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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,574 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.

2004 Chevrolet Malibu lights problems

lights problem

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2004 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #56

Mar 012012


  • 100,000 miles


The backlighting on the main dash (behind the odometer, speedometer, gas gauge and other indicators) fails to illuminate. It started out as only a small part of the backlighting, but has progressively become worse. We just had the car at the dealership for the 3 unrelated recalls and asked them to "give us an estimate to repair". when the car was returned to us, the lighting failed to illuminate nearly the entire dash (worse then before it was in for service). We were told the module would need to be returned to the manufacturer (GM) to be repaired/replaced and then be reinstalled and would cost over $350. No idea how long the car would be out of service either. This a major safety issue for night driving!

- South Elgin, IL, USA

problem #55

Jun 022014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
2004 Chevrolet Malibu. Customer states that he has received three recall notices for vehicle in June 2014 and July 2014. All three noticed indicated the parts are not available and hasn't heard any response since.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #54

May 012014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
2004 Chevrolet Malibu experiencing power steering problems, ABS and shift cable, all replaced. The consumer stated the vehicle was taken to the repair shop seven times, due to power steering failure, which resulted in the steering locking up. The consumer was involved in two accidents, in which the air bags failed to deploy. The consumer received a transmission, steering and brake recall. However, the parts were not available.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #53

Oct 012014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles


2004 Chevrolet Malibu. Consumer writes in regards to GM recall #13036* ld the consumer stated the recall fix, did not fix the problem. The consumer stated he did not know, if the brake lights worked and the cruise control rarely worked. The traction control and ABS light was on. The consumer returned to the dealer. An inspection revealed a problem was speed sensor on the right front wheel, which was not related to the recall. The cost to replace the sensor was $460.

- Pierre, SD, USA

problem #52

Jun 062005

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles
Front turn signals have been constantly overheating for the life of the car. Has 113000 miles on it now and have had to replace turn signal bulbs constantly. Also had to replace left front turn signal socket because of severe overheating.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

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problem #51

Sep 012014


  • miles
Letter from congressman king on behalf of constituent re 2004 Chevy Malibu. The dealer informed the consumer, the parts were not available to fix the recalled components. The power steering and brake lights needed to be replaced.

- Bethpage, NY, USA

problem #50

Jul 152013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 148,000 miles


In summer 2013 I elected to replace both headlamp casing with a new headlamp kit because of internal discoloration and yellow liquid fluid seeping from daytime running lamp. Approximately 1 week later the new daytime running lamp casing melted and burnt the new bulb. The bulb was replaced at no cost. At my next service 5-6 months later I inquired about replacing the defective headlamp casing because the bulb on both daytime running lamp burnt through its plastic casing, again causing internal discoloration of headlamp kit. I was told warranty expired. The dealership sent an inquire to GM regarding such defect but I am told there was no response from GM and I have no recourse. I no longer use daytime running lamp. I purposely shut off the daytime running lamps (which defeats the purpose) for fear the bulb will continue to melt the casing causing further discoloration and burn the bulb. This is not how the product should be made; poor craftsmanship and poor workmanship.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #49

May 142014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact received a recall notification for NHTSA campaign number: 14V252000 (electrical system, electronic stability control, exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic, vehicle speed control); however, the parts needed for the repairs were unavailable. The manufacturer was notified. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Mineola, TX, USA

problem #48

Aug 152014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
The turn signals and flasher work intermittently.

- Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #47

Jun 302014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
We have received three recall notices for the above mentioned problems. All of the notices say that the car will be fixed free of charge by the dealer but parts are not available at the current time. When I got the second notice I called and talked to a woman at the Chevrolet division of GM and was told the parts should be available within two weeks. A month later we got our third notice of a different problem and when I called again I was told that they had not determined the "root" of the problem so they don't know which parts need to be replaced. Also they could not tell me when the solution would be found and therefore when the parts would be available. In addition I would think an american company like GM would be hiring americans to answer their customer's complaints. It was pretty obvious that the person I talked to today was most likely a call person from india. Any ideas when these problems will be solved"? who should I complain to next?"

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #46

Jun 292004


  • 168,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the headlight bulbs constantly overheated and need to be replaced. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. However, the headlight covers were replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 200 and the current mileage was 168,000. Updated 08/19/14

- Port Hueneme, CA, USA

problem #45

Jul 172012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated the brake lights failed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the vehicle was not included in recall NHTSA campaign number:14V252000 (exterior lighting). The failure and current mileage was 95,000....updated 09-05-14 the consumer stated the vehicle the vehicle has also had issues with switching from park to drive, the exterior as well as the interior lights would go out during highway speeds and an alarm would sound, whenever the vehicle would be filled with gas the low fuel alarm would sound, and the blinker lights would burn out prematurely. Updated 09/15/2014

- Snohomish, WA, USA

problem #44

Jul 312007

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
I purchased this vehicle used from crane Chevrolet, clifton, New Jersey, within six months after purchase I observed that the power steering would suddenly stop operating while the engine was running. I discovered that the only corrective was to shut the car off and restart the engine. The power steering would then reengage. This failure has persisted for nearly the entire time I've owned the vehicle. During that entire time, crane Chevrolet has claimed there was/is no defect in the power steering, and no recall notice outstanding. I just received a GM safety recall notice 14116, which claims, among other things, that "previously, you had the steering column replaced under customer satisfaction program 04050". that is false! neither crane Chevrolet, nor GM has ever contacted me concerning the steering column, or made any attempt to replace it! I also notified crane Chevrolet that the front headlamp assembly turn signal lamps repeatedly burned out, and that the bulb housings were burnt and completely melted through!! both GM and crane Chevrolet denied there was any defect in the lamp/housing design or function. I have to replace the front turn signal lamps about every six months. Finally, the undercarriage support struts, shocks, and springs are woefully underdesigned. The car runs like it has stone tires. I now have to replace the entire strut, shock, and spring undersupports for the second time. And I just run the vehcile on asphalt smooth roads in a develped Suburban city!! this was serious underdesign. Fortunately, these parts are available on the web and I've got a good mechanic that charges fairly for this difficult work. Go to crane and GM and you'd need to mortgage your home to do the work!!

