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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • You know, I really like this car. We bought it a little over a month ago and am amazed at the quality, etc. for the price. BUT, those Firestone Affinities are something else. I never really tested them but could tell they were not very good. Then I checked the reviews on and this and other sites. These have got to be about the worst tires ever made. With only 1,050 miles on them I replaced them with Dunlop SP Sport A2's. Night vs day. Handling, ride, everything. I did not want to die.
  • I just wanted to thank everyone who posts here for the excellent discussions I've read about over the past 3 years. On Monday, I returned my leased Malibu LS in and got a Cavalier. I ended up not getting another Malibu for one reason - money saved. With a daughter still in college, one that graduated less than 2 years ago and two more at home, I went for the least expensive car with the features I wanted/needed. (No cracks about "jumping into the fire from the frying pan" - I owned a 1984 Cavalier that I had for 10 years and put over 161,000 miles on it. It was one of the better cars that I've owned, from a reliability and cost standpoint. It didn't look like much at the end - body rust was a big problem with those cars.)

    Before I go, I would like to offer my thoughts on 3 years of experience with the Malibu LS. Overall, I have to rate this vehicle as very good. From a mechanical standpoint, it has been reliable. My Chevy dealer did have to fix the brake/rotor problem (under warranty) and did replace the leaking manifold gasket (again under warranty) that has been previously discussed on this board. Both of these issues were detected and fixed during routine maintenance check-ups, so they weren't much of an inconvenience for me. I think the ride and the level of features you get in a Malibu is hard to beat, for its class.

    A final note. I've read a number of messages that compare the Malibu with foreign cars (usually Honda or Toyota). My oldest daughter bought a brand-new 2001 Honda Civic after graduating from college. The car came standard with the same Firestone tires as my Malibu. In addition, the paint on the front bumper and hood is starting to peel, after less than 20,000 miles.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I hope your Cavalier will give you a great many trouble free miles as your last one did. I have tremendous respect for folks raising a big family and still able to make ends meet. Between work, time, hobbies, food and everything there's a lot of sacrifice to be made (certainly including one's choice of wheels :) )
  • Hi.'all....been thinking about my plain vanilla '02 Bu, and want to jazz it up a bit. Anyone know anything about adding a sunroof, or maybe a rear spoiler to their 'Bu. I've also seen some window vents added....d'you know if these are readily available from a dealer? Had my Bu about 5 months now, after 10 years and 193,000 miles on a Lumina...very happy with both, actually love the 'Bu even tho it's a plain power windows, seats, cruise....but a great ride. Still only about 23-24 MPG, but I attribute that to the bitter cold we've been getting up here in the New England area...need to warm it up a touch before driving it.
    So far, no complaints about the Affinity tires, but I figure to leave 'em for about 25-30K miles, then see what's available. No sense spending $500-700 when I don't have to.....
    Any help on the add-ons would be greatly appreciated.... thanks.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    You can buy a spoiler and vent visors from J.C. Whitney for a better price than almost anywhere else. If you do a spoiler, be VERY careful about drilling the trunklid..measure 3 or 4 times, and drill once. Then be sure you seal the holes carefully, or you open the door to rust. I would think a sunroof could be a real problem..and expensive, unless you know a shop that specializes in this..and ask for references to see how well they really do. One item that is easy and cheap is the factory mudflaps. They are only about $36/set from the dealer or chevy web-site, and they fit perfectly, and look opinion. Plus, they do a pretty good job of keeping lots of crud off the car.
    We got our LS loaded, so everything was already on it..still debating on the vent visors. Wind noise isn't too bad with a window cracked, but they may be good to have when it starts raining.
    We're getting about 26/27 combined mileage so far with about 1500 miles on it. Warmer weather and more miles should get us up to near 30 on the road. So far, I have no problems with the Affinity tires. They have a UTQG of 500 which means they will probably wear like iron, but with that high a rating, they may not have the best of grip for aggressive cornering, etc. Thats ok with me as I didn't buy this car to run road rallies with. I did catch myself doing almost 90 the other day on the interstate, and the car and tires were smooth as butter.
  • thanks for the help. deminin....very much appreciated.
  • bryancosbryancos Posts: 282
    A good source for the GM accessories for the malibu is (competitive pricing compared to jcwhitney for some of the parts)

    I picked up a bug shield for $25. They also have the molded splash guards ($25 for set of four MSRP $36) and painted rear spoilers ($250 MSRP $359). Check the following URL for part numbers and then plug them into the search engine at - jsp?make=3&model=5&year=1&sid=5424830638236251
  • jdmortonjdmorton Posts: 24

    You're right, it does take a lot of juggling with a large family to get what you want out of life (just ask my wife); but I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world. With four daughters, Father's Day is getting to be like Christmas for me. Of course, now that they are older, I keep saying elopement is an option <grin>.

