Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • thinmanthinman Member Posts: 18
    "You may also have a fuel pressure problem at higher speeds. Perhaps your fuel filter is partially clogged and not flowing enough fuel at highway speed."

    That was going to be my first suggestion. I had that problem on my S-10 4.3L V6. Around town it didn't show becuase of the changing demands on engine speed. But after about 15 minutes on Cruise Control at 60+ I could feel the hesitation starting. Had a fuel prssure test done and they changed the filter. No more problem.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    can someone dicipher the julian dates for me to tell me if my May assembled Maxx is affected by the transmission whirl? Thanks.
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    Best I came up with is the transaxles were produced between 12-26 and 4-19 if the date on your transaxle is in that range its one. Here is a good test, stop
    at the bottom of a fairly steep hill, drive up the hill the howl will show up in first and second gear, if you have you will hear it.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    Maxx..I think you are clear with a May assembled Maxx...mine was built in Feb...but I honestly havent noticed this knock on wood.....never touch what isnt will discuss with service manager..but probably will not have anything done it goes in for the recalls to Mike Pallone tommorrow 8/ going to mention the poor design of the rear sun shades...
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    Maxx LT was in for recall at Mike Pallone In Springfield VA, service manager was very nice, we chatted about the problems resulting in the recall, the sun shades for the rear skylight, the possible issue with the howl in the transmission, and he even noticed a problem with the mirror finish on the passenger side mirror and is replacing under warranty...had to order a new mirror...had the recall work done, he noted my issue with the shades in my record, and said it I notice anything with the trans to pls bring it back...all in all a good service experience.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Member Posts: 159
    Has anyone experienced this with their 04 Malibu. My Maxx LS has 3000 mi. on it. When driving 60-75 mph and you apply brakes with normal pressure (like to pay a toll) a resonating sound fills the entire inside of the car. Sounds like you are driving over rough road surface, but there is no shaking, vibrating, sound of ABS pump or pulsing in brake pedal. If this is ABS activation, the feel is totally different from our other two 10yr old cars (chrysler/ford). Had Maxx into dealer this week for ABS recall and they reflashed the brake control module. This has somewhat improved the above problem, but not eliminated it. They told me to bring car in if reflash did not resolve problem. I'm sure this problem started after car sat at home for a week while I was on vacation.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    I have the same problem. For my car, the noise happens when you lightly apply the brakes. It sounds like the rotors are warped, but there is no pulsing or shaking; just the noise. When I apply the brake harder, the noise goes away. Anybody else out there experience this?
  • pmcgpmcg Member Posts: 5
    Hi there... I have had two power steering failures in my 04 LT, a couple of weeks apart. Once when I first started the motor, which cleared after turning it off and on again, and again today while I was driving on the highway. Luckily I was not in the middle of a high speed turn. I got it home and again cleared the problem with a re-start. My vehicle has 7100 miles on it, and until this problem started, has been fine. Anyone else going through this? Nice to talk with you all.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    There is a service bulletin available to dealer that identifies condition you are describing:


    The dealer will likely replace steering column in your vehicle
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    Mine were warped at 55 miles when test I drove it, I knew what it was so I bought it anyway. I told the service writer they must ship the cars with warped brakes, he said no its probably tires. They had to turn all 4 rotors, he told me GM will warranty the rotor and pads 12/12 and 24/24 on turning rotors at shop disgression. Rotors must be made in China I hope GM is happy with them lol.
  • cfluckcfluck Member Posts: 2

    What ever happened to the non-starting, theft system flashing problem. My 'new' 2000 Malibu has done this twice now and I'm wondering what the best course of action is.

  • cfluckcfluck Member Posts: 2
    I'm researching a similar problem, my 2000 won't start when the Theft System light/sign is flashing. Something to do with the security system in the switch not 'reading' the key. I'll let you know what I find out, please do the same.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I moved my response here

    I have heard a few others mention the Check Gas Cap Warning.

