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really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
84,154 miles
Total Complaints:
16 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace intake manifold gasket (8 reports)
  2. the Malibu should be recalled (6 reports)
  3. change required dex cool coolant (1 reports)
  4. not sure (1 reports)
1999 Chevrolet Malibu cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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1999 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #16

May 012012

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,061 miles


Should have NEVER cheated on ford !!!

got a 1999 malibu approx. 6 months ago, yes it is a older car, but it was very well maintained. within 2 months i had to spend a small fortune and haven't stopped !!. i put it in a couple of days ago for a tune up and today it was leaking coolant everywhere, so back to the mechanics..3 separate mechanics actually, and all of them said the exact same thing, oh it is your manifold intake gasket and this is a very very common problem with malibus, in fact just about every malibu they have ever done work on has had this problem.. that will be 800.00 . so of course being a very very common problem i call chevy, he checks the vin and says there are no recalls yet they do verify that this is a issue with these vehicles. hummmmmm . but of course they offer no assistance and tell me to have a nice day. so in short thankfully this is the first chevy i have ever had and 2500 plus in 6 months it is my last !!! i loved my fords, i never ever ever should have switched over to the darkside. ford I'm coming back with my tail between my legs :(

- , Kitchener, Ontario, canada

problem #15

Jun 012009

Malibu LS 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Pretty much in line with everybody's description, the engine loses coolant and overheats. The mechanic just said that the coolant turns acidic and rots the gasket out. Had the thing in the shop Friday and over the weekend, it seems to be quite a job.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #14

Jun 152004

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I bought my 1999 Chevy Malibu in March of 2001. It was purchased as a used vehicle from a Chevrolet dealer. they only gave a 3000 mile 30 day warranty. At the time of purchase it had 38,000 miles at 60,000 miles the lower intake manifold gasket started to leak baldly. it cost me at the time $650.00 to replace it. I have always been a chevy man but after my Malibu I will not be purchasing another Chevy

- , Rockford, IL, USA

problem #13

Mar 022005

Malibu LS 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


I bought this lemon car in 2002 and it has done nothing but drain my bank account ever since. It has been one problem after another with this piece of sh*t.

Today marks the SECOND time I have had to replace the intake manifold gasket in 3 years. I have spent close to $1000 now on repairs.

I will NEVER buy another Malibu again and don't encourage anyone to buy one. It takes more than two hands to count all the problems this car has given me. I haven't fixed half of them because I don't want to piss away another penny on this car!

- , Perryville, MO, USA

problem #12

Jul 072008

Malibu 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I spoke with GMAC about the problem and they stand firm there is no problem or planned recall of this manifold leaking problem. My mechanic says it is a very really design problem and GMAC should recall and pay all expenses. They are polite a sh*t when I call and very apologetic about my problem..and thank me for choosing Chevrolet. Well never again! This sucks. They know it's a problem...after only 50,000 miles a major repair...yea GMAC, great car you sold me and you can dry up and die for all I care

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

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problem #11

Jun 162008

Malibu LS 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Why hasn't any one started a class-action lawsuit on GM? This is the worst car ever built. It amazes me that every one has had the same experience. No matter where they bought it, this obviously red flags a manufacturing problem. Why would GM build such a low quality car?

So it started on May 24th, 2007, my check engine light came on. The OBD II scanner stated it was PO 300 and PO 171... Which pretty much could have been a hand full of problems. I changed the fuel pump, gave it a tune up. But three days later it stalled on me and refused to turn on. We had to push it, to the nearest gas station, got it towed three times. Now, the problem like all the others, the intake manifold is leaking. The oil mixed with the antifreeze now the entire engine has to be rebuilt. So, instead of me paying 1,000 plus dollars to get it fixed and have it last only a few months, I am getting rid of it.

- , New York City, NY, US

problem #10

Aug 042006

(reported on)


  • 80,000 miles


Had this problem fixed several times. Chevy dealer claimed it was just a bad intake and they fixed it for $800 a few years ago. Ended up figuring out possibly what went wrong. Heard from a pretty good mechanic that if the cap to the coolant container was NOT put on 100% tight, air would have got in there and then slowly destroyed the intake gasket. My light recently went on again after I took it to a different shop, and I realized the cap was not on tight. Yes, my gasket is leaking, but I have found that if I fill up the coolant with water AND put the cap on tight (it is tough to do - it may take you several tries), then your low coolant light will not go on. My did not go on for 2 weeks and the car ran fine. I then had to refill the coolant with water and just put the cap back on tight. It is a temporary fix until I trade in the car.

