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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • I have a 99 and am a happy camper. This car rules! Just enjoy it, do the regular maintenance and an occasional intake manifold gasket, and that's all there is to it!

    For those of you with 1997 and 1998 Malibus, GM is recalling those vehicles due to power steering problems. Here's the link
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Saw my first Malibu yesterday after I left the Chevy dealer to play the HOT BUTTON game. Sadly, they weren't open unlike some on Sundays. It was a lady with 2 kids and she was driving next to us. I know it was an LT, white with I think a beige interior. It also had a spoiler which made it look good. At the dealer, I also saw a lot of MAXXs on the lot, but I don't exactly care for them. The rear looks kinda bad. The darker colors on the Bu really make it look better.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Dark colors on all Malibus look better. The silver trim is then more visible.

    I like the Maxx a lot. I would buy one over the sedan most likely.
  • 237kmd237kmd Posts: 3
    Thank you! I'm breathing a bit easier now. We certainly plan to get the regular checkups and now know to keep an eye on the intake manifold gasket. Keeping my fingers crossed...
  • I am looking at a 2001 Malibu Std, it has 26900 miles and is really clean looking. It has power windows,locks, cruise, cd, split back seat. the car is a Beige color. The dealer said that they just turned the rotors and put new brakes on it. I looked at the service record and it's basically had no problems. They said they will sell it for $7700. Good deal or not? I can get a G.M. master care warranty fpr about $1000 for 3 years 36,000 miles, do I need the warranty?. Please let me know what you think. Thanks
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    It sounds like a car worth considering. The miles are fairly low, and if its coming from a Chevy dealer, they have probably had one of their mechanics check it out good. If they keep it on their lot, its probably ok..they usually wholesale the junkers quickly. As for price, check the "used car" sections here on Edmunds. There are areas where you can can get a pretty good idea on what the price should be. If the dealer is asking $7700, he probably has a generous profit in that should be able to work that down. As for the extended warranty, read it over carefully..especially the exclusion items. Many of these warranties aren't worth the paper they are written on, or they are so pricey that you would have to have several major troubles before they pay for themselves. And, be sure that it is indeed coming from GM..some dealers sell warranties from 3rd party companies who go belly up before the ink on the contract is dry.
  • The dealer had it marked down to $8000 from $8995, I worked on him until he would go to $7700. The Dealer only sells GM warranty's, he does not sell any 3rd party type warranty. I have looked in Kelly Blue book, Nada, Edmunds and all shoh the car to be in the mid $8500 range. I just wasn't sure how accurate these guides are in todays market. See my previous post about cars condition and options. Thanks
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    It sounds like you've done your homework. If all the major rating services put the car in the mid-8's, $7700 would probably be a fair price. Kelly/NADA/Edmunds are all usually within a few dollars of each other, and very close to the real world prices. If the car fits your needs and you like it, go for it. You probably won't get a much better car for twice the price. Good luck!
  • Called a local garage highly recommended by a co-worked. They said they have done this repair a "million times" and is a common problem on GM cars. Their quote for a new intake gasket:

    $525 (price includes full radiator flush)

    My first impression was this was a great price with the flush.

    Optional extras:

    $27 Oil Change
    $215 Full tune-up (he pushed me on this and said this would be a good idea for a '99 Bu at this point - includes plug replacement, filter, PCV valve, etc.) This seemed high to me.

    Any thoughts on my Bu needing the tune-up and does this price sound right? It has never been tuned. Is a '99 LS with 37K and been driven 4.5 years.

  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    The oil change sounds reasonable and so does the gasket replacement including radiator flush.
    On the other hand, if they have done this job "a million times", they should be able to do it in less time and charge less. But that's how they make their money, they charge the number of hours the job takes according to their shop manual(Chilton or other).

