back to enjoying my Malibu. Oh yeah, I'll just have them check my XM radio next time it goes out since I'm not having any problems with it at the moment.
  • No answers the first time I asked so here it is again:


    Is there a way to have the display scroll through the entire artist/album name? According to the owners manual I should be able to press msg button to display addtional text, but all I get is 'No Info'. Seems really lame to only be able to see 10 characters of title,name etc. I have 04 maxx lt w/single cd and xm and rear dvd.


    Thank You.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Do you notice the problem with XM when you initially start vehicle? Or does it happen when you are driving around (and just lose the XM band).


    I figure if you are paying for it you likely listen to XM a lot :)


    I subscribe to it as well on personal car.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    it states for a sirus ready radio though...go to and ask your question..they should be able to help you direct the question to ziggy....cheers..and welcome to the xm nation..look here as well

  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    The "Check DAB" displays when I first start the car, then it goes away. It doesn't always display this when I start it, just occasionally. Also, sometimes after it goes away I can use XM, and sometimes when I scroll through the bands it just cycles between "FM1, FM2, and AM" no XM.


    At first I thought XM radio was a rip off, but now I love it and will never have another car without it and can't stand listening to normal radio anymore, seems like there is more commercials then music.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Yes I agree with your comments on XM although I stick pretty much with 5 or 6 different stations.


    My fav is 54. Has been since first vehicle I drove with it and continues to be :)


    Regarding what you are seeing. I will post back if any update available to dealers yet since I have heard of this b4.
  • muffmuff Posts: 4
    no. vibration was always there. advised when i first purchased to drive it for a couple of hundred miles and let the tires settle in. this i did. still there. as for the warrenty(#1404), i'll run through that in a yr and1/2. i must have driver 16 or 18 new gm auto's in the last 25 or 30 years. never had this problem. auto companies build these vehicles, charge a tremdous price, then expect the consummer to PAY or STRUGGLE with there goof's! "yeah, it's a mistake so what"!!!!!


    Deciding on an 2002 Chevrolet Malibu, My 1988 Mazda MX-6 has finally hit the dust with no heat and a bad clutch and broken starter and like 300,000 miles on it almost. My Malibu problem... "everyone tells me they have cheap/not worth a cent rotors and brakes which cause you to end up in the shop every couple thousand miles." Wondering if any ones Malibu is having this problem... I fount a 2002 Malibu that only has 31,000 miles on it and wanting it bad but dont want it if I have to replace the rotors every month or two... Its only a one owner vehicle and only traded it in because they wanted the 04 new malibu style. Its immaculate runs smooth as any GM I have ever heard and wondering if I should get it or not! PLEASE let me know what you think or it suppose to be.... will buying higher quality not factory standard rotors for malibu's fix this Easy warping problem?! Help anyone if you are an expert or know on this situation then LET ME KNOW IMMEDIATELY!!!

    EMAIL:[email protected]
  • The leading non profit consumer magazine states in their reliability studies that older Malibus have much more brake and electrical problems than average.


    I'd suggest you have a trusted mechanic look the car over and see if it is in good shape.
  • So u say take my mechanic with me to inspect this car before I decide to purchase it to look it over... wonder why they having such problems, my grandmother had an older malibu and hers she drove for a decade and still ran beautiful when she got rid of it for something lower mileage. Now sounds like since they have brought it back they are nothing put pile heaps of Junk.
  • "Now sounds like since they have brought it back they are nothing put pile heaps of Junk."


    I'm not sure where you are getting your information from. There are a lot of extremely satisfied owners of the new Malibu and Maxx who ply these forums, myself included. Admittedly, my length of ownership is very short, so far I have found the quality of workmanship is top notch.


    This vehicle is good looking, comfortable and roomy, handles very well, very powerful V6, great mileage, etc. I fully expect few problems during my time of ownership.
  • homerkchomerkc Posts: 113
    My son is still driving a 98 Malibu I bought new (currently 110K miles). Looking back, it has been a very good car, with few repairs - and still runs very well. It did churn thru rotors early, but aftermarket rotors helped (still some warping, but not like the originals.) On the other hand, those are not terribly expensive, and if driven with a light brake foot, the problem can be avoided/delayed. Offset with no timing belt to change, very little maintenance required, etc. I haven't had electrical problems, and my only repairs (beyond the brakes, fluids&filters, and tires) in the first 100K miles were a new battery and plug wires. I would recommend a good 2002 Malibu.
  • chrpaichrpai Posts: 32
    I have a brand new '05 Malibu and the electric steering seems fine except that the steering wheel is not centered with true straight ahead. It leans to the right alittle ( about 1 o'clock ).


    Tire pressure seems equal on boths side. Is this a valid service complaint to be resolved by the dealer or should I just live with it out of fear they might accidentally make it worse?


    Otherwise the car dives wonderful.
  • "This vehicle is good looking, comfortable and roomy, handles very well, very powerful V6, great mileage, etc. I fully expect few problems during my time of ownership."


