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Chevrolet Malibu: Problems & Solutions



  • i see. well here's the bottom line. a 4th time to the dealer with unsuccessful results would be i can apply for the lemon law. i also filed with the BBB who will submit a complaint to Chevrolet Corporate. I'm not sure how long that usually takes, but Im waiting on the paperwork.

    Also, my sales manager will speak to the general manager who will speak to Chevy Corporatge also to see what they can do since the dealership cannot exchange a vehicle. That comes from Chevy Corporate only.

    what does everyone think of all this?
  • I actually work for a company of dealers (our company has 2 Chevy stores) and my understanding is that when somebody is in this situation, they'll just make it easy to trade out of your vehicle. Instead of getting the lemon law involved, they might show you pretty numbers for your trade and give you a good deal on a new model. In the long run, this would hopefully keep you happy (and quiet) and when it's time for you to get your next car, you'll remember this easy and stress-free transaction.
  • I said I'd report back on the status of my tranny howl, and I still plan to do this. As I stated in my previous post, I work for a company of dealerships and I was having my car looked at my one of our Chevy stores... However, because I'm an employee, I become the absolute last priority. My car sat all day on Wednesday, and nobody even looked at it. It's really frustrating, because I wish I could go do a dealer and be treated like a real customer. I'm sure a lot of you think it must be a pretty sweet deal to work for the dealer, and get special treatment... But in order for that to happen, they'd have to actually take your car into the shop!

    Sorry for my rant, but long story short, my car is going back tomorrow, and they swore that their tranny guy will be able to look at it. I'll let ya know.
  • here on edmunds it shows that i can get around $17,600 for my 2004 maxx lt fully loaded in great shape. for example i'm looking at a 2005 equinox instead that is priced at the total msrp of $27,505. how much do u think my dealer would ask i pay out of pocket?
  • That depends on how much you still owe on your Maxx. I'm not a salesperson so I can't tell you hard numbers or anything, I've just learned a thing or two about the car business from working there.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    under VA lemon law...if it is handled thru the system....the dealer must give you back or in trade the original purchase price of your car, but since you have 7K on may be prorated some sure to check your particular lemon law for your state....I used a BBB website for all my research...will try to find it and post it.....I would will have to pay any cost difference between the original value of your car and the Equinox....

    what state are you filing in for the lemon law..for some reason I think I remember is an excerpt from their law:
    Duty to Replace or Refund (relief pursuant to sec. 218.0171(2)(b), Wis. Stats.)

    Wisconsin law requires a manufacturer to provide the consumer with a comparable new motor vehicle or a refund if, within the term of the warranty or within one year after delivery, whichever is sooner, either:...the rest is or out of service requirements...

    if any case this isnt the correct state..go here to review each states law;
  • When the outside temperature is 60F or higher there is a groaning noise whenever the steering wheel is turned in the slightest.

    That means the groaning noise is there all the time because even on a straight road there are very slight steering wheel motions.

    This phenomenon is noticeable in a quiet area (residential or parking lot or garage) at low speeds. At higher speeds the road-noise masks the groaning.

    Any suggestions are welcome. The upper and intermediate steering shafts have been replaced by the dealer without alleviating the problem.
  • jmax4jmax4 Posts: 22
    Does anyone know whether I can buy a bumper painted in the color of my car from GM? Or it has to be painted anyway? My MAXX was involved in a hit & run accident in the parking lot while I was at work on Dec. 1st (I have a car since Feb). When I was leaving for lunch I noticed two holes, one in the rear bumper, another in the tail lamp, some cracks and scratches as well as damaged and hanging plastic. And now, I have to pay for the repair myself, because nobody left any information.

    Besides that, I had installed rear sunshade reinforcements and the liner squeaks all the time since then. It holds the shades better, but I don't know how this will work with open windows.

