1997 Chevrolet Malibu LS from North America


Great pack-up-for-college car


I had to replace the serpentine belt last summer and had to be towed, but that was because it was an original belt.

The engine has a bit of a tick at times.

The blower doesn't work on 1&2 unless I up it to 3 first and then back down.

I drive the same stretch of road, but sometimes when I accelerate up to speed, the tachometer runs really high until I hit 75 and then it backs down to normal.

Just last week I started it up and it lurched forward a few times as if it were a standard without the clutch pushed in. It does it occasionally when idling and when the brake is depressed.

General Comments:

I love my 97 LS, it is a great car and has given me few serious worries.

I like the way it handles. It's a smooth riding car and very spacious and comfortable.

The factory system sounds great still, although I blew out my front passenger one.

I don't know much about cars, but it runs well and that's all that matters.

I've been looking for a newer one with a moon roof or sunroof and fewer miles, but by the sounds of the other comments I don't want to upgrade. I think I'll stick with my beauty until she dies for good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th June, 2003

1997 Chevrolet Malibu 3.1 from North America


A nice car with a few normal problems


I have read the reviews and it sounds as though most of my problems have been standard for the early Malibu. Every 15k-20k miles the brakes warp and start to shutter when you stop. When the pads are checked they are fine, but the rotors are warped. These were replaced for free at 40k miles after warranty because they knew of the problem.

The AC was bad after the first couple months of use and the dealer I bought from could not fix it in 3 trips in. I moved and the new dealer nearby fixed it on the first shot, there was a leak causing it to drain every 3-6 months. All the other dealer could do is recharge.

The AC also seems to go on and off at will, it appears to be connected to voltage because this happens as the battery/alternator go bad. I have learned to change the fan speed down and it will allow the AC to stay on.

I have lost fan speeds 1 and 2 at about year 3 and 90k miles.

Everything else seems to be scheduled maintenance that I may have missed:

Battery dead at year 5 and 110k miles.

Alternator died at year 5 and 112k miles (probably related).

Otherwise, simple oil changes and break changes (common) keep my car in good shape.

General Comments:

Apart from the problems listed above it has been a very nice car. This was my mistake buying a new model car the first year it was out. My next purchase will probably still be the Chevy Impala, but it has 3-4 years under it's belt. My last car was a Chevy, next car will be one even with some slight problems. Most of these were caused by the dealer.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th May, 2003

1997 Chevrolet Malibu LX 3.1 from North America


Please don't buy


Intake gasket bad two months after buying.

Number 1&2 fan speeds stop working.

Three bad wires had to be replaced.

AC was leaking when I got it,$350.00 repair, dealer payed for half of cost.

Now have ticking noise in engine when it is shut off and re-started.

General Comments:

Please don't buy one of these car's, unless you like to spend lots of money on it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd April, 2003

1997 Chevrolet Malibu 30.1 V6 from North America


A fun to drive roomy family car/lemon!


When I got the car the controls for the a/c didn't work, power outlet didn't work, and front end made a clunking noise, but were fixed rather fast and covered by the warranty.

The brake rotors keep warping and have had to replace the pads and are in need of it again (just 5 months later).

The theft system acts up making you wait ten minutes for it to reset.

Some times the car has trouble starting.

The intake gasket has gone bad twice.

The alternator has went out once causing the battery to fail.

The water pump has failed, filling the oil with coolant.

The car has a bad rocking when at stop signs.

The glove box door is loose and rattles.

Check engine light comes on when it wants, and the shop can never find the problem. This caused me to take it to the shop because it could not be smoged, (In C.A. you have to pass a smog check to register your car.)

Minor cosmetic problems that should not be happening on the interior, IE. paint fell off of shifter, plastic on seat belt fell off, and the center console keeps coming loose.

The passenger side window won't seat correct and has a whistle.

The power window switch on the passenger side failed.

The air conditioner control panel was replaced three times in three years and in now starting to fail again.

Last, but not least I just found the the power steering pump is now whining and the fluid is disappearing with out a puddle under the car.

General Comments:

I have been a Chevy fan for a long time, but after this car I am in question on the quality of GM. I currently own a 1991 S10, (I have had it for 6 years), and am very happy with it. I find the Malibu very comfy on short and long trips. I also love the power, handling, and room of the back seat and large trunk.

My friend also has the same year Malibu, but he has the LS. HE has had most of the same problems and feels the same way as I do. Four days ago I traded in my Malibu in for a 2003 mustang GT. I loved every thing about the Malibu except for the constant problems here and there. I was always worried about what would happen next, and the warranty was up last June.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th December, 2002

4th Nov 2004, 10:34

My Malibu also has many of the same problems. My water pump failed due to the "high mileage coolant" that we are required to have in our high performance machines. The coolant is too toxic and eats through the gaskets filling the engine with coolant and causing $1200.00 worth of damage. I also have had to replace my brake pads ever 6-9 months and I have tail lights that have shorted. My power steering pump is now whinning and I have noticed paint falling off of the interior and half of my dash light decided not to work. I would much rather spend extra money for peace of mind rather than a piece of junk.

2nd Jan 2005, 21:22

I have a 97 Malibu LS and have had several of the problems you and others mention. As for the unexplainable Check Engine light, apparently a loose gas cap triggers that, and my sister with a 2001 Malibu has had the same problem. With 95,000 miles some more expensive problems are beginning, such as the front hub bearings needing to be replaced.

2nd Jul 2005, 11:43

I am currently in the process of tearing down the engine of a 2.4 liter, 1997 Chevrolet Malibu. The water pump bearing failed, and dropped all of its ball bearings into the motor. This caused the timing chain to jump a few teeth. I have yet to find out whether this type of failure will cause damage to the valves and/or pistons, however, in my opinion, a water pump failure should not be allowed to cause this much trouble. There is no recall on this issue, but I believe it is something that needs to be addressed. I will post my findings shortly.