    Hickoyrd, you can add me to the list of very satisfied owners. I echo your comments. After 7,400 miles, a very sweet experience thus far.
  • My hope is the new Mailbu (04 and on) has addressed the issues with electrical and brakes that the leading consumeer magazine tabulated as being so poor in previous Malibus.


    The brakes in my '04 Maxx, so far and knocking on wood, seem to be working fine (14000 miles or so).


    By comparison, Both Toyota products I owned (the Camry and Prism) were very vunerable to brake rotor warpage and needed several services each.
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Posts: 15
    "I have a brand new '05 Malibu and the electric steering seems fine except that the steering wheel is not centered with true straight ahead. It leans to the right alittle ( about 1 o'clock ). "


    I have the same steering problem only it goes to 11 o'clock. been in the dealer 4x. last time for ten days. i just got it back and the problem is still there. i'm sending it back for another model. I love the car, but holding against the pull of the steering wheel's a pain.
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Posts: 15

    email me. let's compare notes on the steering problem -- [email protected]
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Posts: 15

    my '05 Maxx at 400+ miles had a problem with the light coming on in the second week. it was a faulty gas tank sensor on mine. that was in addition to the steering.


    email me [email protected]
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    Posting your email address is not a good idea on a public message board as the spybots that troll through will pick it up and you will most likely begin receiving spam email. Also, taking it to email deprives others of possible valuable information.


    As only forum members can access other member profiles, you can make your email address public and then reference members to check your profile for your address. You have 30 minutes to edit/delete after posting your message. After the 30 minute window, only a host can delete your post.
  • chrpaichrpai Posts: 32
    I don't think the wheel is actually pulling / fighting against me. That is unless it is so subtle that I'm not aware of it.


    The vehicle will hold track and doesn't fight me, its just the wheel isn't in a perfect 12 o'clock position while in that attitude.


    I hope the way I've described it makes sense.
  • An off-center steering wheel doesn't have to be hard to fix. If the electric power steering is functioning properly the off-center steering wheel can result from not having all FOUR road wheels aligned with each other. If the front wheels are not perfectly aligned with the rear wheels, the steering wheel will seek a position (say, 11 o'clock or 1 o'clock) where the front wheels are inline with the rear. This vehicle geometry has been with us since the oxcart, and GM has rear wheel alignment specs for the Malibu/Maxx for that reason. Be sure your dealer has performed a 4-WHEEL ALIGNMENT for you.
  • Ok, so after you did the aftermarket rotors and brakes how long did it go before it had to be replaced again? Please lemme know
  • Only place I am getting my information from is people in my general living area on how well their malibu's preformed. Most have said they had to more then frequently replace the rotors due to warping and some even reported BRAKE FAILURE which meant NO BRAKES PERIOD. Which unfortunately led to a car crash and total loss and a nice hospital visit for 5 out of the 100 people I surveyed who had malibu's. Yes I ran a survey of 100 people and 50 out of the 100 said they had too infrequently rotor replacements as well as quickly wearing brakes... yet Honda Toyota BMW Mini Jaguar and many other foreign cars have not had these problems... but the GM seems to have it and cant account for it. Why is that is what I wonder?!?!?!
  • I recently bought 2 2005 LT Malibu, my car had a slight pull to the left. My dealer said the problem was in the steering column, a chip that controls the steering was the problem.


    After the chip was replace the steering wheel, and the pull to the left has been fixed
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    <reported BRAKE FAILURE which meant NO BRAKES PERIOD>


    This has to be a vanishingly small occurrence since any car made from the 70's on has dual diagonal brake systems. So unless you have some Ninja running around at night slicing brake lines (2) these people are exaggerating somewhat. FWIW my primary drive, a Ford, is also susceptible to warping rotors perhaps due to having only 4 lugnuts that when air wrenched tight can't spread the load evenly enough.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    hmmm, not to stay off topic, but a now defunct national brake firm "fixed" my '84 Renault's brakes to the point where it boiled the brake fluid, providing with total brake failure, and nearly causing me to run over a young boy on the bike. I ended up sending the car to the trash heap as a result.
  • the service rep at my dealer said this was not the first time she's heard about this on the 05 malibu, but with my limited web access i've been unable to find other suggestions and wanted to know more about it. can anyone tell me more about why my rear doors wont close, and why when i manually put the latch in the closed position i can open it without lifting the door handle?
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    I stand corrected. If pads can't float on rotors, i.e. too tight, and shoes (presumably rear drums in '84) stick to drums then you are cooked so to speak. There is still the cable operated emergency brake. Practice grabbing for that once in a while (console mounted much better) though it only provides 20% to 30% of braking effort - still better than 0.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 159
    Have 04 Maxx LS 1SB & Sunroof, built 2/25/04. Had PCM reflashed to latest calibration end of Dec. Idle quality seems about the same, a slight occasional shake when idling in drive with A/C off. Have not experienced any hard starting since. 3-4 upshift seems to happen sooner than before under light acceleration.


