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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 159
    Maxx4me & Kurtamaxxguy - They installed what appears to be some sort of fiber/cardboard stiffners behind the trim on each side. I don't think they removed the headliner, at least I hope they didn't...I think they just slipped them in...probably held in place with sticky tape.


    The stiffners have an indentation or lip on either side of the notch where the shade clip goes that prevents the clip from sliding up and out. Shades have stayed closed 3 days now.


    I'm not holding breath that this fix will be permanent. Will have to wait until hot summer comes to see if the stiffners stay in place and the shades stay closed when driving with windows and sunroof open.
  • Hello,


    Has anyone noticed that the gas cap doesn't seem to fit that well? I'm wondering if this is common (poor design) or does my car simply have a bad gas cap.


    When you put on the gas cap and turn it until it ratchets several times, you can then simply pull off the gas cap with little or no effort - no need to turn or unscrew at all.


    When I bought my car, the 'Check Gas Cap' message came on witin 1/2 a mile after delivery. It went away after a couple of tank fulls so I attributed it to a loose gas cap. Now the message came on again, probably because of a loose gas cap. The gas cap doesn't give any feedback to let you know that it's on correctly..


    Anyone else experience this..The car only has about 2500 miles and I haven't had it back to the dealer for anything yet...I'll mention it at my first service but am curious in the meantime...


    Thanks in advance...
  • Not sure if this is an '05 issue; the gas cap on my '04 Maxx stays put and tightens up just fine.

    You might want to check the threads within the fill spout and see if they are damaged or stripped.
  • Thanks for the input. My car is actuall an '04, Malibu LT (Sedan) with a February 2004 build date.


    I'll take another look at the fill spout...When I looked at it before, it look different from other fill spouts I have seen on any other car I've owned...Doesn't seem to have standard threads...I'll take another look.....


    Although, this is the way the gas cap has been from day 1.... I bought the car in Nov. '04 and it had about 160 miles on it at the time...
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    I've only filled the car up maybe three times but have noticed the cap is not the standard screw on type I'm familiar with but more of a quick connect design. It's something like a 1/4 turn to remove or secure if it's lined up right. I haven't triggered the light yet (normally I don't turn off engine when gassing up but with this car so far I have) but can see why GM included the gas cap warning with this odd cap design.
  • Has anybody tried the locking gas cap accessory which GM sells for the Malibu? I'm tempted to give it a try as I'm quite annoyed with the standard one...
  • My rear shades open and close as one would expect. Do all Maxx's require a mod?
  • tim10tim10 Posts: 15
    Sorry for the long post, but here's an update....


    Saturday I picked it up fron the 2nd round of service (really their 4th or 5th attempt when you consider separate parts orders). Dealer said "it's the quietest car any of us have ever drivin in." Wrong! Another service manager drove with me and said you have to be deaf not to hear this, and he wouldn't stand for it in his own vehicle either. I've added a Envoy to the fleet of rental cars. An hour later I dropped the car BACK off at the dealership, same noise. I test drove the other base 05 on their lot and had the same, if not worse, noise that mine had. The dealership has now replaced the coils, repositioned the emergency brake cable, and a bunch more (haven't gotten all the paperwork back yet). I'd estimate they've spent $2500 in parts, labor, and freight so far on GM's dime.


    Today the service manager brought my car along with the one I drove on Saturday up to my place of employment. They had me testdrive each, and mine was a bit quieter. They said they did a super quick fix to muffle the noise by adding insulation to where the bumper attaches to the rest of the car. The problem is still there but it's somewhat hidden. They took back their enterprise car and now I'm waiting till Friday for a GM rep response. The dealer told me they are pulling the other vehicle from their new lot and will absolutely not sell the other vehicle with the problem or even repair it yet until the GM rep test drives it with them.


    Very frustrating, right now they are asking me what I want to do. They said in rare cases GM does a buyback or a VIN swap to another similar vehicle. It sounds like they don't want it to go as far as a lemon law swap or buyback. If I get good feedback from this board that people don't have this problem elsewhere in low temperatures, my gut feeling now is for them to provide a replacement vehicle with a 2005 build date, and somehow compensate me for the lost work time and trouble of continually test driving and returning it for repairs. I've already met the requirements, in # of service attempts, and I've likely met the # of days with the same problem requirement, to file for lemon law protection.