    The tune up I would do myself. The air filter and the PCV valve are really easy to replace. The spark plugs may need replacement. If they are of the platinum variety they can stay until you reach 100k miles (I would take a look at them anyway). Even if you replace the belts it should not cost more than $ 100 altogether.
  • 237kmd237kmd Posts: 3
    Well, I've had my Malibu for 5 days and trouble's a starting. First, the windshield washer doesn't work (which the dealer passed on the safety...hmmm..)He says it froze when they washed it, but they'll fix it Friday ( a must for the saftey inspection - their expense). I told my husband to try the fan on 1 and 2, and, you guessed it, doesn't work. He told them about that too, also to be fixed by Saturday. Canada has a 7 day "lemon" return policy I'm sure, so we just might be needing that option if things don't look better by Saturday (the 7th day)
  • genetageneta Posts: 23
    Does anyone have a good explanation for the total cost to own by Edmunds? I'm interested in the Maxx with all the bells and whistles, power moon roof, MX Radio, DVD player -- however I'm also interested in the Honda Accord EX-V6.

    Checked out the total cost to own and the Maxx comes out at $36,847 based on a cash price of $23,387 versus the Accord at $29,188 based on cash price of $25,910. Looks like the major differences are 1st year Depreciation - $4,892 (Accord) vs. $8,744 (Maxx) and Maintenance (5-years) $3,384 (Accord) vs. $7,639 (Maxx).

    Something seems out of kilter that a car based on a price $2,000 less over 5-years costs $7,000 to own. To me that looks like a value swing of $9,000 to the Honda. What is the deal here? I'm looking for enlightment!!
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Your note pique'd my interest..I had never really looked at Edmunds TCO figures. If you go into the detail on this item, you will note a couple of interesting points. First, I will give them the increased first year depreciation as the Honda in perceived (note, I said perceived) slightly better car. However, if you look at Edmunds projected maintainance numbers, you will see that they are forcasting $5400 for repair costs during the 5th year. I don't think so!!! Are they saying that every Malibu is going to have a new engine and transaxle somewhere around 60,000 miles??? I call that a total BS figure. Then, even with this totally wrong number, the Malibu figures out to cost 50 cents per mile as opposed to the Honda costing 44 cents. This again is a rather bogus number, and is based upon what the IRS allows for tax purposes for someone who is using the car purely for business. When I was working for IBM, they reimbursed our car usage at the rate of about $110/month and 9 to 12 cents per mile, depending upon what the current gas prices were. They had a rather large accounting staff which looked at these costs closely because it came to millions per year. I would really take these Edmunds numbers with a big grain of salt, especially the repair numbers. To reach those numbers, you would have to have a total lemon, and be taking your car to the dealer for everything, including adding windshield washer fluid. I have always done my own car work, and I figure my cars cost me about $200/yr. for oil, filters, brakes, tires, struts, etc. The only time I have ever spent any serious money for repairs was a few years ago when the A/C blew up on my Z28, and I had everything replaced and converted to the new R22 cost was about $1000. Either Edmunds has made a mistake on these numbers, or every Malibu out there blows up at 60,000 miles.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Slow down and take a deep breath. Its a 4 year old car, and is not going to be perfect. And, it didn't cost you $23,000, so there may well be some glitches you will notice. If you are dealing with a reputable dealer, you will have some period of warranty..30 to 90 days..where you should be covered for most of what you find. Something freezing up in Canada in January would not surprise me...its colder than a witches you know what here lately, and I'm hundreds of miles south of you. Insofar as the blower motor, I guess that has been a frequent problem on some of the earlier Malibu's, and if you approach your dealer in a calm manner, he will probably fix it for little or no cost. Go thru the entire car..try every control and gizmo, and make a list of every concern. Then make an appointment at the dealer, get with your salesman, and calmly ask for the appropriate repairs. Dealers are people, too, and like everyone, they usually respond to reasonable requests positively. Threatening the dealer with a "lemon law" action before he has been made aware of, and given a chance to handle the problem will only put you in an adversarial relationship, and you will probably not get anything done right.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Its not completely accurate, not even close.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    $215 for a "real" tune up sounds great, out here they charge you $300-$500 for maintenance on "sealed cars" (100k spark plugs etc.) just for what is essentially a fluids and filter servie, plus visual inspection.

    The gasket replacement price is a steal too, there is actually a lot of work involved. Check out the prices for Neon head gasket replacements in urban markets, for example....

    And yeah, based on your mileage you've got deferred maintenance to catch up on....thus the tuneup is a good idea.
  • Hello everyone,

    I just found out today that they are mailing out more of those "GM in the Driveway" certificates to us GM employees. I think these new ones are good till March.

    We're supposed to give these things to friends to allow them to purchase a GM vehicle at the supplier discount. Like I've said before, my wife and I don't know a lot of people in the area, so I'll give them to anybody interested out there.