    The engine controller is giving a hint to driver that it might be a loose gas cap since this is biggest cause of fuel vapor leaks and would thus avoid making owner go back to dealer when the only problem was a loose gas cap :)

    Unfortunately this is likely not situation in this case. :(

    Pressing the Enter button on Driver Info Center just acknowledges that you saw the message but it really only clears the display for other information and the diagnostic fault code in the engine controller will still be there and give you this warning again.

    There are some tricky things about how often the diagnostic test runs so I am not sure if the Check Gas Cap message would actually show up on every ignition cycle after a failure was detected or not.
  • glennbglennb Member Posts: 34
    I have this too. So glad to know it's not only me. Just like you maxx4me, I can hear a sound like a warped rotor when I apply the brakes lightly, then as brake pressure increases, it goes away. Is the transmission howl a problem? I thought that it was the norm. I have not had any recall notices but I see others mentioning recalls. What am I missing?

    Glenn Butzlaff
    Cudahy, WI
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867

    reference the transmission howl...look at message 126..there is also a GM TB out on the issue...seems it effects the Maxxs and other Gm models built in the first three months of 04 and late 03.....I havent noticed a brake issue on my Maxx LT....they was a very slight squeak as I was crawling along I-95 outside of DC on Fri afternoon...but it quickly went away....and hasnt come back....
  • icedog97icedog97 Member Posts: 141
    Just wondering if anyoe else with a Maxx has this problem...

    It seems you really have to slam the hatch down hard for it to close all the way. If you close it with "normal" force, you can tell it's not closed all the way because the hatch does not line up with the top of the tailights (sits above) and the readout on the message center says "door ajar".

    Anyone else experience this?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    yep. the seals are real tight in the Maxx, and unless another window or door is open, you have to really slam the hatch down. Similarly, when you push the hatch button on the driver's door, and then close the driver's doors, the air pressure forces the hatch to latch again.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    The car is airtight....I have shut the hatch a time or two with the significant other..sitting in the car...and she definitely tells me there is quite a sound and lots of air being pushed thru the car when is shuts.....personally all a good thing!...the seals are good!!
  • nickdnickd Member Posts: 14
    I have a new Malibu Maxx with 1500 miles on it. When I fill the tank to shutoff, the fuel gauge will initially register full but as soon as I drive away will go down to nearly 3/4 mark. If I try to top off the tank, it is very difficult to do so and the gauge will never stay on full (after I pull away from the pump that is). I've tried different gas stations to make sure it isn't the pump and the car is always level when filling. I've also checked the vent tube and I see no kinks.

    Any ideas? Does anyone else see this behavior?

  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002

    Next time you take vehicle back to dealer for service report this complaint and they can do a test on your fuel tank. You might want to call them first to make sure they are aware of test or if not recommend they call their Technical Assistance Center. They also would probably prefer you not bring in vehicle with a full tank of gas.
  • hbund216hbund216 Member Posts: 162
    Anybody notice their driver's side window squeak or moan when going over driveway humps? It's like it is shifting.
  • nickdnickd Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the info e2helper.

    Just out of curiosity, what is causing this and what exactly is the test they will perform? From reading through these forums it seems you are very knowledgeable about these cars.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Thanks :)

    They need to figure out why the fuel "sending unit" is not getting to the expected value to indicate FULL. They will do a measurement test of this device outside of the fuel tank to figure out which part should be replaced.

    Hope that helped
  • madmaxxmadmaxx Member Posts: 44
    Thought I read somewhere that you could remove and reverse the headrests in the Maxx if you felt that the cushion stuck out to much.

    Try as I can, I cannot get the headrest out of the seatback. It will extend, but will not pop out.

    Anybody know how to fully remove the headrests?

