"Had this car for about 4 years and about 30k miles (60k-~-90k) before it was rear ended by a truck which totaled it.
1) failed temp sensor
2) falied water pump
3) stuck open thermostat. I think all three of these were due to one issue but it all happened in the span of about a year a half. I just gave up and blamed it on DexCool
4) collapsed cat
5) weird intermittent electrical failures (would just loose all electronics and car would die, start it back up and it was fine)
6) had to replace two alternators
7) intake gasket leak"
"2nd owner. Was Exec car before me. Put approx 100000 mi on car. antitheft was annoying due to key switch/had it disabled. New engine installed 95000 mi. due to head gasket leak. Otherwise very reliable. Very sharp car with white leather seats and special dk blue paint that shows maroon tint in sunlight. Very comfortable, drives and handles great."
"I bought my 2003 Malibu brand new from the dealer in 2003. 6 years and 82,000+ miles later it's still going strong. We have never had any problems with this Malibu.
We did have the brakes done at about 45-50,000 miles as expected, and have replaced the tires. We also change the oil every 3,000 miles. No other work has been needed! It is comfortable, reliable, and a pretty good looking sedan. (No rust yet either.) Yes, I would recommend my 2003 Malibu to a friend!"
"This is onre of the cars you can really appreciate. The 3.1L V6 Performs superbly.The car has NEVER left me stranded on the side of the road. Its Just An American car that can last you for several years if you treat it right.
By the way ive had it 10 years
"Built To Love, Built to LAST""
"Bought this 2002 Mailbu new in 2001. Great car with little dissapointments until we took to selling dealer for an oil change. Had to replace the intake manifold at 5 Years and 2 month, 61,000 miles. Due to GM's Dexcool dissolving the manifold ports. At least it did not take out the manifold gasket dump coolant into the oil and trash the entire engine. Appx $1200.00 to repair. Got the Dealer to refund appx $500 for the cost of the parts. Still believe in this car, but why did not GM contact us to tell us that their DEX-COOL Coolant was eating away at the cooling system."
"We have a 99 and 03 Malibu. Both were purchased with about 4,000mi. Both were used to commute about 50 mi per day in heavy highway traffic. 99 has about 200,000mi (hard to convert from Kilometers--we live in Toronto) and 03 has about 100,000 mi. Both are going strong with little work done beyond standard repairs. Would highly recommend this car."
"Purchased my 03 Malibu 2 years ago at just 37,000 miles (it was previously a rental). Since then it has done nothing but let me down. Now at 58,000 miles, I have been left stranded at work 5 different times, 2 of those were extremely dangerous situations in which I was driving the car out of the parking lot and onto a busy street and the gas pedal decided not to let me use it anymore! I have replaced the brakes 3 times. Lets not forget that, as mentioned before, the air conditioning has a mind of its own. Most recently I was driving the car when it began shaking violently and making the most unheard of noises...come to find out it is a broken rocker arm, which let me tell you, is not cheap to fix. Between towing fees, repairs and the fact that this car is terrible on gas and brakes, I'd say its been a money pit and a waste of time. Save yourself the nightmare."
"Constant trouble with the rear brake lights, had to have the ignition & hazard switch replaced almost immediately. Paint began flaking early on. Had to replace the gas filter often. Problems with the air conditioner early on, with it kicking on and off. Blows hot air, most of the time. Took it in twice to be fixed, and still have the same problem. I've talked with several people that own a Malibu, 2 with the same year and model, and they have the same problems. I won't buy another one."
"I was sold this car without a disclosure or Carfax. Mine is pretty much bottom of the barrel. After the 1 year warrantee from the dealership, things started going wrong... electrical gremlins, service engine lights, evaporator leak, ingnition switch, clear coat issues, ect.
There's no comfortable way to drive this car on long trips. The seats are "minimal" and the armrests are very ill-placed. The rear suspension is mushy and doesn't like to be loaded, even though there's loads of trunk room. 4 grown (160-185#)adults makes the car bottom out on bumps.
On the up-side, the mileage is pretty good at 25 mpg /-, and it runs fair for a small 4 cyl. in that size of car. It's fairly inexpensive to maintain even with "better" parts. There are plenty of these in the salvage yard, so used parts are abundant also."
