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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • ferraro1ferraro1 Posts: 44
    Hello ~
    Well I got my Malibu Back and it is wonderful no noise at all !! and the best thing is the dealer took a chunk of cash off the final price because they had to keep the car overnight when they promised same day delivery the total went from $1,078 to $960 I mean reguardless it was alot but some reduction does help. As for the Air Conditioning flickering I have not drivin the car too much since i have had it back and the times I have drivin I have not used the air , the weather has been in the 70's here in upstate New York !! no need to use it :)but when I do I am gonna really watch the air-conditioning to see it the problem re-surfaces. I first noticed the flickering of the AC when it was in the 90's, but if the problem comes back i will take it back to the dealer ( I think the dealer here in New York is ALOT better than the one in Arkansas)Ohh for those who have spoilers , does Anyone know where I can get some replacement bulbs for the light ?? random question, but I noticed some were burnt out..... ok well thanks !
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Try Pep Boys.

    Do not know about the spoiler lights, I have no spoiler, but they have a very wide selection of auto bulbs. Bought from them the rear-light bulbs for my Malibu.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Not sure but if they are leds you need to replace the complete assy,had to do this on my cap brake light.If there numerous little lights in a long row there leds.
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    I have a 1999 Olds cutlass with the current malibu 3.1 V6. Every morning as I back down the driveway(its on a hill) I get a chime alerting me that my engine coolant is low I also get the chime as I drive. I took it to Nelson Hall Chevy Olds here in Meridian Mississippi and they said that I had a leak around the intake manifold. They wanted to charge me around $600 dollars for the repair (2 gasket kits, 1 gasket, 2 EGRV gaskets, Quick Lube, Sealant R, and coolant), I got charged $70 for them to locate the problem. They wouldn't honor my extended warranty so i took the car back to Tolbert Chevy Olds In Philadelphia(45mile drive) where i bought it, I didn't tell them that i took it somewhere else i just told them about the coolant light. I dropped the car off that morning at about 9am, since i had to work up there that day i just decided i would check on it about 2pm. When i called to check on it i asked "will my car be ready at about 2:30" they said "well, it's ready now, it was just a little low on coolant so we added some more and reset the light" I said, "there wasn't a leak around the manifold or anything" He said no. This was around May 3, i had 54,000k on my odometer, now its june 23 i have 60,000k and i am having the same problem. Has anyone had this problem with their Malibu?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    1. The leak trough intake manifold gasket is not unusual with the engine. More info here:

    rbenton "Common General Motor's 2.8, 3.1, 3.4 V6's engine problems" Feb 4, 2001 12:15pm

    2. The pressure check costs about $25-$30 at Firestone. $70 looks excessive.

    3. The repair costs about $550 at Firestone, not including oil change (necessary with the repair). $600 at dealership looks normal.

    4. Mechanics do not like extended warranties for a good reason: it takes a lot of labor to get autorisation and payments. I called the warranty company myself, and still they hold my mechanic on line for a long time.

    In my experience, the repair itself took 3 days, while dealing with the warranty took another 4 days. The car was at shop for a whole week.

    5. Some extended warranties no not cover gaskets.
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    Well with my extended warranty, the mechanic calls in and may stay on hold 5 minutes at the most but when they come off of hold the warranty company pays for the repair that day with a coporate credit card.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Well, probably the dealer do not know that your warranty company is exception and provides prompt, good service.
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    they know case we have told them, I wasn't in the room but they say they called in and were on hold for too long. I called and was in touch with a person in 3 minutes
  • malibulsmalibuls Posts: 3
    Once in a while my malibu have a hard time starting. It would crank at least 5-8 times before starting and have a wired kinda burnt smell
    from the exhaust. Normally it would take 1-2 cranks to startup..

    In the fall/spring season when the weather is cooler it happens more on cold startups. It would take a number of cranks before it starts and
    when it starts, the idling is very weak and the RPM bounces up and down for about 15-20 secs before it stablize around 1100 rpm.

    I've complained to the dealship a number of times, but they can't seem to replicate the problem. They checked my computer, but no error
    code showed up. I had the engine flushed a number of times and fuel filter changed, but problem still occurs. They even told me that I was
    starting my car wrong, I have to turn the key to the ON position and hold for 3 sec before turning it to START(they said it had to do
    something with filling up my fuel reservoir????). Even starting this way, I still get this problem sometimes.