    Like NickD, my fuel gauge is kinda funny. I can fill the tank, and the needle will read just a tick over full. But within a quarter mile, it is reading under the full mark, and makes a quick descent to 3/4 in about 100 miles. Then, its descent seems to slow.
  • nickdnickd Member Posts: 14
    I want to update everyone on my "problem" with fuel gauge as well as some conclusions.

    The dealer found nothing wrong with the fuel sending unit. I then filled my tank until fuel came out of the filler. That actually was not easy to do and the last half gallon went really slow! After this "extreme fillup" the fuel gauge read a hair above full. It stayed there for about 30 miles of driving. My conclusion is that there is NO PROBLEM AT ALL. The Malibu has a fuel gauge that indicates the ACTUAL fuel in the tank. Contrast this to my 2003 Civic EX which shows an above full reading for the first 100 miles and then goes to empty over the next 200.

    As for the headrests, I never heard that they could be reversed.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Member Posts: 159
    To remove headrest from the seat, raise it to highest position. At base of one of the bars you have the button you push to lower the headrest.

    On the "other" bar there is also a button, but it is flush with the edge of the retainer and hard to see. If you push this button in, you can pull the headrest all the way out of the seat.

    You can then switch the front rests with the back ones (the back seat head rests do not tilt so far forward), or you can just keep the front headrests in the front, just rotate them 180 degrees and push them back into seat. They will then only tilt slightly back. However, when rotated 180, they don't lock in. Not sure if that would be a problem in a crash.

    My wife hates the headrests, but I have not changed them. I'm OK with them.
  • newmaxxownernewmaxxowner Member Posts: 1
    Just bought a 2004 Malibu Maxx in July...noticed the steering problem right away. Brought it into the dealership;they said they "calibrated" the electronic steering module, or something to that effect...anyway the problem remained; still drifts to the left and on the highway it pulls to the left, especially if trying to turn right at speeds above 55 mph. Brought it in a second time and they aligned the steering; told me it was still drifts to the left. Something just isn't right with the steering. I've seen this problem mentioned on the net at other sites and I'm going to call Chevrolet/GM again and voice my concerns. I don't want to even consider another car. I love the Maxx, I just want one that does not have this pull to the left tendancy thing going on. Anyone else notice this problem with their 2004 Malibu Maxx??? I've been trying to find out more info about this, in order to "arm" myself with some facts...I'm anticipating a struggle with the dealership and/or GM/Chevrolet.
  • skyhawkskyhawk Member Posts: 126
    I do not have your problem with the drift. However 3 years ago when my wife got her Bonneville we had a drift to the left. The dealer went right to the tires and balanced all four. One tire did not meet their whatever and it was discarded and replaced. End of problem.
  • maxxlibertymaxxliberty Member Posts: 82
    "Check Gas Cap" message has also appeared on my '04 Maxx - built in June. Dealer replaced gas cap with one of a different design (plastic, on portion inserted into filler, is black rather than white) but message is appearing again.

    Any recommendations?
  • raybee1raybee1 Member Posts: 2
    I have an 04 LS Sedan and have noticed the rough idle on startup and the slight hitch in the engine when I am stopped. I have read throught he threads and have wondered if anyone can provide a suggestion on how I can describe this to the service advisor. By the time I drive the 25 miles to the dealer the problem will not show up. Also, I have noticed an exhaust smell (like rotten eggs)when I get out of the car. I swear I smelled it while I was driving this morning. Has anyone else had this problem.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    I also had the famous rotten egg smell in the begining. But the dealer had filled up the tank with some unknown brand of gas. The gas station was across the road from the dealership.

