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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Do you mind telling us how much you paid for your wheels and snow tires?
  • jlwgmjlwgm Posts: 8
    Ok...So I was exaggerating a little, I was just happy to have my car back. But there is a world of difference between the sedan I drove for the last 2 weeks and the Maxx. Much more "Bang for the Buck" as you say. So do I get a ribbon or something for having the "dumbest statement ever made on this forum"? Better yet, you keep it for being the grumpiest.....
  • Wrt closing the outside hatch, I try to make sure the forces are evenly distributed. What seems to work best here is to push on ridge just under the license plate with one hand while gently pushing down with palm of hand on top rear edge of hatch (__not__ on any flat surface!!!). So far, no bends or dents.


    I also try __not__ to slam the hatch. That jolts all the trim and makes those fasteners squeek or chirp (putting tape over them has helped but the tape could be ground off over time).


    Also the Maxx is pretty tightly sealed so one has to use less force closing the hatch if a window or door is open.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Chevy should have done better. I hope they improve the toughness of the hatch in upcoming model years. No hatch should dent with simple hand pressure while closing.


    And the car is so air-tight, the hatch does require a pretty firm slam in order to close. The windows in our vehicles are typically fully rolled up.


    I would gladly trade the chintzy lightweight aluminum hatch for a more durable steel version.
  • Hey guys..As I mentioned in a previous message; I deliver meals on wheels with my Maxx..About 25 meals every Tuesday. That means I open and close the hatch about 25 times every Tuesday..and a few other times during the week..I have done this for about two months now..As was mentioned, Chevy's engineers have supplied the hatch with two clever little detents on the inside to assist in closing it..Not only that...the inside of this ingenious little detent is covered in a sandpaper- type material for nonslip purposes.

     Additionally, I find the closing of this lightweight aluminum hatch to be light and are the doors..Solid and substantial. The adjustable shelf in the rear is also a plus when loading and unloading from the hatch. Like I said previously...I love this car.

      Smooch Jack
  • Seriously thinking of biting the bullet & getting rid of MAXX--everywhere I have been I am being offered 13k as a trade. I paid 24k 8 months ago & that is quite a hit to take.


    I have the same problem with my 2001 Impala; paid 24K now Kelly Blue book is about 6K!! Between the extreme loss in value and the problems we have had with my wife's 2000 Malibu and my Impala, we are going Honda Pilot for me and Mazda RX-8 for my wife.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    e2helper, have 04 Maxx LS w/V6 engine. I have checked the maintenance schedule in the owners manual and it just says to inspect the fuel system each 25K. There is no mention of when to change the fuel filter. I reviewed all posts on malibu forums that mention "fuel" and could only find opinions of when filter should be changed.


    Do you know if GM has an official recommendation for changing the fuel filter. If so they should specifically mention this in the owners manual.


  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I have to do a little more checking on this.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    For sure, the sandpaper detents represent thoughtful and effective design. Still, some folks won't remember to use them every time, or won't want to, and a dented hatch seems too steep a price to pay for the sin of pressing the hatch closed on the metal instead of the detent.
  • My boyfriend and I left the house yesterday to go to the store about a mile away. When I got back in the car, it started right up, but I couldn't shift it from Park. Restarted the car several times, tried again and again. 3 tow trucks and several phone calls later, and the car's been sitting in the same spot almost 24 hours because it can't be shifted from Park and it is parked in a forward facing parking spot. One person suggested a problem with the brake sensor that is triggering a safety mechanism that keeps it from being shifted (i.e. as if it has no brakes). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! - Dianne in Central FL
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    There are 3 things I can think of that would prevent you from shifting out of park.


    From what you indicate the vehicle starts up fine, correct?


    Is vehicle parked on level ground?


    1. There is something binding with the transmission shift cable or transmission shift linkage or shifter itself. I don't know much about what could be done in that case.


    2. There is a something hung up on with the shift lock cable between ignition switch and shifter. This normally prevents shifting out of Park if ignition switch is in OFF position. It also prevents key from being removed if shifter not in Park.


    3. The Brake-Transmission Shift Interlock solenoid is engaged and not releasing to allow you to shift from Park when you push on the brake pedal.


    Only on the last item do I have a quick suggestion you could try yourself. It is covered in the owner manual (so you might have already tried it). Put you foot on the brake (esp. if not on level ground). Turn the ignition key to ACC position (not RUN) and see if the shifter can be moved out of Park to the Neutral position. If it can you can start vehicle in neutral.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    04 Malibu has no fuel filter except the filter on the fuel pump in the fuel tank, GM states its self cleaning, just don't get a lot of dirt in your tank or the tank will have to be dropped. There is a filter screen in the injectors but not serviceable.
  • As a soother for us first year maxx owners, the folks on the first year Honda Accord Hybrid forum remarked some of their new HAH's need computer reprogramming.

    First year cars are a risk. Yet the other two first year cars I've owned proved more problematic than the maxx - so far.
  • I think the "difference" is in your mind as the two cars are identical in every respect until you get to the rear quarter panels. The engine, steering,suspension,frt seating,instrument panel are all the same.You just "missed" your baby!
  • markf57markf57 Posts: 38
    I want to buy a backup transitter fob. Can the transmitters be programmed without having to take them to the dealership?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    If you are talking about new 04/05 Malibu, no, only the dealer can program a new fob with their scan tool. And if you still are interested make sure you take all existing fobs when it is done because reprogramming procedure requires learning all fobs again.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    I have no opinion on the ride of the MAXX vs the sedan. I have the MAXX and never drove the sedan, so I am not bias towards either.