    I don't know exactly what the savings are, because it depends on the vehicle, but I think it's roughly 3% above the GMS price. These can be used in addition to other incentives.

    If anyone is interested, please contact me via e-mail, and I'll give you my address to send me a SASE. I think the last time I got these I sent out about 8 to you folks out there. Did anybody actually use them? If so, could you post your savings as an example for others?

    Honestly, I'm just trying to save people a few bucks. I think others here will vouch for me.

    By the way, the 04 LS Malibu is doing quite nicely, except that I accidentally left the passenger floor mat at the car wash. Wonder how much those things cost.

    Other than that, it's been a great car. I know some here don't think much of the electric steering, but I'll take it any day over power steering. Heck, if you want to really want feedback from the road, then lose the shocks!

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Are the certs good in Canada?
  • I bought the 2001 Malibu I was looking at. It has 26900 miles and has all the options you could get on the base car except the spoiler. I paid $7500. I also bought the best GM warranty for 3 years 36,000 miles. The car is for my wife and I want it to not cost a lot in repairs. I have never purchased a warranty before, but after hearing some of the common problems thought I would buy it so we don't have to pay any big unexpected expenses. The car appears to be very tight and handled better than her 1995 Toyota which I gave to my daughter. I also went out and bought a new set of Michelin tires for it and got rid of the OEM firestones. We are hoping the car is a good one and gives us pleasue and trouble free driving.
  • buy your cars in December. Many of GM's 2003s here in Vancouver were discounted by close to 25%, with some SUVs being almost 10K off the sticker. And that's even before you would "ring in and win" a guaranteed additional discount of 1,500 on any vehicle, and you could win as much as 5K or 10K off, or you could even win your entire car. And then you could also add your GM card earnings on top of that (1,500 on midsize sedans).

    How on Earth does GM make money? Hmmmmm, let me think. I know! My dealer's labor rate is a cool 95 bucks an HOUR! Yeeeeeehhhhhaaaaa

    So, as far as I am concerned, unless some kind person showers me with a ton of money, December will be my car shopping month from this time on
  • Considering an 04 Malibu LT, 1SB package with XM radio. Test drive was impressive, just concerned about reliability and resale, which are unknowns at this time. Dealer has quoted 23,000, and I have $3300 GM Card earnings to apply. Does anyone have an idea if incentives will get any better?
  • Usually get better right before the next model year comes out, because you are effectively taking an extra year's depreciation by buying the 04 instead of the 05. I think it'll go up to move the last of the 04s before the 05s come out. How much itll go up and how long before the release of the 05s, I can't venture a guess. If GM doesn't raise it for at least the time when both models are in showrooms, I'd be surprised (who would buy an 04 when an 05 is right there?)
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    GM makes money from SUV/Truck sales. Also Cadillacs rake in some profits.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    All car makers boost incentives on previous year cars when the new ones come. Best time of year to buy, worst time of year for resales.

    Malibu should be as reliable as an Accord / Camry in my estimation but resale will definitely be worse. If you only keep your cars 3-4 years, lease it.
  • Thanks for your comments. I was aware of the year-end incentives, but I am particularly interested in the 0% financing available now. That is very attractive to me; do you think it will be around for awhile? The $3300 GM Card earnings together with the financing make it a very compelling deal!
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    dindak, I SELDOM keep a car as long as three to four years (this time, I have). I put 50,000 miles (80,000 km plus) on a car a year. Do you still think I should lease? I think not.

    Like all general rules, the one you stated has many, many exceptions. Lessors make money. Unless a car is used in business, leasing seldom makes sense. Then it is only the tax laws that make it make sense.
  • Do you buy new?

