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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • The problem is the power steering system is a new electric system that never got the bugs worked out of them. There is a upcoming recall on this problem coming out on Dec. 10, 2004. Refer to Campaign# 04050 when you go to the dealer next time....
  • I thought I felt a slight pull to the left! My 04 Maxx has the gas cap, and gas guage problems, and now the steering recall. I still think it's a fantastic car, and a great bang for the buck. It is a pleasure to drive!
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I've had complete faith in GM from the beginning: not in the quality of their cars per say, but in the fact that they own up to problems that exist, and are working hard to correct deficiencies. Mazda sure never did that, especially when it came to using the worst tranny ever built in their 626.
    I'm sure someone will post details of the recall after the 10th???
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    Not stupid at all...I made the same observation after taking delivery of my 04 Maxx LS. No, there's no light in glovebox, nor are there any courtesy lights below the dash (in the footwells). Something I miss from my T-Bird.

    Also on my lighting wishlist: Front cornering lamps. I used to love having that extra beam of light in the direction of my turn at night. Very few cars have this feature anymore.
  • Are heated outside mirrors such a common feature on all $18-$23k cars now that they really should be standard? Before I had a vehicle with heated outside mirrors I scraped the ice off of them while I was doing the windows and letting the car warm up (with the defroster going). This definitely wouldn't be a safety issue though, imo. Just more of a convenience (and a nice one, I agree).

    BTW, the '04 Malibu LT is the first car I've owned that has this feature (my '03 Trailblazer was the first vehicle I had with it- but that stickered at $35k).

    As far as the interior lighting goes I have found the current lighting to be pretty decent, but it wouldn't have hurt to have under-dash / glovebox lights. GM seems to be cutting the small stuff everywhere. Anyone else remember when nearly all cars had courtousy lights in the lower rear of the door panels, instead of reflectors (and in the case of the new Malibus, a reflective circular sticker on the door edge).
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    Torque steer is a common problem in front wheel drive cars and is in fact caused by different length half-shafts but with only 200 odd ft. lbs. of torque coming from the engine it should not be extreme. I can't remember which direction it pulls since I compensate almost automatically - I'll have to check. It should also only be evident during hard acceleration not your standard pulling away from the stop sign.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I sure am glad GM is going to address the steering problem, its the only repair on the car I would have trouble handling. I keep getting applications from GM for extended warranty,4 yr would be 1 yr over the 3yr so 1 yr for about $1000 to me is not a good deal. Also read the small print: Parts to repair maybe new , USED or remanufactured.USED they must be kidding.
  • When traveling at constant high speed (62mph), my car will surge briefly causing the RPM's to increase, then return. If the cruise control is on, then the cruise control will turn off. Any suggestions?
  • Does this recall affect those of us that have already had a steering column replaced in the last few months- did we already get whatever parts / procedures this recall calls for when ours was replaced, or is this brand new?

    (Thanks for the heads up)
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    I picked my Malibu LS up from the dealer yesterday after having the steering column replaced because of a rattle that sounded like a loose strut. This seems to have been the problem because now it is silent except for the Hum/Moan noise that I posted about a few days ago, they claim it is the Transmission Shift Cable, which they had to order. I haven't heard of anyone else on the board having this problem, is it just me?
  • chevy corporate called me back yesterday and told me they will NOT replace my vehicle even thougb it's been back to the dealer 4 times for a steering problem. i told them and stressed that i never had problems before my dealer replaced the steering column. call ended, they didn't to change their mind.


    then the bbb called me back today and told me they will set up a conference where we can all talk and the bbb feels that chevy corporate might change their mind after this. has anyone gone through the bbb auto claims and how effective are they without goign to arbitration? all im looking for is a replacement since the dealer screwed something up in my steering that they can't replace. i still have the pulling to the left issue that i never had before the dealer replaced the steering column....
  • maxxit2004, good luck with the bbb. Sometimes they are helpful, other times they are not.