    I'll stop in from time to time on this message board to see how things are going. Like I said, I really did like the Malibu, and I continue to recommend it to people who are in the market for that class of car.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Yes, you are right..GMpartsdirect has cheaper prices. However, I don't like to recommend them because of their high shipping charges. They are the website for Flow Chevrolet, and what they save a person on price, they make up for on shipping and handling. The mud flaps are a small savings through them, but I am probably going to add a hood protector before we start heading out on the summer trips, and my local Chevy dealer has a better deal. Flow will save me about $10 on the protector, but adds almost $25 shipping/handling/tax. The local dealer just adds the part to his next shipment, and when it comes in..about a week..he just charges me sales tax. This is a savings of about $14 under what Flow would charge. Call me picky, but I just have a thing about ordering from sources that try to jack up their shipping and handling charges to make their profit. I would rather they be honest and up front, and price their items fairly. Well, thats my soapbox for today..use gmpartsdirect carefully, and compare the final price before you buy from them.
  • jdmortonjdmorton Posts: 24
    The Internet is great for research and finding out what is available. It is also great for ordering items that you can't get at all locally (or in your country). But, if you can go to a parts store (or clothing store with a web page or catalog), you can usually order whatever it is you want, pay the sales tax, and save on the shipping charges.

    Some people order from the Internet from store web sites like Wal-Mart, Sears, JC Penny Home Depot, and then are "surprised" when they find out that they have to pay hefty shipping charges (sometimes handling charges as well). Also, most (if not all) of these stores allow you to place an order and pick it up, also saving on the shipping charges.

    Of course, some people are willing to pay these other charges for either the sheer convenience of being able to order at 2 AM on Sunday morning or they hate to go shopping.

    For some people, time is money. Paying $25 dollars shipping and having it delivered right to your front door might be a bargain, if you work hours that don't allow you to get to the store when it is open or do a lot of traveling. For others, their time is worth a lot more than $25/hr, so if it would take an hour to pick up the item (round trip), then they might be happy to pay these charges.
  • wilfj1wilfj1 Posts: 52
    I've never had to replace a windshield on a car as we just don't go down gravel roads. However, I've had a stone through the shield after one month on our malibu. Now this weekend another stone, just a chip on the top right side. Now is this something common to the Malibu? is it the low profile of the hood ? Still have our 1991 lumina and not one chip on the glass. Has anyone experinced wind shield damage ?
  • hobasilhobasil Posts: 7
    Hello everybody,

    I came across a 1999 ex-opp white Lumina for 5 thousand Canadian. It has the 3800II, 4t65e transmission, recaro seats, stiff suspension, H rated tires(max speed 130mph) and the odometer says 147k km (92k miles). After taking it for a drive last week I found no apparent flaws such as pulling to one side, engine whine or rough shift points. To my surprise when I check the dipstick for the automatic transmission fluid, it is showing bright pink fluids which indicates the fluid is fairly new.

    What do you have to say about this folks? The price is right and the car is in relatively good shape, I know it would be hard pressed to find a late model vehicle in the 5000 dollar (CDN) price range, and this one has the 3800II in it which is a big plus. I have always enjoy the power the 3800II outputs, and its smoothness and reliability. Anyways, I would like to take the car home next week unless somebody comes with a convincing reason for me not to.

    This is my first time car shopping, I would appreciate any suggestions and comments. Thanks in advance.

  • spratt1spratt1 Posts: 53
    I've not read of particular problems with the Malibu windshield, and have no such problems yet. But, we had a similar experience with our Volvo. We had a 1995 850 for about 5 years. Replace one windsheild due to rocks, and the second one had a lot of chips when we got rid of the car. We have a 1999 V70, which is essentially the same car, and have very few chips at all. Your problem is just probably luck (or unluck). Did you make a change in the route you drive? Is there additional construction in the area that may have trucks loosing dirt/rocks, etc.?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I replaced the windshield on my 2001 Malibu last fall. Can't really blame a stone flying off the wheel of a car on the Malibu.

    I am starting to have very serious problems witht he brakes. Lots of chattering at high speed braking(above 50 mph). Will take it to the dealership this week to see if it is the rotors. Is this something that is covered as part of a TSB? I have 25k miles on the vehicle and rotors should not wear or warp in that short time. Any thoughts?
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    1. Windshield. There is probably nothing in the design of the Malibu that would increase the chances of getting a rock chip. Check your hood carefully to see if there if evidence of a rock hitting there first, then bouncing up into the windshield. There's not much to be done with this..stay back from trucks, and keep good insurance. I went for years with only minor chips, then in one 3 month period, I lost 2 windshields to rocks...both in the same car. Luckily I've had State Farm for decades, and they called it bad luck...and didn't jack my rates.

