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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • OK, I am sure some of you have posted some of these problems, and maybe not....... If anyone can give me some advice on these it would be greatly appreciated

    I bought My 04 LT on august 12. The next week I had it back to the dealer because my rear rotors were warped, and my driver window was of track.

    2 weeks later there was a small spot on my hood that the paint was chipping away......

    I also have a howl i guess you can call it coming out of the transmission...... Dealer said it's not a problem but not what it was..... I am thinking about taking it back again for that because that is not a noise that sounds like nothing.

    And now...the car is registering double the miles that I am actually driving.....a 15 mile trip adds 30 to my car......I am taking it in for that now in a month and a half have had nothing but problems.....And can't afford to keep having a new car in the shop 2 weeks out of every month.....any info on what to do or advice would help greatly........
    thanks ahead of time
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry to hear about those problems romz77,

    I don't have any good recommendations any any of the problems you mention.

    There isn't a possibility you have vehicle in metric unit mode, is there? I would figure that would be too obvious (since speedometer and outside air temp would also be in metric units) and it wouldn't give you a double reading, just 1.6x. I have seen cases where vehicles were brought in with that type of complaint. The setting for unit display is in Driver Information Center just press the Menu button a couple of times to show the Units selection and press and hold Enter to change it.
  • thanks..... but no, that's not the problem. That is one thing I checked.....
    Thanks for trying though
  • There is a TSB out for the transmission howl. The dealership should have access to it to see if your transmission is within the build dates (you can also search prior threads--there's been a discussion about it). I also have the howl, but I've decided it's not worth tearing the transmission apart to fix it (the stereo covers it up quite nicely). The service department manager says nothing mechanically will happen if I don't have it fixed. Other than that I've had no problems with my 2004 LS (4/04 build date). I'm now up to 2,500 miles.
  • my 2004 malibu (less than 5000 miles and 4 months old) is once again in the dealers shop for the 3rd time for steering problems. steering column has already been replace, torque senser replaced and all recalibrations done "to no avail". help help help my wife is the primary driver and is afraid to drive the car, she was driving it every time the steering failed and had a "hard time" steering it. does anyone know how the LEMON LAW applies to this problem.
  • It depends on your state; I'm not positive on this, but I think that here in NY the lemon law defines your car as a lemon if you've had more than 4 attempts to repair the same thing OR if the car is out of service for more than 30 consecutive days. Obviously, a car can be a real pain in the neck and still not qualify as a lemon. :-(

    Good luck, and let us know what happens. The stories I've heard about the 04 Malibu steering problem is something that sort of gives me the creeps (but I bought the car anyway even though I knew about it).
  • Thanks!

    I did go in for the two recalls (for seat restraint and ABS, and they did update the calibration to the latest)

    They are also replacing the passenger rear window switch. The other we will just have to watch for further info.

    Glad to know that it might have the newer column, one less thing to deal with.

    Other than all that, we love the vehicle! Especially the ability to have different radio presets per driver.

    Thanks again!
  • usausa Posts: 8
    My Maxx has the howl from the transmission too. I complained to the service dept but they said it was "normal". I didn't like that answer. Then I found message # 126 in this forum. I made a print of the message and returned my Maxx and the print to the service manager. With the detail in that message, he was able to locate the GM TSB and then confirm that my transmission is one that it covers. I can't stand that howl so I am having them do the repair. The parts are on order, and hopefully the repair want result in breaking other things.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    good luck with the fix..I find it very unprofessional that a service manager was not aware of a TSB for any vehicle....I think they have a system to input issues and cross reference possible fixes..sounds like he was to lazy to try
  • Thanks usa..... i think I am going to do the same thing and print that post out and take it to the service dept. As you are, i am also worried about something else getting screwed up fixing that.... But it's something I think I should get done. Besides the howl driving me nuts, don't want something else going wrong because of it......
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    I have or had the howl. I opted to leave it as is. I have over 8k on the car and the howl has virtually disappeared.

