1999 Chevrolet Malibu Reviews
1999 Chevrolet Malibu Reviews and Owner Comments
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A comfortable car delivering good fuel economy, low tailpipe emissions, excellent cargo space and reasonable reliability. Despite restyled Malibu models, GM continued to produce this car as a classic model due its desirable size and economy. GM had achieved consistency in manufacturing quality with this model. Virtually all 1999 3.1 liter J-code Malibu's exhibited the same component failures such as brake problems, leaking intake manifold gaskets, air conditioner control head failures and many more The interior of these cars was better finished than newer models of the Malibu and held up well over time. The clear coat pain was also improved from prior years delivering nearly 15 years of durability before burnout. Despite improved quality over prior GM models, Malibu durability in the long run was still lacking with most ready for the scarp yard at or before 150,000 miles.
About a year ago I started hearing a thumping noise, mostly when I turned left but also at other times. I only had about 115,000 miles so it was not like the car was totally shot. I took it to a local shop who diagnosed it as the left front lower control arm. We did the repair, cost about $250, and I thought that was it. Wrong! The noise was still there so I went back. This time I was told it was the stabilizer bar, that it was cracked. This repair was going to be another $400 to fix what I thought had just been fixed. So I hesitated and sought a second opinion. The next diagnosis was that the main engine mounts were totally shot, that the movement of the engine with acceleration and deceleration were causing the problem. So I had this done. More money. Well, that didn't do the job either. I talked to someone else with a background in aeronautics as well as auto repair who suggested it was unibody flex, a condition where metal fatigue sets in from age and as you drive the frame crinks a little kind of like when you rumple a piece of aluminum foil. The condition is not correctable and I would have to live with it. Well I was not satisfied with that so I sought out another mechanic who thought it was either the left front strut or the strut cover. Depending on which, this repair would run $400 to $600. Now I was really annoyed. Nobody agreed. So I decided to do what up to now I had avoided, go to a dealer and pay the diagnostic fee. Well, this diagnosis was the most disheartening. A laundry list of items, the main being a new steering rack and power steering pump. Their cost? About $1600. Wow. Add it all up. Around $3000. More than the value of the car. The thumping was awful,constant and drove me nuts, but since I didn't know for sure who was right I couldn't do anything. So I moved on to my other problem. I wanted to fix my ABS system in advance of what I fear is going to be a very snowy winter. The sensor is in the axle bearing hub. The left front was diagnosed as bad so I had the entire hub replaced. I couldn't believe it. THE THUMPING NOISE DISAPPEARED! The feedback I got from two experienced mechanics was that there was a hairline crack in the hub or a hub bearing and it was telegraphing to all areas of the front of the car. So if anyone else has this problem think twice before you get deep into expensive repairs.
Bought this car brand new, have always taken god care of it like any responsible owner should and in return has treated us well. Has never left us broke down on the side of the road. That said we have done some expensive maintenance to it, but thats just it Maintencance. We replaced the head gaskets, and intake manifold gasket. Just replaced the exhaust system, the a/c heat control panel, no problems with the brakes, just replace the pads and rotors every 5 years or so. Replaced the front struts at 65k and the rear at 70k.. All electrical is working fine after 12 years, still rides and handles great, lots of room inside, we plan on keeping this car for many more years yet. It is a great car. So many people just beat on their cars, drive and drive and dont do any p.m. at all, then they wonder why it starts to fall apart ..Take care of your vehicle people and it will take care of you.
Front suspension went at about 65,000 miles. Both rear window regulators failed soon after that. Always been an issue with the A/C switch---it often turns off, so the cool air suddenly goes warm. Not a horrible car, but definitely has enough issues to make me not want to buy another Chevy.
Excellent car..it was my first car and it is extremely reliable..ive had some serious problem with mine due to my driving (motor mounts, head gaskets) but its always cheap to fix....