Last post on Feb 09, 2013 at 9:37 AM
You are in the Chevrolet Malibu
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Chevrolet Malibu, Sedan
Jul 09, 2001 (2:26 pm)
After you have the engine serviced on that car, be very careful to check the coolant level, and keep an eye on the oil too.
I had the pistons changed out in my 2000 Malibu in March. There are two explanations of what happened next
1) My thoughts...they didn't put it back together right, and the head gasket was compromised. The thing nearly overheated and all the coolant was gone. Oil level was high, and had a weird odor to it.
2) Chevy's excuse...there was an air pocket in the reservoir as a result of pollution control equipment. There was no compromise of the head gasket, they only needed to fill the coolant to compensate for the air pocket which was relieved. Curiously, they changed the oil for free.
No problems since, so who knows.
#642 of 4972 2000 Malibu Air Bag
Jul 12, 2001 (5:35 pm)
Has anyone had a problem (or known of one) with their air bag on the 200 Malibu AS? I know it isn't something you can actually check.
This past weekend my daughter drifter off a road at ~ 50 MPH and ran through on telephone pole and into a second one. She actually removed her seat belt to reach for a DC that fell on the floor. She hit the windshield twice and completely bent the steering wheel. The air bags never inflated (driver side or passenger side) even though it was a head on crash (about 1 inch off-center) pushing in the front end ~ 2 feet. She walked away with a concussion and some stitches in her mouth - all caused by impact with windshield and steering wheel (which could have possibly been prevented IF the air bags inflated). Her "Guardian Angel" was definitely watching over her that day.
#643 of 4972 My 1998 Malibu LS experience
Jul 13, 2001 (6:21 am)
This past spring I sold my 1990 Chevy Corsica as it had 141k miles and the body and suspension was finally starting to show it's age.
I shopped around hoping to find a nice inexpensive import, but couldn't find anything that was in the condition I wanted in the price range I wanted (under $8k).
I did come across a nice, shiny 1998 Malibu LS with 68k miles on it. It appeared to be a "nice" used car at a decent price. I figured even if it did need the break work or mainifold gasket it was still a good price. I even had a mechanic provide a "prepurchase inspection" which turned up a few very minor things, none of which were serious (tire rotate+balance, some squeaks, but no major mechanical).
Now that I've owned the car for a couple months here's the list of problems and complaints I have with it.
* Glovebox is very loose and rattles. Dealer est is $190 to replace the entire unit.
* A/C cycles off occassionally. Pressing the switch twice cycles it back on. Annoying, but at this time it's not worth the dealer est of $183 to fix.
* Gas guage isn't accurate. At "E" there is still approx 5 gallons of gas left in the tank. Dealer est. $300+ to replace the sending unit in the tank.
* Left front suspension makes a noise when driving straight or turning left. I thought it'd be the ball joint, the dealer est. $297 to replace the front left wheel bearing. Another repair shop est $177 for the same job. I'm going to get this one fixed. 8-)
* FM radio receiption is so bad every single radio station has some amount of static. I listen to CDs mostly so I haven't had it looked at.
* Driver window sounds like it's going to break if the window is left 1/2 down and the door is swung shut.
* Wipers are very tiny, as is the windshield in general.
* Highbeams are engaged by pushing the lever forward instead of pulling it backward like every other car I've ever driven.
* Firestone Affinity tires are NOISEY. So noisey I can't hear my bad wheel bearing when going over 40mph.
* LS comes with tons of electric gadgets but no lighted driver mirror and no locked gas cap door
* The 1-star front side impact rating scares the Hell out of me. 1 star in this day and age???
* Car has decent power, engine seems very nice.
* Extremely affordable used when compared to similar makes/models
* Quite roomy
* LS comes with lots of gadgets
I plan on keeping the car for a few more months, if it develops any more problems I'll probably sell it and hope to break even and invest in another import. If no further problems develop I'll probably keep it.
Jul 13, 2001 (10:36 am)
1. Fuel gauge:
the E light (and chime) appears when there is about 4 gallons left in the tank. This is normal for Malibu, as well as most of other current GM cars.
The cars needs about 2 gallons to operate normal. Something related with fuel pump. So, "E" at 4 gallons translates into 2 gallons safety margin. Very reasonable if you are sitting for a hour or two in a traffic jam, as it happens often in Southern CT. Or if the next highway exit is in 30 to 50 miles, like on I-90 in Western MA and Upper NY.
are asymetric with Malibu. The passenger-side wiper blade is 19 inch long, while the driver-side one is 22 inch long. The same 22 blades are use with many bigger cars like Buick Regal, Olds Intrigue, etc.
Very good Trico wipers are available at Pep Boys. Better than Bosh in my experience. Cost $7 for left-side (22 inch), $6 right (19"), $3(?) for inserts only.
I would also recommend the Rain-X windshield fluid. Expensive ($2.50 per gallon at Pep Boys, $2 at Wal-Mart), but very convenient.
3. Glove Box:
My dealer simply tightened the lock. $33 for 1/2 hour labor.
