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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,100 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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1998 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #15

Oct 012014


  • miles


1998 Chevrolet Malibu. Consumer writes to express discontent with local dealership. The consumer stated the brake was spongy, the ABS light illuminated and the ac worked erratically, depending on the blower speed and would sometimes quit blowing cold air and would start to blow warm air. The consumer stated the brake fluid was very low. The dealer was unable to find any brake fluid leaks. However, two months later while driving, the brake pedal went to the floor, because the fluid had leaked out again. The brake lines were replaced. In addition, to the brake line issue, the sway bar was broken, a fuel line was leaking and the left rear strut had failed.

- Greenville, PA, USA

problem #14

Nov 112008


  • 68,700 miles
I bought a certified used car from bill heard in plant city before they closed down, from day 1 I had a problem with the car ignition not starting and the anti theft, I have been left stranded several time S cause of this problem, I have taken it back to them twice and they kept telling me there is nothing wrong although at times there is then they told me if it happens again just let the car set for 10mins and it will be ok, well it should not happen in the first place, then after almost flipping the car I found out that the front rotors are totally shot and when I had to hit my brakes one caught before the other causing the car to go into a skid, then the ignition and the anti theft act up again and this time the horn is stuck so I had to pull the fuse to stop the horn tested the relay and it was fine the switch is stuck somewhere and know one seems to know where, so now I have a used certified used car with no horn and worn out rotors faulty ignition and oh I forgot that every now and then I will get shocked getting out of the car and a broke motor mount that I was told that I would have to fix own my own due to it was aware and tear apart that they won't cover, well it should have been replaced before the car was even sold. So now I have taken it to 2 other dealers to get it fixed and they told me I would have to pay for it well I don't think that's right due to the fact that all of that should have been checked and fixed before the car was ever sold and I guess since I was a first time buyer with no credit that it was ok for them to stick it to me which in turn I see why bill heard went out of business with people like that working for them, so now I need to know what I should do about this so called certified used piece of death trap I was sold?

- Gibsonton, FL, USA

problem #13

Sep 301998

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,800 miles
The contact stated every time she used the cruise control it deactivated on its own. This started approximately one month after purchasing the vehicle. The vehicle has been to the dealership multiple times for cruise control problems, but they were unable to duplicate the problem. There have been no repairs to the vehicle at this time. Updated 2/7/2006 - the bralkes failed at less than 2800 miles. The dealer replaced the brakes and rotors.

- Cle Elm, WA, USA

problem #12

Aug 092005

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles


Wheel bearings keep failing, resulting in me having to get new or resurfaced rotors, pads, calipers, bearings obviously, etc. This is the fourth time in a year and a half! I can't afford to drive an unsafe vehicle, but I can't afford to keep shelling out $500-600 every six months for the same problem, either. After doing some research on the internet, and talking to a few mechanics, I'm apparently not the only one with this problem. Also, my power steering hose has a habit of blowing off the line for no reason, resulting in me having to re-attach it. But I don't care about that, I want to know what's wrong with my brake system.

- San Diego, MI, USA

problem #11

Apr 072005

Malibu 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
When pulling out of a friends home on a dry 60 degree night, my son proceeded less than a block to a flashing red light. Before getting to the light, he applied the brake (the car behind him saw the brake lights) and the car would not stop. He had a total brake failure. When he realized that he would soon be in the middle of the intersection with an oncoming vehicle, he accelerated to try to get out of the way of the oncoming vehicle. However, he still was hit near the rear of the back door (on the drivers side) and the car was spun into a pole on the other side causing extensive damage - the car has been declared a total loss. Fortunately, the occupants were both uninjured, but had he not accelerated it could have been quite a different story. Right now, the insurance company is pushing for us to have it moved to a junk yard to avoid the storage fees.

- Eighty Four, PA, USA

problem #10

May 122001

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
Number of problems since the car was purchased new in 1998. The front brakes have been an ongoing problem, the cooling system has a leak at the intake manifold and numerous other major problems that everyone I talk to or read about is having the same problems with this car. Chevy will not do anything about it.