    They think part of the problem may be to cold weather, it's been 9-40 degrees the whole time that I've owned the car. Can someone with an '04 or 05 Base or LS malibu (not MAX) reply to me and let me know if they hear ANY squeaks, clunks, or other suspension noises at low speeds? Before the bumper fix, I heard them at 20mph or less on almost all smooth or snow covered roads/parking lots with the heater/radio/etc all turned off, now I hear them at 10mph or less.
  • I hear a noise at low speeds now, but it seems to be coming from the steering rack. Whenever I'm turning the wheel in my driveway I hear what sounds like clicking. I've just been too busy to get it to the dealership for a look-see. (I didn't notice this noise prior to the fix for the failing electric power steering problem a few months ago, either, so it may be related.)


    As far as general suspension noises, haven't had any yet. (Knock on wood)


    -2004 Malibu LT Sedan-
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    I'll try again. I've been posting replies to your message but they seem to be disappearing. Hope they don't show up here later.


    I don't think the squeak/rattle is temperature related. I live in California where the weather is mild and, anyway, the noise was there at the hight of summer.


    I've also checked out the rear bumper and tightened up all fasteners without any luck. I've crawled under the car and pushed and pulled everything to try and find the source of the noise with no luck. What I don't understand is why the noise only seems to be heard at very low speeds. At 30mph when the car is very quite on a smooth surface the noise is gone. But slow down to about 5mph on the same surface and I can hear it. Loud and clear. Beats the hell outa me.
  • I have been having problems with my rear door latches on my 2005 Malibu. It seems that when the weather gets cold, the rear doors especially the drivers side will not latch. The dealer treated the locks with silicone but it did not solve the problem. The dealer now recommends replacing the latches. Any ideas? There does not seem to be a factory service bulletin on this problem.
  • tim10tim10 Posts: 15
    I had this EXACT same problem last night, when we were troubleshooting the creak/squeaking noises...


    The drivers rear door wouldn't latch, even if we rotated the latch manually it had no effect. We'd close it, light or heavy, and the latch wouldn't grab on to anything. Finally we got it closed halfway, had the door ajar message since it was only half closed. it was 8 degrees out yesterday here with a windchill of -5. The dealer came up here today to look at it and it is working fine now, but it had warmed up to 22 degrees. This will be frustrating if it keeps happening. They said GM advises against any heavy lubricants in the door latch, just a light silicone which was already present.


    Also, does anyone else have a problem with the fold down seats requiring a tremendous amount of force to close & latch closed? Again, it may be temperature related but yesterday we couldn't get 1 side to latch at all, the other side we had to use enough force to risk breaking something.
  • tim10tim10 Posts: 15


    Have you had the dealer attempt to service this at all? Is yours an 05 1SA Base?


    Hey E2Helper, do you see any service bulletins or notes on this?


    My noise sounds like it's coming from the rear drivers side wheel well area. I hardly think this is 'by design' within normal tolerances. The dealer's new theory is when driving at low speeds (before the shocks kick in according to the dealer's new theory), it's noisy and they're not sure if they can do anything about it. Yet before they came up with this theory they've written me up for service and spent $2000-3000 trying to fix it. I'll post when I hear from the GM technical Rep on Friday.
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    My car is an 04 2.2 Ecotec base Malibu. My noise seems to come from the rear passenger side wheel well. I've looked up there and have seen nothing wrong. I've not taken it to the dealer yet though. I have an aversion to dealers. I want them to have a positive fix for this before I take it in. Meantime I could find the problem and maybe fix it myself. For all I know it could be the fuel tank rattling around. Who knows?
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    If you are talking about CR, I think the writers and editors in that rag would rather have a wisdom tooth pulled than say a positive thing about an American car.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    I took the wifes 2003 LS in today for the sticking gas pedal recall. The dealer replaced the entire gas/brake pedal asm, and it looks like the new design has stronger pivots and guides. It was about 2 hours from start to finish.

    So far, over 18K miles, one power window switch (warranty), and now this recall work. Other than that, we put gas in it, change the oil and filter every 3K, I do the all the routine maintainance, and it runs great.