    This is my first Chevy product. I have always had Olds and Pontiacs. I have been spoiled by their dealers. So far I have been to 2 different Chevy dealers. I am unimpressed with the both of them. The first only fixed the ABS recall because the service writer forgot to add the seatbelts on the work order.

    I went to the second for the seatbelts and an oil change. I asked the service manager if there were TSB's for the vehicle. His answer was that would be too much work to ckeck every car. He told me he was unaware of a howl in the transmission. He never heard of it.

    Yesterday, I took my wife's Bonneville to the Pontiac dealer. While I was telling him what I wanted done, he looked up the vin and told me there were no TSB's withouy my asking.
  • My 99LS has developed a strange problem. With the thermostat turned off, the heat continues to flow at full blast when the car is moving and the blower motor is turned off. On other occasions, the heat won't flow at all, even when the thermostat is turned to full heat and the blower motor turned on. This doesn't appear to be a blower motor problem; I think it's a problem with the flow of heat from the engine to the car's inside. Anyone have a idea what's going on? I appreciate any inputs.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    that is poor customer service..and a lousy service informed customer is a smart one..and obviously he wasnt interested in repeat business..since most dealers really make there money on parts and service....its a shame when the customer is smarter that the "expert"..I would file a complaint with GM on their website or call the general manager of hte dealership..and tell them of the lousy service...

  • staxstax Posts: 3
    I had the transmission "repair" done. Took a day and a half, but the dealership gave me loaner. Sound perfect now, no howl at all!! If you get it done, make sure you have them do an alignment afterwards - mine was way off and I had to go back the next morning. I was surprised they missed that.
  • first malfunction (not counting the cruise control behavior, the fuel gauge that doesn't read full, and the sunshade problem). My "Check Engine" light has been on for the past few days/70 miles.

    When this light first went on and stayed on -- steadily -- two days ago, my first reaction was to check to see if the gas cap wasn't secure. That's what I had read about on this forum and in the owner's manual, plus my salesperson had advised me about it when I took delivery.

    But the gas cap is on securely, there's no "Check gas cap" message on the info center display and everything seems normal: Plenty of power, smooth idle and still great gas mileage (26 MPG around town, stop-and-go).

    Any ideas what else it might be, and how much of a hassle I'm in for when I take this five-week-old car in for service?
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    are the old Malibus (or the "classic") decent in crashes? how are they reliablity wise? for like an 02 or 03 with V6? are they safe?

    i know the 04 is a vastly superior car, but just wanted opinion on the previous model.

  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    You will need to have your dealer do a test of fuel tank. To give them a hint tell them to look up PIC3088A

    This would explain: fuel gage and possibly the Check Engine Light although i am surprised you are not seeing a Check Gas Cap Message as well - must be due to your driving patterns.

    On the sunshade did you have them install the reinforcements? Bulletin #04-08-110-004A
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    I can't, and hopefully never will, tell you about crash worthiness on the "classic" Malibu's. However, I can attest to our '03 LS being a really fine car. We have about 17K on it, and we have had one minor problem. Several months ago, the drivers window wouldn't go up a couple of times. I took it to the dealer, and they replaced the power window switch module in the drivers more problems. We get around 24MPG in town, and have hit over 30 on the highway..even with AC on. We have taken a couple of trips with it, and on one occasion, I drove almost 800 miles in one day, and was still in pretty good shape..I'm over 60 and retired. It rides good, has good power, and has no squeaks or rattles, or wind noise..unless we have the sunroof open. I do all the maintainance myself..oil/filters every 3K, and rotate the tires, etc., as called for. If you are looking at a used one, I would have to say go for it...providing Carfax, etc., shows no history of problems on the VIN you are looking at.
    Insofar as the 04's being better...I would have to say "potentially". It seems like it took Chevy 3 or 4 years to get the classic's bugs ironed out. Based upon the comments in this forum, I would have to think that they are going thru some of the same with the new models.
  • Well, just got the car back today, steering column was replaced "again" for the 3rd time. Now the car drifts to the left on highway. It is extremely easy to make left hand turns but making right hand turns requires some effort now. This is frustrating as hell. Gonna bring it back in "once again".
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sounds like they may not have "zeroed" the torque and/or handwheel sensor after replacing the column. It is a procedure they do using their scan tool
  • Describe the trans howl as best you can. I dont think my car does it, but in case it does in the future, Ill know!