- Granite Falls, NC, USA

problem #9

Jan 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles


Intake manifold gasket on 3.1L V6, and head gasket failed. Severe engine damage resulted from coolant entering engine, freezing two exhaust valves and rendering the car inoperable in heavy traffic. Complete damage esimate unknown at this time. Can update later. Contact with GM customer service indicates they are not aware of the problem. Not true! a serious problem and they know it well! they apparently refuse to take any action to make right this major engine design error. This car failed in a very dangerous place.

- Longwood, FL, USA

problem #8

Dec 152002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles
When my car was bought from gold key auto it had 88,000 miles. The day after purchase the car would not crank, had to purchase a battery that would hold enough power to start car. The brake problem has been continous since car has been purchased they wear out and squeal once a yr. Or less, 1 yr. After puchase of car it has had a total caliber change right and left, this was a $235 charge from wheels unlimited in waycross cause of repair brakes locked up on car. Alternator has been changed 3 times 1st yr., one failing after another. This past Dec., 1 right side caliber change and another brake started making a rattle noise were timing chain is so we proceeded with changing the timing chain, replaced in Dec. the same time water pump was replaced. The rattled was still there, now my car is parked waiting to find out whats wrong now. Possible fly-wheel or timing gear.

- Waycross, GA, USA

problem #7

Feb 242004

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles
Anti theft activates alot, just wish I could start the car when I need it.heater control doesn't want to work right, it would also be nice to have heat in the winter, been to shop a number of times but GM can't seem to find the problem. Chevrolets are junk, I wont buy another one. I fixed my brake problem by using ceramic pads, cost a little but well wort it ( had the same brake problems that were reported here every 5000 or so mile in for repairs. ) when I put ceramic pads on they lasted 40,000 miles and still going strong.

- Erlanger, KY, USA

problem #6

Aug 152001

Malibu 4-cyl

  • miles
When the gas tank was full the gas gauge read empty and when the gas tank was empty the gas gauge read full. The steering wheel made noises, the A/C light did not stay on and the A/C blew hot air when the button was not activated, the key would come out of the ignition and would not stay in and the vehicle would still drive without the key in the ignition. The brakes would have to be replaced at least twice a year, the antenna did not pick up an adequate number of stations, (case efficiency decreased from 350 to 250 to refill the can), when two batteries were replaced, the gas gauge did not work, and condensation would set in the rear lights and burned them out.

- Port Orange, FL, USA

problem #5

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 #4

Jun 092003

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
While driving, the vehicle lost its rack and pinion steering and all power of the steering wheel. Dealer notified. The power window control panel on the driver side arm rest popped out, the vehicle pulled severely to the right (dealer couldn't find the problem). The dealer finally replaced the lower control arms, brake rotors, 2 sets of tires/almost completely bald at the time only 13K miles. The rims had to be forced off, the front rotors had become rusted at 20K miles, the ignition wire harness had come apart, the power steering hoses had come loose, lost fluid and power steering while in motion, the trunk leaked, the ABS light had come on twice a week, the front end squeaked and rattled, the antenna wire was loose, the right head lamp had permanent moisture with no crack, the A/C would shut on/off intermittently, the alternator failed at 60K miles and the waning light had come on for only five minutes, the engine leaked oil, and the right windshield wiper pivot housing had broken.

- Paxinos, PA, USA

problem #3

Apr 072003

(reported on)


  • miles
The brakes performed erratically even after the brake system was replaced. The owner was informed that the vehicle needed new brake calipers.

- Daytona Beach, FL, USA

problem #2

Apr 091999

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Brake pads, rotors, and calipers continually failed on Chevrolet Malibu. This has been going on since car was new. Pads, rotors, calipers, and ball joints have all been replaced - pads and rotors as often as every 6000 to 12000 miles. Dealers and independents have worked on it with the same result: More failures. There are hundreds of complaints about these problems for Malibu's just from this year's model and many more for other years. NHTSA has never investigated even though brake failure would seem to be significant. My tax money is not working hard enough.

- Dumfries, VA, USA

problem #1

Mar 172003

Malibu 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Rack and pinion steering gear failed at 65,000 miles, causing a loss of power steering and a near accident. This is the second time this has happened (last time was at 40,000). This vehicle has also had front brakes and rotors 6 times and has experienced all other Malibu problems such as air conditioner control failure, tail light melting, etc.

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

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