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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • choblerchobler Posts: 5
    I have a 2001 Malibu and have front end noise when making turns. There is a clunk when I turn the wheels, both ways. My mechanics have changed the bushings, but the problem is still there. They also changed a strut plate, and the problem continues. Any helpful solutions to save me some aggrevation and $$$?
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    There is a service bulletin - #01-02-32-001 - for the condition and GM is aware of it.

    The steering shaft universal joint spline [non-permissible content removed]. was installed without lubrication and causes a slip/stick condition.

    An easy fix is to slip the rubber boot under the steering wheel down until you can see the universal joint and spline and, with a squeeze bottle with a long thin pipe attached, squirt clean engine oil down the hollow tube part of the assembly. You'll know what I mean when you see it. This is done from inside the car btw. If you look under the dash you will see the rubber boot.
  • choblerchobler Posts: 5
    I am feeling like the strut or spring is making the noise. It is a loud clunk, and it is very frustrating. Any ideas???
  • choblerchobler Posts: 5
    I have a slow antifreeze leak without any visible fluid leak. Any ideas???
  • mitzijmitzij Posts: 613
    Your clunk may be lower control arms being worn out. Does it seem close to the wheels and is noisier when going over bumps?

    If you're losing coolant with no visible leak, it's going somewhere internally, not a good thing. Check the oil, if it's cloudy, then the coolant is mixing with it.
  • choblerchobler Posts: 5
    It sounds like there is something being caught, like the spring uncoiling. Could be the lower control arms.

    As for the coolant leak, I just changed the oil and it didn't look bad. Will keep an eye on the coolant levels. I just put in some Barr Leak. Hopefully, that will help.

  • jmax4jmax4 Posts: 22
    Does anyone have a problem with the rear shades on the skylights? Mine tend to snap back a few times a month (the car is three months old and has 3000 miles) and the plastic that holds them becomes more flat with every month. The frequency of this problem increases during the hot weather, when the plastic becomes more flexible and does not hold the shades.
    Also, the fabric does not give enough protection from the sun, especially for the small children, which get hot there.

    I called GM, but they said that this is the design and no one complained, yet.
  • lfarkashlfarkash Posts: 9
    This is my first posting. I have had my Maxx for 4 months and 6000 miles and I still am amazed at its form, fit and function. However, I have one complaint. I noticed the problem when I was driving with my windows open. The shades would start to flap and the inadequate clip would slip off the frame.

    When I took my car into the dealer for its first oil change, I asked them to fix the rear shades on the skylights. They would not stay closed. I was informed that they "operated as designed". After being startled several times, I stopped using the shades. I have considered several options to attempt a fix myself, but I keep hoping that I will get a recall notice with a GM designed fix for the problem. I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.
    I have been very surprised that this hasn't come up on the forum before. I've read comments about lack of a rear wiper and headrest problems. I felt it was just me and too silly to mention. But this problem is the only thing keeping me from being "Completely Satisfied". I, too, would like to know how many out there have given up on keeping there shades closed.
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
  • skyhawkskyhawk Posts: 126
    I gave up on the shades the first week. I rarely have passengers in the back seat, so I really don't care if they work. They are the cheapest part of the car.

    Working as designed means the dealer does not know what to do to fix it.
  • jmax4jmax4 Posts: 22
    I am glad that there are others who have the same opinion about the cheap design of MAXX. I saw this type of skylight in a different car and there was a better design of a latch holding the shade. I would gladly get rid of the shades or keep them open, so there wouldn’t be flapping or slipping off anymore. My problem is that I have a small passenger in the back seat and I am thinking about putting a piece of paper (maybe cardboard) in the place where the shade is. This is even cheaper than Chevy’s design, but it will work better and “operate as designed”. :) That’s the only solution I came up so far.

    I hope that we could get somewhere with the complains some day. Thank you.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    I have had my Maxx LS for 2 wks, 550 mi. Have not been to dealer for first service. So far I am extremely happy with this car. Fit, finish and ride quality are above average. As other's have said, my only complaint is the darn rear shades. They won't stay closed.

    I'm expecting my dealer to tell me there is nothing they can do to fix this because that's the way they were designed. GM will have to redesign the notch in the trim so the clip ears have something to catch on when it slides up.

