20th Jun 2006, 15:40

First of all let me say this. I agree that all Manufactures make lemons and that there aren't the best of drivers out there. However with that said, there are way too many issues with the 3.1 Engine that is in the Malibu and Olds Cutlass. GM has been under investigation for quite some time now for faulty engines. GM has been been doing some screwy things the last decade. I own a 97 Chevy Malibu I have replaced I am getting ready to replace the engine for the 3rd time. Both the of first 2 times it was DexCool leaking into the upper then the lower engine. It ate right through the gaskets both times. Dex-Cool has a lawsuit pending against it for the antifreeze that it produces. I have done plenty of research and spend plenty of time and money on my Malibu. From 96 to 2000 GM has had more issues with there cars then any other manufacture. I buy American, but I will not buy another GM. I hope this has helps someone, I wish I had read this prior to buying mine.

8th Feb 2007, 11:33

I have a 97 malibu and I have had some trouble with it. The doesn't work on speeds 1 or 2. The altenator has been replaced as well as the water pump, and belt. I've had an aftermarket radio in it for about a year and about a month ago the sound became very faint (probably an electrical problem). The motors for both of my back windows are going out. I am glad though that the engine has not made the clicking noise.

27th Mar 2007, 11:47

I have been a mechanic for years, I also own a 1997 Chevy Malibu V-6. The ticking sound on cold starts is due to the difference in bore size between the wrist pin and the pistons. When the motor heats up the ticking goes away. The permanent cure is to replace the pistons and wrist pins.

The oil leaks you are experiencing are not generally caused by the head gasket, Rather they are caused by the intake manifold valley pan. This also can cause coolant leaks and overheating. Correct this by replacing the valley pan and using after-market silicone impregnated gaskets. Be careful not to over torque when replacing the bolts. Replace all bolts in this area if the engine has ever overheated.

The radio signal either goes out or weak because the antenna cable has pulled free from the radio. This is due to the cable needing to be rerouted along the trans tunnel rather than the door sill.

Other than that, I have over 150,000 miles on this vehicle and she still has another 150,000 left in her.

7th May 2007, 14:55

Rebuilt 3100 engines from 94-04 for $700.

8th Jun 2007, 08:51

I have a '97 Malibu that I bought back in 2002 with 60,000 miles on it. I have had relatively few problems with vehicle beyond routine maintenance. The vehicle now has over 142,000 miles.

I did have to take it in for repairs today because of a coolant leak. The head gasket was bad and has to be replaced at a cost of $1300. The mechanic told me that the rest of the engine was in good condition.

Overall, I have been very pleased with my Malibu and would consider buying one again.

19th Jun 2007, 13:07

I have owned my Malibu 97 LS new. It now has 136,000 miles on it Normal maintenance, Oil changes, brakes. I've had a few problems I've replaced water pump, 3 pulleys & belt. I just replaced the camshaft sensor.

But I do notice now the ac 1&2 don't work. I would buy another Malibu I love the car and none of these problems didn't show up till after 100,000 miles. I guess I'm the lucky one. My mechanic would loved to buy it from me the car has a lot more miles to go.

8th Jul 2007, 22:52

I have a 1999 Chevy Malibu with 99,000 miles and a idler pulley broke, I also need to change the belt, but how?... there's no way.

27th Sep 2007, 23:40

I recently bought a 1997 Malibu KNOWING about all the problems this car could potentially give me. I work in a shop and I am prepared to address any of these problems.

Fan speeds 1 and 2, I don't have them either... not a big deal, it's called a blower motor resistor, and it's cheap. Ticking on start-up? Don't care, doesn't hurt anything. As far as the 1300 dollar job of replacing the lower intake manifold gasket? I get the metal Fel-Pro gasket for around a hundred bucks and do it myself. Water pump? Big deal, it's a wear part.

People... it is true that some cars have a few more issues than others... but when is the last time you designed a car? It is not an easy task. The Malibu is very safe in crashes, very stable as far as handling, and despite the dex-cool eating the gaskets, the motor is BULLET proof amerian steel!! Mine currently has 252,00 kilometers on it, and I've already made some modifications to increase performance.

Manufacturers are being pressed to design ever-more efficient engines, and as a result, mistakes can be made. Let's not bash domestic cars... it's like calling your grandmother a retard because she messed up a botch of cookies.

29th Sep 2007, 20:03

I think some folks just want a vehicle that will never cost them more than a few 1000 dollars to to fix within a 5 to 10 year time frame.

I have a 97 Malibu that I bought off my mom 2 years ago for 1500 dollars. I have put rotors, pads, oil changes, serpentine belt, and a couple of sensors. It now has 175,000 miles on it. Yes, it may have problems, but I think it's a good car.

As far as costs to repair, dealerships are a rip off, they charge you top dollar for the car, then charge you top dollar for the repair. I'll fix it myself if I can, if not, I will find someone reliable to fix it.

Some folks are lucky with this car, some are not. I also own a Honda Prelude, and I've had nothing, but problems with it. So, american made, japanese made, or any other nationality made vehicle, people will have problems with them. DEAL with it; don't like it, sell it.

4th Nov 2007, 14:18

Hi, I too own a 1997 Chevy Malibu. The problem I'm having now is that when I step on the brakes, it feels like the car is shaking or wants to jump forward or stall! I was told it could be a speed sensor. Does any one know if what I described, sounds like the problem? My brakes are good.

Thanks for any opinion that will help! Joann.

27th Dec 2007, 13:00

I hate my 97 Chevy Malibu. We bought it brand new -- had 3 miles on it when we left the dealership, and lo and behold, it's in the shop again... this time for a bad power steering pump.

A month ago, the brakes and rotors needed to be replaced. A couple of months before that, it was the alternator.

Like every other Malibu on the road, my fan speeds # 1 and 2 do not work.

The AC kicks off and on for no apparent reason.

My brake bulbs burn out routinely.

I've had the same leaky antifreeze problems that everyone else is having. This car is a piece of crap and I will never, EVER buy another GM product.

Prior to owning this Malibu, I had an '82 Ford Escort. It had nearly 250,000 miles on it and it never needed repairs, other than normal maintenance. (Tires, oil changes, a couple of brake jobs) My husband has a 2001 Ford Supercrew pickup. Never have problems with that vehicle either. If I'm going to buy American in the future, it will be a Ford product.