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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • 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
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