1998 Chevrolet Malibu 3.1 from North America


Junk.. Money pit


Bought in 2000 and car worked OK, but in 2002 things changed. It was always a gas hog though.

1. A/C does not work in 1 and 2 position.

2. One of the tail lights doesn't work (I've noticed that other Malibu's have the same problem).

3. Replaced battery 2 times.

4. Replaced alternator.

5. Replaced water pump.

6. Starting in 2002 the brakes pads and rotors had to be changed every 6 months. I changed the calipers and brake hoses and master cylinder trying to stop this cycle, but nothing works. My only solution was using ceramic pads versus carbon pads, and this seems to extend the life by 3 to 6 months.

7. ENGINE replaced at 130,000 miles. Still a gas hog. (250 miles on tank of gas) $1500 for engine and installation. Car was towed to a mechanic that was recommended by friend, and he charged $900 for fake excuses, and after 2 weeks went and pulled my car out of his garage and towed to another. Cost $700 for 3 weeks car rental.

8. Passenger side wheel bearing $400

June 01 2007; just changed the windshield wiper transmission (it flew apart while I was traveling at 70mph on interstate).

June 07 2007; engine would not idle. I had to put in neutral and give gas to keep the engine going, and even while driving, I had to keep pressure on the gas pedal or the engine would die.

Did not find cause for this. It stopped this and started to idle normal after a week.

Did have other issues, but don't have the time to list. I will buy Toyota next time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th June, 2007

1998 Chevrolet Malibu 2.1 twin cam from North America


I bought the car at 58,000 and thought I was getting a good deal.

I've had to replace the brakes 3 times, rotors once, alternator. I've let other problems sit and accumulate. Such as, the theft system that goes off once or twice a month, and leaves me late to work and school.

I find that if I just let the car sit at the Acc mode and then try to start it, still it's a pain.

The ABS goes off at random times, still can't figure out why, but mostly in the summer. Took it to a personal mechanic, he tells me the ABS was fine, but the sensor inside was shot. How does that work?

I usually use the car only for highway trips, long distances don't seem to hurt the car, but high speeds make a lot of wind noise, not to mention a lot of play in the steering.

My problems have always happened at the worst time. Alternator while I was driving into Chicago, rotors on the way to Iowa from Illinois. Many problems with this vehicle. Stay away.

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

Review Date: 25th April, 2007

26th Apr 2007, 07:08

Looking at your miles, it is normal to replace pads at least once a year. I plan on doing it once a year; I got lifetime replacement pads from Autozone and new calipers.

138k miles for an alternator is good.

The theft system is a very common problem. The correct way to fix this is to leave the car key on position until the light goes off, then turn the key to off and back on. The issue is that key tumbler wears out; my theft light is on all the time; doesn't affect the car.

ABS sensor is a common problem, on our cars. You can't just replace the sensor, you have to replace the whole hub assembly. 100 dollars for the part. I just did the fronts on mine. I would suggest you wait until your hub bearings go. When this happens, you will get a roar coming from the front.

I don't have issues at high speeds.

I would stay away from 1st model year cars. GM got their act together after this. A 02-03 Malibu is the best one, because they fixed the lower intake manifold gasket issue. Some other things you need to watch out for: window regulators, A/C compressor going on and off during use on the HVAC panel (there is a fix), brake light bulbs going out, and a few others.

Check out this website that is tailored for Malibus.


26th Apr 2007, 12:04

I feel very sorry for you and the problems you have had with your Malibu. I had a 1997 Malibu that I bought in 2001 and it only had 42,000 on it. The first month I had it the alternator went out. Then I discovered it had a problem with the theft system and the after market system that had been installed on the car. The only problem was is that both had been disengaged and it should have not bothered me in any way. WRONG. The theft system would constantly go off and lock my engine up. I would have to wait 10-15 minutes before it would start and sometimes I would have to wait 1 hour before it would. Then my water pump went out in December, 2006 and it was down hill from there. I wanted to get rid of it and I did, but not the way I wanted to. Some guy pulled out in front of me on 4-18-07 and totalled my car. That was truly the happiest day I have had in a long time. I would not ever recommend a Malibu to anyone.