    Consumer Reports can rave about the foreign cars all they want...I'll stick with this Malibu...probably the most trouble free car we have ever owned.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Regards a TSB or note, nothing seen so far,


  • 2005 Maxx - About 1/4 of my cds make a tih-tih-tih sound that corresponds with the cd speed (faster at beginning, slower at end)also, when I ejected the cd this morning after about an hour play time, it was very hot to the touch. Anyone else encounter similar?
  • jlwgmjlwgm Posts: 8
    I didn't get a lighter with my '04 Maxx. I bought one, but it doesn't seem to work. Anyone know if there's a special kind of replacement lighter needed?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002


    I know that the power outlet in the front console is designed to accept a cigar lighter element but maybe one you bought not compatible.


    I think dealer has a "smoker's package" available which contains the needed parts. It might also contain some type of ashtry to install in one of cupholders, but I have never seen one or know how much it costs.


    But I am sure someone must have found out about this????
  • Unfortunately it is still happening. The SM at my dealer said that GM is aware of the problem and are working on a TSB as we speak. I have just avoided opening the rear doors especially when it is cold. The SM said that they have had about 4 other people call with the same problem. The remedy for now according to GM is to have the doors sprayed with a super lubricant, not the normal silicon spray they used originally. The dealer said to bring the vehicle in for treatment.
  • Kurtamaxxguy - I hear the same noise when I first turn on the heat on these cold days - its enough to make me worry the windshield is going to shatter into my face! I've never heard this in any car.

    Have you found anything out about this issue?
  • tim10tim10 Posts: 15
    A TSB in the works is good, but since this latch problem could be very dangerous (one person on reported it opened while the vehicle was moving and already latched) I think anyone on here affected should also do an free online complaint, perhaps it will prompt a service notification to all gm owners or even a recall for a fix. If your dealer knows of 4 people with this issue, multiply that by all the GM dealerships that serve customers who have cold weather this time of year.
  • Supposedly there is a TSB regarding A pillar noise in the Maxx.

    E2Helper, if you could, I'd love to know what they do to fix this.


    Incidently, did they ever get the cruise control "talking" better to the transmission in the 2005 model? While the transmission is very smooth with the throttle (all the TSB's seemed to help there), cruise is still clunky as ever...I'm keeping it off for now.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I don't like the logic with the automatic door locking. I prefer to have manual control over things instead of relying on another person's interpretation of how things should automatically work. Sure, it's nice that the doors automatically lock when you put the vehicle in Drive. But I would like to be able to unlock the doors with the driver's unlock button even when the car is still in Drive. You can't do that. Plus, I consider it an anti-safety feature that the doors unlock automatically when vehicle is shifted to Park. I mean, what if I put it in Park but would still like the doors locked?


    Anyway, I just don't like how this stuff works on Maxx. Still really enjoy the car, but this is one minor area I don't like.
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    Some of this stuff is programable by the user in the DIC. I believe the Door Unlock can be switched to Key Off instead of Shift to Park and there might be some other options but I get a headache trying to read that part of the Owner's Manual. e2helper is the expert on this (maybe even designed it) - if he responds to your querry you will be golden.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Thanks! I didn't realize some of this is tweakable via the Driver Information Center (DIC). I will play around with that sometime soon and see if I can find some settings that please me.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I know that prdm already addressed your question but here are my $0.02


    The Driver Information Center does give you a bit of control over the auto door UNLOCK function. Press the MENU button to step through the options until you get to Door Unlock stuff.


    You CANNOT shut off the auto door LOCK function, that one works all the time when you shift out of Park with doors closed.


    Options for UNLOCK give you ability to control WHAT and WHEN the doors UNLOCK.


    For WHAT you can select ALL doors, DRIVER door ONLY, or NONE


    For WHEN you can select Shift into PARK or when Ignition Key is turned OFF.


    There is nothing preventing you from using the Unlock switch on door from unlocking doors at any other time.


    Let us know your success in navigating thru the DIC menus - it might bring up other questions :)
  • Rather than a headache, these unlock options are versatile. In the future, the settings may even permit change to occur automatically as when the DIC recognizes there are passengers in the vehicle (Most likely some $50,000+ rides already do this). For example, I now set unlock to driver's door only during the week (sole commuter), and all doors on weekends (family/friends).
  • dplavdplav Posts: 6
    2004 malibu maxx lt


    Per my past threads....


    after 2 months of dealing with incompetent local dealers I drove 33 miles away from town to go to a different dealer where the GM regional rep doesn't cover problems .