    However, the wheelbase on the MAXX (112.3)is 6" longer than on the sedan (106.3). And I believe the rear suspension is slightly different on the MAXX. That difference could account for how each vehicle handles and feels.
  • markf57markf57 Posts: 38
    Yes, it is for an 04. I was afraid that was the answer. I did know about bringing all the fobs. Thanks for the info.
  • I have a '01 Malibu, and when i press on the brakes it sounds like a spring is being stretched to far or something. Could anyone please help me out.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Nice answer - I can't improve on that. Thx
  • crhcrh Posts: 29
    We bought our 04 Maxx the third week of October, and have been super happy with it. I haven't noticed any problems at all. But after reading the board, I did go check the build date and it has a March build date on the driver's door. Does this necessarily mean I need to have some things checked out? I'm sort of confused. I went to the NHTSA website and printed out all the TSBs in case I should check with the dealer. But in all honesty, we haven't noticed any problems. I'm assuming that the safety belt issue would have been taken care of prior to purchase since I never recieved a recall notice...and we haven't noticed any steering or transmission problems either. We have put about 2700 miles on the car so far. Any advice on whether I should call the dealer? I don't want to assume there is a problem, but I also don't want my daughter to get stuck on the side of the road somewhere either.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Well, regarding the steering problem, your March-built vehicle already has the updated parts.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    well, short of getting any responses, I've decided to take my service manager for a test drive to show him that my car at 30 mph or so is extremely sluggish when accelerating, and seems like it is stuck in overdrive, thus forcing the tranny to constantly downshift. There is no doubt in my mind that the '05 Bu I drove did not have this problem, and accelerated with ease, and nearly seemlessly. I'm not sure if replacing the drive link and sprocket (TSB 04-07-30-021A) will have any effect on improving the performance. Nonetheless, I plan on showing him the symptoms. I'll let you know how I make out.
  • tim10tim10 Posts: 15
    I bought an 05 Malibu on 12/15 and so far it's been at the dealership for 8 days total. I picked it up on a Friday night and returned it the following Monday for an ENTIRE week. I've had a Cavalier, Venture Van, Equinox, and now a Trailblazer for rentals. I'm sure driving the whole chevy lineup here.


    The recurring problem that hasn't been fixed yet is a rear suspension squeak/creaking noise when going over any type of uneven terrain at 25mph or below. So far they've replaced the coil insulators and "deburred" the rear coils. They retorqued the front struts today and said there was still a noise. Here's the kicker. The dealership said it'd be 2 to 4 weeks to get new coils under warranty.


    They said I could take the car and drive it until it comes in, but that means yet another trip to the dealership, plus what if 4 weeks turns into 8 or 12?? Hopefully the GM rep will come up with a better solution--I told the dealership I wasn't going to accept redelivery of the vehicle until it was finally fixed. I doubt they'll want to let me keep the Enterprise rental for a month either.
  • I am curious if the 05 Maxx has a faster transmission response time to full throttle acceleration. The 04 Maxx I have, while very smooth shifting with gentle throttle applications, can be sluggish and rough if one has to "gas" the car hard!


    I have to do this every so often in LA, CA as our freeways have short entrance ramps and plenty of folks who love to accelerate / drive 90 mph while in the RIGHT_most lane.).
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I've also got the base 04 Malibu with the same squeak/creaking noise at low speed. I've crawled under the car and looked everywhere for a possible cause. Mine seems to come from the rear right hand wheel area. Please let me know what the outcome is if and when they find the cause.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Kurt: do you have a May or earlier build date? I'm trying to determine if yours is one with the old drive link and sprocket, like mine?

    I did some number evaluations today. My tranny problems go something like this: Accelerate normally up between 30-35 mph. The RPM guage will drop down to 1500 rpms as if it is going into overdrive. Now let the car coast down to between 25-30 mph. When you see the rpm needle drop to 800 rpms, give it some gas. At this point, my car seems to be stuck in overdrive, and does not easily allow me to accelerate to a higher speed. After a 2 second sluggish period, the tranny will downshift to get me up to a higher rpm level and thus allow for acceleration.

    What is odd, is that this same mph range is where most of my howling takes place. However, I don't believe replacing the drive sprocket and drive link will have an effect on the performance. Any thoughts out there?
  • paopao Posts: 1,867


    way too much for me to digest....16K on my maxx and doing great....dont seem to have this problem...and I have a 17 Feb build date....did you get any of the reflash/reprogram done?


    cheers and happy new year
  • It wouldn't have anything to do with the "learning" feature these electronic transmissions have, would it?


    For example- the 2003 Trailblazer we had with the 4-speed auto. I tended to drive that like an old man, nursing every last mpg out of it whenever possible. As a result, in a short period of time the transmission "learned" my driving style and seemed to act similar to your description of the Malibu, wanting to upshift earlier and hold higher gears longer (even on the few rare times I was more insistent with the throttle - it actually required a firm "flooring" of the peddle to cause downshifts much of the time).


    If I let my wife drive it for a few days (heavier footed of the two of us), then went back to driving it to work myself, I found that it was holding lower gears to higher rpms, then downshifting much more quickly. This went on for a little while as the transmission readapted to my driving style.


    I'd swear to God that this has been my experience. It also seems the same with the 2004 Silverado and 2004 Malibu we have now.
  • 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.
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