    My boss puts 30-35k on a year. Buys a 3 year old car and drives it for 3 years. Probably spend about the same on cars as I do and I do 8k a year.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Yep, I usually buy new. Reliability is very important to me. Some of my driving is not in the best of neighborhoods or areas, and I really would rather not have a breakdown. Come to think of it, I haven't had one in over ten years now...
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    You can still lease, you just pay based on the miles you do. Saves time / bother in trying to sell your car and your residual is locked in. You are right though, a big advantage is the w/o if you are in a position where that is possible.
  • Have seen conflicting things in the group. If my '99 Malibu LS with the 100,000 platinum spark plugs with 37K should I replace them (car driven for 4.5 years)or do I wait? Wonder if there was a good practice here. I drive very low miles (7K a year) - will be years before I reach 100K. Just wondering.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    If the car is running good, and idles smooth, save your money. Its not unusual for platinum plugs to go well past 100K and still be ok. Unleaded fuel has removed the single biggest cause for spark plug failure..lead. Follow the recommended oil/filter/lube routines in the owners manual, and you should be ok.
    BTW, the owners manual recommends lubing all the weatherstripping with silicone grease, at least once a year. This is especially important for those of us who have sunroofs..keeps the rubber pliable and the rain out. A small 1oz. tube of this stuff is about $4 at the auto parts stores, and is barely enough to do the job. I found that military surplus silicone often shows up on EBAY. I bought (12) 5oz. tubes, delivered to the house for $ have a lifetime supply for me and all the kids/grandkids/etc.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Could you explain what parts belong to the "weatherstripping" category, something like rubber door seals? Do you just apply the silicone grease on top of it? Thanks!

    We had our first winter driving scare last night. Coming back from a one-week trip, and slammed into a pile of snow right in front of our apartment. Tried cat litter and rugs but couldn't get any traction on the front wheels. Finally called some friends and poured some hot water under the wheels and pushed it out. It's amazing how little snow it takes to get into a sticky situation like that. Our 02 Malibu LS performed well on the 3-hour drive home in 0 (F) degree temperature. The windshield washer fluid froze up and the hood somehow poped open by itself after parked for 3 days (anybody know how?) This morning I took the car for a long overdue car wash, and water almost froze right away on the car! It's cold!
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Went to the local Chevy dealer today to play the Hot Button game and I won!* Brand new Impala SS!! :) Anyways, I also sat in a Malibu MAXX LT fully-loaded with everything except the DVD entertainment system. Oddly, I couldn't find the OnStar button in it. Does anyone know where it is located, because it wasn't on the mirror or center stack.

    * truth may have been stretched to the extent where I had won when in fact I didn't. LOL! :P
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You suck (sarcasm, of course- does anyone else feel that we deserve a universally established "sarcasm" font?). I got all excited for you and was about to write you a congratulatory email. I was also going to celebrate by having a drink for you at the bar tonight. Oh well, I'll just have to make up another reason :)

    Youd think being a member on these boards, knowing automotive types, and having played the Hot Button game with many friends... you'd at least know somebody who knew somebody who won!

  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    I know! I can't believe anyone here on Town Hall hasn't won yet. Maybe I needta look closer...
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Maybe the winners' lawyers have advised them not to publicly trumpet their winnings, for many good legal and practical reasons? Then again, given how most winners act, I find it difficult to believe they would listen to such sage advice.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    Tamu...use the silicone grease on any/all rubber door seals, sunroof seals, and trunk seals. These dry out over time, and allow air and water leaks. Much of the "wind whistle" that occurs on older cars is caused by air leaks around the doors and windows. Just put a small dab of silicone grease on a rag or shop towel, and rub it in good with your fingertip, then wipe off any excess with a clean part of the rag. Silicone grease is usually colorless and odorless, and won't leave a greasy mess to attract dirt, or mess up your clothes if you brush up against it.
    Pay close attention to the seals around the sunroof, as when they dry out, you will get wet when it rains. One of my granddaughters has a Cavalier that the previous owner ignored these seals, and she has to keep a towel in the car to wipe up the drips. You will have to move the sunroof forwards/backwards to get to all of the seal.
  • I didn't win either. The vehicle my dealer had it in was a customized Suburban LT, with a marked-up sticker to $50K (or close to it). The dealer was having fits because a busload of non-driving eldery retirees had arrived the prior day from the senior citizens center, to play, and the entire sales staff was handcuffed for hours. GM might have to rethink doing that again....

    If you win something you don't want, you CAN get what you want and pay the difference, or in my case it would have been get a refund check for the difference.

    To anyone who hasn't yet played, remember that you have to push the button IN THE DESIGNATED VEHICLE, not just any one on the showroom floor.