    This problem is driving me NUTS!! If anyone have experience this problem and got it fixed, please let me know how. Or what should I
    check to try to trouble shoot this problem..
  • kduong1kduong1 Posts: 7
    Malibuls, have them check your ignition cylinder. That is what ever go with the lock in
    your dash. I had mine replaced four times so far for various defects. Two days
    ago it was for weak RPM and bounce up and down and dying on me. They said
    it made intertmittent electrical contact. They can tap on it or the key and can reproduce
    the problem. You can test this yourself by taping it or wiggle the key while the engine is
    running. I have the same problem a long time ago with my 626. They replaced everything
    before zoomed into the lock. The connection for the starter is good but not the one for the
    spark. They opulled it out and showed to me. The copper electrodes burned badly. Good luck
  • sean258sean258 Posts: 5
    Hello all. I found this forum here and just wanted to add that I have a 1997 Malibu that I bought from Enterprise Car Sales and it has been really reliable. It has 69000 miles on it. I try to keep it regularly maintained. This has been an excellent car for me..
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    I recently had the oil changed (not at the dealer and never again at the dealer until they earn my trust) and the mechanic said that the coolant level is fine. That is leading me to believe that there is something wrong with the coolant light, maybe a short or something.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    There is no need to be a professional mechanic to check the coolant level. It is clearly marked on the coolant tank. The translucent white plastic tank is under the hood, on the passenger side.

    This is explained in the car manual, with pictures.

    Danger: Do not open the cap while engine is hot.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    Tap the coolant tank where the sensor is [wire attached]with the handle of a screwdriver,if the light goes out add more coolant.
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    I do have a leak around the manifold gasket, and i will have the blinking A/C unit replaced all for around $600 so in the end i'll get around $550 back. Something that has come to my attention is that sometimes when i am backing up and i put the car into drive without being at a complete stop the gears do not engage properly i think, it's something really hard to describe you have to drive the car to understand it, but to correct it i have to pull over put it in park and turn the car off or either floor it and burn a little rubber
  • mwellmanmwellman Posts: 6
    I have a 2000 Malibu that makes a "klunk-klunk" noise right after I start the engine. It only happens on maybe every fifth start and usually when the car has been sitting for several hours -- leaving work at the end of the day. It has always done this but was very subtle until recently when it started getting louder, so I never thought much of it. I mentioned it to the dealer recently when I brought the car in for service. They want me to leave it overnight, but I would have to leave the car for a week to get them to reproduce it. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    After you have the engine serviced on that car, be very careful to check the coolant level, and keep an eye on the oil too.

    I had the pistons changed out in my 2000 Malibu in March. There are two explanations of what happened next

    1) My thoughts...they didn't put it back together right, and the head gasket was compromised. The thing nearly overheated and all the coolant was gone. Oil level was high, and had a weird odor to it.

    2) Chevy's excuse...there was an air pocket in the reservoir as a result of pollution control equipment. There was no compromise of the head gasket, they only needed to fill the coolant to compensate for the air pocket which was relieved. Curiously, they changed the oil for free.

    No problems since, so who knows.
  • jriethjrieth Posts: 1
    Has anyone had a problem (or known of one) with their air bag on the 200 Malibu AS? I know it isn't something you can actually check.

    This past weekend my daughter drifter off a road at ~ 50 MPH and ran through on telephone pole and into a second one. She actually removed her seat belt to reach for a DC that fell on the floor. She hit the windshield twice and completely bent the steering wheel. The air bags never inflated (driver side or passenger side) even though it was a head on crash (about 1 inch off-center) pushing in the front end ~ 2 feet. She walked away with a concussion and some stitches in her mouth - all caused by impact with windshield and steering wheel (which could have possibly been prevented IF the air bags inflated). Her "Guardian Angel" was definitely watching over her that day.
  • gastricgastric Posts: 1
    This past spring I sold my 1990 Chevy Corsica as it had 141k miles and the body and suspension was finally starting to show it's age.

    I shopped around hoping to find a nice inexpensive import, but couldn't find anything that was in the condition I wanted in the price range I wanted (under $8k).

    I did come across a nice, shiny 1998 Malibu LS with 68k miles on it. It appeared to be a "nice" used car at a decent price. I figured even if it did need the break work or mainifold gasket it was still a good price. I even had a mechanic provide a "prepurchase inspection" which turned up a few very minor things, none of which were serious (tire rotate+balance, some squeaks, but no major mechanical).

    Now that I've owned the car for a couple months here's the list of problems and complaints I have with it.


