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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • have not seen loss of PwrSteering in reverse (yet) on my '04 maxx. It did have its steering columm replaced.
  • mfrchicomfrchico Posts: 4
    Why did you have the steering column replaced? Mine and ALL it's parts have been replaced twice. Still not have heard from GM. I am pissed!
  • minn_maxxminn_maxx Posts: 51
    Yes!!! I thought it was cold related but it still happens occasionally now in warmer weather (32F Minnesota). The car has not been to the dealer because the problem is so intermittent. Please post if you get a resolution (sounds like software!)...
  • like a bunch of '04 Maxxes and Malibus, the steering columm sensors were defective (supplier goofs), caused the steering wheel to pulse during turns.
    The dealer replaced it about 6 months ago and since then the steering has behaved itself.
  • hickorydhickoryd Posts: 57
    Speaking of more Maxx dealers...the dealer that fixed my steering problem sells Pontiac-Buick-GMC. The Chevy dealer where I bought it wrote on the shop ticket that the "steering is within specs". So it could be that the best warranty service might be available from your local (formerly known as) BOP dealer.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    yes without a doubt...04 Maxx LT with 18500 on the car and not problems
  • lotusjaylotusjay Posts: 17
    Yes, I'd do it again. Mine is an '04 Maxx LT and other than interior rattles, nothing has gone wrong. It has been a very satisfying car to live with, and wonderful on long trips.

    For me, this car replaced a BMW wagon and I have no reason to look back.
  • ericw55ericw55 Posts: 53
    From previous post:
    "Just brought my Maxx in (first time)for the pull to the left, and fuel gauge/check gas cap problems. I mentioned the TSBs, but didn't give the numbers (didn't want to be pushy). They claimed the pull was due to uneven tire pressures, and the fuel gauge issue was because of a faulty sensor.
    Well, the Maxx still pulls to the left, and when they install the new sensor next week, the gauge will still show 3/4, when full."

    As expected, the sending unit(?) did not correct my problem. I picked up my Maxx at the end of the day, and topped off the tank. Still 3/4. I left a voice mail for the service writer that evening (with TSB#), and he called me the next day at 9AM. He told me he would research it, and call me back. He called again at 3PM, and told me that, although the part # on my gas tank doesn't match the TSB, they ordered a tank. He said they couldn't think of anything else it could be.
    I can't blame them for following normal troubleshooting procedures, and they have been very accommodating. So far, I am pleased with their service. As far as the pull to the left, I still think it's there. I am about to take my first road trip, and told them I will get back to them, after my trip.
  • sschribersschriber Posts: 89
    Is the "pull to the left at highway speeds" problem that I repeatedly see posted here a torque steer issue? I've had the Maxx in twice and asked them to check it and they respond it drives straight in test drives at 65.

    20 miles of my commute every day is at 70-75 on a six lane section of interstate in the left lane. The road has a moderate crown and here's a lane by lane experience - Right lane (slight slope to right)- the car tracks mostly straight with a tiny tendency to the left. Middle lane (top of crown)- slight wander to left. Left lane (slope to the left) - over the line within a 3 count.

    None my other vehicles have done this in the past when properly aligned. Could it be that those big tires require more torque from the engine at these speeds and thus a torque steer? Is this a design issue that I'll just have to live with?
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    There is no torque steer at steady speeds. Something else is going on here; tire pressure, alignment or steering mechanism issues are possibilities.
  • hickorydhickoryd Posts: 57
    Sure with the dealer would mail me details of the repair, as promised. He only said that they replaced a motor on or near the steering column. He said it was fairly large. So far he has not posted the repair on the My Chevy site. The other dealer has posted twice but both times he had the odometer way wrong. My problem is now fixed 99%.
  • ronbo10ronbo10 Posts: 45
    "Could it be that those big tires require more torque from the engine at these speeds and thus a torque steer? Is this a design issue that I'll just have to live with?"

