Now i know why gm went under

off topic,

GM does well now especially in smaller efficient vehicles, they “import” their decent small car designs and have a hit with their Chevy Cruze (aka some Opel)

Ford did the same with their Fiesta and 2012 Focus (both euro design).

Chrysler needs a Fiat design to import/rebadge.

bob…I’m so lost here, since your topic line assisted in the massive veer off-topic of this post. I know, I’m guilty, too. Sorry about that.

Did that mechanic sort it out, or is there still a problem with the car??

An intermittent crank-but-no-start condition has me thinking this may be a Passlock (passive anti-theft system) problem. Does your daughter ever see the “security” light come on in this car, or noticed it flashing when the car will not start? The next time this happens, instruct her to leave the key in the “on” position (the position right before it would crank the engine) for ten minutes, then try to start the engine. This is a relearn procedure for the Passlock system, and if she is having any presence of a “security” light, and doing this allows the engine to start, it’s a pretty sure thing the Passlock system is to blame for this problem. Usually the problem is in the ignition switch (the integrated Hall effect switch becomes troublesome with age), and if you don’t want to replace the switch (they’re pricey), there are ways to bypass the system. A Google search will likely turn up a specific procedure for this car, but if not, all Passlock systems for all GM models are largely the same.

I had a 1999 Chevy Malibu 3.1 Liter V-6 and it was a very comfortable smooth riding car. I bought it used with 30,000 miles on it and it ran great until it hit about 75,000 miles. First the battery went dead which wasn’t a big deal…the car was 6 years old by then…no biggie right? Well I bought a new battery for it, thought the problem was solved…Nope! The alternator went bad. So I get that fixed, the mechanic even replaced the belt for me and so the car was running again. Then it hit about 80,000 miles and it started leaking coolant…turns out the intake manifold gasket on it needed to be replaced and then after that up until the car went completely dead and I was told I needed a new engine for it (at about 125,000 miles) I had one problem after the next with that car. I must’ve spent about 5,000 dollars keeping that car going! But I have to admit, I do kind of miss that car. It was roomy, it was tough, it was powerful and the gas mileage on it wasn’t bad at all. But I just couldn’t afford to keep dumping tons of money into it any longer so I bought a brand-new car eventually.

You have to be very proactive with those intake gaskets. If they are allowed to go too long without being repaired, they can leak coolant into the crankcase, which will lead to an early demise of the engine. This may be what happened to the engine in your Malibu. My sister has a Grand Am with the 3.4L engine, which is essentially the same as the 3.1L, and the first sign of seepage from those lower intake gaskets prompted me to send her to the auto parts store for a lower intake gasket set (improved design with metal replacing the OEM plastic, which is what causes them to fail), coolant, oil, oil filter, and sent her home with my van for a day. I figure she spent too much money to buy that car four years ago for the engine to kick the bucket at 140k miles.

Yeah I talked to a few other people who had malibus that were made about the same time as mine and they had issues with the gaskets too. I was totally shocked that my car kicked the bucket at about 129k miles. The car I owned before the malibu was a 1992 Plymouth Laser and it had close to 200k miles on it and it was still running good.

*All Underhood Fluids And The Ground Area Under The Engine/Transmission Should Be Checked Weekly Or More Frequently If Driven Over 500 Miles/Week.
*(Excepting Perhaps Transmission Fluid - Can Go Longer If Car Parks Where Leak Would Be Obvious)

This applies to old cars, brand new cars, and every car in between.

That’s what I do, religiously, and we operate 4 - 5 cars. I buy cars that make this process user friendly. It takes just minutes to do this, including topping off windshield juice (total necessity, especially here, above the 45th parallel).

I keep a goodly stock of all fluids for all our cars and have easy to use dispensers on the bottles. I don’t let cars get below 1/2 quart low on engine oil before adding and I’ve got one with 300,000 + miles that does consume oil.

When doing this it’s important that the person checking knows what they’re looking for - something out of the ordinary in the way of quantity and quality. They should also either know what internal and external leaks are all about or when an out of the ordinary event occurs, take the car to a professional, ASAP. The fluids need to be kept at or near full levels.

Minor problems can be caught before becoming major problems. Many cars that die an early death could have been saved to live a full life if owners would follow this practice.

Don’t just take my word for it. Owners need to read their owner’s manuals regarding checking fluids.


I took my Malibu to the shop when I noticed a little oil in with the coolant when I checked the amount of fluid in the tank. Now I’m no mechanic but I knew oil was not supposed to be in there. $800 bucks later, problem was solved. One guy told me the reason the car had that intake manifold gasket issue was the type of coolant GM uses. Dex-cool. I was like huh? No other chevy my family has ever had, had this issue? What the shop did was they flushed the radiator out, put the Prestone Brand Cool that was “approved” for use in GM vehicles, the Green stuff instead of the red Dex-Cool.


How old is your Malibu, and how many miles are on it? When is the last time you had the coolant changed?

If you have an old car with a lot of miles on it, or you haven’t changed the coolant before, it’s hard to blame GM.

Dex-Cool has been blamed for a lot of issues, and whether or not it is the cause is hotly debated, so on GM vehicles I maintain, I follow these rules:

-When using Dex-Cool, cut GM’s recommendation for coolant changes in half.

-Don’t mix Dex-Cool with any other type of coolant, even the universal stuff that is supposed to be okay to mix with anything.

-When you get the coolant changed, flush the entire system with water, don’t just do a drain and refill.

-Use Dex-Cool until the warranty expires, and then switch to universal coolant, but don’t forget it needs to be changed every two years.

I got rid of my malibu last year…when it died, bought a new car, sold the Malibu to junkyard. When I was having issues with the coolant and such in it, I never mixed Dex-Cool and the other types of coolants. When I saw the oil in the coolant tank, took it the shop, the mechanic changed the intake manifold gasket in it and completely flushed out the radiator with water. I know this because my brother also worked in the shop and he was there the whole time the guy worked on my car and helped flush out the radiator. I had 127k miles on it when it died. It was a 1999 V-6 3.1 liter. But when I went to get parts for that car, turns out there was two types of V-6 made in 1999. I had to go by the VIN number on the car to figure out which V-6 engine my car had.

Ah! So by your lack of a response, this was the first you had changed the coolant in the entire time you owned the car? Don’t you think 127,000 miles is too long to go between coolant changes?

LOL…No way…the engine coolant was changed at 70,000 miles when the intake manifold gasket was changed. And then I had another radiator flush at 105k miles…My malibu had its scheduled tune-ups and all. I also got into a fender bender with it as well…but no damage was done to the frame or the motor mounts or anything like that. The bumper and the hood got a little banged up but nothing too serious…