"had to replace front brake pads every year.
then figured out after owning about 5 and a half years that they were being installed backwards. watch out the wear indicator goes on the inside on these vehicles. had intake gasket leak at about 80,000 miles and 4 years old.repaired under extended warranty by gm dealer and has been alright since.fuel leak from pressure regulator the winter of 07-08.stop after a day without needing repaired at about 104000. be careful when messing around the with fuel pressure regulalor because the throtle body part that hold the accelerator cable is made out of plastic on 00 models and will crack or brake when hit hard enough. cost about $300 to $400 dollar at dealership luckily i was able to get one from local junk yard for $50.00. signal and hazard lights acting up last week. start back working . had hazard swith replaced under recall a couple of years ago. the only other problem was a tie rod which was also done under extended warranty about 3-4 years ago. at 109,000 the engine runs good. gas mileage is ok"
"I have had NOTHING BUT TROUBLE since, literally, the very day the factory warranty ran out. GM says there is nothing wrong with this car, but I beg to differ. This car is trouble. Head gasket, 4 alternators, 6 batteries, ignition switch, rear window motor blown, ignition lock and barrel so stuck that the barrel actually fell out of the dashboard...I am meticulous with maintenance, so it is not me. I have another Chevy, an '01 Silverado, and it is PERFECT @150,000 miles. The Malibu has 80,000 miles and has been nothing but problems since around 35,000 miles. GM refuses to admit that this car is a LEMON. I am disgusted and cannot wait to trade it in. Also, it sometimes takes 2-3 tries before it starts, the transmission shifts so hard that it feels like I'm being rear-ended, the power-entry doesn't work on the driver's door...the pitiful list goes on and on."
"I purchased my car [2001 Chevrolet Malibu] used (~88000 miles on it with a clean title). It was beautiful, spacious and ran well. However, the car has now started to fall apart (it now has 130,000 miles). I understand that there is normal maintenance required for all cars, new and old and that some parts just wear out. However, since purchasing the car (~3.5 yrs ago), I have had to put significant amount of money into it, equivalent to at least 1/2 of what I paid for the total car.
You have been warned:
-new brakes ($$)
-leaky intake manifold gasket (coolant was leaking out from engine, not into it, Thank God) ($$$)
-water pump ($$)
-the radiator cap has never fit correctly (so the coolant drips)
-the current problem--the car wouldn't start. The mechanic (competent or no) replaced the ignition switch and cylinder ($$$$). ONE DAY after getting it back, the car stalled while turning a corner and is now back in the shop. (the (not) competent mechanic does not know what is wrong with it yet, but it looks electrical ($$$$$)). (This problem may/may not be associated with the original problem and/or work that was done, this has yet to be determined)
-Miscellaneous: The struts and/or shocks in the front sound like they are about to go as well.
So, if you choose to buy this year (2001) of Malibu, good luck! Some of these problems have been addressed on several forums, so I know that I am not the only owner of a 2001 Malibu that has had problems."
"We had a 2001 that we bought when it only had about 17000 miles on it, and when I crashed it, it had over 100000 miles on it. We never had one problem at all!!! It got around 20+ miles per gallon. We just loved this car!!! One of the reasons we choice a Malibu was because of the safty rating... good thing that held true, I walked away from my accident w/out a scratch on me!!! If you were thinking about getting one you should!!!!!!"
"Car is OK. runs and drives pretty nice, and was a pretty good value. had many smaller problems, all of which seem to common manufactures defects. gaskets made of wrong material, $1200 to fix. turn signals havent worked for year, which chevy admitted to defective hazards lights. blower only works on high, lights work when they want to. and radio station only plays one station. and have heard the same problems from other people with same car. poorly made."
"I bought a '99 malibu from a car dealer in 2004. It had only one owner who used it as a commuter car. One month after purchasing the coolant system went bad, although the engine never overheated, the head still cracked. After replacing that (at a cost of $2300.00) I noticed a ticking noise in the engine... it now has a "sticky lifter" which could seize at any time. Aside from those problems, it will randomly shut off at any given time, and the dashboard lights come on and off randomly. This car has been nothing but trouble, and I heard from both my mechanic and other malibu owners that they have experienced the same problems (with the coolant system and electrical system.)
The good things about it are its size, its very comfortable even for adults in the back seat, and it still looks "new" after 8 years."
"This is the most reliable car I've ever owned. except for, I had a new key at at walmart and it set of the anti-theft. Ive read posts that people have replaced every different part in their cars and it ends up being the key. overall I love it."
"I absolutely love my Malibu! She has gotten through so much. She can handle the snow and wet roads just fine and has no issues getting up to speed! When you take care of your car your car will take care of you! I had a minivan hit me and the Malibu didn't even have a mark! This car is a serious trooper!"
