9th Jun 2003, 20:40

Was checking the Internet in order to find a diagram for a coolant drain plug on a '97 Chevy Malibu (want to try some "Stop Leak" on the coolant system), and ran across this site. My wife's Malibu has been a headache since she got it, but at least we haven't had the huge bills you've mentioned (yet?).

I remember learning the term "planned obsolesence" in college (make something too well and people never have to buy another), and it was taught as a shrewd business tactic. I remember thinking that the long-term affect was poor customer loyalty if there was a higher quality option. Maybe then there wasn't a better option, but today imports run circles around American-made vehicles. My dad was a "Chevy Man" until the mid-80's, when he finally leased a Honda, and has never looked back (Honda or Toyota). He felt the most patriotic thing he could do was vote with his pocketbook until the American car manufacturers made a superior (not just better than usual) product. Still breaks his heart, though.

24th Jun 2004, 13:27

I also own a 1998 Malibu with all the same problems brakes, rotors, water pump, intake manifold, and now this ignition problem. Called GM said there are no recalls.

12th Nov 2004, 20:29

1997 Malibu 3.1 V6. Leaky intake gaskets, leaky crankshaft oil seal, leaky oilpan gasket, leaky A/C evaporator core, rust, bad brakes, bad rear struts, and exhaust system rotting away. The car has less than 70k miles on it. I can't recommend strongly enough that you avoid these cars, at least the first couple of years of the model run.

4th Dec 2005, 08:45

Since my earlier postings, I have discovered that my Malibu seems to have trouble holding fluids--all fluids. I've had transmission fluid leaks, oils leaks, coolant leaks, and just about any kind of leak you can think of. I can't afford to buy a new car right now--but I'm not sure if I can afford to keep this one!

4th Dec 2005, 14:02

For the leaky engines, it's not unrealistic to get some oil leaking out of gaskets on a car that is pushing 70,000 miles. Gaskets shrink over time and let a little oil seep out. It isn't really a "leak" unless it's losing a quart of oil every 200 miles or something. You just have to check your oil level regularly. Nor could I condemn a car that needs a new muffler/tailpipe and new brakes with 70,000 miles on it. That's pretty good service, especially if the muffler and brakes have never needed replacement before now.

For the guy tottering on the edge of buying a new car...stop! Checking and adding fluids is a normal part of life on a higher mileage car, and if you keep up the maintenance it should have a lot of life left in it. Would you rather spend $20 a month on fluids, or would you rather have a $500 car payment and higher insurance rates every month? The justification for buying a new car being that maintaining an old car will nickel and dime you to death is an absolute myth. I have the spreadsheets to prove it.

13th Jul 2006, 23:50

What the heck is so fun about the drive quality of a Malibu sedan that makes some people grudgingly hold on to them instead of having an insurance carbeque?

I can name any number of more fun and more comfortable American cars with known "wallet" issues that are still much less of a pain in the ass than the Malibu: late 80's/early 90's Chrysler New Yorkers, various Buicks, etc.

14th Jul 2006, 09:09

This is in regards to the initial poster talking about the Prizm.

$1200 for rear struts is ridiculous! It sounds to me like you are getting cheated. I think you should find a better mechanic that won't rip you off. Another tidbit to know about the Prizm - its power train is not GM - it is actually built by Toyota. The Geo Prizm is essentially the same car as the Toyota Corolla. It was a joint venture between GM and Toyota. So if you badmouth the Prizm, you are badmouthing Toyota, not GM.

15th Jan 2008, 12:51

Yep, I've got a Malibu with all them problems and then some other ones... twice it has blown the ball-bearing thingy that holds the belt on the upper side... alternator twice...intake gaskets once (there's still some seepage), water pump twice, front brakes a few times (got ceramics now, GM suckers!), a/c panel ain't worth a crap, but still, when I go on the road, it runs (and how!)...constantly @ 75mph, sometimes up to 85 (I floored up to 105 before the safety cut-off engaged), so here are some of my suggestions when owning a Malibu:

- Make sure you get ceramic pads on the front brakes (if possible, new, non-GM rotors)

- Plan for your gasket change (trust me, you're gonna get it)

- Alternators, plan for that as well.

- Get good quality tires! I bought Cooper Cobras and they're great!

Overall, the Malibu is an excellent road-car!

12th Apr 2008, 09:13

I have a 1998 Malibu with 43000 original miles, one owner.

With this low mileage, now I have a lifter tapping, engine light, no power.

I had mechanic look at it so I thought I would check to see if I have a lemon or if there was recall. I would like to know the history record on this V-6 engine.