Chevrolet Malibu Owners: Problems & Solutions

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Created by KarenS in the Maintenance & Repair Message Board. Your Host is mr_shiftright What is this discussion about? Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu Maxx, Sedan, Electric, Engine # 2962 of 2971 Visor and ...
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2,541 - 2,560 of 2,704 Comments Last updated Friday Aug 15
Jack

Columbus, OH

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#2587
Aug 19, 2013
 
jvajhn wrote:
I have a 2008 Chevy Malibu. The A/C works intermittedly. When it quits, the temp guage also goes to 0. I can disconnect the battery and the AC will work for awhile. I believe i have some type of sending unit problem. Can any1 tell what the sending unit is, what it is called, and if its something I could do myself. Thanks
John
Check your AC freon pressure and replenish if needed as low pressure will cause the AC compressor to cycle on/off or remain off. A can of freon w/ pressure gauge is available from Walmart or equivalent for under $30. Testing/replenishment procedures can be found on the can and online. AC Freon lines are pressurized and can be dangerous so if you don't know what you're doing, find someone who does. Otherwise your Body Control Module (BCM) likely needs to be reprogrammed or replaced since it controls your AC. Reprogramming/replacement have be performed by a GM dealer and costs several hundred dollars.
hammer

Kokomo, IN

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#2588
Aug 20, 2013
 
Randy wrote:
<quoted text>
Did you ever find your problem???I have the same thing
I need help with the same prob except my locks wrk fine but battery keeps dyine
CoronaJoe

Perry, GA

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#2589
Aug 20, 2013
 
I had the exact same problem, my solution was to open the fuse panel next to the battery and pull the 15 amp fuse in the #8 position,(as seen in the owners manual) it is the horn fuse, no horn but no more false alarms and happy neighbors!
Patrick

Seattle, WA

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#2590
Aug 21, 2013
 
I have a 2005 classic Malibu. I reset the theft system it starts. But this morning when I went to start it won't start it cranks but won't Start and the theft system is not on. What could be the problem please help thanks
The Car Guy

Columbus, OH

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#2591
Aug 22, 2013
 
Patrick wrote:
I have a 2005 classic Malibu. I reset the theft system it starts. But this morning when I went to start it won't start it cranks but won't Start and the theft system is not on. What could be the problem please help thanks
Check out this video for troubleshooting crank but no start:

tim

Maple Rapids, MI

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#2592
Aug 27, 2013
 

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Laura wrote:
I have a 2000 Malibu standard with 95k on it, V6 3.1L. Recently I have had some interesting issues on startup. The engine will start just fine, however the fuel gauge, coolant temp gauge, A/C blower, daytime running lights, high and low beam headlights, will not function. If I turn off the car and restart it, it may happen again, or it may be completely normal with everything working. Most interesting thing is that after driving a few minutes, all the functions dead may come back as normal. The warning sign (ignition sytem ) will show on and service your car sign will show on too if I have several times of this kind of starting. I sent the car to a garage for diagonoising once, but since it is not always show up that time, they didn't find out what's wrong. The past few days, it came much more often.
We have the same issue Laura, did you ever find anything out about this?
Laura

Columbus, OH

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#2593
Aug 27, 2013
 
tim wrote:
<quoted text>We have the same issue Laura, did you ever find anything out about this?
Had to replace the main computer.$1500.
TRusa

Murrells Inlet, SC

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#2594
Aug 27, 2013
 
I have a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu lt. The main problem I have started after I had an aftermarket head unit installed in addition to a kit that allows for the mpg info to appear on the inside of the car( kit info as follows) Metra 99-3303 Install kit for GM Vehicles Using The LAN System Integrate Vehicle Diagnostics -After everything was installed the car started having issues starting. I had alternator and battery checked and all was good. While the car was not starting the gages would also all go crazy- tachometer up and down, speedometer would go up and down, theft system symbols etc would flash on and off and the car would also not crank. Then take the key out wait 20 min then try again, and car would start normally. The gages would also go nuts while driving at times. I have found a temp solution... when the car will not start and the gages are going wild I take out the radio fuse on the inside of the car 15 amp fuse from memory.... and then try again.... car starts no problem... just no radio. I am at a loss of words on this one. Car is good other than the funky electronic issues... any one have any opinions and or ideas on what the issues could be?
Jay

