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Chevy Malibu Maxx



  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    does the oil life monitor somehow 'know' what type of oil is in the engine, or how clean/dirty it is, or what level of contaminants are in it? Or is it more of a basic system that uses easily measurable data points such as number of starts, ambient temperature, average speed, etc. to make its determinations?

    I would be very surprised if these oil life monitors were actually sophisticated enough to detect whether the oil is conventional oil or synthetic, and forecast the remaining oil life percentage accordingly (i.e. tell you there's more miles left before change needed when you are running synthetic oil).

    In other words, wouldn't the oil life monitor have said the same thing - time to change at 9,000 miles - if you were running conventional oil instead of Mobil 1?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I have to catch up with you folks. Here are some things I can share, basically bluedevils is correct on everthing mentioned in last post:

    Oil life is affected by many factors other than just miles driven. The type of driving, temperature, and engine load all play a part.

    That’s why GM developed the GM Oil Life System, an electronic watchdog that keeps track of all these variables and notifies the driver when it’s time to change oil.

    The Oil Life System is programmed with a certain number of engine revolutions. As the engine runs, this number is reduced until it reaches zero, and the Oil Life light or message comes on. But that is not all. Operating the engine under low or high temperatures, and under high load conditions subtracts (penalizes) extra revolutions, so the light comes on sooner.

    But what about Mobile 1, you ask? Not good news for you Malibu owners, I am afraid.

    Synthetic oil resists "wearing out" better than mineral oil, so the oil life monitor is set to account for this, but only on vehicles that are specified for synthetic oil from the factory -- the Corvette, for instance. Using synthetic oil in other vehicles is certainly not harmful, but the oil life monitor will continue to count down as though the engine contained mineral oil.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Wow, this was a lot more than I knew about oil filters maddmaxx, you and bluedevil are educating me :) :)

    If I can add find out anything in this area that I can share I will post back.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Excellent information, thanks.
  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    Got almost 19k on MAXX LT & had my first experience driving in snow. Had a storm here in Providence, RI area 7 inches over the weekend. I was kind of curious to see how the car would react going through the unplowed part of my driveway. Really weird... When I took off the traction control & stepped on it, one wheel spun & didn't move too far. I was just fooling around & would not have gotten stuck, but that is what I expected would happen. But, when I activated traction lock, a really strange reaction. If I floored it the tires would spin a little, but than the motor would slow down, almost to a stop & the car would barely move. Almost like the car was dying, running out of gas. It didn't stall, of course, but I have had that reaction from a vehicle with traction lock. I have had other front wheel drive vehicles with this & if you stepped on it in snow or ice, you certainly would get better traction with it on vs with it off, but nothing like motor almost slowing to a standstill. I didn't want to dig up too much mud this time so gave up after a few minutes. When it gets colder & more snow will experiment more with it. Can any of you tech guru's out there explain why this is happening? I am sure that is what is supposed to happen as the each wheel searches for traction & they probably go back & forth but to slow down the rpm's as much as it did?

    I do a lot of traveling to Canada, going again tomorrow but haven't even though about getting snow tires. Maybe I should cause I will be putting on 100,000 over the next three years if I would be into another set of tires anyways so maybe by rotating them fall & spring & could still manage using just two sets?

    Does anyone thing they will cut down on gas mileage???
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Your vehicle has an Enhanced Traction System (ETS) that limits wheel spin. The system operates only if it senses that one or both of the front wheels are spinning or beginning to lose traction. When this happens, the system reduces engine power and may also upshift the transaxle to limit wheel spin.

    This engine torque reduction is probably what you were noticing. On other vehicles the traction control system also will apply the brakes to slow down a spinning wheel faster. The Malibu system does not do this.

