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Considering a Chevy Malibu #5231381 10/05/19 06:57 PM
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Fifth87 Offline OP
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Viewing CL and the local auction site, it seems there is a large number of Malibus' available.
I am thinking about looking at a few from the '96-04 and the '04-07 generations.
Pros and cons, known maintenance/repair issues. Any owners or anyone who has worked on one I would like to hear from you.
Thanks!


87 Chevy Caprice wagon 109K ST 10W-40/ACDelco filter

95 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera 80K ST 5W-30/ACDelco filter

09 Dodge Caliber SXT 71K Castrol 5W-20/WIX filter
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231406 10/05/19 07:26 PM
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walterjay Offline
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At about 90-120K they will need trannys rebuilt.

Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231407 10/05/19 07:26 PM
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marine65 Offline
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a friend recently had a 99 Malibu.
from his experience i would say run away as fast as possible.


2018 Hyundai Elantra GT black
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT silver
yup got two of them.
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231436 10/05/19 07:56 PM
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Reddy45 Offline
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The 08+ look a LOT better than the ones you're looking at.

Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231466 10/05/19 08:18 PM
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slacktide_bitog Offline
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There is also the 04-05 Chevy Classic, which was a fleet-only version of the 96-04 Malibu with the 2.2L Ecotec. It looks like there is a lot of room under the hood in that one, so it is probably very easy to work on. Seems like a good choice for a simple economical midsize car. It is called Chevrolet Classic, without the Malibu name. (although some listings will call it Malibu Classic)

The 04-07 generation had a cool Malibu Maxx hatchback, but only with the V6, which I hate because a 4-cylinder one would be more awesome

The 04-07 Malibu was also sold under the names Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura

Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231493 10/05/19 08:34 PM
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14Accent Offline
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The '97-'05 Malibu's seem to be some of the worst assembled N-body cars out there. The Grand Am's and Alero's are better, but not by much. That being said: parts for them are DIRT cheap and they really do run forever. It doesn't really matter which engine they have, although I much prefer the newer models with the Ecotec. The early Quad4 engines were a pain to work on, loud, and not very powerful. The 3.4 V6 models are speedy, but really tight under the hood. The Ecotec engine gives most of the power of the 3.4, with much easier access vs. the 2.4 or 3.4. They all use a 4T45-e transmission, it's nothing to write home about but they rarely fail.

Up here in MN, rust kills these things long before they die of mechanical issues. However, build quality leaves something to be desired. Almost every one I see now has broken trim, non-functional switches, electrical issues, etc etc. I would pass, if I were you.


2013 Chevrolet Volt - Saves enough in fuel to pay for itself!

1980 Honda CB900C - 15k mile cream puff
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231497 10/05/19 08:37 PM
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opus1 Offline
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Had a '99 Malibu. Everything worked just fine until about 70,000 miles.

After that point I had to replace the water pump, alternator, started having issues with the AC operation and the infamous "3.1 Liter Lower Intake Manifold Gasket" problem. Finally threw in the towel when I started having electrical issues. There's also an issue with rust around the fuel-filler door which didn't hit my car, but I've seen a lot of them still on the road with huge holes in the panel around the filler.


Current Fleet:

2010 Hyundai Sonata GLS
2009 Chevy Cobalt SS Sedan (yes,the turbo)
2002 Dodge Dakota SXT Club Cab
1994 Ford Ranger XLT (RIP, Dad)
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231638 10/06/19 02:38 AM
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oilmutt Offline
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We have a2005 Malibu v6,with 140k,at 88k and 115k we had to replace the sterring column assembly and power sterring motor.The first replacement at 88k was covered by GM under a recall,the second one was on my nickel to the tune of $1,810.67. An appeal to GM resulted in an offer of a $100.00 gift card,NO THANKS1. Since that time i a have leased 3 toyotas, BUYER BE AWARE1

Last edited by oilmutt; 10/06/19 02:40 AM. Reason: SPELLING

'05 Chevy Malibu 6cyl,119k, Syn. Oil (owned)
'16 Toyota Camry,4cyl 25k Syn oil (leased)
'92 Ford Tempo ,4cly 26k Conv oil (managed)
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231680 10/06/19 06:33 AM
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Railrust Offline
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They're awful cars and they're awful driving experiences. I spent 8 years of my life working on these things, they are junk through and through. I literally could write a book on these things, but I'll keep it short.