    After running the tank nearly empty and refilling with a known brand of gas the smell went away. GM also says that the cat converter might smell when new. How many miles have you done so far?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    raybee, I have the same problems. My egg smell certainly is not as bad as with my Vibe's Corolla engine. I also have the rough idle, which is most noticable when the AC is OFF. I also believe this idle issue is causing my shifts to be rougher and rougher. I used the downshift button quite a bit while driving around Shenandoah Natl Park today, and the shifts were all rough.
  • frayedgnotfrayedgnot Member Posts: 6
    max4me, I haven't had any of the odor problems but I have noticed the rough idle with the AC off. That seems strange, since you would expect the opposite. I love my Maxx, having put 1600 miles on it in four weeks (a couple of medium trips to show off the car to relatives).
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    today, I used the manual shift mode in city traffic. When starting from a still position, and the car is in 2nd gear, there is a bit of a clunk to the transmission. Anyone else played with the manual shifter and noticed clunkiness?
  • pmcgpmcg Member Posts: 5
    As you thought, my steering column was replaced, no questions asked. The service advisor tells me that GM is planning to use the electric power steering system on all of its vehicles. Sure hope they get the bugs out first.

    Will now wait and see if the fix holds.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Glad to hear you got it fixed and that dealer went right to replacing the column. Likely your problem was a small sensor in the column was not working correct - but it requires replacing whole column to repair vehicle

    It is doubtful that electric power steering would be used on any vehicles larger than Malibu until 42 volt electrical systems in use. Although electric assist power steering does gives you great fuel economy savings because no energy wasted running a power steering pump when you don't need it, the system still does require a lot of power when making quick turns and the huge SUV/Trucks that so many people drive now just plain weigh too much to do an electrical assist power steering on the column like Malibu and some other smaller vehicles have.

    Nice also not to have power steering fluid/lines to deal with.
  • denise08denise08 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 malibu and it is running hot. I have replaced the motor, radiator, water pump,thermostat

    There is no leak it just runs hot and over heats. The water is not flowing through, you can hear the water boiling in the pipes.

    Have anyone else encounter this problem...

    Please Help
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    "I have a 2000 malibu and it is running hot. I have replaced the motor, radiator, water pump,thermostat".

    Well, that doesn't leave much more to change except the hoses. It's just possible that a rubber hose has got a blockage in it.
  • denise08denise08 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks,I'll have the hoses replaced again.. Hopefully this will solve the problem.
  • eskinner2004eskinner2004 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 04 Maxx LT I bought in July and just started getting the "Check Gas Cap" message yesterday. I have the new locking gas cap accessory I bought from the dealer, but I have had this cap for over a month now without a problem. So this message is puzzling. I re-seated the cap several times and am still getting the message. I checked the owner's manual and it said the message should go away after several engine starts. I also talked to the dealer--they had no idea and said I would have to bring it in for them to see it. If I still get it over the next day or so I am going to go back to the stock gas cap and see if the problem goes away. If not, then to the dealer.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Are you having any problems with fuel gage not going to full when fill up?

    Once the message shows up it will not go away until the test runs again and passes successfully. It might be related to new gas cap.

    If you bought the locking cap from dealer then repost with its part number and I will do a little research for you. I think GM P/N 22729974 or 10331673 are OK but not sure about others.
  • bonnie0372bonnie0372 Member Posts: 26
    Hi I have the same model as you..and I have had the rough idle from the first week I purchased the vehicle. The dealer seems to think there is NOTHING wrong..and that is the way it is. I think I will contact Chevy and see what they say about this. I am not happy with the "nothing wrong" diagnosis...and in regard to the exhaust smell I encountered that maybe once since I purchased the car.
  • pmcgpmcg Member Posts: 5
    Point well taken. When working well the EPS is great, especially useful in parking lots. Hope this fix holds. Nice talking with you.
  • bryan200kbryan200k Member Posts: 64
    I just joined the discussion forum today and was reading the posts regarding fuel pumps and filters and fuel pressure and hesitations with much interest. I've have had my 00' Malibu (112,000 m.) in the shop 3 times in 2 months. My Malibu was 'shutting down' at 65+ on the highway. It would start to hesitate and then completely shut down. The garage replaced the crank sensor, the ignition system, and finally the fuel pump. After replacing the fuel pump the car no longer shuts down, but still hesitates at 65+ speeds and when accelerating (2000rpm+). I don't believe the garage replaced the fuel filter. I'll check that out. BTW, the service manager and machanics at the Chevy garage all say, "we can't duplicate your problem".
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    OK, since I'm having lunch with pao on Tues, I figured I'd put down my list of quirks I'll be looking for to compare to my car:

