2003 Chevrolet Malibu LS LG8 3.1LV6 from North America


I love the car in general, there are a few warranty worries


15,244 miles - The car needed a new blower motor. The bearing on the old one scored and was really noisy.

18,054 miles - The car had a cyclic front left wheel vibration. The wheel bearing was going bad and the dealer replaced the bearing and hub assembly.

18,054 miles - The clock was losing time and the doors didn't lock when driving. Also, the sunroof would only open half way. The BCM went bad and was replaced, but then the new part was bad and was replaced 20 miles later.

18,870 miles - The "ABS" light came on because the front left sensor was not tightened when the hub was replaced.

19,824 miles - The "Check Engine" light came on due to an evaporation system failure. The gas cap came loose. Make sure it clicks 3 times! (Boy, did I feel stupid after that one!)

24,586 miles - The passenger window switch did not roll window up and was replaced.

24,799 miles - The whole front end shook while braking. The car needed new brake pads and turned down rotors. I replaced the front brake pads with ceramic pads and resurfaced the rotors.

33,301 miles - The whole front end shook while braking. Replaced warped brake rotors, covered by brake warranty.

35,987 miles - The car needed another new blower motor. The bearing on the old one scored and was noisy.

35,987 miles - The intake manifold gasket was leaking and needed to be replaced. (Thank God I got this in just before the warranty expired! It would have been over $600 to fix!) Removed and replaced intake manifold gasket (lower). The claim included 5 gaskets, seals, coolant, and adhesive.

36,382 miles - The original Firestone Affinity 70K mile tires have no tread left at all. I had to get new tires, BF Goodrich Touring T/A 215 60 R15 ($79 each, plus tire mounting, balance, new valve stems, disposal of old tires, and a full 4-wheel alignment.)

General Comments:

I absolutely love this car!!! It is the LS option and I love all of the creature features. I love the sunroof, CD player, the fact that the radio will play for 10 minutes after you shut the car off, the auto volume on the radio, the automatic locks, the automatic lights, the reminder it gives you if your turning signal is on longer than 3/4 mile, etc.

I think this car has an excellent ride. It's suspension rides great and it corners well (not a lot of body roll). And the suspension so far is very durable considering the crappy roads in the city I live in, and the fields I drive through it in often (not recommended, but it sure is fun!)

The car is very comfortable for 4 adults on road trips - there's a lot of room in the back seat and the trunk is huge. It also isn't too big of a car for just me (single female in mid 20's). I am very comfortable by myself and it is easy to parallel park. It's heater gets warm very quickly, especially in the winter. It even keeps the toes of the people in the back seat warm!

Mechanically this car is very sound (so far). I take it on a lot of road trips. The transmission shifts well, the engine idles nice (even in the cold), and I feel comfortable letting anyone drive it. And so far it always starts! It averages 25-30 miles per gallon, obviously depending on driving conditions (and tire wear).

I stuck to the maintenance schedule religiously. The oil was always changed at 3,000 miles, the tires were rotated, filters were checked, places were lubed, etc.

I have a knack for getting cars with serious cancers (engines cracking, transmissions locking up, etc.) so the few things that have gone wrong seem minor to me. That said, I am thankful for the warranty. The intake manifold leak would have been expensive!

Things I am less thrilled about this car: The brakes did not last long enough for me. I do a lot more highway driving than stop-and-go driving, and I didn't like how easily the brakes heated and warped the rotors. Also, I am annoyed with the original tires (Firestone Affinities) because they only lasted half the life they were supposed to, weren't great in snow, and were a little loud. Finally, (this is really minor) the steering wheel is too close to the dash board. It took me several months to find a comfortable position of the 6-way seat so that my arm actually rested on the arm rest and was comfortable on the wheel, without being uncomfortably close to the pedals. Because of this, I hate other people driving my car and screwing with the seat because doesn't have a position memory!

So far, here is the cost breakdown of what I have spent on this car in the 2 years I have owned it: $14,882.36 total

Gas: $2,514.81 (~1,500 gallons in ~37,000 miles)

License and insurance: $1,610.44

Maintenance (oil changes, tire rotations, wiper blades, car washes, etc.) : $254.83

Repairs (including new tires and a new windshield when a stone cracked the original) : $869.48

Payments: $9,882.20

Extended warranty: $1,075.00

It costs me about $0.40/mile to drive this car.

