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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • it is a malibu ls with 114,000 miles on it, it's rides kinda bumpy but i was told by other malibu owners that its fine, the rpm are at a right place traveling 55, I live in NYC and i use 89 type fuel. Besides an air filter is there anything else that could cause this problem, like a cylinder not working or a plug problem?
  • I think it is just another Maxx thing. Mine does it all the time and my husband (the mechanic) says not to worry. So I don't.
  • I think it is the best car ever. It is the most versatile car I have ever owned and has the greatest features in a small car. Mine is loaded and I would not trade it for anything. I had to have the first one bought back because of all the first year problems and I had them all in one car. But turned right around and bought another one. I get a lot of comments from people who think it is a really nice looking car. Your wife will love this car. My husband doesn't get to drive ours very much. We have a great dealer and no we have no major concerns except what we will do if they discontinue this car and I need to replace it years from now. There is nothing out there that compares for the price. I say go for it. You will be very happy I am sure.
  • Do you know if it is possible for the dealer to turn up the amount of steering assist at Hwy. speeds? I know the system is all computer controlled was just wondering. 05 Maxx LT Thanks
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    First, switch to 87 octane. You are wasting your money using 89 octane. Second, your plugs are long overdue for replacement. Third, since you are in NYC, you have a lot of stop and go traffic. That could be most of the problem. Here's an article someone posted on the Oldsmobile forum regarding bad gas mileage.

    Also do you have any "check engine lights" on ?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    From a dealer standpoint, no, they don't have any ability to modify the "feel" of the system unless a new calibration were released for vehicle - none ever has been that I am aware of. As you might expect the system does have a lot of flexibility in calibration during development phase, however. The same basic system is used on Malibu and G6 but different calibrations are used for those as well as with 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder engine due to vehicle weight and handling requirements
  • According to my owners manual there is a "service engine soon" (I forget the exact name) indicator that is supposed to be in the lower left corner of the instrument console.

    I have never seen this light show up during startup. Is it supposed to light up during start?

    If not, How can I find out if this light is working?
  • Are you sure you want to turn UP the assist? Wouldn't this decrease the road "feel" at highway speeds and make the steering feel less tight?
  • bhw77bhw77 Posts: 101
    Hi gang,
    I am planning my semi-annual dealer visit for oil change and there are couple annoying problems I want to address. One is - there is a ticking noise then engine is cold and it goes away with warm up. Sounds like lifters on my old Mazda (btw I know that there is no lifters in this engine). Any idea?
    I can bet my money that there will be "problem cannot be replicated" response...
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I would honestly get a second opinion...from someone other than a dealer..for the transmission....try one of the speciality shops.....Im not so sure from your description that is it is the transmission....but have it checked again..or by a different dealer......have you checked the trans fluid levels?...I assume the 02 isnt a sealed system like the 04 is...the 04s had a transmission howl..but it was noticed from start to low acceleration....the clunk sound is also still an issue in the 04/05 maxxes to some degree...I can hear is slightly in mine...but with 57K on 04..its running fine......again...get that second opinion...
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    According to my owners manual there is a "service engine soon" (I forget the exact name) indicator that is supposed to be in the lower left corner of the instrument console.

    According to your owners manual that light will turn on briefly when you turn the key to on.
  • Thanks. It doesn't. Looks like (sigh) another trip to the dealer is in order!
  • xkiddx13xkiddx13 Posts: 122
    besides the fact that its a malibu, go with the '05 cleaner look and and some more of the bugs have been worked out.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    It is the "Service Vehicle Soon" ;)

    Owner's manual for initial 2004 model was incorrect. It was corrected for 2nd printing of 2004 manual

    If you want to force on the indicator to light up one thing you could do (if you want to try this) is pop open hood and take a look for the coolant recovery bottle attached to front of dash. Look for wiring connector to this bottle and disconnect it from the bottle. Now turn on ignition and wait for about 10 seconds. The LOW COOLANT message will show up in Driver Info Center, chime sounds and the "Service Vehicle Soon" should illuminate. Just plug back in and the lamp will go off in a few seconds.
  • I bought a used '05 Maxx with 11, 000 miles in December. When I test drove the car I noticed pulsating in the brakes. The dealer said it was because the car had been sitting for a while and fixed the problem for me. Now the brakes are screeching a bit. I mostly notice it first thing in the a.m. or after the car has sat for a long time. I'm wondering if this is something I need to worry about and have checked out or if it's normal.
  • Yup, it's "normal. I asked my dealer mechanic about it just yesterday. His reply was a "GM went cheap" look and said that a lot of GM vehicles form rust on the rotors overnight (or in my case, over the weekend). The type of steel used in the rotors that come with the car must be prone to quickly forming rust. Once the brakes have been applied a few times, the rust is gone.

