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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 2
Average Mileage:
38,613 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Chevrolet Malibu seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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1998 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #19

Jul 182015


  • 113,751 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Chevrolet Malibu. While the vehicle was at a complete stop, the front passenger and driver side air bags deployed without warning and shattered the front passenger side of the windshield. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 113,751.

- West Minster, MD, USA

problem #18

Aug 012013


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving at a low speed, the vehicle stalled. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The air bag, ABS, and check engine warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V400000 (electrical system). The failure mileage was 54,000.

- Vernon Rockville, CT, USA

problem #17

Aug 222014


  • miles
The contact owns a 1998 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving 5 mph, the contact's vehicle stalled and was struck on the driver side by another vehicle. Most of the air bags deployed; however, one air bag did not, which caused injuries that required medical attention. A police report was filed. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V400000 (electrical system) and manufacturer recall number: N140350. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Greenwood, SC, USA

problem #16

Sep 012009

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


My granddaughter was 18 years old and had recently graduated high school. She was driving to work on a Tuesday morning, the weather was clear and the road was dry. As she rounded a small curve, her steering went out. The car's right front wheel went off the road, sending the car out of control. When my granddaughter tried to steer back onto the road, the car slid on the pavement, spun around, was thrown over a ditch, hit a tree and landed back on the road. The airbag did not deploy, and my granddaughter's small body (98 pounds) was thrown across the seat and into the floorboard on the passenger side. When police and ambulances arrived, there was nothing they could do. My granddaughter died at the scene from head trauma and internal injuries. Her identical twin sister lost half of her identity that day; the two of them were as one. Emergency teams had to use the jaws of life to retrieve her body from the car. This accident happened within one mile from my home. I could hear the sirens in the distance but had no idea that they were sounding for my granddaughter. The memory of those sirens still haunts me.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #15

Nov 122006

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
This vehicle had a crash with fatalities in 2006. General Motors never issued a unintended ignition turnoff on this vehicle until aug2014. The crash began with an uncontrollable and unexpected spinout, there was no ability to steer, brake and air bags did not deploy. These are the exact conditions listed in the GM recall. GM will not accept a filing for this make and model vehicle and should be added to the GM ignition failure claim program. NHTSA didn't all the GM recall to Malibu's but I have notified them of the oversight. This should be corrected and compensation provided by GM. This is the exact wording on the GM recall website: The following recalls have been found for your 1998 Chevrolet Malibu results last updated: Sep 16, 2014 GM recall #: N140350 NHTSA recall #: 14V400 date issued: Aug 12, 2014 unintended ignition key rotation recall description: General Motors has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in 2000-2005 my Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, 1997-2005 my Chevrolet Malibu, 1999-2004 my Oldsmobile Alero, 1998-2002 my Oldsmobile intrigue, 1999-2005 my Pontiac Grand Am, and 2004-2008 my Pontiac Grand Prix vehicles. If the key ring is carrying added weight and the vehicle goes off road or experiences some other jarring event, it may unintentionally move the key away from the run position. If this occurs, engine power, power steering and power braking may be affected, increasing the risk of a crash. Safety risk description: The timing of the key movement out of the run position, relative to the activation of the sensing algorithm of the crash event, may result in the airbags not deploying, increasing the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

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problem #14

Dec 022006

Malibu 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,900 miles
: the contact stated while traveling 35 mph, the vehicle was involved in a front impact crash, and the airbags did not deploy. Additionally, the contact was wearing a seat belt, and the buckle assembly fractured upon initial impact. There were no injuries sustained. The vehicle sustained moderate damage to the front end. The police were on the scene, and a report was taken. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #13

Sep 302004

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles


Upon setting up cruise control it failed to set, and the air bag warning light came on. Dealership indicated that this was due to a failure in the air bag warning harness connection. These parts were currently on back order. Wrong part sent.

