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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • Thanks for helping make this forum so informative.

    The last six digits of my Maxx LT vin are 224114, and the build date is 5/4/04. Although I heard the tranny howl during the summer months, I don't seem to hear it as often now that the cold weather is here. I am hoping that you can tell from my VIN.

    I have never received a "gas cap warning" even though my fuel gauge needle never quite reaches "Full" after re fueling. It still sounds as though I may have a faulty gas tank if I am reading some of the previous posts correctly.

    My 6-CD changer suddenly stopped working today in between 2 stops around town. In spite of all these issues, I am pretty satisfied with my Maxx. I just hope that the dealer addresses these issues satisfactorily. -PourLeMerite
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry, I can't tell specifically from the VIN but TSB #04-07-30-021A does mention that trans Julian Date codes 4016->4126 could have this complaint which would seem to include your vehicle. There is an ID tag on the transmission to be sure but dealer might have to decode it.

    Fuel gage complaint sounds like dealer should try TSB #04-08-49-025. This does require dropping fuel tank so you might want to call dealer to see if they want you to bring vehicle in without a lot of gas (rather than filling it up just before you bring it to them) so they don't have to siphon too much.

    I think I have seen 2 other posters having complaints with 6 disc CD operation. Did this problem clear up by itself after an ignition cycle or is it still occurring? Also has it happened more than once. Those are all things dealer will likely ask you There is not an TSB on this though.
  • My 04 Maxx is popping up with all kinds of strange noises. But, here's something really different. I was trying to impress a colleague with the remote starting. When I held the button, the car started.......and drove away. Well, 2 feet and it hit the curb. We were both in shock. Of course, the dealership "cannot duplicate." The car was in Park. I used to get "excited" about a new car, but now....I'm trying to figure out how's the best way to get rid of it and not lose a bunch of money.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    ahhhh, yes, I was offered the automatic pilot option, but declined
  • We just came back from our first long trip in the Maxx. It did great! We had 5 people, a ton of luggage, AND a Yakima space box on the roof. I was very impressed with the way the suspension handled the weight (no bottoming out, great control), the power of the engine and the comfort and roominess for the passengers even with all that stuff in it.

    HOWEVER, I became aware of a noise in the front end I don't like. At low speeds, when going over sharp bumps like Botts dots, driveway edges or railroad track, I hear clunking sounds and I can feel the steering wheel kick. Could it be a problem with the intemediate shaft (if it has one)?

    We used a bit of oil on the trip. It went down about 4 oz. in 2000 miles. That's about normal, isn't it? That would be a consumption rate of 1 quart in 16,000 miles!

    vin 237245
  • >>>When I held the button, the car started.......and drove away.

    I just almost fell on the floor laughing. Sorry. I would have loved to have seen that.

    I stopped getting exited over new cars 20 years ago. A car is just transportation to me. Something I need but dont want. Expensive buckets of trouble.

    With all these glitches in the Malibu I'm wondering if anyone ever found their Malibu running in the morning and had been running half the night.
  • >>We all know that usually the boards are filled with people that are dissatisfied, as happy car owners don't usually seek these things out

    Then why are you here? Just to rub it in? Careful what you say. It may be that at 2100mi "you aint seen nothing yet" as the song says.

    You may be right though. Paticipating in these boards probably makes everything seem worse. Strip away the Malibus EPS problems and it would probably fare better than average for a first model year.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    To repair most problems with the radio pull the radio fuse for a few seconds, it will fix many radio glitches including inop CD unit.
  • I have had my Malibu for 5 months and 6,000 miles. No problems to date, other than I do have the transmission howl (I have decided NOT to get it fixed). My mileage has been averaging around 30 MPG according to the DIC (almost all freeway).

    I traded in a Mazda6 for this car. Absolutely everything went wrong with that car - Check Engine light that would not shut off (computer kept giving "phantom" codes), fuel tank/pump issues (left me stranded in the middle of the freeway), rust on the doors, erratic shifting transmission (classified as "normal"), "clunking" noise due to the subframe not being bolted to spec at the factory, and a radio that had to be replaced two times. I got to know the service manager and dealership management very well.

    I agree that all makes/models can have "lemons," but what I like about Chevrolet is that there are a lot of dealers to choose from. With my Mazda, I had two dealers within a 30 mile radius, and both dealers had a "who cares?" attitude. At least with Chevrolet, if I don't like one dealer, there are others within a reasonable distance.

    Hopefully, my car can go another 100,000 miles without any major problems--it seems to be very well built.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    I believe I encountered this same rattle that sounds like a loose strut and you can feel it in the steering wheel, I had the dealership check it out last Friday, the 26th of November and they said it was the steering column. Can't tell you if this was actually the cause because it hasn't been fixed, they're still waiting on parts to come in.
  • Any first year car has problems. We are fortunate that some GM folks like e2helper are participating, listening and offering some suggestions. Is that happening on other forums here? Will Honda have some people monitoring the Accord forum helping folks with their new first year Hybrid?

    Wrt car driving during remote starting.. how can that happen? I find it impossible to leave the Malibu in anything but PARK to get the ignition key out, at which point the transmission prawl engages and keeps the car from moving. To be safe I set the parking brake as well.

    wrt dealer selection, yes that makes a huge difference. Keeps things competitive and often more honest.
  • Realistically if you look at the posts here on this first year Malibu most of them pertain to annoyances rather than real problems - ie sun shades. Unfortunatly losing power steering and cars not starting are serious problems. Many who have had their steering "fixed" continue to have problems. The no-start situation it seems cannot be fixed as nobody who posts here has stated that they had it resolved. Maybe the issue with the Malibu is getting GM to recognize these problems and getting the dealers up to date on repairing these thing properly.