    2. Rotors. If you have bad rotors at 25K, I would imagine that the warranty will cover you. I haven't looked at mine yet, but I understand that the rotors just slip onto the spindle, and are held in place by the wheel and lug nuts. If this is so, it makes the rotors very easy to replace. However, if this is the way its built, it would be VERY important to torque the lug nuts properly. If some mechanic changes a wheel, and puts it on with an air wrench set for 150 lbs, I would imagine he could really warp the rotors. A car built with slip-on rotors, should have the nuts tightened in stages, in the proper sequence, and the final torque done with a good manual torque wrench.
  • jdmortonjdmorton Posts: 24
    1. On my 2000 Malibu, I had to have the front brakes and rotors replaced and rear brakes refaced - after only a little over 20,000 miles. All of the work was done under warranty. I believe if you do a search of this Malibu topic, you will find that Malibu front brakes and rotors have been an issue that's been discussed previously. Some model years are more prone to it than others - I think the 2000's were. Interestingly, while my Chevy dealer was doing the work on the brakes, they discovered that the intake manifold gasket was leaking. They had to order a part and did the work about 2 weeks after the brakes. Again, this was all done under warranty.

    2. Speaking of bad luck and windshields, I had an 84 Cavalier that I had to have the windshield replaced because a stone chipped it and then the crack traveled all the way across my windshield at eye level. Less than a week after getting the windshield replaced, another stone chipped the the new windshield. Fortunately, that chip could be repaired. Like Deminin, I've had the same insurance company for years (still do). They attributed it to bad luck as well and didn't raise my rates. It's the only claim I've had in about 15 years or so.
  • robby8robby8 Posts: 17
    I own a 2000 Malibu LS with 51 000 km on it (about 30 600 miles)and have had the rotors changed 3 times and machined 3 times. The first time the rotors warped the dealer replaced them as it was just after I bought the car. After that I had to pay each time. The dealer said that this was normal wear and tear and that GM would not pay. If the dealer covers you after 25 000 miles then you have a good dealer. Good Luck
  • wilfj1wilfj1 Posts: 52
    attn Hobasil.... I would'nt wait to long or I'll buy it ! There a fine auto and in the condition you have outline and at $5000 Can. can't go wrong.
     I looked at one 2 weeks ago 128km excellent condition but the price was $9800. out of line but it was a private sale and owner could wait.
     the early lumina's had rear brake problems, big time but the design was changed I think in 1995.
    Good Luck.
  • buguybuguy Posts: 16
    Brakes are very inexpensive for the malibu. Easy to change the pads and the rotors with only two bolts. The rotors fall off when you lift off the calipers. The pads pop out and back in as easily as any car made. Wagner pads are $34 for both front wheels and the rotors are $26 apiece. $86 and change will be a front brake job if someone is the least bit mechanical, has 30 minutes on a saturday and has a screw driver and SAE socket wrench set. For the few problems the malibu has there might not be a better car for the money in its class. Looking forward to a test drive of the 2004 Epsilon platform car with the 2.2 engine. If it is any where near as good as my 99' I might just be tempted. I expect it to be much like the camry to drive with somewhat better handling. Hope GM kept the good automatic we are use to.
  • Where can i get these Waner pads? Are they at any local auto store, and what about the rotars for $26, are they Waner too?
  • buguybuguy Posts: 16
    chevymalibu19 I was able to get the pads at a small NAPA parts store in my town. I don't need rotors yet at 76,000 miles but priced them when I got the pads. Most any place will have them and between $26 and $30 should be the price anywhere. I am in the North East so my price could even be high. I should really be able to tell how good this car is by 200,000 miles. Gonna take a few more years but if it keeps running like it does now, I will enjoy the time with it.
  • bryancosbryancos Posts: 282
    You're right... shipping costs must really vary... It cost me $8 in shipping for the hood protector, for a total of about $32 rounded off. Installed it on Friday and it fits like a glove, and no drilling or 3M tape was required. It's low profile and looks good w/ the tinted windows.

    Had a burned out headlight, so replaced both lowbeams with Sylvania Silver Star bulbs... (19.99 ea @Autozone and there's currenly a $10 mail in rebate on a pair) WOW! What a difference in night time driving... they're better than the PIAAs I had installed in my Envoy at a fraction of the cost. The DRLs appear brighter as well.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Well just got my Malibu back from the dealer. had them check outthe brakes and yes the rotors were warped as well a a leak in the rear cylinder. They replaced the front rotors and the rear cylinder for free under warranty without me even asking. Not bad considering ihave 25k miles on my 2001 Malibu. The service guy even admitted that the brakes are a weak point on the car.

    They also tried to get me to replace the front pads since I have new rotors. I declined.