    1. engine idle vibration when stopped (a/c off)
    2. why does the a/c (and light) stay on when you have the defroster temp turned all the way to warmest setting? I didn't think having the a/c on when the heat was on was a good thing
    3. position of temp guage when fully warmed up
    4. rotor vibration when braking lightly
    5. tranny harmonics between 15-35 mph on steady acceleration
    6. clunkiness of manual shifting between 1st and 3rd, and if you can feel the tranny downshift (lurch) to 1st gear when coming to a stop when the car is in 2nd gear

    geez, will there be time for lunch? if anyone cares to chime in on any of these topics, feel free. I know many of you have engine idle issues.
  • glennbglennb Member Posts: 34
    Ditto on the clunking in the manual shift mode maxx4me. I tried manually shifting, but it seems to clunk when it still automatically downshifts even in manual mode.

    Glenn Butzlaff
  • glennbglennb Member Posts: 34
    I have held off on taking the Maxx in for warranty work because we are too busy racking up miles on the car. Right now my list of problems or curiosities is:
    -Warped rotor sound on braking (getting worse).
    -Right side mirror/switch flakey.
    -High pitch whine or whistle (vacuum leak) when car is accelerating.
    -Wheel vibration at certain freeway speeds (maybe rotor related)
    I have low expectations from the dealer tho, based on experience with my power sliding door on my Venture. It did not get fixed till the warranty ran out and I paid for the repair; voila! Never broke again. I may have experienced a brief rough idle yesterday when I started the car, but it was just a momentary thing. I have 4300 miles on in just under 2 months. My wife is hating the car, but the gas mileage is a whole lot better on our weekend excursions. I noticed the gas tank is pretty inaccurate, especially in the full or 1/4 tank range. I have put in 10 gals of gas on an empty tank and had it gauge out to just under full. I am just glad we have this support gro... I mean forum, to compare notes.

    Glenn Butzlaff
    Cudahy, WI
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    I would like to give you low down on this feature.

    I am sorry to say that this is not designed to be a manual transmission shift mode like the Tap Up/Down shifters you might see on other vehicles.

    For the Malibu this "+/-" button is simply a method to allow you to downshift to low gears like you would have typically done with the shift lever. On the Malibu this feature is called Electronic Range Select. In order to maximize space in the console area for cupholder and other storage the shifter travel was reduced to have only the PRNDL (5 positions) instead of 6 or 7 positions.

    You should consider that this feature is not different then when you shift into lower gears on a vehicle with a shifter that has positions like PRND321. What you see displayed is just the maximum gear that is possible not the gear that you are actually in.

    Now the Pontiac G6 GT model DOES have a mode called Driver Shift Control which is more of a manual shift mode. The shifter actually has a special gate you use to upshift or downshift.

    I asked someone who knows about this a lot and he says that driving in the L1, L2, L3 range on a Malibu will result in more "feel" (what your are calling clunking) during torque reversals and shift events. You do not feel this when in Drive because of all the stuff in the transmissions that is there to try to give you smooth shifts. Running in the L1, L2, L3 is defeating the transmissions abilty to give smooth shifts. He says there is no advantage to bein in this mode during city driving.

    Refer to owner's manaul on page 2-29 (or around there).

    Hope that helped.
  • glennbglennb Member Posts: 34
    Thanks for the tip e2helper. I remember the sales guy telling me this was a feature designed for use as a shifter like I tried using it. Oh well. He doesn't work there anymore...

    Glenn B.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Next model year I think there will be another model that might use the shifter the way you were trying.

    I can't say any more at this time ;)
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