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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • maxxolivermaxxoliver Posts: 78
    e2helper can you tell me the build date on my daughter's new 05 Cobalt vin 57664640. Thank you
  • My clock is now doing the same thing. Everytime I start the car it resets it self but the radio stations are still the same. Did the Dealer fix it and what is the problem?
    Thank you.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    wrt steering....get to a good dealer, right away.
    Odds are excellent that you've the '04 Mailbu " bad steering columm " problem, and eventually your car will loose power steering altogether or possibly veer in one direction or another due to an unbalanced servo system.

    Your problem is in the early stage and the dealer should replace the columm and recalibrate the steering under warranty. This is not trivial and many dealers get it wrong (you can see earlier posts about that here).

    In my case it took two visits to the dealer to fix this - first one installed columm and calibrated ok, but forgot to lube it so it started grinding after a short time. The second dealer lubed the columm properly and so far it seems ok.

    The sunshade problem seems to crop up in really hot climates or rough roads or both - which is true in my location. I almost never use the shades anymore (their black color only serves to heat the car up, making the problem worse).
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    What kind of radio do you have? Single line display?

    Might indicate a loose power or ground connection somewhere (like battery cable).

    Radio stations stay in "non-volatile" memory so that is why they might not be lost but time is.
  • maxxolivermaxxoliver Posts: 78
    in regards to the sunshades there was a fix sent out on them and my dealer installed new fasteners in August 04 I believe and it was a permanent fix to that problem. Thanks e2helper for the date
  • Did they tell you what the problem was?

    I have a 1999 malibu which has developed a similar problem. When the needle hits 1/4 tank, a turn or a bump sends the needle to empty and light comes on! And I do not think it is consistent

    Cannot figure out what the problem is.
  • jmax4jmax4 Posts: 22

    I hope that the dealer will fix the steering problem the first time I go there and will not make the interior dirty like it was the last time. But, who knows?

    I also plan to replace the headrests.
  • I am the frustrated owner of a 2001 Chevy Malibu :mad: . I bought it used with less than 20,000 miles. It has been nothing but a problem child! I've had issues (CONSTANTLY) with the brakes and the fuel tank. Now, after replacing the brakes in March, it looks like I have a new problem to deal with and its a different one. The "Check Engine Light" came on.

    Being a flight attendant, my schedule is hectic. I called the dealer and they said that unless it was blinking, it wasn't a big deal. Well, guess what? I came home Friday and today, Sunday, I ran a few errands. After finishing the last errand, I came out to my car to find it dead. It won't turn over! Now what?!

    I've been reading these posts and my conclusion is that I have an ignition module problem. Since I need to fly again tomorrow, my dad will be dealing with this issue. I told him to make sure and mention the ignition module, as I doubt it's a fuel tank problem after reading so many posts here. I don't want to spend that much money fixing it, either, as I am trying to locate a new car. That takes time, though, and I'm in serious short supply.

    That brings my next question, do I buy another Malibu? I heard the 04 and 05 models are a vast improvement. Can anyone attest to this? I'd like to go foreign but I live in the Midwest and there aren't too many dealers (or service stations) in my area. Also, my dad is heavily against foreign cars (Not that his opinion matters much in this area, as he has chosen all of my cars to date and they have all been evil!) I really don't want to buy another junker! Please give me your honest opinions and if not a Malibu then what???

    Thank you SO much!
  • maxxolivermaxxoliver Posts: 78
    e2helper can you give me one more build date? 04 Malibu Maxx 4F161160 Thanks Deanna
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    I have an 04 Malibu Maxx, which I really like. I've had a few issues that have been handled properly by my dealer: Incorrect fuel gauge reading (solved by replacing tank), Check Engine light remained lit (solved by reattaching an emission hose that came loose) and most recently a defective electric connector that shorted out the right front parking lamp. Aside from those things, it has been a pleasurable 12000 miles of driving.

    Keep in mind that the 04 was the first year of a brand new design, so some bugs would be expected. Presumably the 05 models are better. Also, choose your dealer carefully -- mine has a super service department and believe me, that makes all the difference!

    I compared the Malibu closely with the 04 Honda Accord and although I think the Accord is just a little more nicely finished, I really don't think there is enough difference in the overall driving performance to justify the extra cost. In my case, with the GM Card rebates, it would have amounted to over $2000.

    I think the 04/05 Malibu offeres a lot of bang for the buck: Smooth, quiet, solid feeling, decent performance and great gas mileage (25-26 MPG in suburban stop and go). Good luck with your decision!
  • lfarkashlfarkash Posts: 9
    I have also noticed this with my Malibu Maxx. It seems more likely to happen after the car has been run and parked for a while. The engine starts but then there is a sound like a low growl or something unwinding. It sounds almost like it's coming from the sterring wheel.

    I haven't been able to reproduce it reliably and the dealer thinks I'm crazy. As long as it doesn't shorten the life of the starter or some other component, it's not a big problem. But not having an explanation is rather annoying.
  • billbbillb Posts: 14
    Mine did the same thing today too for the first time that I have noticed. I was picking up my car after the first oil change and noticed it when I started my car. I said "Oh my gosh, I have read about this on Edmunds" I have started it 3 more times since without duplicating it.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    I might have heard that low growl as well, but have not paid that much attention. Will listen more closely now.

    Are your steering columms factory issue, or have they been replaced?

    One thing you may end up with when the steer columm is replaced are rattles in the dash. My Maxx gained several after that swap, but the dealers I have would probably destroy the dash fixing the rattles, so I live with them.