    Had front rotors turned. This totally eliminated the brake rumbling/vibration/resonating. BTW either owners manual or service manual says warped rotors can be cause by over tightening the lug nuts.


    Had wheel alignment done. This eliminated lead/pull to left.


    This week had transmission howl/growl repaired. Repair took 3 days. Dealer paid for rental. Shifting is now noticeably quieter than before. When I got car back, the steering wheel was off center at 11 o'clock. Took it back and they had to redo the wheel alignment (toe setting went out when trans was removed). Now steering is just fine, never had problems with it.


    Finally, had rear shades TSB was done. The reinforcements they installed in trim panel have a lip which prevents the clips from slipping out of the notch.


    My experience with my dealer service dept (Pine belt Chevy, Lakewood NJ) has been extremely positive. They have taken care of all the TSB fixes I requested the first time, no questions asked and no run arounds.


    I can truly say this is the best car I have ever owned and hope that continues.


    Still waiting for a good snow storm to check out the traction control system.
  • johnnyvjohnnyv Posts: 11
    My '99 Malibu battery indicator light (show the battery with a down arrow) started coming on during the first 1-2 minutes of driving about 2 months ago. Over the past few weeks it stays on a little longer and will come on from time to time while driving. I have noticed no performance problems. I have heard a very slight whining sound when reving the engine.


    I am guessing that the alternator is fading away. Anyone have any ideas?



  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    A lot of so called "warped rotors" in many cases are the consequence of warped hubs. After a period of time the rotors are worn unevenly because the hubs are distorted.


    Hub distortion can happen when the wheel nuts are tightened unevenly. A proper wheel nut tightening sequence must be followed. Let's assume that only one wheel nut is tightened to maximum - let's say to 100ft.lbs. The other side of the wheel on the opposite stud now lifts up slightly from the surface of the hub. We now have a lever with the fulcrum at or very near the tightened wheel nut. Now we tighten the opposite wheel nut and force the lever down. The result is that the hub is distorted and rotor damage will follow.


    To avoid this wheel nuts must be tightened up gradually in a star pattern until the final recommended value. Unfortunately I have witnessed many times wheel nuts being tightened to maximum in one go without regard to the consequences.


    So, the moral of my story is to always be very careful and take note when your wheels are taken off for any reason. Don't always blame "bad rotors" when your brakes start to pulsate. Unfortunately, by the time you feel pulsation the damage is done and replacing the rotors with new ones is a waste of money if you don't check the hubs as well. The damage sequence to the rotors will start all over again.
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    I'm getting a fairly good zap leaving the car almost everytime. With all the computer controled stuff in these cars what are the chances of something important getting fried?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I don't think it is likely. Electronics in vehicles have a variety of electrostatic discharge (ESD) testing simulating typical occurrences when you might touch something on vehicle after getting "charged up" sliding across seat, etc.


    I have heard about electronics getting damaged when a vehicle is hit by lightning but that is a different situation.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Count me in as a very happy owner of a 2004 Maxx. I'll say it again -- I would rush out and buy another Maxx if something were to happen to mine.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Why does the consumer magazine say the older Malibu's have so many problems when JD Power's Vehicle Dependabilty Index (rates cars after three years of ownership) rank the Malibu as the most reliable mid-size? They ranked it highest in 2003 and 2004 (looking at 2000 and 2001 models), beating out the Accord and others. Why the difference?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    sgr5516: do they replace the whole headliner, or do they just take it down and insert the clip?
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    Thanks; always appreciate your input. Do you think GM could do some testing on its customers - my finger is really sore. Throw some more carbon black in those tires.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I always touch my car with my arm or leg as I leave the car since I know what is coming. I hardly close my door with my hand any longer; only my arm.
  • I'm also curious as to exactly what they do to fix the rear trim so shades get held in place right. At clinic they put cardboard stiffeners on mine - so so fix.


    Wrt static shocks, I've taken to putting a towel and t-shirt over the Maxx seat (both given a fabric softener treatment along with the rest of my clothes). It cuts down, but does not eliminate, the shocks.


    I do remember while at GM we were very concerned about static shocks damaging circuts. However, things have progressed a lot and nowdays most circutry is well shielded or provided with static shock protection. Indeed, car computers have some of the toughest electronic components on the planet, some better than what military specs require.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    noticed a small issue with the replacement item for the front turn signal bulb...the owners manual states a 3057 bulb is the replacement, the sylvania site as well as reference books in two auto parts stores states a 3157 for the front and a 3057 for the back turn signal.....what is the difference.....


    the reason I asked..I replaced the front with a 3157 whenit burnt out....broken filament after 6 months...looked up in the reference book at the auto parts store..bulb lasted 4 months...when I went to inspect it today.noticed a scorching on the base of the lamp plug....the filaments were intact...and had that distinct burning wire there a wattage difference between the two blubs?....or is there a wiring issue with the headlamp///any suggestions
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