    I have this problem after driving in rain or snow, then leaving the car sit for the weekend, or once in a while overnight.
  • pwd666pwd666 Posts: 5
    I'm having a problem with my E-brake indicator. It keeps randomly beeping. It usually occurs when you hit a bump or when it decides to go on. I have checked the brake fluid and it's topped off. I'm trying to get at the release switch to replace it but after looking from underneath I was unable to see it. Does anyone know how to get at it? Do I have to remove the entire dash to get at it? Also where is the turn light flasher module located? I checked both fuse boxes and they don't seem to be there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    This is for a 1999 3.1 l
  • First, thanks E2 for note on the "service vehicle soon".. will try your suggestion soon.

    Wrt Brake rotors:

    Has anyone else found that (thanks to bad wheel torquing, etc) their disk brake rotors become warped and cause braking pulsing, __if__ the wheels are then remounted and retorqued __properly__, after a time (say 500 miles or so) the shuddering will diminish or possibly go away?

    I've noticed that on my '04 Maxx. A real pity most dealers haven't a clue on how to properly torque wheels (had to go to a good tire shop for that).
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    OK, I'm having problems getting my radio to do what I want. Every time I get in my car, it starts playing back the CD that is in there. I hit the band button and it goes to FM2. So I cycle through to FM1, listen for a little while and then shut off the car. I hit the lock button on my fob. I can turn the car back on and it comes back up to FM1. However, if I leave it for a number of hours or overnight, its back to CD->FM2. What is going on? Is it possible to COMPLETELY reset the radio (erase ALL stored settings for both fobs?)
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    22k miles and I need new brakes. Every time I come to a stop they screech. I've washed the car to no avail, so it isn't dust. I think 22k is pretty bad for brakes, but I do like the stopping quality and quietness of the OEM pads. Is there a way to get that, but have the pads last longer?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Once the metal is bent it will not go away unless they put it on a grinder and resurface the rotor. If you are convinced that bad wheel torquing is the cause of the rotors warping (I highly doubt it is), then have the dealership replace them for free.
  • marlapmarlap Posts: 18
    I have an 05 maxx with 15000 miles and have had it only about a week. So far I love the car!! The question I have is in the morning when I go out to start the car and turn the defrost on to deice the windows, when i return about 10 minutes later there is a strong smell of burning oil in the car. I have the air set on recirculation but was wondering if anyone else smells this or should i take it back to dealership? The smell disappears once I get moving. Also does anyone have any recommendations on what type of roof rack to put on? Really just for looks or the occasional luggage. thanks for any input!!
  • I highly doubt that you need new brakes at 22k. What most likely is the problem is the brake pad glide grooves need to be lubed. Easy job use Permatex Brake Lube. With that few miles 99% of the time all you need is some Permatex.
  • xkiddx13xkiddx13 Posts: 122
    i belive if you get a certified pre-owned vehicle your better off then buying a brand new one, that way you dont lose so much money driving the car off the lot, but regular used cars from some shady used car lot, ya i would never go there.
  • Chevy guarantees the rotors for 12K miles and that's that. After that you are on your own, as I am at 32K miles.

    No doubt if the rotor metal is __really__ bent, it can't be unbent by retorquing.
    But for milder cases, I'm not so sure - if a bend is caused by one or two bolts being too tight, then possibly the bend can be removed by overtightening of bolts on the __opposite__ side of the wheel. All depends what part of the rotor/flange assembly is being bent.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry it took so long to reply - had to wait for whatever upgrade occurred yesterday.

    Turn signal flasher is part of hazard switch assembly. There was a campaign (recall) on the turn signal/flasher which applied to some 1999 Malibu - so you might want to check into that - #04098A

    The park brake switch is part of the park brake lever assembly. You don't need to remove the dash even if you were trying to replace the whole assembly. I don't remember how hard it is to see. I know you might have to move the carpet slightly out of the way.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    The personalization feature for key fobs for radio was disabled in 2005 model year because of owner complaints that it was confusing.

    I have seen some cases however where just being confusing didn't explain what was being seen. I am not sure if this is the case with your vehicle however. First of all do you use both key fobs with vehicle or only one? Other thing I wanted to mention is that the system remembers the key fob used to UNLOCK the vehicle - LOCK button on fob doesn't mean anything to personalization feature. You can't erase setting but you could program them to be the same (for at least the radio presets). That wouldn't help with remembering last CD track or Band though.

    I will check into this a little further
  • Success at last at least I think so anyway. The dealer had my Maxx for three days and had three techs working on it. They took the headliner out completely, removed all the foam insulation they put in before and found that the drain plugs in the sunroof were loose and causing some of the rattles. They put more insulation and re secured everything and the car is so much quieter. Like the difference between a room with curtains on the window and one without. No more rattles, the dome light is nice and tight and the sunroof cover opens all the way too. :shades: Makes me very happy :)
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    If you are defrosting a window, you shouldn't have the air set for recirculation. Try using the fresh air setting and see if you still smell oil.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    I believe on the new Malibu's, when you set the HVAC mode to defrost or deice, it automatically cancels recirculate mode and force outside air only.
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