    To turn the system on or off, you press the ETS button which illuminates the traction control OFF telltale in cluster. In order to effectively “rock” the vehicle, you will need to turn off ETS.
  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    That's surprising cause if I ever did get stuck, I would think the traction control would help me get out, not make things more difficult. Maybe I will run into a blizzard in Quebec City next few days & have a chance to try things out. Must be different traction control than I have had on other vehicles (Buick Park Ave Infinity I30) With both of those vehicles never got that kind of reaction.
  • I should add to that I drive a lot of miles, so taking care of the car the best I can is very important to me, hence the research. I should say that I'm interested in using oils/filters that can readily be bought locally versus ordering or a specialized supplier. There are other top quality oils like Neo, Amsoil, & Royal Purple. Redline happens to be on the shelf at my local Advance Auto Parts.

    My understanding of your basic 4-5 dollar synthetics on the shelf are that their additive packages are really no different than mineral oils. Speaking from experience they will tend to maintain seals and cleanliness better. I've had a vehicle I've worked on changed with Mobil 10W30 every 5000 miles and at 60000 miles the hydraulic lifters began sticking from varnish. However, when you would look inside the valve cover it would be perfectly clean. I would have expected better performance from Mobil 1. I've had another vehicle using Valvoline synthetic have the differential go (FWD) at about 218000 miles. A lot of miles yes, but I would have expected the same life with mineral oil. Also, here's a fun fact, Castrol Syntec became mineral oil after it's introduction and ExxonMobil took them to court over it, but lost.

    What I hear from the dealers in the area about the oil life monitor is that it is great if you keep the car 2-3 years, but don't expect it to last long. What concerns me about the monitor is that is doesn't have a sensor for dirt, or the motor in oil bypass mode, or a way to compensate for different quality oils. Cadillac has a acid sensor, but I don't know about the Maxx. e2helper?
  • If you buy the correct application oil filter for your car it will not have a bypass valve in the filter so you do not have to worry about this. These types of filters are called full-flow oil filters.

    Having the engine bypass valve set to 4 psi vs. a standard 8-11psi on bypass filters will cause bypass more often. This can happen in cold weather when you first start your engine even or when the filter becomes restricted by a certain level of contaminants. If the brand of filter does not have media with a high flow rate, then theoretically the engine would bypass even sooner.

    Wix tells me all GM motors have this internal bypass valve set to 4 psi. I have no way to verify this, but am just passing on what I've read on the net, etc.
  • gmaxxgmaxx Posts: 10
    After several inquiries, I was notified by my dealer's service dept. that they were ordering a recently made available "fix" for my sunshade latches. You might check with your dealer and relate this.

  • bhw77bhw77 Posts: 101
    Maxx gang,

    Hence Maxx dash panel kind of dull (mouse gray)-
    has anyone tried or at list consider auto market
    wood or fiber? to bring some life into it?
  • I just bought a 2004 with 9K miles as a Cert Used car from a Chevy dealer. When I entered the vehicle info into GMLINK, the vin was not recognized. It is recognized in carfax etc...

    You would thinbk that a GM system would have all their own VINs in a database.

    Anyone else use GMLINK or have similar problems?

  • Glad to have so many knowledgable people in here. Anyway, between the posts by you, maddmaxx, and e2helper, bluedevils, we're learning tons about the lubrication systems in our cars.