    What about another dealer? You could suggest that another dealer take a crack at fixing your car, and __if__ it then continues to malfunction, it becomes a certified lemon and should be exchanged.


    wrt rattles, sad to say my Maxx has sprouted quite a few of them lately; some in the rear roof trim, others under the dash, possibly one in the transmission console. Hopefully I can find and remove them.
  • I occasionally hear a noise that sounds like a loose strut (I know since I had a car that actually had a loose strut). It sounds like it's "in/under/forward of the driver's side dash. But, I'll wait a while on it until I can be sure of convincing the service department. I have also been experiencing a sound like metal "pop" from temperature change. And, I mean LOUD. It happens upon warmup, occasionally sitting at a light, and a few minutes after shutting the car off. From the sound and the location (I think), I'm wondering if it's the exhaust/catalytic converter shield causing this. Anyone have this happen?
  • i took it to another dealer and they told me they couldn't fix it either. here's what they did tell me.


    the car was brought in a 4th time for the steering issues finally to a different dealer and they found nothing wrong. They told me the steering wheel pulls to the left when accelerating because of torque steer which is caused by a difference in the length of front wheel drive shafts. The left side is shorter.


    i was told torque steer is when you accelerate faster, not going very slow off the start like what's happening to me at 2 to 5mph.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    that sounds like a line to me...did you take it to the different dealer the 4th time?..the drive shafts should be getting equal amounts of torgue one would think...(E2HELPER)...any commments...if the dealer did the damage...corporate i bet will hold the dealership liable....not know the entire story here..but it appears they have never done the steering column replacement repair correctly?


    as far as BBB, I never got to that point with a KIA sorento....I worked with corporate and they bought it back from the dealer...the one thing that is that if it goes to an arbitrator..the decision is binding on both parties...will be interested to hear about Chevy corporates response to the conference call..keep us posted.....
  • My Husband and I work for Ford, currently we are building the Mazda 6 and the 2005 Mustang. Approximately 9 months ago our oldest daughter was graduating from Medical School, she wanted a new car. The 2004 Malibu was the car that she fell in love with (sigh). My Husband cosigned thru gmac. She's had nothing but problems with this car...the steering column had to be replaced, the dealership tore up her dashboard....that needed replacement. Her steering problem is still posing problems. She's had about 5 recalls. Tonight she was at a coffee shop (we're in snowed tonight) her MALIBU would NOT start. Unfortunately Chevy wants to tow her car to the dealer that did shoddy work, instead of the dealer where she purchased her vehicle. She's had nothing BUT problems with her over-priced, problem ridden car. I nagged her NOT to buy foreign, to keep Americans working. What in the heck is going on with Chevy, GM, and the inferior parts? Could these problems be due from NAFTA and greedy capitalists? GET IT RIGHT GM, now! Your trend on losing market share has reached a serious point! I'm advising my Daughter to sell this piece of crap...and not deal with GM again! Previous to working at Ford, I purchased a few foreign cars. I know they have a lot of complaints too, that's why I went back to owning American made. This Malibu was a MAJOR launch and new vehicle for GM...why have they allowed so many customers to become so dissatisfied and disappointed?
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Different lengths of driveshafts have different "torsional windup". Hence a longer driveshaft will lag a shorter driveshaft and cause torque steer. It's common practice therefore to make the longer driveshaft thicker than the short one in order to cancel the effect.
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    The Malibu is no more "foreign" than the Mazda6 or Ford. Further, the Mazda6 is certainly not problem free either. Or Ford.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    >>problems with her over-priced, problem ridden car<< Strange post, you with the Ford employee discount.
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    Have you tried talking to the consumer protection office associated with your state attorney general's office.


    Also it is amazing how much attention a letter to the dealer from your attorney generates.
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    A Sable wagon and the shotty way I was treated by Ford management is the reason why my last 6 vehicles came from GM.
  • Some car magazines have said Maxx does have torque steer. I've noticed a little of it (and remember it does pull to left), but only if accelerating really hard. I've not seen it at low speeds.


    During the Chevy clinic I attended months ago, my impression was the factory folks were honest hard working folks trying to build a good car.


    I'll heed the advice from here just in case my maxx goes sour, but so far it's doing reasonably well.
  • I didn't say the Malibu was foreign...neither is the Mazda 6, Ford owns Mazda. Americans build The 6, and the $ stays in OUR country.