    Torque steer, as it's been explained to me, is what happens under acceleration in FWD cars whose transmissions' half shafts are of unequal length. As the engine applies a torquing moment to the half shafts, the longer one will twist more than the shorter one, as the shaft is measured end to end, resulting in the side with the shorter-length half shaft transmitting its power sooner and more directly than the side with the longer half shaft. Hence the car wants to turn in the direction of the 'slower' turning wheel- i.e. the side with the longer half shaft. Once reaching equilibrium (at cruise, for example), the level of power applied to the wheels will be greatly reduced, so torque steer is reduced to imperceptible amounts. For illustration, let's say it takes about 15 h.p from your car's engine to maintain 40 m.p.h. steady state. Let's say moments earlier you were accelerating hard, with perhaps as much as the engine's full rated output being applied to the wheels. The twist the engine is putting on the half shafts while the engine is producing 15 h.p. is far less than the twist the engine is putting on the half shafts when, say, 200 h.p. is being applied to them. This is why torque steer is felt almost exclusively under acceleration (I guess to be proper I should use torque figures in this example (i.e. lbs-ft), but I use h.p. for simplicity).

    Now, some, (if not most?) cars of more recent design do have half shafts of equal length (or perhpas have incorporated other means of minimizing the effects of torque steer, such as half-shafts of greater diameter producing less twist per linear inch), yet they are still attributed with having problems with 'torque steer'. I believe this, at least in some cases, is in error- at least in the sense of what is the classic definition of torque steer. Any powerful FWD car will on occasion give you fits as you accelerate hard, the steering wheel trying to wrestle itself from your grip as the car wants to dart left and right, but this is more likely caused by unequal levels of available traction left front tire vice right front tire. So you in turn wrestle with the steering wheel, trying your best to keep it straight as the car's 2 front tires are clawing for traction with differing levels of success.

    My brother's 1974 Fiat 128 was a perfect example of a car that classically torque steered. It did it consistently and predictably- every time you hit the gas moderately or greater (in particular while at lower speeds or from a stop) the car would scribe an arc towards the left side of the road unless you countered with some pretty serious opposite steering lock. It was hilarious! Nevertheless it was a very fun car to drive, at least for the first 12000 miles or so, after which it began to self destruct. It had half shafts of unequal length, exacerbated by their relatively thin diameter, resulting in a greater level of twist, end to end, of the half shaft.

    It seems today's engineers are paying more attention to designing transmissions that will distribute power as evenly as possible to both wheels in FWD cars.

    I'd be curious to know if any of you Malibu owners have torque steer issues. I don't recall torque steer being mentioned in tests, but maybe it is present to some degree.
  • simonesimone Posts: 18
    left a msg on the modification site, but have had no reply's so i thought i would give this one a try. My 04 Malibu Lt with over 28000 miles has been just great, but the only diapointment to me has been the outside mirror's, not being color coded for one thing as well as just not looking right...what I am looking for is a source to upgrade and i am wondering if any other malibu owners have done an upgrade yet...thanks in advance..these forums have been quite informative...Simone
  • Yes. there is a little torque steer (TS) if you drive hard and make hard turns while accelerating. The maxx also likes to "bark its tires" on takeoff and that can make the steering kick around in your hands.

    I suspect heavier wheels (the dubs so many folks love) will only make TS worse.

    The upcomming SS model will have more power and heavier/bigger wheels. Will be interesting to see what Chevy does about TS here.
  • After months of problems, a history of pulling to the left problems with my Malibu and GM 's incompetence I submitted a lemon law claim and won in less than 1 month!

    GM told my lawyer that it will take about 3-4 weeks. I wonder what takes them so long to get this done?

    GM also said they are having trouble finding a local dealership willing to perform the buyback which might also cause a slight delay. This includes my selling dealership! Sounds like they are pissed that I won.

