1998 Chevrolet Malibu LS from North America


It's a lemon, don't bother


I had to get the Porcelain brakes done in the 2rd year of ownership while under warranty. GM Goodwrench service would only pay for 50%.

ABS sensor used to come on intermittently, and I had it looked at 2x at the GM Goodwrench Service. It was finally fixed the second time.

The antifreeze/coolant light kept coming on during 3rd year of ownership, but GM Goodwrench kept saying they could not replicate. Finally, they were able to replicate the problem 2 months after warranty (3 year/60,000 km) but the warranty had expired. Apparently, a gasket was leaking; it cost $1400 to fix. I complained about this issue via GM's website, and a GM representative contacted me a week later, but they would do nothing. Eight months later, the problem happened again. GM Goodwrench tried to charge me again, for $1300 this time, but I told them that it sounded like they did not fix it right the first time. They went off to check their records and called me 5 hours later to tell me that the 1 year warranty for the parts and labour would be covered; however, they had to replace a part that was not covered, and the service still cost me $190.

I brought my car into GM Goodwrench for an oil change and they suggested that I get my tires rotated and coolant changed. I challenged them on the coolant, since I checked the www.gm.ca/gm/ site and it recommended every 5 years for this to be changed; I had another year to go. It was ready for a rotation, but I noticed that I started getting a high pitch noise when driving over dips or potholes on the right side of the car when I got the car back. I brought it to dealership and they said it was some bearing that needed to be changed. The changed it, but the noise was still there. Complained to the Service Manager and he did nothing.

At the end of 2002, the car started not to accelerate very fast when the gas pedal is pressed and the revolutions per minute (RPM) is hitting over 4000. I brought the car to two local shops and they thought it was the transmission slipping. I brought it into a transmission shop, and they confirmed the problem and it's going to cost $3500. Nice way to celebrate 2003, and I haven't even owned the car for 5 years.

General Comments:

I was very happy in the first two years of ownership, and after that it all went downhill. I bought the car because of the low financing (1.9%), GM VISA points, Graduation Points, and the bonus Gas Money Incentive. I had also spent weeks reviewing different cars and different reviews/recommendations by auto-magazines, people, etc.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have bought another Honda. I owned one for 8 years and the car was 16 years old when I sold it. Other than having to change the CV boots on it every couple of years and a little rust, it beats the product and service of Chevrolet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th January, 2003

1998 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.1 V6 from North America


Good car for the price!


Tension pulley flew off while driving causing drive belt to twist and snap at 64000 miles.

ABS sensor went at 62000 miles.

General Comments:

Good pick up and beginning torque.

Doors rattle with bass.

Good engine design. Engine will not jump into passing gear if engine is still cold. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the engine and gears!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st December, 2002

1998 Chevrolet Malibu LX V6 from North America


Great when it's working, but the Malibu has serious design flaws


The ABS brake light came on at 24,000 kilometers (km), indicating an electrical problem.

The right front wheel bearing had to be replaced at 39,000 km, at a cost of $450 (Canadian). This hurt because it was not covered by the Fadagard extended warranty.

At 42,000 km the air conditioning control unit had to be replaced. 2 rear light bulbs were also replaced. The ABS brake light came on again, and had to be reset.

At 47,000 km the heater fan would not work on the first 2 speeds.

The front brake pads were replaced at 51,000 km. This was done by a Pontiac/Buick dealer.

The right front upper strut mounts and rear sway bar bushings were replaced at 57,000 km. Also the front brake calipers and rotors were serviced.

At 87,000 km the front brake pads were replaced again (by the Pontiac/Buick dealer). The ABS speed sensor malfunctioned on the left front wheel, a $500 repair which was covered by the Fadagard extended warranty.

At 91,000 km the brakes were squealing, so the car was taken to the Chevrolet dealer where the car was purchased. A complete front brake job was done, including replacing the rotors and the shim kit. I've concluded that the Pontiac/Buick dealer doesn't know how to fix these brakes.

The rear sway bar bushings were replaced again at 91,000 km to eliminate rear-end squeaks, but the squeaks remained. I should have challenged the dealer about this, but was tired of taking this car in for service. For now I will live with the squeaks as they are not getting worse and seem to disappear when the weather is colder.

At 99,000 km the right front wheel bearing needed to be replaced again, at a cost of $600. This was not covered by the Fadagard warranty.

General Comments:

This car looks nice, handles well and has lots of power and space.

The ride is smooth at higher speeds on good highways, but can be rough on city streets.

Road noise is particularly evident in the back end, which is often rattling or squeaking as well.

It's obvious the front end on these cars is too heavy, which causes the wheel bearings to wear prematurely.

I'm concerned about the reliability and constant repairs, but since the Malibu is paid for, will continue to fix it for the next 3-4 years unless the engine fails.

Winter handling is much improved by the use of 4 Michelin snow tires.

Next time I will buy a used Japanese car, probably a Toyota or Honda, or possibly a Subaru.

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

Review Date: 17th December, 2002

20th Apr 2004, 10:57

Great forum for car information.

20th Apr 2004, 10:59

I have been told that I also need to replace the front strut mounts on my 98 Malibu... it only has 43,000kms and I am sure this cannot be normal wear and tear...

Any comments?