    The car also had Engine control module reprogram for Rough Idle/No Start or Delayed Start and now is much better, but one thing. It seems like the car is trying to pull back and forth a few times interchangeable while the engine is cold and the car is on Drive and I am waiting on the lights. This happens only once (4-7 minutes after the start and the short drive) until the next engine start. Any ideas why? Do I need another reprogram to be done? The dealer did not specify what exactly was done, just the reprogram. Is there a way to check it?

    I also decided to leave my transmission howl alone, because it is not bad yet, and I have a very bad experience with my previous car when the engine was taken apart to fix one thing. After a year something “snipped of” (that's what they said) and then I had to pay a lot to replace a half of an engine.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    why not look for a different small SUV? What is it about the Equinox that excites you? Personally, I think it is a very mediocre vehicle and quite a poor showing from Chevrolet considering it's a new model.

    I would take a Saturn Vue, with the 250hp Honda V6, over the Equinox if you really need to stick with a GM brand. Good crash test scores and supposedly the interior quality isn't as horrible as in the past. Expand beyond GM brands and the options improve considerably.
  • Chances are though he's going to have to stick with a Chevrolet vehicle, if he's going to get any help from his original dealer. Beggars can't be choosers.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I vote with you bluedevils; I'd try to get some money back and put it towards a RAV-4. I think the Equinox is the most hastily conceived piece of junk I have ever seen. The Vue is rated very poorly in Consumers, and should be avoided as well.
  • glennbglennb Posts: 34
    Whew! I can't believe how many messages have been posted since my last time in this forum in mid-September. I wish they were all praises for the Maxx, but...

    I recently turned 10,000 miles and had my 04 LS Maxx into the dealer for the first time. First on the list was my whiney fuel pump. I developed a loud whine in the past two weeks. Naturally, not a peep at the dealer. It did start whining again after leaving the dealer. I searched this forum for others having this problem, but see nothing. My brake thumping was solved; out of round rear rotor was corrected and is now silent. I think I remember maxx4me having that problem this past summer. While there I mentiones rough starts and idling, which I experienced once in summer, but wanted the chip upgrade anyway. I have noticed some very,very slight pulsing of the steering when starting cold and my hands are on the wheel. I just wonder if this is the sensation I get occasionally when driving the freeway and feel what I thought was some wheel wobble at certain speeds. Other than that, the Maxx has been good for me, but my wife still hates it, and misses the Venture. We saw the new Uplander at the dealer, my wife wants the Maxx gone next year and an Uplander in the driveway.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    as a tall man, every time I drive/rent another vehicle (or my wife's Vibe for that matter), I soon remember why I love the Maxx so much. It is such a breath of fresh air to drive a car without being forced to saw off half of my legs to fit in it. Sure, I'm nervous about long term reliability, which is why I'll buy an extended warranty from Capper come this May. Nevertheless, I'll have to be stranded in this car in a driving rain storm on a deserted highway before I start throwing the towel in. There simply is too much to like about this car at this stage of the game.
  • why sure i can choose... once i win my lemon law claim that is....=)
  • what does this mean e2helper? my malibu was built between a bad timeframe so i should expect alot of problems correct?
  • I dont think anyone here at all knows with real certainty but its been said here that Malibus built after february or so will not have EPS issues. WRONG. Build date on the door of my Malibu is 4/04. For the past few days the steering wheel has been jerking back and forth when stopped and twitches occasionaly when moving. From what I have heard this is how the EPS failure starts off.

    I have tried reading these NHTSA Documents reguarding the EPS and nowhere do I see it specificaly stated that the problem was corrected on a certain date - only an admission by GM that there is a problem and the technical details on the cause of it.

