Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • fourseasfourseas Member Posts: 15
    Sure; my last 6 are 194045. Don't tell me I have been sitting here freezing in upstate NY without knowing I had heated seats!.
  • fourseasfourseas Member Posts: 15
    Lo and Behold- I had to run out and check for myself if indeed I had heated seats in my '04 LT. Sure enough, there was the switch on the outboard side of seat with two positions (high & low).Discussing it with my wife, maybe we knew in the "summer" time that we had the option, but it did'nt sink in. I think what threw me off "besides age" was the fact that I knew about and we used everyday the "remote start" feature which warmed up the car sufficiently until we controlled the auto HVAC.
  • fourseasfourseas Member Posts: 15
    To further stand on the bandwagon- think about all the "goodies" we have on this car for the price; 200 HP V-6,ABS,TC,Htd seats and O/S RV mirrors just to name the major ones. My previous car, a '97 cad. catera had all this but with a price tag of 34K-back in '97. Plus we get 30+ MPG and have elect. power strg to Boot-only in America!
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Well I am glad you found out it :) - they are nice to have.


    The heated seats in the Malibu require you to activate switch each ignition cycle that you want to use it. It is more energy efficient but requires you to remember to turn it on


    By the way the remote starter is not capable of turning on the heated seats but it does turn on rear defogger (if cold enough out). Also because you have the LT your Auto HVAC system will automatically go to a setting to optimize heating or cooling interior of your vehicle.


    Finally, with the LT the outside rear view mirrors in your vehicle are also of the heated variety and are activated whenever the rear defogger is on. Those also turn on with remote starter if cold enough out
  • jlwgmjlwgm Member Posts: 8
    Jason99999 - If you do indeed need a new stereo system, I would check some junkyards first to see how much they would charge for one.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Well I think that I've solved my suspension creaking noises on my base 04 Malibu. Today I jacked up the car and proceeded to spray all rubber bushes and rubber exhaust hangers with Pyroil silicon lubricant. I think the real culprits were the rear sway bar bushes however and gave them a liberal dose of silicon lubricant.


    Result is that all noises are gone. Many years ago before silicon lubricant in a can was available, we used to squirt brake fluid onto all rubber bushes to quiten them. If you use brake fluid however, just make sure you don't get it on your cars paint. Don't use anything else but silicon lubricant or brake fluid or you will damage the rubber.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Member Posts: 677
    Glad to hear Pyrol helped. It's also very good for lubricating weather stripping and other rubber parts (I apply it to a rag and wipe the strips down - that keeps it off the paint and avoids excess buildup).


    Another thing one can use to zap metal-metal and in some cases plastic creaks is CorrosionX from It has a mineral oil base and will slightly soften butyl rubber, but supposedly is safe on other stuff. It's primarly used by the USA Navy and Army to preserve metal (it will displace water and other stuff by its ionic creep). Works great on seat hinges, tracks, and other stuff.
  • wuvwuv Member Posts: 5
    I wrote message earlier about my malibu giving me fits. Well I got the car in Dec. had it in the shop for engine light two weeks after I got it. They said it came up with some odd reading and that nothing was wrong with my car. Erased the error messages. Two weeks later the light came back on and the remote start wouldn't work. The night before I was to take it back to be checked the light went off and the remote start was working again. They said that I could bring it in to be checked but it may not register anything. With weather being so bad and that being a 70 mile drive I didn't go. Then I noticed I was putting in alot of gas and not really going any further than a mile or two to the stores. So checked the info on screen about gas mileage and was only getting 16mpg. Took it to the shop today and they told me the fuel system was bad and they would have to replace the purge cylinode (spelling lol!!). Plus the brakes are popping when its damp out. They have treated me like I am stupid. Telling me I should read my manual which I have!! They keep trying to talk me into going some place different other than them, but that's where I'm leasing it thru. Wonder what will be next after reading all the problems other people are having.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioMember Posts: 130
    Any one know of a TSB for the 2004 Malibou Maxx engine to solve the rough idle ?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    e2helper, "Chevrolet Malibu Owners: Problems & Solutions" #619, 2 Nov 2004 8:54 am!keywords=allin%3Amsgtext%20p0340