    I guess the next thing I can expect is the dreaded intake manifold leak.
  • larryt22larryt22 Posts: 125
    Has anybody noticed the Edmund's Consumer Rating keeps dropping on the new Malibu? Just a few weeks ago it was 9.4 and now it is down to 9.1. Anybody have an explanation of this?
  • jdmortonjdmorton Posts: 24
    I had to have the rotors in my 2000 Malibu LS replaced under warranty, and my dealer replaced the pads as well (again, under warranty). However, if he wouldn't have replaced the pads under warranty, I would have asked him to. My rotor replacement was around 21,000 miles and 2-1/2 years of getting the car.

    How far between brake jobs do you normally drive? I find that I usually get between 35,000 and 40,000 miles, but it's been as low as 30,000 (especially since my two oldest are now driving).

    Just from the peace-of-mind aspect, I would want new pads with the new rotors. But then, that's just me and my $0.02;-).
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    Hey guys...I'm obviously new to this "town hall" and I think it's great. I've gotten TONS of info from it. I see it as kind of a support group.
    The car: I'm 16 years old and own a 1997 Malibu LX with everything except power windows or locks (I guess those are big omissions). I bought the car with 48,417 miles on the odo at a used car place in south Denver. I got it for $5,000 but there was one drawback: a salvage title. It seemed fine and since the rebirth of the Malibus in 97 I've wanted one. Every thing was great for the first couple of months. In October of 2002 I went out to start the car and nothing. When I turned the key to the on position none of the dash board indicator lights came on and there were no chimes. The engine did crank however, but didn't turn over. Good thing my grandparents live right across from me, so I was able to borrow their car to get to school. Anyway, when I got home that night, I tried to start it, and of course nothing. This went on for about 3 more days and on the 4th day the car just mysteriously started...nothing funny, she just started right up. Since it didn't happen again, I felt no need to take it in or have it looked at. Thank god that hasn't happened since. I have had other problems pop up though: In February my alternator went out when I had only 55K on her. Then they told me my rear control arms and my intake manifold gasket had to be replaced. My alternator was $360 @ Century Chevrolet in Broomfield, CO., my rear control arms were $260, and just today I got the bill for the intake manifold gasket: a whopping $754.60. Of course today they found two new brakes have only about 500mi or so on them and my engine mounts need replacing. I suspected the engine mount thing though because at speeds of 50 mph + the car shakes really really bad on the highway. That's going to be $250 and I'm gonna do the brakes myself tomorrow. HOLY COW! That was a mouthful. Anyway, beside the mechanical problems I love my bu to death. It's great for long drives and easily fits 4 friends. Everyone tells me I should trade it in but I can't afford to pay the loan off and no one (not even if I traded it in) would give me $5000 for a Malibu with a salvage title. Anyway I guess the point of this article was to introduce myself and my car. By the way I have the 3.1 V6 (love the power). If anyone else has had any of the problems, please respond. Oh! I'm also gonna get the bra for it which includes the front end cover and hood cover with air deflector for $85 at John Elway Chevrolet in Denver...if anyone has found a better deal, let me know. Anyway, that's me and my bu. P.S. - After they changed my intake maifold gasket my serpintine belt (I think that's how you spell it) is sqweeking just a bit. Not too much, but just enought to where I can hear it. I found some small cracks about a month ago so I'm thinking I should replace it. Do you guys think this should be done at the dealership, at and independant place, or by myself? I have the service manual for the car, but I'm not too great under the hood...I guess I should try it and see what happens...Just kidding.
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    It's me again...In the winter mornings here in the Denver metro area, before my car warms up, there is a grinding noise. It almost sounds like there is no oil in the crankcase, but there is no oil pressure light or anything of that sort (and yes, i keep plenty of oil in it and I check it at every fill up). It's fine once it's at normal operating temps. I wonder whats up?!? Does anyone else experience this?
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    I did my brakes by was a lot easier than I had thought. No more squeak. Does anyone know what the "SERVICE VEHICLE SOON" light means. It hasn't came on, I'm just curious. In our manual it says there is like a DRL malfunction or something but I have no idea what that means.
  • jtrujillo86jtrujillo86 Posts: 300
    WOW! It's like I can't stop writing. Anyway, since I have owned my car (I've had it for 10 thousand miles) I have used conventional Valvoline 5W30 Engine oil in her. What do you guys think about Valvoline DuraBlend or SynPower 5W30? (I'd rather not use SynPower; it's kinda expensive.) She only has 56,000 miles on the odo, but I figured at the next oil change I could try it. Has anyone had any noticeable improvement with it? How about with Restore? I bought a can of that and it says "use at every oil change". I'll see if I can feel an improvement in power. I'll report back on both DuraBlend 5W30 and Restore.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    jdmorton: The dealership wasn't offering to replace the pads under warranty. The service technician indicated there wasn't much wear on the pads. I told him if there was a problem (which ther hasn't been) I would check in with them the next oil change.

    larryt: Probably had a couple of more ratings added to the list that were "subpar". It happens.
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