    At 3K Mi, things are going downhill fast with my Malibu I guess. I hardly drive it any more because I have just about ZERO confidence in it and it seems everytime I do drive it something else goes wrong.
  • that's how mine started. then i had to replace the steering column and all hell broke loose ever since. i hava had steering problems ever since.
  • Glennb, you might want to get your vehicle to the dealer to check that steering columm.
    That is how mine began to fail...a slight pulsing noted while sitting / idling at stoplights, and a little more pulsing when the wheel is gently turned.
    When I showed all this to my dealer, they immediately declared the car unsafe to drive, gave me a rental and replaced the columm. So far, so good.

    jmax4, e2helper has mentioned here and in other posts that there is a "zeroing" procedure needed to get the steering columm recalibrated. You might want to scroll back to check on that and ask your dealer (or another, if your first dealer (like mine) is staffed by klutzes) to recalibrate the columm.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I certainly agree with kurt to have vehicle taken to dealer to check for any fault codes stored in module and rezero the sensors if required. There are 2 of them and dealer has to zero them separately using his scan tool. FYI the are the handwheel position and torque sensors.
  • maxlt2004. I envy your situation. Most of us suckers that bought the Malibu will never be able to force a buy back of any sort. I wish I could get rid of mine but I'm sure I'm stuck with it. Mine has six or seven problems right now but I still have not taken it in for service. Being intermittent problems I will just get a runaround from the service department. If its not acting up while its there they will simply tell me there is nothing wrong with it. The dealers job is to never admit to any known problems and avoid or delay warranty repairs whenever possible till the customer is forced to pay for it. I'll bet that even now GM would not admit that there is a known common problem with the malibus. This is America. Big business feeds off little people and screws them anyway they can, because they can.
  • gla4601, I symphasize as I had similar situations with Saturn and Honda (10 useless Saturn services = CA Lemon Law lawyer who cut nonsense and got Ion taken back. Honda stonwalled to the end). In the end you may have to resort to legalities to get resolution.

    Intermittent problems are a pain for everyone. I used to be a service tech and remember trying to satisfy the customer while often not being able to find the problem __or__ getting help from the manufacturer.

    Also keep in mind that the Malibu is a __first year car__, and given the complexities of a car, is going to have teething problems.

    Other car owners have trouble too (the Honda forum here has tales of "bad" Accords).
  • kurtamaxxguy. I hear ya that all cars have problems. Putting it in perspective though I just checked the Honda accord forum. Seems most of the problems there are minor problems like rattles and radio problems and such. The more serious problems pertain to 3 to 10 year old Accords.

    Now with the Malibu this forum is on fire with problems, many of which seem to have no solution. For instance I also have the intermittent no-start problem as a few others here do. So far I have heard of no one getting it resolved other than to get in an out of the car a few times, play with the door locks, do some kind of ancient ritual dance around the car, cursing it or in my case I'll soon take a hammer to it. That will be a hell of thing to have to live with for the duration that I own the car.

    On top of some of the serious intermittent problems I am having the whole integrity of the car is going down hill fast. Rattles, creaks and bangs coming from everywhere.

    3K mi and it sounds like its got 300K. Hate to see whats its like at 10k.
  • gla4601, you might want to check when yours was built. Mine was late Jan, 04.

    The biggest issues I've seen for Maxx are steering columm (mine got fixed, I hope) and wierd no start problems (have not been bitten by that __yet__ but I have not attempted to change any settings whatever for the vehicle electric parameters - they are factory stock).

    I sincerely hope the GM folks are monitoring this forum. GM can redesign cars to death, but if they can't build in or have __long term__ focus on quality (as the Japanese and now Koreans seem to have), GM will have fewer long term customers.
    I took a ___real___ chance on the Maxx (my local Honda and Toyota dealers were itching to sell me their wares; I've been burned by Honda and indifferently treated by Toyota), and am getting worried that something major is going to go wrong before very long.
  • kurtamaxxguy. As I said in my origial post the build date on the door is 4/04. I see that e2helper looks up build dates based on VIN and I dont know if that differs from whats on the door. Knowing GM it probably is. I have the lowly 4cyl base sedan - not the max. I certainly could have offorded more of a car but my choice was based on the fact that the last 3 cars I bought (more upscale at the time so to speak than the malibu) were all nightmares. Each one was progressivly worse and now it seem the malibu is poised to take the lead. I paid cash, a little over 13.5K after rebates for the malibu so at that price I figured if it ended up a lemon I would not lose tooooo much sleep over it. So at 3k miles I have a lemon - that works out to about $4.50 a mile or had it 6 months so $2100 per month. Luckily my 2000 s-10 pickup has been pretty good so far. I guess its just not meant for me to ever have a good car.
  • i took mine in 5 times total in 7,000 miles, but 3 of times was for the steering problems in general. now my dealer will NOT take back the car to try and fix it, they stated that "It's fixed" and won't accept it. so i tried calling a different dealer and they told me they wouldn't accept either because Chevy corporate already paid my dealer to fix the problem so they cannot and will not attempt to fix it. the service leader at the different dealership asked me "What if I can't fix it?"