    New calibration with diagnostic enhancements for DTC P0340. Also improvements for starting, idle quality, and shift stabilization affecting 3-4 upshift.
  • paopao Member Posts: 1,867
    again another complaint for an incompetent service dealer and one that is shirking their duites for customer satisfaction...Im still amazed......all vehicles will have noted in all the forums..but without a good dealership and better service department we all are lost...sounds like a ground swell GM needs to know about
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Sorry to hear about your continued problems, wuv.


    By the way the remote start is working as designed. Whenever the engine control system has a current fault that will turn on the Check Engine Light, your Remote Vehicle Start system will not be allowed to start the engine.
  • jason992477jason992477 Member Posts: 11
    Ok will do but not hopeful I will find one. Also what do I do about the security code and such?! Lemme know
  • jason992477jason992477 Member Posts: 11
    The malibu has only hit 32411 and now its making a whistleing noise. When we got it right at 32000 it wasn't making a peep you couldn't even tell it was running from the outside until the engine fan came on to cool it down. I noticed this whistling noise is not uncommon on other vehicles besides the 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. A dear friend of ours has a 2001 Toyota RAV4 and hers makes the same exact pitch whistle that my malibu is making at this point. Wonder what it is, now the engine whistling aside from a new came radio speaker problem?! Gee it don't rain it pours on my side of town! PLEASE HELP ME I think i done got myself in deep with this car!
  • hickorydhickoryd Member Posts: 57
    Purchased '04 Maxx new a month ago. On 1/21 dealer svc manager wrote that alignment is "within specs". The left drift is only slight, but nonetheless, uncomfortable.

    Yesterday, took it to place advertising free alignment check: Tire Kingdom. A year ago took the Expy to same place and dealt a real tech who properly advised me to replace the Continental tires (it solved that problem 100%).

    Yesterday, the manager and 2 tire swappers hovered over the machine and setup and finally got a reading that said the Maxx is out of alignment, causing it to drift to the left. The machine's software reported that the caster is not adjustable on '04 Malibu, per GM. The team said they could adjust the toe only (The Hunter brand machine displayed indication of left front wheel toed out, and also needing a caster adjustment). I told them to proceed if they were sure this would help.

    After short test drive, I reported that whatever they did, was not a fix. They didn't charge me anything, plus I gathered from their huttles that the alignment tech was off yesterday.

    Now here's the scary part. When I hit I-59, the tires began to sing and the front suspension felt a little different (as in loose). Suffice to say that I'm not going to mention to my dealer that anyone has touched the vehicle.

    I am going to be firm with my dealer to do another check.

    At least one Maxx owner on this site has reported that an alignment solved his left pull problem, and that he paid for it. I'd like to know:

    Was that successful alignment done by the dealer?

    Is it true that there is no caster adjustment on the Maxx?

    Is it likely that another dealer would do an alignment check?

  • lotusjaylotusjay Member Posts: 17
    Alignment on the 2004 & 2005 Malibu should be left to the dealer. Your T/K people told you right that the caster isn't adjustable (and it isn't on most front-wheel drive cars, for good reason). However front camber is adjustable by shifting the strut, and rear toe and camber is adjustable with built-in cams. BUT, the software also had fine print that said this car may require special OEM tools. Other owners on this forum have mentioned the use of scan tools or such that help re-program the electric steering. This is probably out of the range of the typical tire shop for now.

    Go to the dealer before you wear out your tires!
  • oldntired1950oldntired1950 Member Posts: 151
    Hi All!