    Maybe if enough people complain, GM will redesign the window trim and issue a technical service bulletin. When a TSB is issued GM will usually fix the problem for free if car is still under warranty.
  • anamoliianamolii Posts: 1
    Hi. I have a 2003 Malibu that has been running very well. But for the past 2 days I noticed a burning smell while I’m driving, and then when I get out of the car, the smell lingers around the drivers side. Then today I noticed my temperature gauge went up 2 pegs above the halfway mark, which it shouldn’t have as it is 50 degrees outside and it’s never really done that before. What is this?
    Aside from a few squeaks here and there, I haven’t had any other problems.
  • kpugh2kpugh2 Posts: 20
    The wife's 04 LS w/ sun roof has a dent about 3" in diameter above the "B" pillar next to corner of sunroof.
    I do not see any surface defects and of course she has not idea what happen. I must say she is careful where she parts the car.
    Her car is black and in 90*+ heat could cause this problem? She does exceed the speed limits 75 mph is common could closing the sunroof at speeds cause this problem? The big question is this a GM problem? Has anyone else exp. this problem? The car is 6+ months old and 12K miles.
    Does anyone know of another GM Malibu forum that could be of help?

  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    I sincerely doubt that the dent has anything to do with the car's design or closing the sunroof at speeds. I bought my wife's '04 LT a bit over a month ago, and I guarantee you we're both careful where we park the car, as well as how closely we follow other vehicles on the road. Yet, somehow we've still aquired a scratch running horizontally for about 1/2" above the license plate bracket on the front (barely through the blue paint- the whitish primer shows), a 2" scratch on the passenger side fender that is actually down to the metal at its leading edge, and a slight mark vertically up the rear driver's side door about 4" from the door's leading edge (ie.- someone banged their car door into it). I haven't seen any of these as they occurred, despite going out of my way to park in places least likely to have "incidents". Yet, they've still managed to occur somehow, and these scratches weren't there when we drove the car off of the lot.

