1998 Chevrolet Malibu 3.1 from North America


A piece of junk, whose value is reflected in its dismal second hand value


Front struts squeak consistently since 11,000. Tops must be oiled and strut adjusted to be quiet for a few weeks.

Front control arms replaced at 24,000.

Rear suspension greased to eliminate squeaks at 24,500.

Brake rotors turned at 29,000.

Rattles in the dash; attempted to be fixed by the dealer at 29,000, 30,000, and 33,000.

Loud tapping of the valves heard at 30,000. Dealer will replace the valves if the car is still under warranty.

New tires installed at 30,000.

Anti-freeze added to the reservoir because the low fluid light came on at 44,000.

Seams along the bottom of the driver's doors were ground down and repainted at 55,000.

Front driver's headlight assembly was replaced at 57,000.

Rotors and front pads were replaced at 57,000 and 84,000.

Wiper bracket on the passenger side was replaced at 79,000.

General Comments:

Malibu owners should go to the alldata.com website to get a list of the things GM will replace if you complain with a warranty still valid on your car.

This car is poorly designed and engineered. GM is unwilling to repair the numerous faults with these vehicles thru recalls. Preferring to issue advisories, that most individuals never see, to tell its dealers to repair these faults for any customer who complains and has a valid warranty.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th October, 2001

1998 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.1 6 cylinder from North America


One of the best family cars in its class


The alternator bearing became noisy (faulty part) at about 5000 miles. The dealer replaced the whole alternator the same day and gave me a rental car for the repair time.

Recently the CD player started skipping on some disks. I used the lense cleaner disk, and it fixed the problem.

General Comments:

As an engineer, and having over 25 years of driving record, I evaluate any car primarily from the mechanical point of view.

I am sure, the most important units in a vehicle are the engine, the transmission and the chassis. And it is my strong opinion, which is confirmed by the Consumer Review's statistics, that Malibu LS has one of the industry's best engines, transmission and suspension. Though the pushrod is not the latest technical breakthrough, it has proved its reliability, low fuel consumption, abd high torque starting at low rpm.

The car accelerates beautifully for a family sedan: 8.5 sec 0-60. As an engineer (sorry to appear un-modest) I think, the two-valve per cylinder engine is more suitable for a family sedan, than a four-valve one. The former has a better torque curve at low rpm which is important for city driving. And at highway speeds Malibu's engine makes only 2000 rpm, hence a long potential trouble-free life.

And it has an excellent fuel economy: on my recent trip for 600 miles with an average speed 55 mph (taking into account stops at gas stations and cafes, with long city rides) I made 33.75 mpg.

The fully independent suspension provides responsive and accurate handling, the seats are really comfortable even for a whole day trip.

The trunk is big enough.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th October, 2001

18th Oct 2001, 00:33

I own a 98 Malibu! There I admitted it. Trouble is, I don't feel any better about the fact. The car has inherent brake, tire, gasket, piston, rattle, ignition, etc. problems. To drive one of these beauties 60,000 Km without noticing any of these problems makes you a very fortunate individual. Maybe you can take your analytical engineering mind to the alldata.com site and read about these problems that occur in the course of most driver's experience with this lemon.

G.M. admits the problem to dealers, but only pays for warranty repairs for those who go back and complain about the problem. They have only issued one recall, passenger wiper bracket, yet if you complain, they will change multiple parts to get you past the warranty period.