    My only problem is the "blow off valve" like noise when I really gas it. It will get up to 5-6k rpm, and make this "woooooosh" noise like it was turbocharged. Anyone else have this? I think I asked this, but forgot which message board I put it in.
  • ldbmbldbmb Posts: 4
    Just took delivery recently and have 1100 km on 2004 LS model V6, intermittent problem on several occasions where the vehicle will not shift into overdrive for in excess of 5 to 10 minutes. This has happened even after 30 minutes of continuous driving, therefore transmission is not at initial cold running temperature.
    Could this be related to "shift stabilization affecting 3-4 up shift" on earlier thread?
    Not sure of the solution, and dealer could not find anything wrong.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I thought you were all crazy when you perscribed your solution to the pulsating noise during light braking. I did try your recommendation of hitting the brakes hard around 50mph, but it did not seem to work. Well, I can now say that Mr. Deer solved that problem. When I was forced to panic stop, it apparently "seated the brakes". I no longer hear the pulsating noise. Now, I don't recommend you all go out and find a friendly neighborhood deer to try this out on, nor incur the $2800 in damages, but my brakes are better than ever thanks to Mr. Deer.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    well..glad he fixed one problem....mine is still at collision repair....had to replace the durn quarter window in the rear.....and its coming from the manufacturer..missing my maxx!
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Do you know the build date of your vehicle?? I think it is on sticker on driver door jamb.

    If prior to May 2004 then it is not the latest calibration in engine/transmission controller. your dealer has the ability to check for latest calibration on vehicle to confirm this.

    I hope someone gets their vehicle updated and reports back if it corrected issue since there are several of you with similar comment
  • '04 Maxx LS - VIN: 167044, 800 miles
    Has anyone experience issues with their transmission "flaring" 500 to 1000 RPM when accelerating from a coast (throttle closed to light acceleration)? In addition the 1-2, 2-3 shifts seem harsher than with my previous Grand Am with the same transmission.

    Dealer hooked it to a scan tool (normal) and loaded the latest PCM calibration. Aside from the "tap shift" not working any more, it stills "slips" on light acceleration from a coast.

    Is this normal?

  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Actually this function only is intended to allow you to shift to lower gears it is not a true tap up/down manumatic type of system.

    Curious what happens when you place the shifter in the "L" position with engine running. Does the cluster display "L3"? Then if you press the "-" buttons the display doesn't change to "L2"?
  • Thank for the fast reply. In the L position the readout on the dash says L3. It will not shift down to L2 or L1 with the "-". When the shifter is in L, it acts like a normal 4-spd Auto in D (rather than OD). Before the PCM update, the L position work as it should (up and down with the +/-).

    Thanks again.
  • Gleenb I have had the same problem. I got my MAXX July / 04 after a month and running a couple errands pulled into the garage and turned off the car and suddenly the fan came on, so I turned the car back on and looked at the gauge and it was almost to the red. After that I really watched it and it starts off at half then moves to the second line before the red. Took it to dealer left it and they said no problem it was norm for MAXX. It regularly runs up almost to the red. Dealer even told me to keep running the air to keep it from running into the red..suprisingly that keep it down at half. I find this crazy..I have never had a car that normally ran that what happens when I don't run any air or heat..will it run hot..what have you guys experienced? Oh yea the breaks squeak pretty says they are fine...wierd!!

    But I do LUV this car..just want a good explanation on the TEMP GAUGE thing and the SQUEAKY BRAKES.
  • ldbmbldbmb Posts: 4
    Build date was May/04 and last six digits of VIN are 222904. The service rep. indicated that there were no updates listed for my vehicle.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002

    Interesting. That certainly isn't correct. Was anything else done to vehicle or only the PCM update?