    Here's the problems that I had that 2 local dealers couldn't figure out so the Regional Rep put a red flag next to my name stating not to touch my car any longer. The WI DOT states this is a breach against warranty and is still investigating.


    1. car pulls to the left while accelerating/decelerating

    2. while making a left turn the steering wheel sticks to the left at about 10 o'clock which is the same position it sticks to when accelerating

    3. while driving highway speeds and accelerating, the car pulls to the left.


    I drove the car to the other dealer who test drove my car and another maxx lt and told me the steering wheel feels like a magnet and it wants to keep pulling left.


    The SA then told the mechanic what the problem was. they hooked up a TECH 2 machine to my steering module and it tested out 2 codes that fixed the problem in a matter of 10 minutes! We took it for a test drive and all is well. As far as the other 2 dealers who were incompetent and told me not to bring my car back to them for warranty work, the WI DOT will take of them I'm sure.


    TO: GM/Chevrolet

    Doesn't it feel great when you beat the system?


  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    pao, "Chevy Malibu Maxx" #2896, 25 Jan 2005 8:29 am


    come on GM wake up to the few customer unfriendly dealerships with incompetent service departments and come down hard on them!!
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    This is why I'm scared to take my perfectly working steering system into the dealer for the recall I've had on my 04 Malibu. I've had no problems with the steering in 1 year so far. But it must still be examined and replaced if necessary. It's scary !
  • Yes it's good dplay found a competent dealer at last. And why most car manufacturers do such a rotten job overseeing their dealers is beyond me.
  • muffmuff Posts: 4
    refer to my messages 1381,1384,1404,1413. different problem but i was advised by the dealership to file under the lemon law...hearing is set for 2/9. so far they are refusing to buy back!
  • on my 2004 Malibu LT Sedan - on ceiling, a little in back of driver's head...on roads that are a little less than perfect, a consistent rattling occurs. I can stop this from occurring when I put my hand inside the moonroof cover, and press down on the area where the noise is coming from.


    While this problem may have already been discussed in this forum, can anyone tell me if this is a common problem, and will GM be able to fix it?


    Otherwise, I love my Malibu, and feel very happy that I bought one! BTW, I've had the car almost 4 months.


  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    sorry: mine comes from the driver's side spring on the collapsable metal bar in FRONT of the moon roof. When my cover is open, I get a constant rattle; when it is closed, I don't hear it. I will fix it myself when it gets warmer. I can put my finger on the exact spot to silence it. I guess since your noise is from the back end of the moon roof, it is not the same thing. Good luck.
  • I also have the rattle from the spring on the collapsible metal bar in front of the moon roof. I have a rolled up paper napkin there until either warm weather comes or I have another reason to take it in to the dealer. Rattle is now silent in that area.
  • jess33jess33 Posts: 13
    The shop had my '04 LT MAXX for three days to fix-1. Transmission howl, 2. rear shades, 3. PCM reflash. I've had the car back for 5 days, so far no howl!! I was hesitant to make this repair, but the difference for me in not hearing that noise is worth it! The rear shades, so far, are staying shut, and no more rough idle. Very pleased w/ dealer service, they put me in a rental, $0 cost to me. So glad to have the MAXX back, missed those heated seats in this frigid New England weather. I love this car. The rental was a Trailblazer, a SUV I considered prior to the MAXX, I made the right decision.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Thanks Jess. Your note prompted me to go see my Service Manager today to find out what was up with the replacement parts for my howling tranny. It has been about 3 weeks.......he forgot to order the parts. As punishment, I made him order up the rear shade faseners while he was at it, just like you had done.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    forgot to order the parts.....another case of an inept service department...who did you take it too Jim........I am going to have to let you ride me see if this howl is be honest...all sounds normal to me......just the usual background noise to my picked up the little vibration in the engine that I would have never noticed the first time...must be getting
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 159
    I also recently had trans/shades TSB fixes done on my 04 Maxx LS (2/25/04 build). Also took three days. Dealer does not have loaners or rentals but they arranged/paid for Enterprise Rental (05 Grans Am, yuck).


    On prior visit, they also turned front rotors to fix brake rumble problem and did front wheel alignment done to fix left lead/wander. I had to pay for alignment.


    Also had very positive experience with service dept., no run arounds, and no return visits. I gave them all the TSB info up front on all visits.


