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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • I have come to the conclusion that I am over reacting with this car.

    On the no-start situatuion my biggest fear was being stranded but each and every time it happened (10 or so times now) it has started within a few minutes. Nobody else here has mentioned that they got stranded because of it so therefore there is no reason to beleive any of us will. I am parking my other vehicle and strictly driving the malibu for the next month and I will take whatever it dishes out like a man but I am willing to bet it will be un-eventful.

    I recently mentioned that my steering started twitching a few times. Well it has not done it again in 3 days. Maybe just a temporary glitch.

    I mentioned I have a bunch of rattles. Well for sure something is loose or broken inside the door and rattles like hell. The other rattles, much less severe, seem to come and go maybe with temperature but the one in the door probably makes any others seem much worse. Last night the GF and I went to a Xmas party and I was brave enough to take the Malibu. On the way home she commented on how quiet the car was. Sure enough I lower the radio and heater and it was in fact very quiet. Maybe it was the 2 beers I had. Ooops. Should not say that.

    I am even going to try hard and look at the malibu as more than just transportation. I do believe theres hope for me and my bad attitude.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    ......and keep in mind that GM Engineers also have REAL jobs, and don't have all day (and weekends) to sit around and answer questions on Edmunds' webpages.
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    I have to say that my last 2 visits to the Chevy dealer were more than satisfactory after an initial problem with the first visit. I have 11.5k on the car. The only warranty issue was a faulty thermostat causing the check engine light. I have the "howl" and the service manager took the time to explain the cause of the noise and the fix if I wanted to do it. I have decided not to do it at this time.
    The remote start is spoiling me. too bad the heated seats are not an auto start.

    The Pontiac dealer I use could be a model for what service departments should be. As much as I like my Maxx, my next vehicle will come from the Pontiac dealer because of his service department.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    he, he,... my next car will be one that never goes to the service department
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    gla4601 and 3745,

    Next time you take vehicle to the dealer please ask if they could check to see if your vehicle (with 4 cylinder) has the latest PCM calibration. Unless your vehicle had already been updated, it won't.

    I did receive a response indicating your intermittent short crank, etc does sound like the issue addressed. Of course no promises being made but looks promising.
  • Thanks e2helper. any help/advice at all on the no start is welcome.

    Wondering if I could ask what problems the latest PCM addresses. Reason I ask is I have had the vehicle 6 months and has not been back to dealer, so no dealer updates have been done. The 4cyl engine in mine runs absolutely flawless (other than the no start). For that reason sometimes I feel "if it aint broken dont fix it" unless of course the update(s) pertains to no start.
  • jess33jess33 Posts: 13
    I totally agree pao about the service dept's and their lack of knowledge of the TSB's. I had to get the exact TSB #'s from e2helper and give them to the dealer before they found them! Just to test them I gave them my three issues- rear shades on moonroof, PCM recalibration, and tranny howl. The response- "there's a fix coming on the shades, nothing on the PCM fix, and nothing on the tranny. I gave them the TSB #'s, they found the shades and PCM, but no tranny howl. My # on the tranny TSB was off by one number a 0, I called them back with the right number and they found it. I don't know if it's how they access the numbers or what. As frustrating as this is, I guess you just have to be an informed customer, no one's looking out for you, (well maybe, e2helper, the TSB #'s are invaluable info!)

    On another note I have decided to have my tran howl fixed. My thinking is that this is a documented fix under warranty, and in theory any future issues on the tranny, even out of the warranty will be covered as it was documented and fixed while under warranty. Anyone with thoughts on this? I have almost 11,000 mi. and it howls constantly. I noticed on another post that a potential concern is the vibration caused from the howl and the long-term affects from that. I've noticed a many people choosing not to fix it.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    At least one of the changes in the calibration is specifically for an issue that sounds like what you were experiencing.
  • State: WI

    overall i would like to know the following:

    since i have had my car in 3 times for different steering problems and the dealer will not take the car back to try and fix the repair problems that i feel i'm still experiencing can i still apply for the lemon law? the dealer states they "fixed" the problem and will not take it back. other dealers in town will not accept the car to try and fix it because they told me Chevrolet Corp. paid my dealer to replace parts and fix the problems so since they didn't get paid from Chevrolet Corp. regarding my repair issues they told me to take it back to the same dealer. i don't know if i'm now stuck because WI lemon law states 4 unsuccessful tries or 30 days in the service repair shop.

    i have had the car under 1 year and it has 7,000 miles on it.

    here's an overview:

    I bought a brand new 2004 chevy malibu maxx lt here in Wisconsin in may 2004. I brought the car in for repairs a total of 5 times, 2 for electrical and door lock and alarm problems and the other 3 were strictly for steering problems.

    I had them replace the steering column because as I was driving home with my wife and 2 year old son,my steering wheel locked up and I couldn't drive the car or turn left or right. I had to stop in the middle of the street, turn on my blinkers, turn off the car and turn it back on after 10 minutes then the steering came back on. This problem could kill someone.