    Does your PRNDL display on shifter light up when it is dark outside??
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    You have a dealer in Canada correct (just to make sure I found the right VIN)?

    Unless the dealer already updated the calibration I believe that there is a newer one available for your vehicle (these are going to be the type of messages that get me in trouble, I think - LOL).
  • I don't think they did anything but the PCM update and the Tech II scan to the transmission. The only other service done was to disassemble the IP to fix a creaking sound (unsuccessful attempt at that).

    Just checked the PRNDL light, it does turn on with the headlights.

    I am actually more concerned about the apparent slip in the transmission from coast to light acceleration. Example: coast (closed throttle) at 30 mph - apply throttle lightly - RPM's jump from 1,200 to 2,000 with an immediately drop back down with a "bump" to 1,500 or so. It is very annoying.

  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The reason I asked about the PRNDL is to make sure someone didn't inadvertently disconnect the wiring to shifter.

    You are using a lot of automotive terms in your messages (IP, PCM, Tech II, PRNDL) so certainly indicates you know a bit about GM vehicles :)

    If I come up with any further input I will post back but I have got to believe your PCM had a fault code in it assoicated with the "+/-" not working
  • Thanks for the input. It is great that you are taking the time to help on these boards!

    The Epsilon platform is a good one. My wife and I rented an Opel Signum in Germany and bought a Maxx on our return. Too bad we can't get the CDTI here in the US...
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I spent a considerable amount of time working on the design of this product and now that it is in production I try to help owners/customers out where I can (reason I picked the name!!).
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    just as a collision in northern va...related to one of the largest car dellerships here..cant seem to get a rear quarter glass, the one on the pillar behind the rear drivers door. Mine needed replacing as a result of my fender bender and it is a back ordered item from the manufacturer..not GM, been almost a week now and they checked again today and could be another week before they get the replacement glass in....dont understand why it would take this long...isnt there a GM parts inventory on hand....?

  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    pao: I'll come over and you can drive mine for a while so you won't suffer from withdrawls.

    e2helper: My service manager asked me to come in Friday; he will personally conduct the pcm reflashing in my presence, and will look up my tranny build date. Despite being a May 3, 2004 production model, I still have a suspicion that I have one of the original tranny's in my car. If there is any way you can look that up for me ahead of time, my hat's off to you. Thanks for everything.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The electronic calibration itself it in a combined module for engine and transmission called the PCM (I think you knew that).

    In regards to transmission mechanical stuff that is a outside of my area of expertise and I don't have any detailed info on that - sorry
  • perhaps, e2helper, you can offer some light here...

    I contacted the Chevy assistance center regarding my two concerns of the Maxx; 1) cruise control that doesn't take advantage of the transmissions proportional mode between 4th and 3rd (it just shifts back and forth), 2) an information console that, even in daylight, "dims" after it first displays data during startup and thus is almost impossible to read in daylight if the sun is bright.

    I have asked my local dealer (who seems to have fixed my bad steering columm just fine) about these, but they had no answer for the cruise control and felt the display was normal.

    The rep at the other end of the line claimed his maxx shifted exactly the same with its cruise control, and therefore was normal. He did not have an answer on the info console but routed me to a customer rep who had earlier sent me a vague email message - that call ended up in her voice mail.

    Any thoughts? Or are these just normal aspects of the Maxx/Malibu platform?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry, kurtamaxx:
    no additional thoughts beyond what we discussed a while back. The PCM has a newer calibration available but I don't recall if you said you had your vehicle updated.

    The "information console" is the radio display, correct? The operation you are describing does not sound correct but I believe you mentioned previously (but I couldn't find post) that adjusting the dimmer switch had no impact on intensity. It kind of sounds like your vehicle might be operating in nighttime mode during daytime unless you are observing this only during early morning or late afternoon when sun is low on horizon and vehicle, by design, has switched into nighttime mode. Best thing to do would be to check out your vehicle next time you notice this operation and see if your headlamps are on or not. They should not be on during daytime mode (your daytime running lamps in this vehicle are your front turn signals).