Columbus, OH

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#2595
Aug 27, 2013
 
TRusa wrote:
I have a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu lt. The main problem I have started after I had an aftermarket head unit installed in addition to a kit that allows for the mpg info to appear on the inside of the car( kit info as follows) Metra 99-3303 Install kit for GM Vehicles Using The LAN System Integrate Vehicle Diagnostics -After everything was installed the car started having issues starting. I had alternator and battery checked and all was good. While the car was not starting the gages would also all go crazy- tachometer up and down, speedometer would go up and down, theft system symbols etc would flash on and off and the car would also not crank. Then take the key out wait 20 min then try again, and car would start normally. The gages would also go nuts while driving at times. I have found a temp solution... when the car will not start and the gages are going wild I take out the radio fuse on the inside of the car 15 amp fuse from memory.... and then try again.... car starts no problem... just no radio. I am at a loss of words on this one. Car is good other than the funky electronic issues... any one have any opinions and or ideas on what the issues could be?
If your problem started when you installed the aftermarket head unit, simply uninstall the aftermarket head unit. Problem solved.
Smoki Noki

Saint Paul, MN

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#2596
Sep 1, 2013
 
Francisco nava wrote:
<quoted text>
i have the same problem :(
I am having the exact same problem with my 2005 Malibu Ls please tell me you found what the problem was with your car.
harold bayside ny

Bayside, NY

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#2597
Sep 2, 2013
 
my chev 02 malibu runs well until i need to go up a hill hesitates and will stall until i stomp on the gas pedal
Dick Slater

Columbus, OH

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#2598
Sep 2, 2013
 
harold bayside ny wrote:
my chev 02 malibu runs well until i need to go up a hill hesitates and will stall until i stomp on the gas pedal
I'd suspect a clogged fuel filter or weak fuel pump but you'd have to get your fuel system's pressure tested in order to confirm it.
chevy owner

Spokane, WA

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#2599
Sep 8, 2013
 
I have owned chevys since the 80's. My 2003 Malibu
I bought new and have had several problems with it.
The intake manifold gasket and head gasket were replaced at 80,000 miles, which is the current mileage.
I recommend this as a point A to point B car.The brakes have been replaced three times. I finally put on ceramic brakes which are guaranteed for life but they squeal when I stop. I put new rotors on the front and this did not fix the problem. I plan on putting normal brake pads on. I have had a problem with the warning lights switch which I had a mechanic replace.The turn signal yoke has been replaced once. I have driven Camaros, Berettas , and Chevy Trucks, but usually traded them in while they were still under warranty. I was bent on this being my last car. Now I have to decide if I am going to keep putting money in a 3600 NADA value car. In this economy you just don't want to go out and buy a new car. I haven't had any lock problems but just replaced the battery, water pump, lower radiator hose, and serpentine belt. I guess I will keep this car, but bear in mind that you can't drive it and just change the oil every 3000 miles. I am due to have transmission service done , but it is $283 for a transmission flush. I have looked at replacing it, but since I don't travel out of the city, I think I will just keep it, as it is cheaper than buying a new car in my senior years, with a payment I would not be able to afford. What is left to fail is the starter, AC, alternator and transmission. Basically you end up putting money into to a car, but it is still better than having car payments.
Ron

Columbus, OH

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#2600
Sep 8, 2013
 
chevy owner wrote:
I have owned chevys since the 80's. My 2003 Malibu
I bought new and have had several problems with it.
The intake manifold gasket and head gasket were replaced at 80,000 miles, which is the current mileage.
I recommend this as a point A to point B car.The brakes have been replaced three times. I finally put on ceramic brakes which are guaranteed for life but they squeal when I stop. I put new rotors on the front and this did not fix the problem. I plan on putting normal brake pads on. I have had a problem with the warning lights switch which I had a mechanic replace.The turn signal yoke has been replaced once. I have driven Camaros, Berettas , and Chevy Trucks, but usually traded them in while they were still under warranty. I was bent on this being my last car. Now I have to decide if I am going to keep putting money in a 3600 NADA value car. In this economy you just don't want to go out and buy a new car. I haven't had any lock problems but just replaced the battery, water pump, lower radiator hose, and serpentine belt. I guess I will keep this car, but bear in mind that you can't drive it and just change the oil every 3000 miles. I am due to have transmission service done , but it is $283 for a transmission flush. I have looked at replacing it, but since I don't travel out of the city, I think I will just keep it, as it is cheaper than buying a new car in my senior years, with a payment I would not be able to afford. What is left to fail is the starter, AC, alternator and transmission. Basically you end up putting money into to a car, but it is still better than having car payments.
DO NOT get your transmission flushed! Just get the transmission fluid and filter changed. A flush can loosen sludge/gunk that naturally builds up over time and harmlessly adheres to the inside of the transmission housing. The loosened sludge/gunk will not be removed by the flush and instead will float around inside the transmission until it eventually clogs up a passageway or an orifice resulting in MAJOR transmission repairs. Regular fluid and filter replacement every 50,000 miles should be more than sufficient to prolong the life of your transmission.

