Last post on Feb 09, 2013 at 9:37 AM
You are in the Chevrolet Malibu
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Chevrolet Malibu, Sedan
#729 of 4972 RE: 2000 Malibu vs. 1997 Honda Accord
Sep 17, 2001 (9:51 am)
Personally, I would buy the Chevy Malibu. Here are my reasons:
1) less miles on the Malibu and better warranty.
2) You will be hit with a huge bill for the Accord in exactly 12,272 miles. The timing belt of your Accord needs to be replaced at 90,000 miles. That will run oyu at least $300, $500 if you replace the water pump (which you should).
3) 1997 is the last model year of the preceidng design of the Accord. Still an attractive vehicle but it has significantly less space then the 2000 Malibu.
The Accord does have better features that make it more attractive but it also has twice the miles. The real decision is whether oyu can live without power windows, locks, etc. I can't but each person has his/her different needs.
Sep 17, 2001 (12:03 pm)
I'd take a smooth GM V6 over a 4 banger any day, even a Honda. 2000 Malibu is pretty reliable from what I see so you should be in good shape unless the car was abused.
Sep 17, 2001 (4:10 pm)
Hello. Responding to your Malibu fuel gage, we had the same thing happen when we changed our alternator. Took it to the dealer and they said the dash would have to be taken out, sent off for repair and this would cost us approximately $350.00. We or course said no. My brother-in-law took a paper clip and popped the needle over the stopper using the hole for the odometer reset.
Just a note, the low fuel light still works and so does the fuel gage now!
#732 of 4972 The Malibu Wins
Sep 17, 2001 (6:56 pm)
Well, I'll be getting the Chevy Malibu 2000 on Wednesday. Even though it doesn't have power locks, windows, fold-down seat, I think I'll be happy with it. Roomy trunk. Lotsa places to put cups & toys. Smoooth ride. The biggest thing is knowing that a V6 should last longer than a V4... so with a 2000 model, I should be set for awhile. I hope. That's the most important point... who has time to take cars in for repairs or to shop for another one.
#733 of 4972 Electrical System
Sep 17, 2001 (7:40 pm)
The alternator on our 99 cutlass stopped working this morning. Surpisingly it was covered under the 3rd party extended warranty so all i paid was $50. What causes alternators to stop functioning?
#734 of 4972 comparison opinions
Sep 18, 2001 (8:57 pm)
Just wanted to get anyone's opinions on two Malibu's I'm considering:
'98 LS, 13,000 miles for $12,995
'99 LS, 29,000 miles for $9,950
Both are in really nice shape, run well, and essentially have all the same amenities. Carfax reports on both came back clean. Not too concerned about any resale value, as I plan on driving it till it drops or gets totaled, whichever comes first. I'm leaning one way for sure, won't say which though. Don't want to influence the jury. Any opinions are appreciated. Just like to hear different perspective. If you were me, what would you buy?
#735 of 4972 steelerfan1
Sep 18, 2001 (10:20 pm)
I would check first more precisely when they were produced: the month not year.
The late 99 Malibu already had improved 170-hp engine vs. 150-155hp with 98 and early 99. It is possible to tell exactly by VIN: the different engine are coded by different letter in VIN, but I do not remember what letter.
The early 98, produced in 97, are practically the first year model. Have the same problems with reliability as 97. My Malibu was built in July 97: a nice car to drive, but a lot of small repairs was needed, plus two more expensive ones.
However, if the two cars you are comparing were built a month or two apart, the only serious difference is in mileage.
Sep 20, 2001 (5:06 pm)
Thanks for the input. Both models were produced in March of their respective years. Kind of a bummer to hear that the later 99's have more HP, but I find myself leaning towards the 99 as the numerous accounts of reliability issues on the earlier models sort of nullifies any difference in mileage in my mind.
#737 of 4972 1998 Malibu Owner Comments
Sep 26, 2001 (8:52 pm)
I purchased a 1998 Malibu LS in June of that year, dead in the middle of the GM strike, and used Edmunds to assist me in making a decision. Now that the car has passed its third birthday, it gives me a chance to reflect on the Malibu. It has about 43000 miles on it.
First, the good news. I got a very good deal on a car that is substantial in size and room, with a large trunk and a reasonably good stereo system and heating and cooling unit. I also went for the LS, which gave me an engine that can really move the car. You can accelerate quick enough to safely pass slow-pokes and not feel the car straining to get up to speed. The windshield gives you a lot of viewing space, but unfortunately the car's design also makes it a target for more road spray than any other car or truck I have driven.