    Haven't posted in a while because I finally surrendered my Maxx to my wife and took back my '02 Liberty. For the record, the Maxx was purchased in January '04 and has a December'03 build date on the door label. I drove the Maxx again a couple of weeks ago to take my wife to a doctor's appointment and on the way back I got the chime and warning light for a power steering failure. Having read earlier posts, I did what everyone else has done, turned the car off and restarted it. That lasted for about a mile when it failed again. Another restart got me the rest of the way home without a problem. I left the Maxx parked in front of my home, and left NY on 1/21 for 9 days in Cancun (not bad... left the day before the blizzard!) I got home, and on 1/31 drove my wife to yet another doctor about 25 miles from home. On the way back, on a parkway, the steering failed again. Needless to say, I took the car into the dealer this morning. To my amazement and pleasure, without an appointment, the dealer took the Maxx in, replaced the steering column and had it back to me a few hours later in perfect condition. No stress, no problems! This has restored my faith in my Maxx and in my dealer, Dobler Chevy in Hempstead, NY!
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Member Posts: 159
    I was owner that paid (the dealer) for 4W alignment to resolve slight left lead/wander. I believe the toe setting was off. Only reason I had to pay was because I waited too long to complain (6mo./10K), and alignments are considered a normal maintenance item, not covered by warranty. Had I complained at first visit, it would have been covered.
  • tim10tim10 Member Posts: 15
    A new TSB to address the door freezing problem was released on 1/27 for Equinox and the New Style 04-05 Malibu/Malibu Max. Hopefully e2helper can post the TSB# because I didn't see it at the dealer long enough to write it down.


    It was listed as an "urgent upgrade notice" telling the dealership they're required to add the super lubricant to the door handles by march 31st on instock units. It said that GM started applying the lubricant at the factory on 1/07, so any car received by a dealer 1/28 or later will not be affected.
  • hickorydhickoryd Member Posts: 57
    I commented about the dealer's initial dismissal of the pull-left problem on the survey form. It gets sent to (if I remember correctly) GA. I'm sure it then gets sent to the dealer.

    Plan to drop off Maxx at the dealer ASAP for a 2nd try. Two "We Owe" items they "fixed" were below expectations: "Malibu" bezel replaced in center dash is not lined up well, and removal of rust from passenger rear seat-back hinge was 50%. Svc department was closed when I picked it up last time, plus it was dark, so I was not able to let them know my level of (dis)satisfaction. This dealership is transitioning to new ownership so present level of quality workmanship may not be getting any one's attention at present.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    The number you are looking for is 05-08-64-002 which came out Jan 20.


    I don't have any more info on it than that but at least you can reference it for your dealer in case they have problems finding it.
  • tanyartanyar Member Posts: 1
    A word of advice check (about chevrolet malibu's) you might not want to keep your car.
  • chrpaichrpai Member Posts: 32
    Please don't feed the troll. Like someone on Edmunds needs to be told how to find car websites.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Member Posts: 677
    the url listed does not work. does work and offers mostly complementary reviews of the 2004 Mailbus.

