Last post on Feb 09, 2013 at 9:37 AM
You are in the Chevrolet Malibu
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Chevrolet Malibu, Sedan
#568 of 4972 Same ??'s As katty2u - Should I Buy A Malibu?
May 29, 2001 (12:06 pm)
I currently drive a 1988 Chewy Celebrity (used to be my Dad's car) and Ii am going to have to buy a new car since this "GM Senior Citizen" is in the shop on a monthly basis with something new wrong with it (it's currently there now having the engine mounts replaced). I've narrowed it down to either a 2001 Impala (which I lust after) and the 2001 Malibu, which is more in my price range. Would it be wise for me to purchase a Malibu? The base or the LS? Any major problems? Next year, we'll be moving out of Chicago to the Las Vegas area and I will need a car that is a real "road warrior" since you drive everywhere; do you think the Malibu can handle it? Not to mention the 1700+ miles drive out to Vegas in the first place? Do you think it would be a good car to have in the desert? Safety?? I know I sound kind of silly but I'm so confused!!! I've done research on soooo many cars, and the Chevy models keep coming back to me!! I refuse to put any more money into "Ye Olde Rust Bucket" (even though it has sentimental value attached) and I may have to do this car purchase sooner than I wanted. I'm hoping the Celebrity will last me at least until September (WITHOUT any more costly repairs) and then shop around for the new car. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.. and sorry this is so long.
By the way, that ticking noise that was mentioned I also hear in the Celebrity's 2.4 V6 (think it's a v6) engine. I thought it was just a normal sound coming from a GM engine!!
#569 of 4972 still thinking about a Malibu
May 29, 2001 (8:26 pm)
Like my title says, I'm still thinking of buying a Malibu. The brake problems worry me. I don't want to be in the repair shop every month. Yurakm was kind enough to post his opinion. What he said about a coolant leak worried me. I had a coolant leak repaired in my '90 Buick Century earlier this year, and it was quite expensive to repair.... now I"m told my Century needs an exhaust manifold, so I am looking to get rid of it. that's why I'm considering a Malibu. Also, my car with a 3.3 liter engine has a tick in it too, especially when I accelerate. I'm still confused though, and I"m rambling now!
May 29, 2001 (9:43 pm)
I did not want to scare you, only to tell where to look and what to check when buying car.
The car is basically sound. I enjoy it - especially after replacing the OEM Affinity tires by Firehawk SH-30. Just today we discussed with my wife, how much fun is to drive our little Malibu. Even when compared with our newer car, a very fast and comfortable Buick Regal.
However, practically every model have its weak points. For example, with Ford Taurus this is head gasket and mediocre transmission. With 97-98 Malibu - brake rotors and, if equipped with 3.1l V-6 engine, the intake manifold gasket.
Of course this is not as bad as you fear. The brake rotors do not need to be replaced every year, even more "every month". I bought the car with already warped rotors, 15k on odometer, and nevertheless could use them for almost a year and 7-8,000 miles. Replaced at 22k or 23k miles.
Moreover, I believe that we would drive longer before the replacement, if not the accident. When the car was rear-ended by an absent-minded girl, who did about 40 mph, my wife braked strong to spare the car in front of her. ABS had to be repaired. The pads started to scratch rotors the next week after the car returned from the body shop. Looks as they did not inspect the brakes, ABS only.
Currently, two years and 18k later, with 41k on odometer, there is no sign of the warping problem to repeat.
Still, the brake problem is relatively widespread. According to Consumer Reports survey, 10-15% of Malibu developed it during the first two years.
As to the problems with the coolant system (including the intake manifold gasket leak), it happens with at most 5% of cars with the 3.1l engine. More probably with about 2%. Consumer Reports does not give exact numbers, only the range(s).
In other words, it happens often enough to deserve a special check when buying a used Malibu. But definitely not with all cars of the model, not with majority, not even close.
#571 of 4972 dottiez1
May 29, 2001 (10:09 pm)
I test-drove Impala, both base and LS, and I have a base Malibu.
The price overlaps somewhat: a loaded Malibu LS costs about the same as a striped-down Impala.
Personally, I did not like the base Impala. Nor my wife. The engine is not strong enough for the weight. Malibu have much better acceleration. Malibu also is more nimble, and the Malibu brakes much better.
My wife skipped the first turn when test-drove the base Impala, and I had difficulty to turn too. Feel absolutely unsafe. But, probably, the brakes just needed some tuning - the car was just delivered to dealership.
Impala equipped with 3.8l engine, though, is much better car, than Malibu. More firm suspension, good brakes, very good acceleration. Plenty of space. Unfortunately, it costs substantially more.
Know nothing concerning reliability in desert: I live in Connecticut.