    * Glovebox is very loose and rattles. Dealer est is $190 to replace the entire unit.
    * A/C cycles off occassionally. Pressing the switch twice cycles it back on. Annoying, but at this time it's not worth the dealer est of $183 to fix.
    * Gas guage isn't accurate. At "E" there is still approx 5 gallons of gas left in the tank. Dealer est. $300+ to replace the sending unit in the tank.
    * Left front suspension makes a noise when driving straight or turning left. I thought it'd be the ball joint, the dealer est. $297 to replace the front left wheel bearing. Another repair shop est $177 for the same job. I'm going to get this one fixed. 8-)
    * FM radio receiption is so bad every single radio station has some amount of static. I listen to CDs mostly so I haven't had it looked at.
    * Driver window sounds like it's going to break if the window is left 1/2 down and the door is swung shut.


    * Wipers are very tiny, as is the windshield in general.
    * Highbeams are engaged by pushing the lever forward instead of pulling it backward like every other car I've ever driven.
    * Firestone Affinity tires are NOISEY. So noisey I can't hear my bad wheel bearing when going over 40mph.
    * LS comes with tons of electric gadgets but no lighted driver mirror and no locked gas cap door
    * The 1-star front side impact rating scares the Hell out of me. 1 star in this day and age???


    * Car has decent power, engine seems very nice.
    * Extremely affordable used when compared to similar makes/models
    * Quite roomy
    * LS comes with lots of gadgets

    I plan on keeping the car for a few more months, if it develops any more problems I'll probably sell it and hope to break even and invest in another import. If no further problems develop I'll probably keep it.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    1. Fuel gauge:

    the E light (and chime) appears when there is about 4 gallons left in the tank. This is normal for Malibu, as well as most of other current GM cars.

    The cars needs about 2 gallons to operate normal. Something related with fuel pump. So, "E" at 4 gallons translates into 2 gallons safety margin. Very reasonable if you are sitting for a hour or two in a traffic jam, as it happens often in Southern CT. Or if the next highway exit is in 30 to 50 miles, like on I-90 in Western MA and Upper NY.

    2. Wipers:

    are asymetric with Malibu. The passenger-side wiper blade is 19 inch long, while the driver-side one is 22 inch long. The same 22 blades are use with many bigger cars like Buick Regal, Olds Intrigue, etc.

    Very good Trico wipers are available at Pep Boys. Better than Bosh in my experience. Cost $7 for left-side (22 inch), $6 right (19"), $3(?) for inserts only.

    I would also recommend the Rain-X windshield fluid. Expensive ($2.50 per gallon at Pep Boys, $2 at Wal-Mart), but very convenient.

    3. Glove Box:

    My dealer simply tightened the lock. $33 for 1/2 hour labor.

    4. Tires:

    In my experience, the original Affinity were bad tires, and wore-out fast. Replaced them at 37k miles. However, they were not noisy.

    GM recommends unusual pressure for the tires. 29 psi front, 26 psi rear. In my experience, 3 psi extra, i.e. 32/29 front/rear, was better - I like turning fast. However, do not inflate them substantially more.

    The 3 psi difference between front and rear tires inflation is really important when turning fast and sharp: otherwise the rear end does not hold road well, fish tailing.

    I switched to Firestone Firehawk SH-30. Great performance tires generally, and absolutely outstanding in rain. Somewhat stiff, but not noisy.
  • phollanphollan Posts: 14
    I bought my 98 Malibu LS new and now have almost 36k miles.

    The Affinity tires were horrible, made an unbelievable amount of noise and I replaced them at 22k with Hoosier tires (don't know if they have a model #). They have been much better.

    I had a squeaking glove box that I fixed by pushing up on a bundle of wires above the inside of the glove box. It seemed to be rubbing against a horizontal metal bracket.

    The climate control panel was replaced under warranty to fix the A/C switching on/off.

    My wife smashed it into the side of another car about a year ago. The air bag did not deploy but it was at a low speed.

    Overall a great value and well designed, but I had more issues that I would have liked. If I can get another 7-8 years and 70-80k with minimal repairs I'll be completely happy.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    I've also been concerned by the Malibu's side impact test rating, however, the statistics for actual collision and injury (see show the Malibu to be comparable to the Ford Taurus. These are cars of similar size and market segment (i.e. not a whole lot more inexperienced drivers in one as compared to the other model), and you wouldn't expect this from the crash test results alone.

    Ultimately, trying to predict real-world performance from standardized tests is very difficult. It's one of the better tools we have, but it's not perfect, because real world collisions occur in such a GREAT variety of conditions.

