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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • maddog7maddog7 Posts: 1
    I own a 2001 malibu and ive had problems since i drove it out of the show room. i drove it for about a year and one night i got in it and it wouldnt start so i had it towed i have warranty so a week later the dealer fixed it so it was running good for about 6 months then it happens again this has happend 12 times from 2001 to 2005 they couldnt even fix it at the dealership so the same thing has happend again so i had to find rides to work and pay 420 dollars a month for this piece of junk so i think i found a solution i was messing with it trying to start it and it started and i back tracked what i did i left the key at the acc position and i was messing with the door lock switch on the door i keeped unlocking and locking it and then i turned the key back to off and it tried to start it and it started i hope this helps you all
  • kmjbrownkmjbrown Posts: 2

    I am in the process of purchasing a 2003 Malibu LS but I found the break lights do not come on when the break peddled is engaged. I have search this message board, but not see anyone else mentioning the break lights not working. However, a friend called me and said that he just recently saw another Malibu (year/mod not known) where the break light did not come on as the person was stopping.

    My question is - has anyone else had any problems with the break lights on the 2003 Malibu LS? If so, what caused it and was there any reacurrance after fixing the problem?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002

    I am not aware of any problem but you definitely need that fixed!

    First thing: Are ALL the brake lamps inoperative? There are 2 brake lamps in each taillamp assembly and also a Center High Mounted Lamp on rear shelf or in a decklid spoiler.

    If ALL of these lamps are inoperative when you press on brake pedal then you could check for a blown fuse. The Stop Lamp fuse is a 15 Amp fuse in the Left Hand Fuse Panel which you can see on end of instrument panel when you open the driver door.

    If the fuse is OK then next thing would be to check to make sure there is a brake lamp switch on the brake pedal and that wiring is plugged into it. I guess could be adjustment issue as well.

    Good luck - even though I didn't really answer your specific question :P
  • kmjbrownkmjbrown Posts: 2
    Thank you!

    Your answer is comforting as I was concern this may be a potential reaccurring problem.

    To answer your questions: Yes all of the lamps lights including the one on the spoiler are not coming on. The fuse is not blown and the dealership has the car now to check the switch. I hope that is all there is wrong. I would hate to have back out of the deal on what seems to be a very nice car.

    If anyone else has any break light problems - I would definitely be interested in hearing from you too.

    Thanks again e2helper!

  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002

    If there doesn't seem to be a problem with the switch then it will be a wiring issue. There is a point where all the brake lamp circuits come together - that would be my next suggestion. It is located in what is called a "splice-saver" and is located in a wiring harness underneath the front passenger seat. I think the service guys would call it "SP303" or "S303"
  • I recently purchased (used) a 2004 Malibu LS (all of 2 weeks ago).. loved the car.. a few small dents, but generally loved the car.

    NOW.. I have several issues, all of which, GM has said they cannot duplicate.. any ideas would be great..

    Keyless entry: The car didn't have the remotes with it when purchased, but it is equipped, supposedly. When they hooked up the equipment to program the remotes, the equipment was "unable to communicate with the car".

    Cruise control: Push button.. turns on.. push button turns off.. the problem is actually engaging/disengaging it. It only works intermittently.. it could work all day one day perfectyl, and then get in the next day.. engage, hit the brake (or use the button to speed up or slow it down) and it won't engage again.. it just quits.

    Door locks: The power door locks on the driver side work fine.. the power lock on the passenger side.. it will unlock, but will not lock. Chevy, on Friday, said that they fixed some "actuator" problem, and that the locks tested fine afterward.. I drove it home that afternoon, only to find the same problem exists.

    Lastly.. this MORNING..

    DIC: "CHECK GAS CAP".. The gas cap appeared fine when I pulled over since the car began chiming while I was driving down the road. I turned off the car.. removed and replaced the gas cap.. same problem.. continued on to work.. turned the car off.. removed and replaced the gas cap.. looked into the cap (as if I actually know what the heck I'm looking for) didn't see anything out of the ordinary and started car up again.. same problem.. did that one more time, just for fun, apparently, to find same problem.

    Any suggestions would be great.. someone mentioned something about a "BCM"??


    :cry: :confuse:
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Hi Valerie!

    Sorry about your experiences so far. You have a bit of a list so this will likely take a few messages. First of all, if you don't mind, could you provide the last 6 digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN)? Don't post the whole thing. With this information I can figure out a little more about your vehicle ;)

    1. Keyless Entry - Yes, the technician is likely having some problem with their Tech 2 scan tool. If they are not used to working on a 2004 Malibu it is possible they are not using a special interface tool called CANdi which is required to communicate with a 2004 Malibu. Other potential might be they haven't updated their scan tool to the latest version of software or have a problem with their test tool cable. Best thing for them to do would be to try same tool on another 2004 Malibu and see if it communicates. Regarding the remotes, it is VERY important that they use the correct style for your vehicle. Whether your vehicle has remote start option or not tells them which ones to use.