    And incidently, t's not just the General's fault. Every first year car I have seen posted here is having more than its share of problems. Unfortunately there aren't enough changes in the newer Maxxes to make "trading" to a new one (in the hopes the bugs have been banished) cost effective.
  • billbbillb Posts: 14
    Everything is factory. I have a 2-05 build date and have only had the sun roof wind deflector added. It makes driving very quiet but blocks several inches (at least 4) of the opening. Noise or view. It is a trade off.
  • lfarkashlfarkash Posts: 9
    I have one of the earliest 04 Maxx's and the steering column has been replaced. Thankfully no rattles. I'm taking the car in to have the driver's seat controls replaced. My seat lists to starboard. Thank goodness for the warrantee period. I, too got the wind deflector for free and recently had the headliner replaced to take care of the window shade problems. My dealer has been very good about fixing things. I guess that's the next best thing to having no problems to start with.

    Still very happy with the car and would recommend it to anyone.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
  • e2helper:
    "Because a couple of you mentioned Temp gauge I will do some more research (will take a while)."

    For the third time my temp gauge is reading full cold and the engine cooling fans are running constantly. Check Engine light is not on. At the first occurrence the condition self-corrected and the second time the dealer replaced some relays.

    Any lasting remedy?
  • crosby1crosby1 Posts: 23
    I own an 04 Maxx. It is reliabe and safe car that gets excellent gas mileage. I don't have the seat mounted side airbags but did order the 1SB package that got me the side window curtain bags. Go to the NHTSA web site and look at the dramatic differences in injury rates between cars that do and those that don't have some sort of side bag protection. THe best is to have both. I read one report that now more people are dying from side impact that frontal impact. I would check out the Insurance Institute crash tests as well. A few small cars, even with air bags, do well. You can glean a lot of information from Edmunds but Consumer Reports is very thorough and has a good system for evaluating the important things in a car: safety, reliability and economy.
    THe nfew Malibu scores highest in its class when it came to intitial quaility. The old version the last couple years had taken that place too. But the are two enirely diffferent machines. the new one feel so solid and maintains its composure even on rough roads.
    do you research than look me up if you want more insights.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Sorry I don't have any suggestion yet. I did pass along some of your comments but as far as I can see there hasn't been any updates to PCM controller software recently. I will do a follow-up.
  • meandmymaxxmeandmymaxx Posts: 134
    Is it the LT or LS model? I have the 05 LT and i have noticed the climate control adjusting it's self when I first start the car, sounds like a growl or something unwinding.
    Could this be the sound?
  • meandmymaxxmeandmymaxx Posts: 134
    I had the same problem with my temp gauge on my 05 Maxx. Took into the dealer they claimed to have changed the sending unit, and all has been well now for a couple of months.
  • kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Posts: 677
    good catch, meandmymaxx.... my LS HVAC, manual that it is, also sometimes makes moaning or "vibrating" sounds when the vehicle shuts off or starts up. This is probably due to the servo motors and their related vent flaps realligning themselves when power is applied to them.
  • My temp gauge was ok for maybe 4-5 months then went to cold and fans again. Relays were replaced and now your sender - my guess is it's software related but I guess/hope we'll see.

    So far seems to occur in hot weather.
  • lfarkashlfarkash Posts: 9
    The car is an LT. I normally use the manual setings for fan control and I try to turn off the AC before shutting off the car. Would there still be adjusting going on in manual vent mode.
    However, since I don't always remember to shut down, that could explain the intermittent nature of the noise. I will have to pay more attention. Thanks for the info, I don't think I would have ever thought of it myself. It's good to have a little peace of mind.
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Ok, I think my Maxx is tired of me.

    Today, for the first time ever, my DIC told me "Diver Change" . No where in the manual does it mention this is something the DIC can say, so maybe it's personal......

    Seriously, yesterday my CD player stopped working. I figured it was too hot and would be fine after I restarted the car. Sure enough, the next morning everything seemed fine, until I wanted to play CD #1. It said it was playing CD 1, but track 0, which I had never seen before. So, I was trying to get it to work and the "Driver Change" message appeared. I figured it had to something to do with my using the other key fob (which I've only used a few times ever) this morning. But, still, it was a weird message, don't you think?

    By the way, i ejected CD1 and now everything is fine. Anyone ever gotten that message before? e2Helper, any ideas?
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002

    This was probably a store-bought CD, right? Any time someone mentions a home burned CD it is of course suspected :D

    If you continue to have problems I would suggest you take it to dealer. I haven't heard of your specific complaint before. I believe you had your radio already serviced in vehicle a while back, right? But that was a long time ago and so updates are likely available for certain complaints ;)

    As far as the DIC message, do you remember which line of the display it was in (top or bottom)? And when it was displayed were you using the CD or AM or FM radio? I have never heard of a message like this but FM radio stations have the ability to transmit Radio Data System Messages to your radio and I have seen a few cases where some radio station in Canada was sending a cryptic message "Inovonics Model 711" which caused a few customers to take their vehicle to dealer for service :surprise: (I think it was 99.9 FM in Winnipeg)
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Also, it could have been CD Text that was burnt onto the CD, as the stereo (at least the single CD does, but don't see why the 6-disk wouldn't) will read and display CD Text information such as artist, song title, or any other messages that were put on the CD when it was made. Have yet to see a store bought CD with this, but its burnt on some of the most popular CD-burning software includes it when the CD is burnt. (legally downloaded of course)
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Thanks for your ideas. It was (of course) a CD I burned ;) And I can't remember where the message was, but I'm pretty sure it was there when it was in CD mode. This is only the 2nd time my CD changer has acting strangely, and both times it was with CD's I had burned. The only other prob was my left, rear speaker going out.

    It's good to know my Maxx isn't tired of me, cause I still love my Maxx! :shades:
  • maxxolivermaxxoliver Posts: 78
    The one thing I have learned about burned CD's is that they work well if you don't put labels on them.
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