#572 of 4972 katty2u and dottiez1
May 30, 2001 (6:37 am)
My brother and I were both looking for cars at the same time. I test drove the Malibu and really enjoyed the test drive. I didn't buy a Malibu though because of a blind spot in seeing over the headrest. My brother did buy the Malibu and really loves it. He's only had it for a week though.
katty2u - Having owned some really bad cars in my life, I wouldn't buy a car that gets "below average reliablity" in Consumer Reports. Starting in 1999, the Malibu gets "average reliability". If you're looking for used, I'd try for a 1999 or later.
dottiez1 - I live in the New Orleans area where it gets very hot in the summer. I bought a Grand Prix with a 3.1 L engine. It's the same engine as the Malibu. I noticed that my temperature runs normally at 185 degrees. I'll give my brother a call and ask him what his temp normally runs. (My '91 Grand Am normally ran 160 in the summer.) It's already getting pretty hot here but we're 5 - 10 degrees shy of our summertime highs. I don't know enough about cars to know why some run hotter that others. It could be with the Grand Prix, it's heavier whereas the Malibu is around 300 pounds lighter.
#573 of 4972 dottiez1
May 30, 2001 (8:26 am)
Forget what I was saying about car temperature. I found out that's a factory setting with the thermostat. The reason my Grand Am ran cooler is because my father changed thermostat. I don't really know how all that works.
May 30, 2001 (4:03 pm)
I just took my '99 Malibu to have the brake pads replaced. The whole job cost $99.99 (including labor). I know my rotors are warped, but I chose not to have them resurfaced (they were too thin already because they were resurfaced once before), and I chose not to have the dealer install new rotors ($270 seems like a rip off to me).
I've heard that Raybestos rotors are pretty good, and I plan on taking the car to Pep Boys for them to change the rotors. But, the cost of these Raybestos rotors is only $125 for both front rotors, including labor. This seems VERY low, and I am not sure whether or not it's a good idea to get these rotors since they are so cheap. Anybody care to give any suggestions?
BTW, the car had warping at 12,000 miles and I had the rotors resurfaced. Only 5,000 miles later, the rotors warped again, but I had neglected to go to the dealer until yesterday at 24,800 miles.
May 30, 2001 (6:31 pm)
I have a '98 Malibu with approximately 42k on. I am hearing warping sound while making turns/hard brakes. I am guessing that it may very well be related to the infamous rotor problem with the early-model Malibu's. I will have it checked when I get my tires rotated next week.
Anyway, if it is a rotor problem, I was wondering if anyone could tell me if I should have the dealer install the improved GM rotors or if I would be better off getting after-market ones, such as the Raybestos ones that many members on this board have highly recommended. What's the difference as far as the cost is concerned?
#576 of 4972 yurakm
May 31, 2001 (11:29 am)
I read your post where your wife was hit at 40 mph. I guess the Malibu will hold up well in a rear end collision. I was rear ended at 50 mph a number of years ago and my car was totaled. I had a '80 Chevy Citation. Either those extra 10 miles makes all the difference or the Malibu construction is much better. I can't remember what Consumer Reports says for rear end collision for Malibus.
I hope I didn't offend you when I said in another post not to buy a Malibu before 1999.
May 31, 2001 (1:14 pm)
First, I am not 100% sure it really was at 40mph and not, for example, 30-35 mph. This is my wife estimation. However, the posted speed limit is 30 mph on the street, with the overwhelming majority of people driving about 40 mph.
There was no tracks from braking tires, though, on the pavement. The girl who hit our car was totally absent-minded.
According to my wife (I was not here) it looked as that several cars ahead of her stopped. Up to the intersection a block ahead, on red light. It was a rash time, something like 5pm, with substantial traffic. She checked in the rear view mirror when started braking, and saw the headlights of the cart that hit her couple seconds later.
In reality, it hit our Malibu not once, but twice. The poor girl broke the windshield by her head. Obviously, she did not use the seat belts. Probably, after her car bounced back, she fall back on the gas pedal.
The hits were strong enough that the Malibu hit in its turn the car ahead - an older Accord. Also twice. Even while my wife braked at full force, trying to avoid this.
My wife get a slight injury. Was OK the evening, but the next morning a very strong headache developed. So strong, she could not work - this very unusual for her.
Had some headache and strong pains at neck / back for a whole week, but already could work. Had slight pains / inconvenience the second week. Doctor said this is normal, just muscles. I believe, this kind of injury is named "whiplash" in US.
Our son, than 8 year old, was at the rear seat. Fortunately, he was not injured even slightly.
I believe, our Malibu was not totalled mostly because it was hit by a small light car, an older Sentra. The Sentra most probably was totalled. My wife told that the whole nose part of the car was crushed, and fluids flowed on the street. Several fluids, not only the coolant. Plus the broken windshield. Looked as it does not pay to repair this - after all, how much can cost an older Sentra?
The damage of our Malibu did not look so serious. Mostly the rear bumper and the rear panel - plus the trunk lid did not close well and the rear fenders went down a bit. The front bumper was just scratched. However, it turned to be that the floor of trunk was deformed badly. The body repair costs about $5000, including paint, and took almost month.
At front only the fender cover was replaced. Probably it is easier to replace than to fix the scratches. The rear fender of the Accord ahead had much more damage. Probably, Malibu is made from stronger metal.