    2. Cruise Control - Until the technician is able to communicate with vehicle using his scan tool he will have some difficulty here. He might be able to communicate with what is called the PCM and that might have a trouble code that could help point in right direction. You might want to suggest TSB #04-08-45-009 but it might be a little premature without reading trouble codes.

    3. Your vehicle has 4 doors so how are the rear doors working with respect to door lock operation? Is it only the front passenger door that doesn't unlock? That is important to know.

    4. "Check Gas Cap" - once you get this message it will take a while for it to go away even if you correct issue (such as a loose gas cap) because it has to successfully pass a diagnostic test which requires certain pre-conditions before it will run.

    I am sure the technician might consider replacing the BCM but believe me when I say that most BCM replacements on this vehicle don't really correct the problem.

    I really don't have too much for you to do personally here, feel free to provide these suggestions to service dept if they are willing to listen to some anonymous Internet poster :)
  • Thank you so much.. I will definitely forward this on to the technician on Friday..

    I will keep you posted and let ya know what happens.

    -Valerie :)
  • christinadchristinad Posts: 34
    Yesterday I was getting a few things out of the hatch before going in the house. I hit the door lock button with the front door open (3 chimes). I opened the hatch before the doors locked. The hatch was open for maybe 5-10 minutes. Then, I closed the hatch and went to get something from the back seat. Before 5 seconds was up, I opened the back door, which set off the alarm. Should this happen? The door opened fine, but the alarm went off!
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Nice description of conditions!!!

    I will run this by "the expert" and see what he has to say. I will post back
  • steve12steve12 Posts: 2
    When I get messages on my DIC such as low fuel or ice possible the chimes no longer sound to alert me of the message. If I turn off the auto lights the chime will sound. Is their any setting to turn the chimes back on? or is their a problem with my DIC.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Ok, your description of operation is by design. When you hit the door lock button you started a timer to arm the vehicle's content theft system. You might have noticed that the security telltale in cluster is flashing rapidly during this time. After 1 minute, no matter if you closed all doors or not, the security system becomes armed and the security indicator switches to a slow rate of flashing (I think if all doors are actually closed that the indicator goes to a solid ON before the slow flashing rate when armed)..

    This was done so that in case you didn't close your door/hatch completely (thus doors never lock) that the system still provides you some level of alarm.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    A reporter is interested in speaking with people who have had their vehicle recalled in the first part of this year. If your vehicle has been the subject of a recall and you would like to speak with this reporter, please send your name and daytime phone number to Pam Krebs, PR, at by Tuesday, July 5. Thank you.


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  • redhead75redhead75 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 malibu. Since August of 2004, I have had problems with my theft system lights flashing. the first time my car wouldn't start, I had it towed from chicago. The dealership replaced the ignition cylindar. Then 5 months later, the same problem. They replaced the same part. Two days ago, it wouldn't start again. THe third time in less than a year. They were going to tell me it was the same problem, but this time, they replaced the entire computer module that controls the ignition, auto windows (which I don't have), cruise control (which I don't have) and the power locks.and I'm assuming the theft system sensors too. Well, 1/2 hour after they told me the problem was fixed, the light started flashing again. I talked to one of the mechanics who told me that even though they replaced the module, they actually have no idea what the problem is and they are guessing that this will fix it. Nope, try again. So here I sit with a problem that they need to fix. Three times and it's still not good. They tried to tell me that my problem was the keys too, but the keys I have are all made by them. Then they tried to tell me that I hang things from the ignition that are too heavy. Try again. Three keys aren't very heavy. Maybe the crankshaft, right? Well, I talked to the dealer who told me that I wouldn't have to pay for this problem to be fixed...three times already is a little ridiculous.
  • jrfan1jrfan1 Posts: 2
    i have a 2004 malibu the new body style , and i was wondering if you all are having theese same issues. i have a lite but annoying brake squeal from the front brakes just during city driving and it only appears right as i am applying the first bit of pressure as i am coming to a light or sign. and second is that i keep hearing a very light clicking noise every once in a while almost sounds like it is coming from the radio area. if you guys or gals know of anything give me a holler.

  • mondo1mondo1 Posts: 2
    This is a two part question.

    I just got a GM certified 2003 Malibu from a dealer. I checked the air filter and it was filthy at 45K miles. Does the dealer need to change the filter to be certified in order to sell it?