    After I arrived home from being away all week, I caught the mid-size sedan crash test story on PBS' MotorWeek yesterday, and apparently, the tests are completed. We'll have to keep an eagle eye out for a story soon on Dateline. All that was revealed was that the Suzuki Verona failed the side-crash test horribly (certain death). No side airbags even available. What were they thinking? I'd surmised that would happen from the start.

    Good bet the Bu was a test subject.

    The March Car&Driver had a compo of $35K sedans, so a test of family sedans is probably on the way for the April or May issue.

    As a follow-up to a question I posed a while back, the full-page ad for the Maxx in C&D shows a mast antenna on the right rear fender. The Cobalt at the Detroit Show had one too. So I guess the one in the rear window is causing reception problems (with or without window tinting applied).

    To rc: I haven't seen a Maxx in person yet (haven't been to the dealer in a few weeks), but you'd think the OnStar button would be where the sedan's is, at the bottom of the rearview mirror. Did the window sticker specifically list OnStar? Another giveaway is the pointy black antenna on the roof.
  • Wow, that would've been great to win a fully-loaded Suburban LT, except when you get your gas bill. :P I was in a full-loaded Impala SS and I didn't really like it.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    after scoping the Aveo went and sat in the MAxx.

    where is the extra utility they are touting? Trunk wasn't that big or useful or well trimmed out. Rear leg room ok, but not huge.

    Fit and finish left a lot to be desired.

    not any sort of space breakthrough but certainly the hatchback is a nice option for those who like the car to begin with.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Who ever said it was.

    Back seat room is better than anything in this class. Try moving the seat back next time you sit. Even the sedan back seat is excellent.

    Fit is excellent, finish is good, gray colors are bland.
  • The car looks considerably smaller than the Accord, Camry and Altima. If interior room is good then the trunk must be small. Fit and finish is good but not great. Better than Altima and not as good as Accord or Camry. (IMO)
  • Just wondering how much blame Ford deserves for this mess? They own about 34% of Mazda.
  • I am ending my lease on My Grand AM and Am looking at the Malibu, which so far seems like a great car. What have people been paying for leases on this vehicle, for 3 years, Also, for the intake gasket deal, my dealership went ahead and tightened my intake gasket bolts on my Alero with 87,000 miles, instead of replacing the whole gaskets, a cheap 106.00 job. We'll see how long that lasts, it seemed like a clever idea to me, anyway
  • Well, at least they addressed the issue for the 03 models and they corrected it for the 04 models.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    seat WAS all the way back.

    really cut down on the trunk space.

    really if you like the bu and want a hatch, this your car.

    Mazda6 wagon or hatch (sans rust) is more my game IF I can't afford the base 9-3.

    otherwise its keep the current car or go down in size. Cobalt would actually be an option if it were out now. May not be able to afford to wait.
  • I'll admit upfront that this comment only applies to the '04 sedan, and not the Maxx as I haven't had time to go see that yet.

    If anyone over 6' is driving, it is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone over 5"10" to sit behind the driver's seat when that is occupied. Not the case with my '00. Shorter wheelbase. For anyone over 6', the front legroom is barely acceptable, even with the power pedals all the way back. Anyone over 6'2" is probably out of the picture altogether. Front legroom comments would apply to the Maxx. Sedan trunk is actually 2 cu.ft. smaller than mine, but better shaped, so it doesn't seem much different. Trunk hinges don't help, though.

    Cargo space in the Maxx will knock a lot of prospective buyers out of the picture if it's as skimpy as people are saying. Especially for one vehicle households. I found it interesting that the '04 Malibu brochure doesn't mention cargo space with the rear seats down once.

    Mazda 6 wagon is going to be pricey, since it's only available in s trim, and to get basic things, you have to get expensive other things.

    Saab 9-3 was just given a mediocre review by C&D with a manual. reg, if you don't subscribe, you need to get a hold of the March issue. Saab 9-3 rear legroom is only OK for midgets.

    Cobalt sounds more promising than I first thought (especially when I hear about the leather and wood, etc.). Interior space and trunk capacity will be make-or-break for me with it.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Oh, I'm sure the back seat would cut into the cargo area. Only think the Maxx offers in my view is hatch utility which is great for many people. For me, I need cargo room and kids room. Maxx is off our shopping list but I think it's a great idea and the remote starter hopefully finds it's way to other GM cars/trucks soon.
This discussion has been closed.