    Also you could compare to another vehicle if you got a chance
  • Regarding the non-functioning "+/-" switch: the problem was a tissue box! Doh!

    Took it to the dealer and they confirmed that the switch was not functioning. They then removed the tissue box from the console later in the road test and all was well. The extra 1 mm made the difference between making the limit switch in the console -- or not.

    Thanks again for the help.
  • ldbmbldbmb Posts: 4
    Thanks, I do have a dealer in Canada, and I will request that they re-check for an updated calibration for my vehicle to correct this anoying problem.
  • you once mentioned you could check to see what a vehicle calibration should be. What info can I provide to help verify my vehicle is up to date wrt PCM module?

    As for the display console, I will check to see if headlights are on during the day (to my knowledge, they aren't).
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Thank you for letting us know root cause (LOL). I was a little concerned about your experience since you had related it to the PCM calibration update. Glad to know it was something else and that it was fixed.

    I have seen something similar on Pontiac G6 GT that I am currently driving - cell phone charger cord wrapped around shifter preventing me from doing Tap Up/Down (which this vehicle does have)
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    If you have a V6 engine (which you do) and your vehicle was built prior to May 5, 2004 (approx) you will not have latest calibration in your PCM unless dealer updated vehicle.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    e2helper: Today I had the PCM reflash done on the 3-4 upshift problem, idle problem, hard start, etc. All went well. I took it out on the highway and the car locks into overdrive earlier than the 60mph previously encountered. I think the car even idles a bit better, although this might be psychosymatic since it did not idle very hard to begin with. Nonetheless, it did not remove all of the "rough idle". I have had a few episodes of rough starting in the past week, so I'll keep you updated on if it solved that problem.
    The Service Manager and I tried to find the plate which has the tranny build date on it. We searched in vain. Instead, he pulled up my record and it identifies my broadcast number and traceability number. Can any of those help you to determine if my tranny falls into the 4016-4126 (Jan 16, 2004 - May 5, 2004) build dates? I'm assuming mine does since my scanned date was 5/1/04. Obviously the tranny had to be built prior to them puting it in my car and scanning it in! I do have the howling noise to the tranny; if mine is one of the affected, I plan on doing nothing. My Service Manager said that it would be a mistake to tinker with the factory installed tranny over just a noise. The consequences could be severe. Since I will be buying a GMPP within the year, I'll just let it ride. However, I would like to know if my tranny falls within the affected dates, simply for reference. Thanks.
  • I remember getting one PCM calibration at a Chevrolet clinic in Burbank early this year, but I think that was before May 5th. I'll check with my local dealer and see if they know of this new upgrade.

    Incidently, Chevrolet customer support finally got back to me wrt my queries, with an apology for slow response, no useful info, and a recomendation to again take my vehicle to the dealer. I advised them that sometimes the dealer did not __have__ the latest information (the ABS recall took two weeks to resolve because Chevrolet sent the recall before giving the dealers the calibration info).

    Wrt Customer support, while they are polite, they rated an F in terms of usefulness.

    The Chevy sponsored clinic remains the high spot of my Malibu ownership. Actually being able to talk to real engineers was useful and helpful.
  • cadellcadell Posts: 10
    Have a Maxx with 7000 miles on it. I notice that the temperature gauge runs about half way to the next mark. Usually only happens during long idles or slow speeds? Outside temperatures are cool? Dealer said it was normal. Did a pressure test on the cooling system and passed just fine.

    Every car I have ever owned has never done this. This car did not do this till about 4000 miles on it? Only in extreme desert conditions has a car of mine ever sneaked up passed the mid line?

    Other than this I have no complaints. Anybody out there have any suggestions?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    sorry cadell, its normal. The normal running temp will show the needle just a teeny tiny bit above the half way line. In stop and go traffic, the needle will go half way between that line and the 3/4ths line. At that time, the second fan kicks in to drop the temperature. It sure made me nervous as well. I did some self checks, and the fans did what they are designed to do.
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