    Oh well I have it on paper directly from GM that they will buy it back so they can take as long as they want!
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    Im amazed GM can direct the dealer to do the buyback.....GM should reimburse the should be any financial loss to the dealership.....sorry you couldnt get the left pull corrected.....seems there is the fix is the right people work the issue....didnt seem the case in your particular case..congrats on the settlement..let us know the final outcome
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Posts: 15
    ericw55, ([email protected])

    The left-pull problem is a defect. GM seems to have botched the EPS in that they can't balance the steering so that it stays centered. The service guys at your dealer will go out of their way to "fix" it, but they know its not going to happen. GM is aware of the problem, but won't admit it. e-mail me.
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Posts: 15
    sschriber, it's a defect (your post is copied below). It was the same problem on my '05 Maxx from day one, 4 months ago. It's not your imagination and your experience isn't uncommon. GM service couldn't correct it and they'll try to convince you it's your imagination. (It does drive straightER at highway speeds and probably has to do with how the EPS assists at different speeds.)The dealer's service engineers aren't as "incompetent" as GM might like you to believe. They're stuck with satisfying a customer without blowing the sale. If they admitted that it can't be fixed, GM would have to replace the car.

    sschriber post: "The road has a moderate crown and here's a lane by lane experience - Right lane (slight slope to right)- the car tracks mostly straight with a tiny tendency to the left. Middle lane (top of crown)- slight wander to left. Left lane (slope to the left) - over the line within a 3 count"
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Posts: 15
    ronbo10 post: "Torque steer, as it's been explained to me, is what happens under acceleration in FWD..."

    ron, the explanation of torque steer vs. traction imbalance was eloquent, but didn't simply answer sschriber's question ("Could it be that those big tires require more torque from the engine at these speeds and thus a torque steer? Is this a design issue that I'll just have to live with?").
    The answer is as you've explained: it is very unlikely that it is torque steer. As for the traction imbalance due to tire geometry: tire rotation would correct or change the direction of the pulling. So, if you've rotated tires and the car's drifting leftward at steady speeds, there's a defect somewhere else. Only GM knows.
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Posts: 15
    maxxlt2004 post: "After months of problems, a history of pulling to the left problems with my Malibu and GM 's incompetence I submitted a lemon law claim and won in less than 1 month!"

    Greatest Congratulations! If GM could have fixed it, they would have.
  • Glad things worked out to your satisfaction!

    It's very sad that GM just keeps on bungling service issues and dealer support. Don't they realize that is also costing them "market share"?
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Posts: 15
    post #1668: "With so many Technical Service Bulletins coming out you shouldn't be surprised if they don't know about one [redesigned headrests] in particular. I'm sure that other customers benefit from our bringing it to the Customer Service folks' attention though."

    I find it strange that GM's customer service doesn't have access to TSB's by model, year, and part as their system was queried. Still, I have to admit that you're right that customers might benefit from [US] bringing it to the [GM]Customer Service" folks. Why should they be informed internally? (yes. I am fed up with dealing with GM's lemon and lies.)
  • since i have the buyback paper in my hands is it a good idea to purchase the new car that we wanted? or should we wait until the buyback is complate which might take 1 month or more. i hate the idea of driving this car around and something happening like getting in an accident, getting the car damaged, etc....then I'm really screwed. plus the new car we wanted is $5,000 off the msrp which is hard to beat, the deal lasts until April 4th.

    let me know, thanks.
  • When I got approved for Saturn ION buyback I parked it in a low risk location, took out a long term rental and waited for the dealer contact. Fortunately everyone left the ION alone and the buyback went smoothly (the Saturn dealer went over the car with a fine toothed comb - whatever damage they found was the result of their own service techs!).

    I suspect Chevy dealer will be same, closely inspecting car for any damage they can bill you for. Be sure it's clean, polished, looking nice when it goes back.