    so i wonder if a lemon law attorney will take the case, ill be in touch with them this week.

    alo chevy corporate received my BBB claim so we'll see what happens there too.
  • Ok someone brings the car in three times for the same problem and its a lemon.

    Does it count if you bring the car in and they have no clue whats wrong and dont do anything at all to the car? For instance every week or two my malibu decides its not going to start. If I bring it to the dealer, surely they will have no clue what to try and wont do anything. Or will I be called a liar and it be considered that there is not a problem with the car because it starts fine while there?
  • maxxlt2004: I guess we posted at the same time. Your post kind of answers my question. If the dealer thinks the problem is fixed or does not see that it exists then your on your own. The more I learn here the more I see we are all ****ed.

    I should talk to my uncle. Some 30 or so years ago, long before there was a lemon law he bought an Oldsmobile and soon after it developed a major failure in the rear differential. The dealer found that there were big chunks of ice mixed in with the gear oil. The car was repaired but he told them he did not want the car anymore as it was obvious that the car had been submerged in water before he took delivery. They told him to go to hell so he took the car home and never drove it again. He sued GM and won. Took ten years to resolve and I'm sure far more money than the car was worth but he did win. He was on the cover of Time magazine standing next to the car with an ax. I believe he was the first to force a buy back before there was a lemon law.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    e2helper: for the past week, I have felt some "twitchiness" to my steering while I drive at slow speeds in parking lots. I have not noticed any problems otherwise. Is this cause for concern, even though my build date is the beginning of May?
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Just to counter the negativity of a few......

    I love my Maxx! It has 2100 miles and the only thing that has broken is one radio speaker. It rides quietly, gets good mileage, handles fine for a family car. has tons of room, and has the quickest seat heaters I've ever experienced. So far I am 100% happy and I would buy another one.

    Not to trivialize other people's problems, as I've had cars that broke repeatedly, but I always kept in mind that I was dealing with a machine and things go wrong with machines. And, to be fair, I went back to the dealer with a positive attitude and gave them a chance to fix the car. Only when they didn't fix it after 6 times did I get angry. (I've worked retail for years and appreciate customers who are realistic.)

    I've also compared the postings on Honda and Toyota boards and really the only thing I see is that the Malibu board is more active, with less than half a dozen people on the board unhappy with their Malibu. This compares favorably to the other boards. We all know that usually the boards are filled with people that are dissatisfied, as happy car owners don't usually seek these things out, and with thousands of 'Bu's sold, a few unhappy owners on the board is not a bad ratio.
  • i won a lemon law in 20 days on a mercedes ml350 i used to own actually. worst piece of junk ever. here in WI all you need is that it affects the value and safety of the car. you also either have to have the dealer try and fix the problem 4 times without success or your car needed to be in the shop at least 30 days. my dealer couldn't find my hesitation problem period. they replaced parts which made my lawyer say they admit there's a problem, but they cannot find it to fix it. the earlier you bring your car in for the repair the better because there's a calculaion they take the 1st time you brought your car in and the mileage times 100,000 or something like that and that will show how much you lose if you win the lemon law case for mileage offset. in my case i lost only $2,100, but got a check back for the full amount of the vehicle. mind you i drove the vehicle less than a year and had 14,000 miles on it
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