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09 malibu headlight

Approx. a month ago (give or take a few days) I took my car to the dealership to get my passenger side headlight bulb replaced. 2 hours later, after taking the fascia? off, it got replaced. Now, my passenger headlight is out again. I’m taking it back in again tomorrow, but I’m looking for some ideas as to why this would happen…

Bulbs blow. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, although I will say I notice that when one goes another is sure to follow soon. There’s no way to tell which one. Ever noticed it happens like that in the house, too? You get 4, 6, 8 lights over the bathroom sink. They work great for years, one day, a bulb blows. Then another. Oh, well. Se la vi.

Sometimes the new bulb is just bad from the get-go. Like Chaissos says. Or the new bulb might have been damaged during the install. This is more likely if the mechanic wasn’t familiar w/how to do it. Usually replaciong a headlight bulb is simple. I’ve never done it on a Malibu though. But on any car I’ve ever done it on, it took more like 15 minutes, not 2 hours, so an inexperienced mechanic damaging the bulb is indeed possible.

I should say that one time I had a dome light blow on a 92 Toyota. The dealer replaced it (it was on a bumper to bumper warranty, so why not?) and the dome light failed again within a month. So I took it back, and they replaced it again! That one failed within a month! So I finally just went to the auto parts store and bought a replacement dome light bulb, and that one lasted 10 years. So all in all it is hard to say about bulbs.

If the bulb they replaced failed again, then it was either a defective bulb, or it was installed incorrectly such as installing the bulb with bare fingers.


Low Beam ?

Did the dealer inspect the connector and consult the Technical Service Bulletin that is written for GM technicians ? Apparently there was enough of an issue that a bulletin was published pertaining to low beam headlamp replacement and it includes 2008 - 2011 Malibus and many other GM models.

The headlamp connector is inspected before replacing a bulb. The bulb gets replaced only if the connector is not damaged or discolored. If it is then the connector gets replaced.

I’d be sure they’re checking the connector and the bulletin #10-08-42-001A.


Thanks for your input guys, I appreciate it!

And yes, it’s just my low beam. That service bulletin was helpful, I’ll be sure to mention that…

You’re Welcome !

Now you know! If you to have rip off the facia from the front of the vehicle in order to replace the bulbs, you replace all the bulbs.


Surprise, surprise, connector was fried.

And you’re right, you do change all the bulbs, or don’t buy a car that it’d be necessary to do that for. Why in the hell would you build a car like that. $$$$$

Thanks For The Update.

“Why in the hell would you build a car like that. $$$$$”

I wondered that when I was deciding between buying my wife the Malibu or the Impala. I went with the Impala, but not just for that. The headlight bulbs, side marker, and t-signals can all be changed by removing 1 screw and pulling up on a plastic clip and removing the capsule. Must be the Malibu was tight on space or something.

I think all the manufacturers should design all light bulb installations so that they can be changed by hand, without requiring even a screw driver, but I guess that makes too much sense. I carry spare bulbs in my cars.


I guess they figure the average owner won’t have to change the bulb, and the car will be heading to the crusher by the time they need changed, with normal use.