    Also I have a hard brake pedal and when I press it down I hear squeeking coming out from underneath the dash or firewall. The brakes act like they are not grabbing, I have to press down hard it seems. I am sort of leaning towards a brake booster problem or vacuum leak. But I get no dash light. I also checked the rotors and pads the other day. The pads seem new and the drums are new as well and adjusted. Seems like the rotors are not shiny though. Maybe they need turning. They look a little brown in color. I appreciate any suggestions.
  • nickdnickd Posts: 14
    My 2004 Maxx has 10k miles on it and the brake rotors are definitely warped. It is most noticeable when stopping from highway speed. The dealer refused to even turn them let alone replace them. I had a 2000 Olds Alero that warped rotors every 8k miles and I see from posts that older style Malibus had the same problem. Also, it's not my driving style that is doing this since I've had several other cars that never warped their rotors. My other car is a Honda civic and the brakes have 55k miles on them and still look and feel new. I loved the Maxx when I first took delivery but now I'm very disappointed with GM for not fixing the rotor issue that they seem to have on so many of their models. It's no wonder that GM is losing so much market share. What a shame.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I would go to another dealer...most seem to have luck with the warps rotors....or try calling the GM link number and get customer assistance and complain loudly about the dealer failing to work with you...sounds like another lack of customer satisfaction with a dealer who is only interested in selling cars and not following up on them.......others have had good luck working with their dealers on this issue
  • christinadchristinad Posts: 34
    This may seem obvious, but I heard a light clicking sound coming from my radio area when I first got my 05 Maxx. I discovered it was the key fob gently tapping against the plastic on the side of the radio. Just a guess. :)
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Brakes are warranty 12 mon 12 K, after that they may turn the rotors. :(
  • draziwdraziw Posts: 4
    Hi I own a 2002 malibu I have had 2 problems in 3 years ignition cylinder replaced once and required an update once until yesterday. PW stopped working, heater air cond blower stopped working, radio only works on acc when ignition is on radio and clock loses power, rear defog doesn't work, temp guage and fuel gauge stopped working. Checked all fuses they look okay. I was wondering if it was a relay, ignition or a computer problem, or something else. Service dept can't look at it until July3
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    dont feel bad...christina...I did the same thing..then realized it was the fob..swinging against the console....even with the little rubber cushion in place to prevent it...LOL
  • draziwdraziw Posts: 4
    Smitty the same thing just happened to my 2002 Malibu was it your power control module? any help would be appreciated
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    I am curious. Did you have your tires rotated? The owners book states that the lug nuts should be torqued to 100 foot pounds. I had a Cutlass that had warped rotors and the nuts were over tightned and that was the cause of the rotor problem.
  • kaskas Posts: 5
    the paint by the window in my 2004 Maxx is coming off. It's not the shiny paint on the car itself, it's the dull paint around the window. I just brought it in and the shop said Chevy had no fix for it and until they do it has to stay the way it is. Have any of you had this same experience with the paint coming off. My shop said this was the 2nd car he's seen with this problem.
  • kmaurerkmaurer Posts: 48
    I have a 2004 Malibu LS with 18,100 miles (April 2004 build date-last 6 of VIN 209856). I've had no problems with this vehicle until last Friday when the "Check Gas Cap" message came on the DIC. I checked, and the cap was on tight. I have also filled the tank since the first time the message has appeared. It's been a week (approximately 14 engine starts) and the message still appears. Is it time to go to the dealership? The service adivsor I talked with told me to wait another 2 weeks? (Although I have yet to find a good Chevrolet dealer where I live). What do you recommend? The manual says the message should go away after 2 or three starts.

    Thanks in advance. This is a great group.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Your vehicle's birthday is April 15 :surprise:

    Since you have a sedan, you wouldn't have the Maxx-specific complaint others have which is covered by a TSB.

    I agree with your service advisor to give it a little more time (although you say when you checked the gas cap, it seemed tight). The manual is a little too optimistic about number of starts because that would only happen if each start was done under conditions where the vehicle would run another diagnostic check.

    That check won't occur every ignition cycle unless certain conditions are met:

    Ones somewhat under your control: Fuel level between 15-85%, coolant temperature <86 deg F and underhood air temp between 40 and 86 deg F.

    Basically test will only run if the vehicle has cooled down overnight and fuel tank isn't too empty or too full. So filling the tank after message first came on prevented the test from running for a while until fuel level dropped below 85% (which is somewhere between 7/8 and 3/4).

    If the test fails twice in a row you will see the Check Engine Light turn on - has that happened? It takes 3 passes in a row for the message to turn off (I think).

    Hope that helps
  • cwb098cwb098 Posts: 3
    I have a 2003 malibu and when i put the key in the ignition the key will not turn. I had this problem last summer and after letting the car sit for a few hours i was able to turn the key and start the car. Now it will not work. The users manual says it needs service. What is the problem. Thanks in advance for any help.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The key wouldn't physically turn in the ignition switch? Or is it that it turns but the engine just didn't crank?

    If the first thing then I hate to ask this but do you have more then key that you are using?

    If it is turning and just not cranking, if you leave the ignition key in RUN do you see the security telltale staying illuminated - which means you are in a THEFT condition?
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    mondo1: i don't own a malibu or a GM. i complained to the people at edmunds because they don't clearly indicate a "certified" vehicle isn't necessarily a vehicle that is of any better quality than a non-certified vehicle. this is what i conclude from the certified vehicle forum on edmunds. i was surprised to learn that you are paying a premium for an insurance package for the vehicle. again - this is what i conclude. what are the terms and conditions of your purchase? i would think you can exercise your warrenty or what ever benefit you paid for with the certification and get the dealer to address both issues. you know an air filter at a parts store is going to be relatively inexpensive and probably something you could DIY if you had to, but obviously, the brakes need to be right because it is a safety related matter. perhaps the system needs to be bled, or you have a master cylinder issue or something. a second opinion might provide you leverage.
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