The average lifespan for a GM water pump is around 75,000 miles, so replacing yours was normal. If the engine coolant wasn't drained/replaced in conjunction with the water pump replacement, you'll need to have that done around 100,000 miles.

Your starter could fail tomorrow or last 200,000 miles. It's not something I'd arbitrarily replace as a preventive measure.

Your alternator also could last much longer and will likely exhibit symptoms before failing such as flickering headlights at night and triggering your battery charging system warning light.

Three brake replacements within 80,000 miles is excessive for a Malibu unless you were using cheap brake pads, frequently apply hard braking, or ride the brake pedal while driving. Medium grade rotors and pads should easily last 45,000+ under normally driving conditions. Your brakes squealing when you stop are most likely nothing more than someone not applying anti-squeal compound to the backside of the new pads when installing them. The anti-squeal compound absorbs the high frequency vibrations created when the pads contact the rotors as you apply the brakes. If anti-squeal compound isn't available, brake grease can be used as a substitute.
Some brake pads are fitted with anti-squeal shims or a factory-applied vibration-dampening layer that does not require the additional anti-squeal compound. Also, new rotors have a layer of protective oil applied to the contact surfaces to prevent rusting while in storage/transit. If this layer of oil is not removed with brake & parts cleaner before installing the rotor, it can contaminate the brake pads and result in squealing.

(ASE 35 years)
chevy owner

Spokane, WA

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#2601
Sep 8, 2013
 
Thank you for the information on the transmission flush. No doubt saved me a severe transmission problem.I have changed the transmission fluid, gasket, and filter on a Blazer I owned, but lack the facilities where I live now. I have a friend that works at an auto supply store that access to a jack and the necessary tools.

On the brakes,I sprayed brake dust cleaner on the ceramic brakes. It worked for a couple of weeks, but the squeal came back. While I was spraying the
brake dust compound, I replaced the rotors at 45 apiece just as an experiment. It did not change the squealing problem. I will now try your advice.
Yes, I am hard on the brakes and ride them down hills.

Good to know about the alternator and starter. Thank you again!

The check engine light has only come on once, when I failed to secure the gas tank cap. The diagnostic computer confirmed it.

Ron

Columbus, OH

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#2602
Sep 8, 2013
 
chevy owner wrote:
Thank you for the information on the transmission flush. No doubt saved me a severe transmission problem.I have changed the transmission fluid, gasket, and filter on a Blazer I owned, but lack the facilities where I live now. I have a friend that works at an auto supply store that access to a jack and the necessary tools.
On the brakes,I sprayed brake dust cleaner on the ceramic brakes. It worked for a couple of weeks, but the squeal came back. While I was spraying the
brake dust compound, I replaced the rotors at 45 apiece just as an experiment. It did not change the squealing problem. I will now try your advice.
Yes, I am hard on the brakes and ride them down hills.
Good to know about the alternator and starter. Thank you again!
The check engine light has only come on once, when I failed to secure the gas tank cap. The diagnostic computer confirmed it.
You're most welcome and hopefully your brake squeal is a result of nothing more than the absence of anti-squeal compound applied to the backside of the brake pads. The most common type is an aerosol spray that you simply cover the entire backside of the pad with and then allow it to air dry before installing the pad. There's also another type that comes in a squeeze tube and it only needs to be applied to the portion of the pad's backside that comes into contact with the brake caliper piston. As I mentioned, a good quality brake grease (silicon preferred) can be used in lieu of anti-squeal compound. Also, it may help if you apply some brake grease at the contact points where the pads fit inside the mounting clips as I've found them to be a source of squealing.

Instead of riding your brakes downhill (especially for prolonged periods in mountain areas), you may want to instead shift out of drive and into the next lower gear. This is especially helpful with cars equipped with overdrive transmissions and can be accomplished while moving forward at normal speed on dry roads (to avoid a skid slow down before downshifting if roads are wet or icy). By doing so, the engine and transmission will limit your acceleration and reduce the chances of overheating your brakes and warping your rotors.