    The nice part of buying 2-3yrs used is even if you DO get a car that requires a few repairs (to get it to the "level" that you want) you can still be financially well ahead. Given some of the other people's feedback, you're looking at $550 to take care of the bearing, A/C and glovebox. That's still a pretty good deal if you add it to the original purchase price of your Malibu.

    I'd check to make sure the radio antenna cable isn't unscrewed or worn through and grounding out somewhere.

    I've got a 1993 Corsica, and it's been far more reliable than my previous Nissan, VW, Taurus, so I don't know if "buying an import" is a panacea. It hasn't been in my experience. My boss had to spend $4000 to have his 1994 Camry's engine rebuilt, and a former co-worker was putting about $2000-$3000 into his Prelude year after year. And I was playing "what car repairs are needed now" (and not just remedying squeaks either) on my Nissan every month for months before I finally got rid of it.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    There have been a few comments voiced about gas mileage. From what I've seen generally over the years, and with my current Corsica (3.1L V-6) you can usually match or beat EPA numbers on the hwy, but usually get worse than EPA in the city. I see about 14/28mpg (city/hwy) with a 3spd auto and at 70mph on the hwy, so it's nice to see that my (future) Malibu will get about 10% better on the hwy - which it should with the 4spd auto.

    That also seems to be reflected in the (e.g.) Consumer Reports tests - they beat EPA hwy and can't match EPA city.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    ...and pity all those Focus owners who are only getting around 25mpg hwy!!! I'd be P.O.ed too.
  • himomerhimomer Posts: 59
    I went down to our local chevy dealer today to look at the Maibus and I had this conversation with the salesman which is a friend of mine.

    Salesman:"Lookin at a Malibu huh, great car"
    SM:"Sure is"
    ME:"I'm thinkin about lettin my cutlass go"
    SM:"Come on over here and lets talk"
    SM:"What year is your car?"
    SM:"This isnt very salesman like, but the car you have now is basically the same as the current malibu, same engine, same interior features that the previous model didn't have until now. The only new things you will be getting, are Remote with panic feature, RDS radio, and Suspension refinements. The things in your car that I think you would prefer more are, more real looking wood trim, better radio design, and the Full Leather seats. If I were you, I would just take real good care of the car, get it detailed a couple of times a year, and look into getting some Pirelli P6000 tires until the new design comes out"
    ME:"OK then, thanx. bye"

    There was more said, but these are the main thing that stuck out to me. This was a bold thing for a car salesman to say even if he is my friend. I believe him but i just don't know.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    What he said was all greatly true from a technical standpoint. You've been through the sharpest depreciation period on your Cutlass (new -> 2 years old) so it's market value is probably less than the amount still owing on it.

    If you're happy with the Cutlass, and it's reliable I would keep using it. He makes a good point about the tires though. And if you REALLY want to "renew" your car experience, it would be cheaper to just have it detailed or go on a 2 hour road trip to buy an ice cream cone or something silly like that. You know, the way new car owners do! ;-)
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    1. From 2000, the Malibu 3.1l engine is more powerful: 170 hp vs. 155(?). Some late 99 Malibu also have the improved engine. However, the older version of the engine also have a very good low-end torque.

    Other changes are even less important, and not all of them to better: e.g. the size of the glove box was decreased.

    2. The Malibu OEM tires are Affinity. Replaced them by Firehawk SH-30. This was the best thing which happened to our car. Like to drive it again.

    Do not know what tires were installed on Cutlass.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    OF COURSE! I should have remembered the HP increase - pretty incredible really, that people are actually getting around 30mpg hwy in pushrod V6's in the Impala and Malibu with that amount of horsepower and (yes!) low end torque, as well as solid engine reliability and long life. Old designs, but they keep on improving them which, to me, has a LOT of merit.

    The auto-reviewers often lament the lack of OHC, etc. but to me all of this is a means to an end, and the 3.1, 3.4, 3.8L GM pushrod V6s are pretty much the best means - performance speaks!

    BTW, I read your Member Profile and your name sounds familiar. Have you ever written an article for Linux Journal?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Other equal, torque depends mostly on engine displacement. Power also on rpm. OHC engines work better at higher rpm, and produces more hp per liter. But they not necessary are more economic nor more reliable.

    This is especially important in countries, where car taxation (or custom duties) are based on displacement. Here the car with 3.8l engine can cost about 25% more than a car with 3.0l engine, both producing 200 hp. Like Toyota/Honda etc. 3.0 V-6 vs. 3.8l GM V-6.

    However, for US this is mostly irrelevant.

    No, I did not wrote any article in English.
This discussion has been closed.