    As far as the conventional oil vs. synthetics, I use Mobil 1 in mine after the second oil change (roughly between 4 and 6k miles, depending on how a new car gets driven). Because of the fact that the Oil Life Monitor in the Malibu doesn't account for a higher grade of oil (e2helper's info), I feel fairly safe using it to determine changes, even though it does show a longer period between changes than I went with before such systems existed in my cars. :)
  • I agree with you bhw, on the need for some sort of dash upgrade; I have an '05 Maxx LS, with 6 CD changer and manual AC controls. I ordered a 3 piece dash kit for the radio and HVAC controls area in platinum/silver color..I am awaiting it's arrival. Cost me $30.50, including shipping costs. I found this area of the dash the most needy of an upgrade. I believe this will perk up the dull grey plastic look. I'll keep you advised..Also ordered a Wheelskins leather sew-on
     cover in burgundy...I had one on my last car and found it gives a soft attractive, grippy surface for my hands, $35.70, shipping included..I ordered the wheel cover from Street and the dash cover from talking to you...Jack
  • jmax4jmax4 Posts: 22
    Yes, I had the same problem.
    I solved it by calling the customer center and they fixed it. My problem was that I wanted to register my car in the name of the second purchaser and they have the cars under the name of the first.
  • I had a similar issue, but mine was caused because I am military, and recently got restationed. I bought our Malibu about a month prior to the move, and couldn't register it with the site at that time (delay between purchase and GM records showing the VIN as 'sold', I guess). After arriving here, I was able to use the VIN, but because my address was different than GM had on record (again, from the purchase), it refused to accept the registration. Strangely enough, my new truck (bought 3 months after moving) registered fine. Anyway, after an easy call to the customer center, both are registered, and my address is again up-to-date. :P
  • bhw77bhw77 Posts: 101
    Post a picture with an update, please
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    I'm glad the Neutral interior color was offered with the exterior colors I most liked (Light Driftwood and Navy), because the Neutral interior seems to have a more upscale, pleasing look than the Gray. The two-tone is nice, and the woodgrain is not too excessive.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    "I've had a vehicle I've worked on changed with Mobil 10W30 every 5000 miles and at 60000 miles the hydraulic lifters began sticking from varnish. However, when you would look inside the valve cover it would be perfectly clean. I would have expected better performance from Mobil 1."

    Perhaps Mobil 1 is indeed a top-quality synthetic oil (hard to say for sure, one way or the other), and this vehicle/engine would have done the same thing regardless of which oil was used? Just a different angle.

    Also, Valvoline 'synthetic' stopped being a true synthetic oil a few years ago. Its PAO formula seemed to be well-regarded and a good Mobil 1 competitor, but I am 99% sure it has since switched to hydrocracking - a la Castrol Syntec.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    "If the brand of filter does not have media with a high flow rate, then theoretically the engine would bypass even sooner."

    This would seem to suggest that the Purolator Pure One filter, which is very well regarded but sometimes criticized for being too flow-restrictive, may be a poor choice for the 3.5L Maxx engine?

    The Pure One filter has been my chosen filter for do-it-myself oil changes on various vehicles the past several years. It's readily available, seems to offer very good quality and performance, and is readily available to me for $5-6.
  • This is my promised feedback on my experience today with the PCM recalibration at my dealer. FYI, my 2004 Maxx was built in February. There have been a number of postings regarding the recalibration including the latest ones: #2430 (blackmaxxdny), #2431 (maxx4me), #2436 (e2helper), #2439 (michiganmaxx), #2440 (e2helper), and #2445 (michiganmaxx). I stopped in at my dealer yesterday to discuss the TSB 04-06-04-080. I showed the service write-up person e2helper's post regarding the TSB being listed in the Online Electronic Service System. After much scrolling, he found the TSB. We scheduled an appointment for today. I wanted to time it for my 6,000 service as well to save an extra trip to the dealer. Bottom line, my car no longer exhibits rough idle that I describe as "an occasional stumble or miss". Also, I checked for the previous condition of 3-4 gear shift delay when accelerating onto our local freeway. I tested a minimum of four times and feel that there is no longer a delay in the shift pattern. The idle condition and the shift delay were not major concerns, but I thought I would have them taken care while at the dealer.
    E2helper, thanks for being there for us, again!
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    yep, my VIN was not recognized either. I sent in a complaint, and the GM staff entered it in manually
  • I think Mobil 1 is a good quality oil. I wouldn't call it top quality, but somewhere in the middle. But of course it's not the most expensive of synthetics out there either. There are cheaper synthetics too. For most people on the list and the total miles they will put on a Maxx, Mobil 1 will give good service.

    Speaking of Valvoline Synthetic, the back of the oil bottle recommends changing every 3 months or 3000 miles.

    Don't forget that the owner's manual says to change @3 months 3000 miles if the oil life monitor is accidently reset.
  • After contacting Champion, K&N, Mobil 1, & Wix regarding their filters and compatibility with the Oil Life Monitor, ALL of them said their filter was not for extended drain intervals.