In my experience, the original Affinity were bad tires, and wore-out fast. Replaced them at 37k miles. However, they were not noisy.
GM recommends unusual pressure for the tires. 29 psi front, 26 psi rear. In my experience, 3 psi extra, i.e. 32/29 front/rear, was better - I like turning fast. However, do not inflate them substantially more.
The 3 psi difference between front and rear tires inflation is really important when turning fast and sharp: otherwise the rear end does not hold road well, fish tailing.
I switched to Firestone Firehawk SH-30. Great performance tires generally, and absolutely outstanding in rain. Somewhat stiff, but not noisy.
Jul 13, 2001 (7:14 pm)
I bought my 98 Malibu LS new and now have almost 36k miles.
The Affinity tires were horrible, made an unbelievable amount of noise and I replaced them at 22k with Hoosier tires (don't know if they have a model #). They have been much better.
I had a squeaking glove box that I fixed by pushing up on a bundle of wires above the inside of the glove box. It seemed to be rubbing against a horizontal metal bracket.
The climate control panel was replaced under warranty to fix the A/C switching on/off.
My wife smashed it into the side of another car about a year ago. The air bag did not deploy but it was at a low speed.
Overall a great value and well designed, but I had more issues that I would have liked. If I can get another 7-8 years and 70-80k with minimal repairs I'll be completely happy.
#646 of 4972 side crash rating
Jul 14, 2001 (10:13 am)
I've also been concerned by the Malibu's side impact test rating, however, the statistics for actual collision and injury (see www.iihs.org) show the Malibu to be comparable to the Ford Taurus. These are cars of similar size and market segment (i.e. not a whole lot more inexperienced drivers in one as compared to the other model), and you wouldn't expect this from the crash test results alone.
Ultimately, trying to predict real-world performance from standardized tests is very difficult. It's one of the better tools we have, but it's not perfect, because real world collisions occur in such a GREAT variety of conditions.
The nice part of buying 2-3yrs used is even if you DO get a car that requires a few repairs (to get it to the "level" that you want) you can still be financially well ahead. Given some of the other people's feedback, you're looking at $550 to take care of the bearing, A/C and glovebox. That's still a pretty good deal if you add it to the original purchase price of your Malibu.
I'd check to make sure the radio antenna cable isn't unscrewed or worn through and grounding out somewhere.
I've got a 1993 Corsica, and it's been far more reliable than my previous Nissan, VW, Taurus, so I don't know if "buying an import" is a panacea. It hasn't been in my experience. My boss had to spend $4000 to have his 1994 Camry's engine rebuilt, and a former co-worker was putting about $2000-$3000 into his Prelude year after year. And I was playing "what car repairs are needed now" (and not just remedying squeaks either) on my Nissan every month for months before I finally got rid of it.
Jul 14, 2001 (10:40 am)
There have been a few comments voiced about gas mileage. From what I've seen generally over the years, and with my current Corsica (3.1L V-6) you can usually match or beat EPA numbers on the hwy, but usually get worse than EPA in the city. I see about 14/28mpg (city/hwy) with a 3spd auto and at 70mph on the hwy, so it's nice to see that my (future) Malibu will get about 10% better on the hwy - which it should with the 4spd auto.
That also seems to be reflected in the (e.g.) Consumer Reports tests - they beat EPA hwy and can't match EPA city.
Jul 14, 2001 (10:41 am)
...and pity all those Focus owners who are only getting around 25mpg hwy!!! I'd be P.O.ed too.
#649 of 4972 New Malibu
Jul 14, 2001 (3:50 pm)
I went down to our local chevy dealer today to look at the Maibus and I had this conversation with the salesman which is a friend of mine.
Salesman:"Lookin at a Malibu huh, great car"
ME:"I'm thinkin about lettin my cutlass go"
SM:"Come on over here and lets talk"
SM:"What year is your car?"
SM:"This isnt very salesman like, but the car you have now is basically the same as the current malibu, same engine, same interior features that the previous model didn't have until now. The only new things you will be getting, are Remote with panic feature, RDS radio, and Suspension refinements. The things in your car that I think you would prefer more are, more real looking wood trim, better radio design, and the Full Leather seats. If I were you, I would just take real good care of the car, get it detailed a couple of times a year, and look into getting some Pirelli P6000 tires until the new design comes out"
ME:"OK then, thanx. bye"
There was more said, but these are the main thing that stuck out to me. This was a bold thing for a car salesman to say even if he is my friend. I believe him but i just don't know.
Jul 16, 2001 (5:04 am)
What he said was all greatly true from a technical standpoint. You've been through the sharpest depreciation period on your Cutlass (new -> 2 years old) so it's market value is probably less than the amount still owing on it.
If you're happy with the Cutlass, and it's reliable I would keep using it. He makes a good point about the tires though. And if you REALLY want to "renew" your car experience, it would be cheaper to just have it detailed or go on a 2 hour road trip to buy an ice cream cone or something silly like that. You know, the way new car owners do!