    Yes the malibus have problems but so do its competitors. Biggest problem is our "independent business" dealer setup that guarantees wildly varying dealer quality and experiences.
  • maxxfanmaxxfan Member Posts: 4
    The power steering on my '04 Maxx failed yesterday. I bought it new about eight months ago and it has just over 9,700 miles. I took it to the dealer today and they replaced the steering column, no problem. So, for those keeping track, chalk up another steering column!
  • 37453745 Member Posts: 152
    Doesn't that put the time of manufacture in the so-called revised component upgrade date? I'd be interested to know what the actual date of manufacture was for your vehicle.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Yes just provide last 6 of your VIN if you don't know the build date and I will post back your vehicle's birthday for you
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Member Posts: 15
    hickoryd, i meant to reply to you, but sent to someone else. I have the same leftward pull and lots of svc visits. I'm going through lemon law issues with GM. email me: [email protected]
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Member Posts: 15
    kurt, do u work for GM?
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    04 Malibu sedan, has any one with a sedan encountered have the gauge read 3/4 when full. It was showing about a half tank and I know my wife just been local,filled the tank which took 4 gal and read 3/4.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    yep; you have the "warped tank" my friend. There is a TSB out on it. Take it into your dealer; they'll fix it.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Member Posts: 1,340
    Today I had a shuddering noise from my front driver's side wheel/brake when applying the brakes moderately or hard. It sounded almost like a bad rotor, but acted like the hardware could be loose or something. The noise was quite noticeable, and was not the usual 'Bu rusted rotor sound. I did not notice any brake fade or longer stopping distance. This is the same side that I have been complaining about a "loose" noise when going over my driveway apron (loose hardware/strut type noise). I thought someone on this page told me that they had the same noise, but that it was steering column related. Strangely, I could not replicate the noise for the rest of the day after the car had been turned off. Suggestions from my cyber friends?
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002
    Actually the TSB was specifically for Maxx which has a different fuel tank design and supplier. So joe3891 should still take his sedan to to dealer but it likely won't be a warped tank that is causing problem.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Member Posts: 677
    E2helper, a question on auto headlights:

    Tonight while driving home with the sun in my eyes, I noted the DIC and odometer were dim. Turned out the headlights were on! The wiperblades were casting a shadow that was covering the headlight autosensor, and even though it was daylight and the rest of the dash was well lit by sun, the headlights were fooled into turning on! Switching the headlight auto feature off restored DIC brightness and turned the lights off.


    Is there a way to adjust sensitivity of this feature so it does not trigger so easilly?


    Other stuff:


    On my maxx, the brake caliper mounting bolts had to be retorqued as they were loose - this got rid of some suspension clunks. I remember reading this has affected a number of GM cars.


    I did work for GM in the 1980's as an automotive electrical engineer, but left in 1989 to pursue computer animation.
  • e2helpere2helper Member Posts: 1,002


    There is no way to adjust the sensitivity of the light sensor, sorry. I have also experienced sun low on horizon causing system to be in "Dark" mode a little sooner than I would like but at least you have the "OFF" position if you want to use it (although it also shuts off your Automatically turned on Headlamps and Taillamps).


    Calibration on this sensor is a trade-off with overcast sky conditions. With an overcast sky the sensor will read more light than the driver is seeing on the ground and so might put you into a situation where headlamps are coming on later than you might like.
  • njmaxxnjmaxx Member Posts: 15
    "I did work for GM in the 1980's as an automotive electrical engineer, but left in 1989 to pursue computer animation. "


    kurt, thanks for the reply. Any idea on how GM botched the steering on a car that should be a success? I'm completely puzzled.
  • townhometownhome Member Posts: 104
    I usually replace the speakers in my cars with after market ones and I was wondering how easy it is to take the door panels (front and rear) off in the Maxx. Any ideas e2helper?
  • doubertonwdoubertonw Member Posts: 1
    Last week, my 02 Mailibu wouldn't start. It was turning over but wouldn't catch. Had it towed to dealership, they said i needed new ignition module or something. Ended up they just gave me new keys, reprogrammed or whatever they do. No guarantee how long it will last. There seems to be a lot of these problems from what i've read. Can anyone tell me if this fix will work for more than a short while. Also I have recently had a surging with acceleration. Something like the eebbeejeebees. Had new spark plugs put in, could this be the wiring(were'nt replaced)
  • tiredtired Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 Chevy Malibu and after an oil change my check oil light comes on within two months. What are possible problems. Iget me oil changed every 3months or 3000 miles. i only have 38,000 miles on the car and the check oil light always pops on.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Member Posts: 677
    Wrt columm, it was not GM but its supplier that changed the manufacturing procedure on the steering columm which caused the contamination. Once GM found out, they advised the supplier to correct it. As to how some defective columms still got into the production run, I have no idea.