These are the things that were "trouble" areas...

Intake gaskets -- 5-7 hour job, tear half the engine apart
Steering racks -- they leak, they are tough to replace
Power steering pumps -- they fail because the rack leaked
Struts, control arms, sway bar bushings and steering intermediate shaft -- all JUNK
EVAP codes and leaks -- poor placement of lines, materials, sensors
Interiors fall apart -- seats are designed better in go-carts
Engine leaks -- it's like a waterfall under there, they leak from everywhere
EGR failure -- it'll be the port to the throttle body, it will fill with so much oil and carbon that you'll need to drill it out, and the valve will fail too
Every sensor you can think -- O2 sensors, crank sensors, map sensors...they all will fail...lowest bidder, poor placement, they're always covered in some engine fluid (because the engine leaks everywhere). Garbage

Despite all this^^^ They do keep running. The wrist pins on the pistons will be clacking and clinging, the exhaust will be leaking, the engine will be dripping...but it'll still run. It just will cost you every few months to keep it that way.


2018 Chevy Silverado 5.3
2007 Lexus LS460 (deceased)
2008 Honda CRV
(Whatever synthetic oil is on sale or rebate)
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: oilmutt] #5231707 10/06/19 07:13 AM
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csandste Offline
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Originally Posted by oilmutt
We have a2005 Malibu v6,with 140k,at 88k and 115k we had to replace the sterring column assembly and power sterring motor.The first replacement at 88k was covered by GM under a recall,the second one was on my nickel to the tune of $1,810.67. An appeal to GM resulted in an offer of a $100.00 gift card,NO THANKS1. Since that time i a have leased 3 toyotas, BUYER BE AWARE1

Had the same problems with 05 Maxx. Two steering assemblies. Liked the car including 3.5 engine and the idea of a mid sized hatch. In the past 25 years I've had five HyunKia and three GM cars. The later gave me MUCH more trouble.


2017 Kia Soul+ Valvoline Daily Protection 5w30+ a bit of Harvest King syn 5w30-- 75,000 miles
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231711 10/06/19 07:17 AM
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Cujet Offline
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The older ones are no bargain, even if free. Stay away. From engine and transmission failures, to the wide range of poorly designed systems. They are not good cars, and they don't drive well.

The later ones are OK, mostly due to the fact that they are newer.

Last edited by Cujet; 10/06/19 07:19 AM.

People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231788 10/06/19 09:01 AM
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Fifth87 Offline OP
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Now I see why there are so many for sale.
Thank you so much to all that replied with what you have experienced.
I knew there would be some issues, such as the LIM gaskets, but I did not imagine to the extent that was pointed out.


87 Chevy Caprice wagon 109K ST 10W-40/ACDelco filter

95 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera 80K ST 5W-30/ACDelco filter

09 Dodge Caliber SXT 71K Castrol 5W-20/WIX filter
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: slacktide_bitog] #5231964 10/06/19 12:04 PM
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VetteElite Offline
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Originally Posted by slacktide_bitog

The 04-07 Malibu was also sold under the names Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura


This is incorrect. The 08-12 Malibu is based off the G6 and Aura. It was a totally new platform, the G6 was first, the Aura was next (won NA Car of the Year), then the Malibu (also won NA Car of the Year).

Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: Fifth87] #5231978 10/06/19 12:18 PM
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fisher83 Offline
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I wouldn’t take one of those cars even if it was free. If you do plan to buy one it may be best to get a second one also. You’ll need a parts car!


2019 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport 5,800 miles
2020 Ford F-150 STX 4x4 550 miles
Re: Considering a Chevy Malibu [Re: fisher83] #5231980 10/06/19 12:21 PM
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Rmay635703 Offline
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Originally Posted by fisher83
I wouldn’t take one of those cars even if it was free. If you do plan to buy one it may be best to get a second one also. You’ll need a parts car!


My friend has 400,000 miles on his impala, no real compelling reason to get a Malibu over an impala

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