    Skyhawk, I work at AutoAlliance and am unaware of any problems with the Sable. I currently own a Continental, my husband leases a Mountaineer. Previous to that, our last 5 vehicles were made at "our" plant. All of them we drove 'til they had close to 200,000. We drive a lot, and I get bored having a car longer than 2-3 years. Calm down people I'm not saying all companies are not having problems, BUT the Malibu is having MORE than it's share.

    AND Joe, why would my Ford employee discount irk you? MY Daughter wanted the Malibu, certainly NOT me! NOW I want GM to take care of their problems. Would you expect any less from any other company?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    >>AND Joe, why would my Ford employee discount irk you?<< My point is you complain about the high price of the Malibu when you could buy a Ford cheap. Your Ford discount means nothing to me, I would never own a Ford
  • The great majority of UAW workers are extremely hard working people. Their souls are injected into each vehicle they help build. The problems lie with Management and the Engineers. New models are being rushed to the public instead of taking care of the quirks. Consequently, the builders (not salary personnel) are blamed for any problems that plague the cars. The Malibu is a sharp looking vehicle. I'm not here to bash a fellow UAW worker, I'm here to shame the engineering and purchasing group employed by Chevrolet.

    Joe, cheap? LMAO! My Daughter's Malibu was cheaper than a Mazda 6! Due to lack of sales though the Malibu has plummeted in price. Just how much do you believe the discount is? As far as you "never" buying a ford...I used to be a chevy person. Now I support the company that puts bread on my table, not the one that leaves my daughter stranded.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    I was going to buy an '04 Focus. I knew they had some problems but I thought they were all straightened out by '04. When I went to test drive one (an automatic), it stalled on me twice during the test drive. (Funny side note-- the salesman tried to blame me for doing something wrong! It's an automatic!) I was disappointed because I had wanted one with heated seats and according to my web search, this particular car was the only automatic w/ heated seats in California at the time. Needless to say, I just couldn't buy a car that wasn't working right during the test drive.


    On the other hand, my '96 Ranger simply doesn't break. It is more dependable than most people I know! I love that truck and plan on keeping it forever.


    As for the Mazda 6, according to articles and discussion boards, Mazda/Ford did very little to fix the rusting door problems of the 6 and consequently soured a lot of people on the Mazda brand.


    Again, we're dealing with machines and they are going to break. I agree that the manufactures must stand behind their products, but every company is going to have at least some unsatisfied customers, no matter what.
  • When did they change this from Problems & Solutions, to Complaints & Blame? I am new to this forum, and found the replys to the problems posted helpful and informative. The complaining, and finger pointing are neither.

    Here's a thought. If you like Ford, buy a Ford. If you like Chevy, buy a Chevy. If you are unhappy with whatever car you bought, that is unfortunate. It happens to all of us at some time.

    Let's get back to the productive stuff.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I own a 04 Malibu build date 3-04 and the car had 5000 miles with no problems, I keep wondering if the EPS is going to break down and strand me. I read about a steering recall and have not seen anything to date, anybody have any current information.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I looked at the new mazda 6 ......couldnt touch the base model for under 24K in the northern va area at the time.....chose the the ride and the comfort of the a great price...for the fully loaded LT will all options but the multi disk CD player, which i couldnt touch in the date Feb 17, 04....13.5K on the car...and not a problem or ship service has been excellent....and very satisfied with my GM product..the first that I have owned since 1979.


    There are good builds and bad builds....anything mass produced will have a percentage of problems....I saw that someone said the malibus have had more than their share....wonder if Chrysler is saying that with the recall of 600K Durangos and Dakotas with a defect that will allow the wheels to fall off...again...something mass produced with a common problem...I wonder what percentage of the Malibus built have had the steering column replaced..I think since it had an engineering study ongoing at the NHTSA..GM had to provide that data.....will have to go back to the site and look..any 2 cents.
  • since i've had my fair share of problems with my Malibu with 4 steering problem visits to my dealer......does anyone know if chevy corporate would allow me a better discount if i were to trade in my 2004 malibu maxx lt. 7,000 miles, fully loaded except xm radio, still owe about $18k on the car also? would they offer something on the table with me getting the bbb involved. i looked at my trade in value and was shocked when i seen it's only around like $18k. wow


    let me know, thanks!
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