    Keep in mind __other__ manufacturers have similar recall problems. My '83 camry was recalled at least 4 times.


    Thnx, E2, for the sensor update. And yes, the workaround I use is to turn off auto headlights.
  • jason992477jason992477 Member Posts: 11
  • jason992477jason992477 Member Posts: 11
    When it was going on and off, the car was sitting at a stand still, was waiting for my passenger to get into the car while it ran!
  • chrpaichrpai Member Posts: 32
    That sure sounds like the classic A/C control head problem that was common for that generation of Malibu's. I had mine go once under warry and once again after. Few hundred bucks to replace and some websites that claim to have procedures to fix it. ( I never tried ).


    I know this is too late for you now, but I would never by a <2003 malibu no matter how many miles it had on it unless it came with one heck of an extended warry.


    Read: irable.pdf
  • 37453745 Member Posts: 152
    I read the article on how to repair the control head. Seems as if the problem is dirty contacts and they go on to show how to clean them which seems rather complicated. If I had the problem I'd just loosen the control head from the panel and spray some good contact cleaner and lubricant such as Caig DeoxIT D5 onto the contacts. Using the extension pipe that comes with the can will allow you to get into the smallest corners without having to dismantle anything.
  • tim10tim10 Member Posts: 15
    Here's an update.. GM flew an engineer to my city to observe this condition on 3 vehicles on the dealer's lot plus on mine. They said the Lower Trailing Arm on "early '05s" (Aug & Nov Build dates are the 2 I saw, so that's a pretty big range, maybe they meant all 05's) have a bushing in it that have a defect condition in the metal or torque settings that are causing this problem. There are no fixed parts available to fix these at this time, he didn't have an ETA and hinted it was a long process. He did say they didn't have this problem on the '04s so if the dealership would have had an '04, they could have swapped the part from there to fix my problem.


    Their offer was pretty weak to have me keep the car, so I'll probably be doing the buyback that they finally agreed to. Maybe I'll hold out for an 06, since we're already over halfway into the 05 model year.
  • meggieb30meggieb30 Member Posts: 2
    I own a 2001 Malibu with 63K on it. Sunday night I had driven the car about 20 minutes when it made a "creaky" noise during a right hand turn. Every subsequent turn after was "creaky". Upon pulling into my garage and turning off the car, I heard a weird "boiling, bubbling" noise that lasted a few minutes. Monday morning's commute was the same: after about 20 mins, the turns became noisy. I don't notice any "tightening" of the steering. I checked the Power Steering Fluid and it was dirty and perhaps a little low. My husband refilled the fluid and Tuesday morning's commute was the same. I don't know where to go from here and don't want to spend money unnecessarily. Any ideas on this one?
  • 37453745 Member Posts: 152
    That's nonsense about the 04 base model not having the creaking noise. Mine had it until I lubricated the rubber bushes with silicon lubricant. See my earlier post.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    This is a common problem with the previous generation Malibu. It should solve the problem.
  • maxxnymaxxny Member Posts: 2
    I have an 04 Maxx with build date of Jan 2004 (the worst kind I guess), bought last March. So far, the harness has been changed (after returning to dealer at least twice with the same problem of having 4 warning lights and bells go on at the same time); the steering column has been changed TWICE, because I was caught in the middle of the cold twice with no power steering. And now a new problem surfaced that the dealer cannot recreate. I was doing 50 on the highway when suddenly the car started shaking and the RPM went all the way up to a little over 3. Wasn't the pavement, and wasn't my tires, and I was definitely on Drive. I pulled over and smelled something burning. Had it checked out and dealer couldn't find anything wrong.

    My dealer is great but this car is really bad.
  • lukellielukellie Member Posts: 4

    I have an 05 and the suspension is creaking. I thought I was hearing things. Can you give me more info and advise what I should tell my dealer about this problem. Thanks
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