Here in western New York, winter salt spray is particularly a nuisance, so I find the need to use the windshield wiper fluid quite a bit. It makes me hate those darn SUV's and other ridiculous "I had to buy this because all my neighbors have them" high profile vehicles, because you can never see around them and whatever they spray ends up dead on the windshield.
Those positive points are tempered by the negatives I have also experienced.
Like many other owners, I too have nothing positive to say about the brakes on the Malibu. They've been serviced at least annually, with complete factory replacements last year to the tune of $400 dollars. Despite that, less than a year later, it still requires pushing that pedal to the floor to comfortably stop, particularly when the road is wet. It's probably time to deal with them again, but I think I'll go aftermarket this time. Brake dust tends to foul the wheels as well, and its easier to deal with early, so don't let it accumulate or you will be spending a lot of time getting rid of it.
I have also experienced the low coolant problem. When it happened this past winter, the dealer supposedly checked the system and found no leaks and topped it off, perhaps replacing the cap. The problem has just returned once again, and I am personally dreading the manifold leak problem reported by many others. This car just came off of warranty this year and if it is a leak, I intend to raise a fuss with the dealer who told me this past spring that it wasn't a leak. The car was in warranty at the time. For the time being, because there is always a wait to get in with the dealer, I'll top it off with some Prestone Dexcool I bought. I am assuming it is okay to top it off for the moment.
The factory CD/cassette combo unit has been replaced for the third time. Radio reception has been fine, but who wants to listen to that. My problem has been with the CD player. After so many bumps and jolts, the laser head ends up out of alignment and they simply replace the whole unit. I likely won't waste my time with another factory radio now that I am out of warranty.
Water leaks are also a problem with the 1998 Malibu, but not in the compartment but rather in the lens assembly. The brake and headlights needed far more attention than they should have. As others have experienced, bulb burnouts are a bit too common, but I discovered a major reason for this is water in the assembly.
Condensation in the headlight assembly is extremely common on my Malibu, and when attempting to replace a rear blown tail light myself, I discovered a pool of dirty water had collected at the bottom of the plastic assembly and the moisture level corroded the contacts of the assembly itself. Once the corrosion also spreads to the bulb contact, your lights begin to dim and then eventually they fail. The standard bulbs should go opaque when they blow. If they are transparent, it may be the contact points. If they are rusted, you may need a new lens assembly.
Guess what? That plastic box which holds the lights is NOT CHEAP. It's $260, but the dealer installed it for free, claiming he shared my outrage at the price. I replaced the driver side. I fear what I'll find if I need to get into the passenger side.
I suspect this problem originated at the local car wash. The Malibu is not watertight in another place as well - the front driver and passenger doors. After the car wash, when opening the door, the bottom of the door jam tends to always be sudsy.
The climate control switch has a relay which often fails when you don't pay careful attention to put the switch precisely at the click stop. I managed to get slightly off and between settings one and two and that totalled the relay. You'll notice this when you get no fan blower movement on settings one and two. It was under warranty so that was fixed for free, but I've seen this is a common problem in reviewing other messages.
Condensation in the rear window, especially in winter, is common for me also. I solve it by keeping the heater out of the recirculate compartment air mode. Use the air from outside setting.
The factory standard Firestone tires wore prematurely on my Malibu and required replacement at 30,000 miles. I went with Firestone SH (or SB, I can't remember) 30 tires, which are louder than the Affinity's but handle the road better.
Winter driving with the Malibu is fine when you are cautious, but this car is not designed for driving through Rochester, NY style snowstorms. It's low profile will "plow" the road if there is significant accumulation, and the underbody scrapes when you hit one of those snow "cookies" is unsettling. If you drive cautiously, the SH/SB 30 tires will keep you safe, much better than the Affinity's did for me.
The seatbelts sometimes lose their springiness after a lot of use. Mine became a nuisance because they wouldn't retract properly. Under warranty, the dealer replaced them. The new ones are roomier and a bit easier to cope with.
Those are the experiences I have had. I like the styling and general performance of the Malibu, but I am honestly disappointed that GM seems to have been sloppy in several respects with this vehicle and I am concerned about how well it will age. I am now considering an extended warranty fearing what else may be forthcoming, as I would like to actually pay it off next June and still have a working automobile until at least 100,000 miles without having to drag it to the dealer every few months for this or that.
Under warranty, "this or that" was just time consuming. But now it may become expensive and time consuming.
I do warn those in the market for a used 98 to pay careful attention to the brake issue and the coolant level problem, which are by far the most common problems I've seen reported in my research.