Pros: "Gas miles, super dependable, durable, roomy, comfy"
Cons: "Not a very pretty car, not best HP"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought mt 99 Malibu in April '11 as a beater to get me around for 6-12 months so I could save up for a better car. I took what I could find. It had all its service records for the last 5 years so I took it. It was the best $1500 I ever spent. It had 112,000 miles when I bought it, and I just scrapped it in December with just over 160k miles. Let me start by saying, when I purchased the well taken care of car, the previous owner let me know it was in need of an oil change (he was a 3k miles oil change like clockwork kind of guy). I put it off, and forgot, and forgot some more, and the whole time I owned it I NEVER did get that oil change, however the oil was still pretty golden-ish a week before it was scrapped. The most money I had to put into it was an alternator in the summer of 13, and I replaced the rotors and breaks at that time as well. The big issue with it, was the cables between the battery needed replaced. But, it also needed new tires. I was going to put the money into the car, but the garage told me that my frame was rotted and was not likely to pass inspection in 5 months when it was needed again, and the break lines were in need of replacement as well. If the frame was salvageable, I would have sunk the money into the car (needed about $700 worth of work for it all fixed less the frame) but it wasnt worth it when I would only get 5 more months out of it. If the car was from anywhere other then the North (where we get tons of rot from all the salt on the road) I would be driving that car for another few years before needing any more work on it. And as ugly as the car was (mine had major body rust from the salt) I would have driven it til it falled apart. It is the most reliable car ever, and I will be replacing my temp car I currently have for a new malibu teh end of this summer!!
Oh, when I bought the car, I almost immediately noticed a slight tranny slip. I had it looked over, and there was nothing wrong with the transmission or engine. It didnt have alot of HP, I think becuase of that issue, but my brother said it was likely a shift sensor (which is nothing to worry about). I only noticed it when I was going up hill about 45 MPH but you put your foot in it and force teh shift and all is fine.
All in all, I did not take very good care of my car, and used it hard, I took long road trips all over the states, and it was so good to me. Great on gas, alot of room inside and a gigantic trunk. It also had a great factory radio. Sounded like I had a mediocre system put in it!!"
Pros: "Gas saver, small, gets you to places alot quicker"
Cons: "No automatic windows"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I've had my malibu for 5 years this month and it's gotten me to alot of places. I've never had any accidents in it and to say it's over 15 years old it's still in good condition. I didn't start having problems with it until like 2 years ago but that's because I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing such as getting oil changes, spark plugs, etc because that was my first car. But now that I've gotten the hang of having a car and knowing what to do, I think I will do good with the next car I get. This car can probably last me for at least another 5 years but I think it's time for something new. I'm young so you know how that goes lol!"
"I purchased my 2002 in July 2003. It had 21K (+) miles on it and was originally a rental car, whose first year was spent in Florida. In 10.5 years, I've put only 29K on it. The first problem I noticed was when I opened the spare tire compartment to find that water had been seeping (apparently) from the time it was new--the jack was covered with rust and had to replace that...my local Chevy dealer didn't bother to inspect it or if they did, didn't tell me about it; the weatherstripping leaked around the trunk opening. The turn signals quit working but this was a common recall and it was still under warranty for that. I personally replaced the front brake pads, about $40, saving some money there. I've had to replace a noisy, faulty alternator--$130, did that myself also, and most recently the engine intake gaskets ($640), exhaust system (hole in muffler)--$400 but the catalytic converter was salvageable, thank God, rear brake shoes and cylinders--$264, new battery $110--18 months ago. So you can see that even tho' I haven't driven much (3K/year on average), I still had to replace "stuff." So, even if you don't drive much, a car will still get into your bank account one way or another; it goes "downhill" just sitting still...!! The body's in very good shape--never garaged--never been hit--and I keep it waxed, esp. the hood, top and trunk which take most of the sun's punishment. I didn't do my "homework" before purchasing this car--Consumer Reports gave the '02 Malibu a lot of black marks, the '03s did somewhat better. I plan on keeping this car five more years because I had a trailer hitch put on several years ago and can put my bike rack on it (Reese hitch) and rarely, hook up my utility 4'x8' trailer. I think this car will be OK for 5 more years because of low annual mileage. By that time, I'll be ready to trade it in or sell it, probably going with a non-GMC product! It has been just "fair" over the past 10.5 years. Thanks for reading."
Pros: "Appearance, Reliability, Hiway gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car new in 2002. This was my primary car until it had about 90K miles on it and since then, I only
put about 2k miles per year. I have been happy with all
aspects of the car. I've only replaced tires, brake pads,
a few batteries, and a brake line. It still looks good!
I have heard about head gasket and other coolant gasket
leaks but, thankfully, I have not experienced these problems. I used to get 30MPG on long trips! I'm still
"We bought this car used, I think 2007. It has not given us a bit of trouble. The only thing we have replaced besides tires, oil etc was a right front wheel hub bearing. It has been very economical, even though there is nothing cosmetically special about it."
"I have just about seen every possible variant of my car From the base sedan up to my LS I see the newer ones and I am proud I own a popular Generation of it I have owned my car for 6 years since I became the second owner and have spent a great deal on this to make it a safe reliable and clean car for whom ever in my family needs to use it of my car I will say this I bought it with 18,000 miles on it it now reads 53,153 not bad for an 11 year old car huh? Yeah I don't drive it much and use it on days where the weather warnts usage IE rain or snow"