    The 1st time after they gave me back the car after replacing the steering column. The car was returned to me and I could not turn the steering wheel left. I immediately returned the car to them. The 2nd problem was when they returned it to me after I told them I couldn't turn the steering wheel left at all. I now told them that the car was not aligned properly because the steering wheel pulled to the left when accelerating from a dead stop. With my hands on the steering wheel I had to physically turn the steering wheel to the right because I could feel it pulling to the left as I drove forward from a dead stop. I even tried it without my hands on the steering wheel in an empty parking lot. The steering is not even close to being aligned because it pulls hard to the left at 10 o'clock. Heiser Chevrolet told me that they "fixed" the problem and they will not accept the car to repair the moset recent problem I'm having. I then asked to speak to the general manager and he basically told me he can only crunch some numbers and get me into another car by trading mine in. He wanted me to give them more money to get into another car. I told them no deal and left.
  • The dealer sounds like an outright incompetent who is only wrecking your car further. And sad to say the car sounds like a dud.
    My 2 cents - you should get a lemon law lawyer (be sure they specialize in automotive lemon law issues) and go for resitution under it. Be sure you have all your records to show the lawyer!
    In fairness to Chevy corporate, you should give them one last chance to straighten things out. Contact the regional service manager and explain the situation. If that brings help (most likely from another dealer) then well and good. If Chevy blows it, then I'd go with the lawyer and the lemon law.

    Sounds very similar to what I went through with my Saturn. After my lawyer presented the case (and he pushed very hard), Saturn gave me two options - accept $5K and keep the lemon, or take the full refund and return the lemon. They got their lemon - I got the Maxx.
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    I've noticed a persistent hum starting at about 50 MPH up to the low 60 MPH range. It sounds like exhaust noise and goes away when you take your foot off the gas (or turn off the cruise). It's especially noticeable when you start the car up cold first thing in the a.m. but it persists even after 20 miles or so of expressway driving.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I'm a quasi heat shield expert (having ripped off nearly every one on my Corolla to silence the odd noises), and think it may be a heat shield resonance.
  • One major magazine complained about heat shield resonances in their preproduction Maxx. An early build problem, perhaps?
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Well, mine starts pretty much when the car starts moving and stops when I stop, it almost sounds kind of like a motors that is turning very slowly, but faster as speed increases. It doesn't change based on engine speed, only vehicle speed and only started this last Friday or Saturday. It was really windy and didn't notice it making the noise when facing the wind sitting at a stop light. But I figure since I have a pretty early build(Dec 03) of a first model year car it has a few bugs that were worked out on cars with later build dates. Taking it in tomorrow to get the rattle in the steering column and retaining clips for seatbelt recall tomorrow, and they're going to check this out.
  • Thanks very much e2helper.

    Fortunately 6-CD issue cleared up after the vehicle parked overnight. I consider it a minor issue right now, along with the tranny howl and fuel gauge.

    We had our first good frost last week, and I was impressed with how quickly and nicely the windows cleared up. I am happy with my Maxx thus far, and don't regret purchasing the vehicle 6 months ago. Thanks again! -Pourlemerite
  • This is a really stupid question.. But should there be a light in the glove box when I open it? I'm kinda wondering because I was looking for something in my glove box last night, and it was kinda dark in there. I didn't have a chance to look in there to see if I could see a lightbulb, cause I'm at work. Every other car that I have owned had a light in the glove box, and I don't see why the Maxx LS wouldn't.

    And I have just one complaint... Why would the people at Chevy not include the heated mirrors in the LS models? That is definitely something that I don't like about this car, but I couldn't afford the LT model..
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    I agree, the LS model should have had heated outside mirrors, if not standard, available as an option. I consider this a safety item. I know my side mirrors will be useless in cold snowy weather. They will be hard to clean off if covered with ice.
  • my 2004 maxx lt regarding the steering pulling to the left when accelerating.

    the car was brought in a 4th time 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.

    e2helper is this valid???
  • 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....
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    I traded-in my 2002 Malibu on a 2003 used Malibu. The 2002 Malibu ran smoothly with no vibrations. The 2003 Malibu has a slight steering wheel vibration from 40 mph thru 75 mph. It is the most notable between 55 and 63 mph. Have had tires rotated and balanced with no help. Even purchased new tires and vibration is still there even after a four-wheel alignment. Dealer checked rims and they are ok. I drove a 2003 Malibu from dealer's lot and it has the same vibration that mine has only not as severe. Did Malibu change the suspension from 2002 to 2003.

    Has anyone else experienced slight but steady vibrations in the steering wheel? I drove over 1000 miles over Thanksgiving and could feel the vibration all the time. I can feel the vibration starting at 20 miles per hour and it never goes away even at 80 miles per hour.
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