- Eau Claire, WI, USA

problem #12

May 032004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My grandson was driving down the road, the airbag light came on and he heard a high pitched sound. A few seconds late both the driver and passenger airbags deployed. He was able to pull to the side of the road. The car was taken to the ocean city Chevrolet I was told that something had to have been hit for airbags to deploy. They were unable to find the problem because the car had not been wreck of hit. GM was notified and test were run on the car. I contacted GM to find out if they were going to fix the problem. They responded with a run around saying that the black box shows an impact in the front and back. Then I told him the car had not been wrecked or hit. He then responded by saying that the airbags could have deployed because my grandson slowed down 6 mph in under a second, which according to the GM man is not possible by brakes. If that was the case my grandsons friend that was follwing him would have rear-ended him if he had slowed down that rapidly. Finaly the GM man told me that the car could have been bumped just right and that was that cause of the airbag deployment. GM refused to repair my airbag saying that it was not their fault. However it was a car defect.

- Ocean Isle Beach, NC, USA

problem #11

Apr 012004

(reported on)


  • 80,000 miles
Vehicle was rear ended and hit a dump truck in front. Vehicle was not in motion, however, upon impact, the air bags failed to deploy.

- Central Point, OR, USA

problem #10

Mar 262004

(reported on)


  • 87,000 miles
Power steering failed, and the vehicle suddenly accelerated. Driver lost control and hit a rock. Upon impact, none of the vehicles airbags deployed.

- Halifax, PA, USA

problem #9

Jun 102003

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


When applying brakes front end pulsates which produces a grinding noise. Dealer notified. The vehicle experienced vibration in the front end when braking. The vehicle has numerous brake rotor repairs. The calipers locked up and the piston seals leaked. The brake light was inoperative because the circuit lost it's contact. The horn was inoperative. The dealer replaced the air bag and repaired the horn power wire from the horn pad to the horn contact ring.

- Fort Washington, MD, USA

problem #8

Jun 082002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I own a 1998 Chevy Malibu. This vehicle will cut off while driving. I bought this vehicle brand new in June 1998 and had to take it to the shop for repair the next month. The service department at shaver motors has never been able to fix it. There is something wrong with this car's electrical system. I was driving in Chicago on 80 90 toll road and this vehicle stopped for no reason while I was doing 55 miles per hour. I listed one incident date but have had numerous other problems. Also, when I first purchased the vehicle I had to replace the tires after less than 3000 miles, they were also bad.

- Gary, IN, USA

problem #7

Jul 012002


  • miles
Consumer purchased vehicle from dealer, and vehicle does not have working airbags. Consumer is very concerned about safety if involved in a collision. Dealer never advised consumer that airbags had been previously deployed and were not reconstructed.

- Lancaster, CA, USA

problem #6

Jan 072002


  • miles
My wife had just pulled out of a driveway on to a highway when a truck pulled in front of her. She hit headon into the side of him. After he cleared the area she was able to drive across 4 lanes of road and into a parking lot across the street, as she entered the lot both air bagrs deployed very slowly never touching her. The speed control has been repaired several times and still continues to deacative while driving, some times many times in a row other trips not at all.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #5

Oct 162001


  • miles
Went to Saturn to have the problem fixed and they said it (airbags) was not covered in the extended warranty. And they felt that it was the manufacturer default. Air bags deployed at a full stop. No accident happened. Called GM company and they said they would notify me in 48 hrs. I contacted them and they (GM) said they need more time to contact the Saturn tech. Mng. They (GM) are supposed to call me Tuesday and tell me if they can repair my car. They are giving me the run-around. I feel that I did not do anything to cause my airbags to deploy and that GM is fully responsible since I have only had the car for 5 mths, and that it is a manufacturer defect.

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #4

Sep 282001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Front fender where front sensor was located was cracked. Consumer sustained chest and knee injuries from steering and dashboard because air bags didn't go off. Also, seat belt did not lock up. Consumer has not consulted manufacturer or dealer.

- Mountain Top, PA, USA

problem #3

Mar 051999


  • miles
Horn inoperable. Entire airbag assembly replaced and horn still has problems.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 141999


  • miles
At 11K mi when brakes applied at 50+ mph front tires severely shimmied, dealer machined and reinstalled front disc, as of 8/8/99 symptoms have returned. At 14K mi a thumping noise began in the right front tire, dealer replaced both lower control arms. At 3K mi heater blower motor started making a loud noise, dealer replaced blower motor. At 9K mi heater blower motor started to again make a loud noise, dealer removed and reinstalled blower fan, motor still makes a loud noise.

- Tewksbury, MA, USA

problem #1

Nov 291997


  • miles
No deployment of air bag during vehicle collision (front end).

- Clifton, NJ, USA

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