    Basically, I'd suspect someone of hitting the car with something while it was parked one day (not far fetched either- I had a 1994 Geo Tracker parked in front of my townhouse, and some men doing construction decided to use the upper portion of the hood as a temporary resting place for some lumber they were carrying to the next unit down from ours, resulting in a fairly large indentation, and that also didn't leave any surface defects). Does your wife remember exactly where and when she first noticed the dent?
  • kpugh2kpugh2 Posts: 20
    SHe did not notice the dent I did this weekend when doing a visual check of car tires and etc.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    I found a work around to keep the shades closed. No tools or modifications needed. After you close the shade and hook the ears of the pull clip in the notch, rotate the clip 90 degrees up so that the part of the clip you pull on is parallel to the glass. Then push the entire clip into the molding behind the notch. My shades have stayed closed for over 2 weeks. If you want to open them again, there is enough room for you to get your finger in behind the molding and lift the clip up over the notch area.
  • irritatinirritatin Posts: 1
    I am the owner of a 2001 Malibu. I bought this car after reading that the rotor problem was fixed. Silly me! At 18k miles the wobble started. My solution was to keep driving the car until the wheels feel off. at this point I figured that I had saved enough money to fix the problem for good(got another 9k miles). available to any mechanic or at any good parts store are drilled rotors and ceramic pads. By doing this I escentually equipped my car with high performance brake similar to those of a race car. Not only did this work in keeping the rotors from heating up, but improved the overall performance and feel of the vehical. The cost to me (through a friend) was $127.00 total for the parts. This was only about $73.00 more than after market stock. What an improvement. Why can't GM do this? It might cost them all of $20.00 per car. Good luck.
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    You certainly did the right thing by going with aftermarket parts. Its pretty well understood that the Malibu rotors/pads have limited life, especially in city driving/heavy use. There are many lifetime warranty rotors/pads for the Malibu at auto part stores, and they are very easy to change. Even Midas offers a far better option if a person is not interested in doing their own work. We have had no indications of problems with our '03, and I check the brakes closely at every tire rotation. At the first sign of any brake chatter or wear, I intend to go to far better components than the GM dealers have.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    anyone else received the notification from GM yet?...minor fix to reprogram the ABS controller and to add a retainer in the front safety belt connector.....service to take approximately 30 minutes.....not concerned with a recall as my 99 mustang had three the first year.....and this one is GM look for your letters!
  • I've received the first two of the three recalls - the seatbelt sticker replacement and the ABS reprogramming. Still waiting for the seatbelt anchor recall, but I'll need an oil change soon, so I'll try to get everything done together.
  • bonnie0372bonnie0372 Posts: 26
    I have the '04 Malibu LS....well lets see the car has less then 500 miles on it and it has been in and out of the shop for a ROUGH IDLE...when I am stopped at a light it seems like it is going to stall....and there is a front end shimmy (which they say is caused by a steering column problem) which they are fixing this week. The rough idle problem was addressed last week and I was told that there is nothing wrong with it...because NO CODES came up when they put it on the "machine". Beleive me I am starting to think I brought a LEMON!!! Hahahahh!! If anyone has any suggestions about what can be causing the ROUGH IDLE...maybe they can tell me so I can TELL the TECHNICIANS what to check for since they don't seem to know! Thanks.
  • bonnie0372bonnie0372 Posts: 26
    I haven't received any letters yet....but when I took my car in for service last week they fixed the ABS Recall....I have to take the car back in for MORE SERVICE next week so I will also have them fix the seat belt problem!!! What is the seatbelt sticker replacement? I havent heard about that one yet?
  • It's actually the airbag sticker on the sunvisor. On early Malibus the sticker didn't say exactly what the federal government wanted. GM simply mailed replacement stickers to the owners of affected cars. No big deal!
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    bonnie: hang in there. I too have a rough idle at times, but I figure if it becomes a BIG problem that GM has 3 years to fix it or my money back. My biggest concern is the annoying rattle which eminates from just to the right of the map light plastic housing. I don't believe the rattle is associated with the sunroof since I have placed me hands on all sections of the sunroof metal housing and cannot find anything loose. When I press my hand 3 inches to the right of the plastic access panel, I can get the rattle to stop. It sounds like a loose penny inside.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I hae the same minor rattle..but mine is the sunshade of the sunroof not the glass or metal portion but the fiber overhead.....I also had a rattle in the glove compartment cover that I fixed simply adjusting the latch....otherwise.....Im still very happy with my Maxx on my website....see url address in the mods forum
  • bonnie0372bonnie0372 Posts: 26
    I''ll try to hang in there!!! Just frustrating I guess. I spent good money on my car...and didn't expect for it to be in the shop more than in my garage!!! I hope they fix the IDLE problem and hopefully nothing else will be wrong! I haven't experienced the rattling!!! I love my new car and hope and pray that I don't have to give it up because of more problems! Thanks for the reply!!!
  • The cruise control on/off switch on our Maxx LT seems to be getting harder to operate. My wife had trouble last weekend getting it to stay on. When I drove the car to work Monday, I noticed it seemed to take a harder push to latch, and you had to push in a certain spot, near the pilot light. We only have 2800 miles on the car and I hope the switch isn’t already wearing out. Has anyone else had trouble with these switches, or know anything about their track record on previous GM vehicles? I plan to keep watching it and will have it repaired under warranty at the first oil change if it keeps getting worse.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    Jim, I believe it is an electronic switch and doesnt necessarily latch....anyone out there know?...I dont ever turn mine off...I simply leave the cruise control on off switch engaged....and just do the set and resume feature for adjusting it....once I hit the brake to disengage..I dont turn the system off....will be interested in following your issue here
  • I believe the switch does physically latch. I’ve played with it with the engine off, and there is an audible “click” when it goes off or on. Plus you can see it move slightly.

    I left mine on all the time too, until an incident a few weeks ago. I had just gone through an intersection after stopping, and reached down to adjust the radio volume on the steering wheel. I didn’t have much time in the car and confused the cruise control +/- buttons with the radio volume “arrow” buttons. I hit the + button, which reengaged the cruise control, which was set for 55 MPH from the highway portion of my commute. The result was a brisk acceleration as I was now in a 35 MPH zone! If I hadn’t hit the brake quickly, I’d have hit the car in front of me. I’ve gotten more used to the switch layout since, but still like to keep the cruise turned off unless I’m actually using it. I like the convenience of the wheel buttons, but GM should study ways to better separate the radio and cruise control functions.
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