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

Review Date: 27th March, 2005

17th Oct 2005, 13:25

That's funny... from reading your comments, you sound just like me. I take care of car in just about the same ways you do, except for the fact that I drive about a hundred miles a day, so I don't change my oil until I get around 6000-7500 miles on the oil (regular grade oil) before the next change. There's no point for me to waste so much money to replace the oil in less than 2 months. Replacing the oil at 3000 miles is only for making short trips, which I do only once in a blue moon. Don't let those mechanics and "so-called" car experts fool you. By the way, if you decide on synthetic oils you should get around 10000 miles if almost pure highway driving. Consider how much money you will save by doing this. Just a thought.

I constantly check my fluids to make sure they are maintained at proper levels. I check tire pressures, battery voltage, and oil levels, brake fluid, coolant once a month. The coolant is where most vehicle breakdowns occur. People don't check the coolant level, next thing you know, you have a overheated engine and stranded in "Nowhere-ville".

My car is the base Malibu, model year 2000 and it just turned 109000 miles today. I bought my car new in early May of 2000. It is now mid-October 2005. I am satisfied with it overall, but there are some nagging things that I hate.

First the good points: the car still has the OEM engine and transmission, starter, alternator, battery (registers 12.56 volts after 5.5 years of driving!!), headlight bulbs, drum brakes (drums and shoes), shocks and struts, and I get anywhere from 27-33 mpg fuel economy (depending on cruising speeds and smooth or up and down terrains, not bad for V6)

Replaced (minus any routine maintenance) : Brakes (pads twice, rotors resurfaced and then finally replaced), one set of new tires, water pump (replaced with re-manufactured pump), serpentine belt (twice), belt tensioner, spark plugs (get platinum tip plugs), upper and lower radiator hoses, front suspension's strut mounts, coolant flushed (with Dex-Cool only), PCV valve replaced twice on my own, cleaned fuel injectors, replaced spark plug wires.

The nagging items are the HVAC controls, the cruise control switch, and brake warping. The HVAC inside/outside air recirculation switch tends to switch over to outside air on its own. The HVAC fan motor also short-circuited and did not work, it was replaced under manuf. warr. way back when. The cruise control occassionlly disengages itself when cruising on the highway (no idea what is causing this). The brakes rotors warp quite persistently even with new pads and rotors. I have given up on the brakes. As long as they still give me reasonable braking capacity, I don't care about the pulsations.

I paid off the car back in June 2003 and probably will never buy GM vehicles ever again. I'm glad my car was able to give me 109000+ miles. I have no idea how many more miles it can go. No indications of any problems yet at this mileage. Perhaps I was one of the few lucky souls to have chosen a "relatively" reliable Malibu compared to everyone else who posted to this message board. My condolences to those unfortunate souls. My car might give me 150000 or 200000 miles, but that still will not persuade me to buy another GM vehicle. 150000 miles is conceivable, but 200000 is stretching. I dare not say it will last that long. Perhaps I should get rid of it now, with a "good" condition and $2000+ residual value via Kelley Blue Book. Of course we all know that KBB numbers are not true residuals for the vehicles we sell. Just a benchmark figure. I'll be happy with $1500 to $1800 if they gave that to me. That would be a nice down payment for my next vehicle, a Toyota Camry. Thanks for reading.

16th Dec 2007, 01:59

Heh about your gas cap problem. I'd like to let you know you're not alone. I am fairly knowledgeble about vehicles. When I got a mechanic to use a diagnostics tool I felt the same way. Lol well live and Learn eh.

2003 Chevrolet Malibu Base 3.1 from North America


Excellent value for the price


Just one minor problem.

Front brakes are slightly warped.

General Comments:

Car was bought for new for $13,500 with a sticker of slightly more than $19,500.

Excellent value for the price. V6, power windows, power door locks, A/C, remote to unlock doors/trunk, and fold down trunk.

Windshield wipers are tough to clean off in the winter due to the recessed design.

Gas mileage is better than expected with a range of 31 mpg to 25 mpg. This range is on trips of 10 miles to 250 miles.

Handling might be not the best in winter weather due to tire width (?).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st January, 2005