    Only minor problem is the paid alignment was done before trans work. I checked when trans work was being done to make sure they would do alignment again. SA said this was not included in TSB documentation and did not need to be done. I disagreed. When I picked up car, the steering wheel was off center. So I just left it and they redid alignment, no charge.


    Everything is just fine now and I expect to have no further problems.
  • jess33jess33 Posts: 13
    Is it necessary to redo alignment after the tranny fix? I don't believe they did one for me after the fix. I have not noticed an issue, what would I be looking for with the steering?

    As for the howl, if owners in this forum are questioning if they have it, if you have it, you absolutely know. It is an awful whining howl noise, nothing I've ever experienced in another car, just an FYI.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Paul: I agree, the howl is very insignificant; my service manager (who maybe just wanted the work) at H.A.P. on Rt. 1 did not like the howl one bit. Despite him forgetting to order the parts, I really like this service manager; its the rest of the dealership that gives me the creeps. For me, I'm curious to see if there is any improvement to performance after the parts are put in. I still contend that there is an overdrive issue with my tranny. I'd be glad to take yours out for another spin. Name the lunch place and I'm there.
  • "Is it necessary to redo alignment after the tranny fix?"

    Often it is, whenever the engine/transaxle subframe is removed. Part of the front suspension attaches to that subframe and unless the assembly goes back into the car EXACTLY as it came out, the alignment will be affected. If the steering wheel is off center after the fix then either a 4-wheel alignment or steering recalibration would be called for. Maybe both.
  • What exactly does this "howl" sound like? At what RPM does it show up? My maxx was built very close to the date period that the bad trannies were built. So far I've heard nothing "unusual" but may not be listening for right thing.
  • Do you have an '05 model?. I am pretty sure the '04 models did not have heated seats. Please correct me if I am wrong as I would have loved to have them on my "04 LT.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Heated seats have always been standard on LT model for 2004 or 2005. For the 2005 for base and LS models a heated cloth seat option was introduced to make heat feature more widely available.


    You have a 2004 Malibu LT with the UltraLux seats, right? There should be a switch on outboard front corner of seat for heat function. Only the front seats are heated


    If you wouldn't mind can you post last 6 digits of your VIN?
  • jess33jess33 Posts: 13
    Thanks for the reply, I'll be watching to see if a steering issue evolves, so far, no problem. As for the howl, absolutely gone. It would typically happen going up hill, I guess 2nd gear? I never really looked at RPM's, but as I said not a sound that you strain to hear.
  • I am from an earlier posting. I went ahead and purchased the 2002 Chevrolet malibu LS. It only has 32000 miles on the odometer. So far it has been a fun car for me and no brake problems as of YET. So far everythings been running fine on it, COLD Air Conditioning HOT heat, temp of engine halfway mark etc... Only problem is now the radios got a massive problem. I called the Chevrolet division of Smith Stokes dealership. Its gonna cost me alone 40 dollars for them to take the radio out and evaluate it. Great another 40 along with the 8700 to just evaluate and figure out why its acting up. The front speaker in the passenger door has gone completely out, and the rear passenger side speaker just goes in and out when it wants to on occasion... Usually when its just warm it stays on, but in cold it goes in and out alteast 10 times in a 20 minute driving period. Wonder where this is going, usually one thing branches from another. I asked Smith Stokes how much a radio would cost for this Malibu... its ridiculous! 469.99 for one compliant with a alarm armed 2002 malibu with a 1 cd deck only IE no tape deck. Also I noticed on some stations that are suppose to have INFO they dont show it in this car. My co-workers 2002 Cavalier does show radio information for a station that we both listen to alot but mine wont. And some stations it will just show the name and then some show name and info of whats playing... Hopefully nothing is wrong... but Smith Stokes told me they would have to replace the radio more then likely because something electrical has gone bad in it... thats 500$ almost and that not including installation/labor. Can anyone help me, have only had the car since Monday and already going in a hole of falling apart and the car not even old enough to do that!!!


    Also does anyone else's malibu of this year have a very sensitive gas and brake pedal... I know mine is, barely touch and its flooring itself.
  • IE in earlier posting this line "Great another 40 along with the 8700 to just evaluate and figure out why its acting up." I paid 8700 for it got a discount cuz i financed and he got the money right up front.
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