    You might also ask the dealer if you can transport their inspector to your site, and let them sign off the buyback there.
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    I too am surprised that the Chevy dealers cannot look up pertinent TSB's to the Maxx. The first thing the Pontiac dealer does when I drop off my Bonneville is look up TSB's and he tells me if there are any that pertain to my car and what they relate too.
  • pat8pat8 Posts: 1
    I have a '04 Malibu and did experience the drifting left problem. However, the dealer did correct it - maybe by over compensation with the alignment? I am not getting any unusual tire wear and drove 420 highway miles over the weekend and got 33mpg driving about 70mph. That, I thought was impressive. Overall, after 20K miles, I am still happy with the car.
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    Chevy dealers CAN look up TSBs, GM customer assistance may not have access-they should-but oftentimes it seems as though they have limited information.
  • hemapihemapi Posts: 7
    Our 2004 MAXX has the same problem unless one steps really hard on parking brake pedal.
  • hemapihemapi Posts: 7
    No. I don't think I would. Many features; but too many rattles and still have noisy power steering. The rattles make one suspect poor assembly, I suppose.
  • sschribersschriber Posts: 89
    Or should I say cup holder liner? The one next to the shifter keeps sticking to my plastic soda cup and pulls right out stuck to the cup. Sure enough, last night I must have tossed it in the trash with the cup because it wasn't there this morning.

    Anyone else have this problem? Any fixes? Any good on-line sources for Chevy parts such as this?
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Try using some velcro, it'll make the liner harder to come out, but still allow you to take it out to clean it.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    No fix, but it happens to us all the time too.
  • Did you know there was a recall on the steering column.
  • There is a recall on the steering column. Mine has been replaced twice.
  • Are you still having problems with the steering column? I have had mine replaced once and getting ready to have it done again.
  • To: e2helper

    Went to get a replacement for front turn signal bulb and no one, including the dealer, knew of a
    3157KX bulb - listed in owners manual and stamped on the original equipment bulb. What does the KX signify and is a plain 3157 OK to use?
  • icedog97icedog97 Posts: 141
    I just noticed that I have a buldge on my front passenger side tire. The tires are the Bridgestone Insignia's that came stock on the car. They only have about 4,800 miles on them so I know they are covered under the tire warranty.

    Anyone else run into a problem like this?
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    you make an interesting comment here...I have blown two right turn signal bulbs in 14 months on my Maxx..I replaced it the first time with the standard 3157 bulb...didnt know...but the ones in the Maxx are clear..the ones I bought were amber....really didnt make a difference in appearance once installed....the replacement lasted less than four months...I went back to my dealer for the replacement for the third bulb....he had no problem replacing it from stock...and it was a clear bulb....and so far...still going strong....I cant beleive that a standard 3157 bulb wouldnt work....but who the dealer bulb went back in for this third time....
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    didnt see that problem with about 18k on my OEM tires..have since replaced them as I add 17 inch rims to my Maxx.....side wall buldges are not uncommon but are a defect that should be looked into...I have never pursued a warranty on an OEM tire as you will have to deal with a bridgestone authorized dealership I assume and not the car dealer.......not sure on that one..good luck
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    have your dealer try part number 12450108 for correct bulb. Might not last any longer, but that's my part number for 3157KX.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The other posters are correct that P/N 12450108 is what is GM uses for 3157KX bulb. You really need to use 3157KX bulb as a replacement. The "K" indicates a "long life" bulb. The "X" indicates that the base of the lamp is made of a higher temperature material.

    Hopefully your dealer can locate this part given this part number. If not, I am sure there are web sites that sell bulbs which you can get it from.
  • Removed the bulb that wasn't working and there seemed to be overheating residue on one of the wire contacts. After reversing the bulb installation orientation, it is now working again without a new bulb.

    Recorded the 12450108 part number for future use.