    We all do appreciate e2helper but Im not sure what his (her) situation is, his affiliation with GM, or GM's condoning of his participation here (or even knowing of it??). While it seems he has offered good info and advice on lots of things he seems to avoid some of the issues or maybe his hands are tied. I do wish he would bring up the no-start situation to those who could possibly narrow it down.

    I was aware of the Malibus EPS problems before I bought mine so if it does in fact fail on mine I cant really complain about it. Figured I'd take a chance that most everything else about the car would be good. The no-start thing just scares the hell out of me every time it happens. Hopefully its just a computer glitch that it will recover from each time it happens and not leave me on the back of a tow truck.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    gla4601, I missed if you described the issue you are experiencing but I do remember you saying you have a 4 cylinder. Is it a no crank? or crank but no start?

    If the former...

    I don't know what the dealer might have tried to do to correct issue so far on your vehicle but there is a new calibration available for 4 cylinder PCM which should be tried.

    I know we had another owner on forum that had an intermittent no crank complaint a while back but that particular case ended up being an extra ignition key provided by the dealership that had not been "learned" by the vehicle theft system (owner's manual has procedure).
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I wish I viewed automobiles more as mere transportation, but alas I am an automotive enthusiast. I realize you bought the base Malibu, which is consistent with your 'vehicles are appliances to get from point A to point B' approach. However, why didn't you buy a used vehicle instead? Surely you could have found a late-model used vehicle with an excellent reliability track record and lower costs of ownership than a new Malibu, no?

    Regarding e2helper's participation on these forums, I also wish he would give his 2 cents on certain topics. But I can understand and appreciate why he chooses not to discuss certain items. Sure, it would be great to hear him say, for example, 'yep, I agree with you guys that we cheaped out on the exterior side mirrors. They are too small and should be body-colored.' But that's really not an appropriate discussion for him to engage in.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    again depends on your state...usually its three or more times for the same problem..but in most cases I beleive it has to be documented by the dealer...if they cant replicate the problem...then it isnt documented.....hate to see these problems with your Maxx's..I love mine....almost a year old...13K miles...and not one problem..abeit the rear shades.....good luck on the lemon law...and the BBB...
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    Could you perhaps tell me more about the new calibration for the 4cyl.Malibu? Does it address the intermittent no-start situation? I've told you about my problems regarding this. As far as I know the problem is still lurking inside my wretched car. Another slight problem I have is a hesitation when I take my foot off the accelerator and then put it down again. This mostly happens when I slack off to take a turn and then take off again. I hope the new calibration also addresses this problem

    I'm afraid the motor manufactures - all of them - must take a step backward and look at their creations. Are they making computers on wheels or reliable transportation? Gone are the days when a simple starter circuit consisted of the ignition switch, solenoid, and, the starter motor. Just about anybody could figure out what the problem would be in a no-start situation.

    Today we are confronted with bizarre symptoms that not even the manufacturer or dealer can figure out. Which leaves the customer high and dry.

    There should be a law passed that states that all vehicles must have the most basic functions such as starting, running, brakes, all controlled by the simplest of circuits. And, they must not be at the mercy of some wretched computer. Only then, can the issue of emission control and any other fancy gadgets the manufacturer wants to add be driven by the computer.

    A motor vehicle is a hostile environment for a computer but manufactures have child-like faith in them.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    From calibration site (available on Internet). The only description is

    "New calibration to reduce the potential for setting P0335 and P0650."

    P0335 is a code that would cause a no crank condition.
  • e2helper. Mine is the 4 cyl and it is "a crank but no start". What happens every time it does it is: I get in the car, turn the key, the starter gives one brief "rrr" (that right say it - "rrr" just like its spelled)and then stops. I release the key and try again, then it will just crank for as long as I hold the key - If I release the key, cranking stops immedietely, unlike a normal start where if I release the key before the engine is running, cranking continues on its own. From there I just keep trying, or get out of the car, lock and unlock the doors, try again. Eventually it always starts so far - sometimes with in a minute or so but sometimes after several minutes. If this is something like a temporary computer glitch and can be positivly confirmed then I can consider this a minor inconvenience and I will start to love my malibu again. If I start seeing the back of a tow truck then I cant live with it.

    I have not had the car back to the dealer at all since I got it (3k mi now). At this point I guess I will just wait another 500 to 1000 mi and then send it in for an oil change and mention the problems but my gut feeling is they will be cluless on the no start problem.

    You mention someone that had a no crank problem on the forum. There were a few others that if I remember correctly had the exact sitution as mine.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.
  • good luck on the lemon law...and the BBB...

    pao. I really don't plan on taking any lemon law actions or anything unless I start seeing the back of a tow truck on a regular basis. I do like the car. Since I have spare vehicles, minor problems are not much of a concern to me and the guy I bought it from lives across the street. If theres a problem he simply takes my car to work instead of his own. I just asked the question because I was wondering what happens if the car gets towed to the dealer but works fine once there.
  • bluedevils. Something about buying a used vehicle really bothers me. Just wont do it. My costs of ownership are very high anyway as I have two vehicles, one of which is alway sitting and paying insurance, taxes and maintainence on two gets pricey.
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