As far as the transmission flush, I've seen too many trannies ruined by flushes as I described in my earlier reply. Most flushes are performed by connecting to the transmission cooling lines which are much too small in diameter to allow any loosened gunk to escape during the flush. A routine filter & fluid change every 50,000 miles or so is all you need.

Your Malibu's spark plugs & wires are designed to last 100,000 miles. Some need to be replaced earlier and some can last much longer. As long as you're not experiencing any ignition problems, you should be good to go.

GM fuel pumps and fuel injectors have a history of failing around 100,000 miles but this can be minimized by replacing the fuel filter every 30,000 miles or so. It's also helpful to use name brand quality gasoline (Shell, Chevron, etc.) containing detergents that help keep your fuel system & injectors clean. GM vehicles also benefit from adding a bottle of Chevron with Techron to the tank every 5,000 miles. This can be found at stores such as Walmart for around $5 a bottle and is the exact same fuel additive GM sells for around $15 bottle. The Techron helps remove carbon deposits from the fuel level sender unit that controls your fuel gauge and also safely cleans the injection system.

Lastly your Malibu is equipped with a throttle body and it has a throttle plate that's prone to carbon buildup over time resulting in rough idle or stalling. Throttle body cleaning tips can be found at this link http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/solving-auto...

Eric the Car Guy's website http://www.ericthecarguy.com/ is an excellent info source for do-it-yourselfers.
Ron

Columbus, OH

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#2603
Sep 8, 2013
 
chevy owner wrote:
Thank you for the information on the transmission flush. No doubt saved me a severe transmission problem.I have changed the transmission fluid, gasket, and filter on a Blazer I owned, but lack the facilities where I live now. I have a friend that works at an auto supply store that access to a jack and the necessary tools.
On the brakes,I sprayed brake dust cleaner on the ceramic brakes. It worked for a couple of weeks, but the squeal came back. While I was spraying the
brake dust compound, I replaced the rotors at 45 apiece just as an experiment. It did not change the squealing problem. I will now try your advice.
Yes, I am hard on the brakes and ride them down hills.
Good to know about the alternator and starter. Thank you again!
The check engine light has only come on once, when I failed to secure the gas tank cap. The diagnostic computer confirmed it.
Just FYI you can find a lot of great do-it-yourself info at the following website http://www.ericthecarguy.com/

"Eric the Car Guy" is an ASE mechanic who runs his own shop but he still cares enough about people to freely share his knowledge & experience. I wish we had more like him in the business.
Ron

Columbus, OH

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#2604
Sep 8, 2013
 
Sorry for the double post with info about "Eric the Car Guy". My longer response was delayed in posting by 20 minutes and thus I figured it was lost in limbo.
chevy owner

Spokane, WA

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#2605
Sep 8, 2013
 
Ron, thank you for the resources such as Eric. I had been going to a discount mom and pop gas station and the fuel had a high amount of sulpher in it. After my fuel pump went out, I safely coasted to a side street to get a tow. It was like someone turned an off switch to the engine. I was told to change my fuel filter and new fuel pump. While I was at it, I had the injectors cleaned but no tune up. I now put an additive a mechanic recommended call Sea Foam every 5K miles. Not familiar with the exact spelling of the additive.
We have a Chevron and Shell within the neighborhood, so I had heard good things about techron, so I will start using it instead of the other additive. I still have not had a tune-up at 80,000 as the owners manual has recommended the 100,000 mile mark for doing this. I get 18mpg in the city, and 23mpg with a 3.1 V6 engine. A friend suggested using synthetic oil, even though I had a recent oil change and I am unsure of mixing old oil with new oil. On the transmission fluid, he suggested getting a GM/Delco fluid for the transmission. It will be a couple weeks until all this is accomplished as the procedure might be done with either a drive up ramp or hoist to accomplish this at a friends location.

One problem developed the last couple days. When the car has been sitting in the garage during first start-up, I put my foot on the brake and it starts whining 50% of the time when I shift to reverse in the automatic transmission. I just hope its not the ABS. It only does this when the brake is pushed all the way to the floor. It drives and brakes normally in traffic except for the brake noise which I will remedy with your tip.

I have shifted down hills of 17% grade when going down hills from drive to the next lowest gear in the automatic it works but there is always somebody behind me that wants to go 40mph in a 30 mph zone. I guess I will let them get the ticket, instead of me. You are right, it does work.

Thank you once again and I have found this forum to be extremey useful.
Dimitri

Montréal, Canada

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#2606
Sep 10, 2013
 
I have a 2005 malibu max.
While driving "check gas cap" displays on the
screen. What could be the trouble?

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