    Thanks for all for the replies!
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I noticed the same think last time I replaced the bulb...perhaps I should have done the same thing.......was concerned about the overheating issue...almost look like a short of the contacts
  • sciguy85sciguy85 Posts: 45
    1. Tranny howl. New F sprocket and link assembly.
    No noise, quieter than ever. (steering wheel off center to right now, will have corrected)
    2. Adjustable pedal clicks, no move. poor terminal connection. replaced.
    3. rear shades popped out. Fixed
    4. Gas gauge not reading full. Faulty fuel level sensor arm. Repalced, fine now
    5. Noisy sunroof when open. Sunroof deflector installed (no charge) Works great!!!!!
    6. 6 CD player, intermittent malfunction. Within normal specs (gave a printed list of do and don'ts) I told the SM just wanted to document in case further problems. Was given an Enterprise Grand Prix

    Guess what? I brought it in Monday 7AM. Got a call 10:30 AM Wed. It was done! Not happy with the problems but what a turnaround. If it stays fixed, I'll be seeing another Malibu in my future. I want to thank all for the advice and TSB's. Gave them the list and the TSB's. Asked if they had a problem with me doing the research and they said no. They don't have to look things up and they indirectly make more$$$. I'm happy with my dealer. Not only a great price but excellent service.
  • Hello. The motor to control the power windows, front, drivers side, quit working recently on my m'99 malibu LS. Just wondering if it's a repair that isn't too involved.I'm thinking of tackling it myself and was interested in knowing if anyone could offer any insights. Thank you.
  • icedog97icedog97 Posts: 141
    We have had our Maxx since August and aside from the sidewall buldge I just wrote about, everything has been fine. Gas mileage is decent (lots of short city trips get us about 18-20 mpg) and we really haven't had the rattles that I have read about from others. We have had a couple rough idles, but that's it so far.

    I have noticed the loud wind noise with the sun roof and I am curious about the deflector TSB...the only thing is, our sunroof was installed after we bought the car (by the dealers preferred installer) so I am not sure if it would be covered under the gm tsb? I am guessing it is not.

    I would buy the Maxx again.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I would call the dealer and ask....or simply take it in since you , Im assuming, had it installed as an option offered by the dealer..does yours simply pop open or does it slide back over the roof like the factory installed ones do??.....You could simply take it in with the TSB in hand and ask to have it done....I purchased my wind deflector soon after I bought my Maxx..I never thought GM would give one away to correct the problem!
  • sschribersschriber Posts: 89
    Have any Maxx owners noticed that the recessed area for the spare tire cover panel is too small for for the cover to close flush with the floor? I took it to the dealer/service where their solution was that you had to push hard to get it to latch (lame, lame, lame) When I pointed out this was distorting the cover to overcome the bad fit, their response was "yeah, Chevrolet needs to work on their fit and finish." I checked the Maxx on the showroom floor and sure enough, it had the same issue.

    I like the car overall, but it's hard to let go of these little annoyances.
  • Sad to say fit and finish in the rear of the Maxx is not that great. Most of my squeaks/ rattles come from the back. The seats don't fit well against the shock towers, the rear compartment cover squeaks in its mounts, the spare cover seems to close ok but is difficult to lift up due to binding against the rearmost trim, and of course there is the infamous roof shades (which have yet to get their final fix).

    Strangely, I've seen the same misalignment of roof and C pillar trim in 2005 models as I have in my 2004.

    Unfortunately, trim fixes are beyond the techs I've found in LA, CA, They work dirty, and appear badly trained wrt fit and finish of interior parts.

    Saving grace is the driver area is pretty nice, which is appreciated as that's where I spend the time while driving the Maxx! And the Maxx still remains a pleasant car on the freeway and the bad roads we have here.
  • bhw77bhw77 Posts: 101
    Does any one have any experience with "Pride" Chevy/Pontiac dealership in
    Lynn, MA or Chevy/Pontiac in Danvers, MA?
    I need to take care of couple problems with my Maxx and don't want to deal with another idiots in service department.

    Any suggestions?
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