    I've done oil analysis in the past on AMSOIL oil synthetic filter advertised as long life and the dirt/contaminant levels were higher than advertised at 7500 miles, in the unsafe level, above 20 microns. I've tested Honda filters, which I believe might be NIPPON, using 2 filters for a 7500 mile oil change came out with the best results of all @ 4 microns of dirt.

    After my recent research I've gone with WIX due to them being the only company that could give me hard data. By the way they also advertise their filters as low restriction. A local mechanic I know did his own weighing of different brand filters before and after use and the WIX consistently weighed more, holding more contaminants. Wix runs around $5-6 dollars here in town.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Thanks for the update michiganmaxx. My MAXX is also a Feb build and I will be getting the PCM recalibration when I take it in. I am right in thinking it was a quick thing for the dealer to do?
  • Townhome, I was there for a total of 1 1/2 hours. However, that also included the 6,000 mile suggested service which included a tire rotation, oil change, fluid level check, and lubrication of hood and door hinges, door lock cylinders, etc.

    I can definitely tell the improvement with the PCM recalibration.

    Don't forget to give the service write-up person the TSB number from e2helper's posting #2436 in case the service department is unaware.
  • On my 04 Maxx, the low fuel warning comes on when it says maybe 40 miles left to empty. Anyway to override this messgae to not come on until it says 0?? When it first comes on I fill up the tank with 15 gallons. If the tank holds 18.9 (I think), having the message come on closer to 2 gallons left would be more appropriate.

    Any comments?
  • I guess the tank capacity is 16.6 gals so the low fuel waring comes on at the right time. It's just that in all my other cars, when miles-to-empty goes to zero - there's actually about 2 gallons left.

    I'd still like to have the message show the miles-to-empty since Low fuel warning only tells you that you have anywhere from 0 to 40 miles left. Is this possible?

  • Thanks for previous comments on the traction control system, but the way it works on the Malibu worries me. It sounds like all it does is reduce engine power/torque rather than directly controlling the offending wheel by clamping its brake to stop wheelspin.
    Is it too farfetched to have a situation where if I have to park on the side of a winter road, end up with one wheel on glare ice and find the traction control will be of absolutely no use? The maxx can't take chains either (was advised of and asked to sign release statment verifying this on delivery).

    I had planned some winter trips in the car but not so sure I want to try it now.
  • Hello all. I'm terribly sorry I haven't posted in a while. I just now caught up with all of the posts.

    The 05 Malibus seem to be doing pretty well. It seems that most of the 04 problems (EPS failure, etc.)were put to rest with that model year.

    If you have an 05 Malibu, some of you might notice there is a slight difference between the bowtie emblems on the grille and decklid. That was a change that happened early on.

    The sedan is still selling way better than the Maxx. Marketing obviously is still trying to figure out who they're selling the car to. As a result, we're stretching the limits of how fast the plant can build the sedan, while at the same time a lot of the Maxx equipment sits idle.

    A few months ago, I had a unique experience. A reader of this message board told me he had ordered a Maxx and he was wondering if I could look it up on the schedule to see when it would be built. Not only was I able to get the timing, I was able to track the car as it was being built! He got a real kick out of getting live updates on how his Maxx was doing.

    Which reminds me, I wanted to let everyone know that they are still doing this "GM in the Driveway" program. This is the website:

    This program allows employees to offer the supplier discount to anyone interested in purchasing a GM vehicle. This is in addition to other current incentives. You don't have to be a family member either. If anyone's interested, shoot me an e-mail, and I'll get the information I need from you. I get no benefit from it other than a fraction of job security. LOL. Actually, I enjoy helping people out. That's the real benefit.

    There are a lot of interesting changes coming up on the Malibu over the next couple years. The new G6 and the yet unnamed Saturn will give several clues. The SS models and hybrid will both pose several challenges from an assembly perspective.

    Happy motoring!

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