- Clifton, NJ, USA

problem #43

Jun 102014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
My car has had interior electrical problems since the day that I bought. I have had things like the cd deck and the brakes and alloy rims fixed after having problems with them however I have had the front left blinker fail to work and then an hour later it works, the next hour does not work. The interior lighting all stopped working and the dealership says that it is electrical, at the same time that the lights stopped working I started to be unable to shift my car from low into 1 or 2. I have had my power steering go out multiple times and then after pulling over, shutting off my car and turning it back on it worked again. I have almost go into an accident multiple times because the front left blinker stops working mid drive, or the power steering stops working. This car clearly has multiple electrical problems that should be recalled and fixed because they are very dangerous.

- North Branch , MN, USA

problem #42

Feb 172014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 169,550 miles
Chevrolet Malibu ls 2004 V6. Exterior brake lights not working as expected. In my vehicle the brake lights illuminate when the brake pedal is not depressed, and turn off once the pedal is applied. During this event I was notified by the "service vehicle soon" warning light. In the dark I could see in my mirrors that my brake lights would go on and off with out touching the pedal. My brake lights would not illuminate while pressing the brake pedal. When I got home I had my husband stand behind the vehicle while I pressed the brake pedal. No changed occurred as I pressed the brake pedal. This is extremely dangerous because other drivers will not know when I am truly slowing down or actually applying the brake. Now whenever the "service vehicle soon" warning light comes on I know that my exterior brake lights are not working properly. Since February of 2014 this happens 4 or more times a month. I work second shift, so when I drive home it is dark out. My vehicle could cause another driver to rear end me because they don't know that my exterior brake lights aren't working properly.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #41

Apr 052006


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated while driving at various speeds the power steering would suddenly malfunction making the steering wheel very difficult to turn. When the failure occurred the check engine, ABS and tc (traction control) sensor lights illuminated. The failure was not diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was notified and no solution was offered. The contact also indicated that while driving various speeds the vehicle would drift from side to side. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the control arms were faulty. The control arms were replaced but the defect was not remedied. While driving the headlights, turn signal lights and rear lights would intermittently shut on and off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the defect was caused by an electrical short. The defect was not repaired. The failure mileage was 17,000.

- Jackson, MI, USA

problem #40

Jan 132014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
Front turning signals or running lights get very hot and melt through the amber lens that the bulb sits in. These bulbs burn out quite often, which have created some near misses while making turns because the bulbs would burn out without notice. This is a very common problem on all the 04 and 05 Malibu. I have contacted the Chevy dealers and the deny and knowledge of the problem, but there many complaints of this online. Every Malibu of these years have the same problem.

- Stillwater, MN, USA

problem #39

Feb 072014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 149,000 miles
My 16 year old daughter was stopped at a four way intersection. As she proceeded to turn, she lost her ability to steer the car. She was able to avoid hitting another car and get her car to the side of the road. She noticed there was a yellow dash board light that came on when she lost the steering but no prior warning of any issues or warning lights prior to loosing the steering on the vehicle. Once she got to the side of the road, her four way emergency flashers would not work. My husband went to pick her up. He restarted the car and the steering worked fine for him. There was no warning lights indicating any problem on the dash board. We brought the car to our mechanic he could not get the problem to resurface. He did note that the directional turn signals seemed to be "messed up" and he changed the light bulbs. When she lost her steering a second time we had the vehicle towed to a different mechanic who told us this was a chronic defect issue with this make/brand of vehicle and that it needed a new electronic component in the steering column which would cost us $900. I researched this information on the internet and found that there are thousands of complaints for this very issue. It occurs at different amounts of mileage. It occurs on the vehicles when they were purchased brand new and purchased used as in our case. This is not your normal wear and tear type of vehicle issue. This is a significant safety issue which is an engineering/design flaw in the vehicle. I have called the GM customer service line. Our case # is 71-127-262-2441. We now have to bring the car to our local Chevy dealer and they have told us that it could cost way more just to diagnose the problem than to repair it. Unbelievable...please help look into this safety issue as my daughter could of been killed herself and or could have caused injury to someone else without any forewarning.

- Fairfield, ME, USA

problem #38

Apr 292013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
The car steering wheel locked up and unable to control where it was going to guide as coming around curve. Ended up in ditch and shaking like crazy! im so afraid that something is going to happen. I want another car!

- Hollis, OK, USA

problem #37

Apr 122012


  • 148,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated while the cruise control was engaged at 75 mph it suddenly disengaged and caused the vehicle to lose speed. The contact did not apply the brakes in order to disengaged the cruise control system. The contact took the vehicle to a mechanic who stated the brake lights malfunctioned and caused the cruise control to disengaged due to the brake lights illuminating. The mechanic replaced numerous fuses in the vehicle as well as re-calibrating the electrical system; however, that did not remedy the issue. The contact stated the turn signal malfunctioned as well. The failure mileage was 148,000.

- Hickory Hills, IL, USA

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