ALSO... CALL GM AND COMPLAIN I did and got a $1500 voucher towards my next GM vehicle. Yes, I probably won't use GM again, but remember, A LOT of cars have issues (sister in law has a Passat that is 5 times worse than my Malibu).

- , Broomall, PA, USA

problem #9

Jul 272007

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Like many others out there, and on this site, a little after 80,000 miles my engine coolant light would come on and I would have to add more Dex-cool routinely. The problem is from the intake manifold. A constant puddle of Dex-cool can be seen sitting on the engine block now that I know what I should be looking for. I purchased this car from a dealer and I believe that because Chevy has had such a problem with this and that the dealer knew this as well they should have replaced the intake manifold gasket before putting the car on the lot. I purchased the car with 75,000 miles on it, so they knew it should have been replaced. I've been a Chevy man all my life, and they should cover cost of replacing the intake manifold gasket. This is a serious problem, and thisis the company that gave us the Corvette. Come on, do the right thing Chevy.

- , Jerseyville, IL, USA

problem #8

Aug 242007

(reported on)

Malibu LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

They're is other problem with this car, we bought it new in 1999 and took it back the next day because the gas gauge was inacurate, got it back the naxt day and it was the same way. Gas line came off the full filter while on the exspressway had to have it towed, At some where around 40000 miles the altinator went out. At 45000 mile the starter went out. After the warrenty was gone the air conditioner kicks in and out had it checked thought it needed regharged, NOPE, it has a valve or relay that coast around a $1000.00 to fix so now we turn the air on and off to keep it working.

- , Milford, OH, USA

problem #7

Jul 212007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,400 miles

I bought the car new to tow behind my motor home. In June of this year I had to replace the intake gaskets. Just six weeks later, the gaskets were leaking again along with the water pump. I lost two days of sightseeing in Yellowstone National Park getting this problem fixed a second time. This afternoon the emission light came on, now what the f.. k is the problem and how much is this going to cost???

- , Taneytown, MD, USA

problem #6

May 032007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,000 miles


The car was bought last July from a smaller dealership wholesale for $3400 and besides it being a big gas burner it was a decent vehicle. The A/C always went on and off by itself though. From when I first had the car up until May the coolant light always came on but nothing was ever leaking and it never overheated. Until I took it to Chevrolet for an B CLASS SERVICING, later that same day I found myself driving home and it was overheating, the meter was going towards the RED, I immediately pulled the car over and noticed it started leaking.

Now this has never happend before the dealership touched the vehicle even when the light was on for several months

I spoke with Chevy and they said "low coolant light on, lower intake manifold gasket leaking. Recommend fuel filter (water pump)

the intake is going to be 1,055.98 and the water pump is $400 and some change all together I'm looking at


I believe all together when I get the malibu fixed I'm most likely selling the car ; I was warned about chevy before but now that I see this site I'm noticing more people dealing with the same sh*t I was dealing with

Probably will never buy a chevy vehicle agaih, don't give a f*ck if it's new or old

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #5

Apr 212007

(reported on)

Malibu Standard 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

this car has brake issues and now a coolant problem. I've spent too much money fixing American vehicles. Its better to pay the additonal money up front for a foreign vehicle than to pay it on the back end when you're unprepared too!

- , Washington, DC, USA

problem #4

Oct 162006

(reported on)


  • 64,000 miles

I had a leaking intake manifold gasket at 64,000 miles and replaced the water pump at 72,000 miles. I am at 87,000 miles and the gaskets are leaking again.. This time Im doing it myself because the cost is too much. I think its the Dexcool, I have never ran into this much coolant trouble with the traditional green antifreez coolant.

- , Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #3

May 112006

(reported on)

Malibu LS

  • 98,000 miles

At 50000 miles I had to replace the water pump for leakage. at 90000 It developed a leak that I could not find. At 98000 the leak finally showed me where it was, the lower intake manifold forward gasket. I replaced the lower intake manifold gasket and discovered I have a blown head gasket. Now the heads have to be removed to fix

- , Enumclaw, WA, USA

problem #2

Oct 212006

(reported on)

Malibu ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

known gasket problem.

- , Winnipeg, MB, Canada

problem #1

Mar 032005

(reported on)


  • 64,000 miles

The Malibu is a total lemon. I have read plenty of other complaints from other unhappy customers regarding their Malibu's.

- , Eau Claire, WI, USA

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