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Top 5 Problems Chevy Malibu Sedan 7th Generation 2008-2012

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Top 5 Problems Chevy Malibu Sedan 7th Generation 2008-2012

Created on: 2020-09-01

This video discusses the top problems found with the 7th generation Chevy Malibu 2008-12

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Hey, friends, it's Len here from 1A Auto. Today, I want to go over some of the top five problems that we found on a 7th Gen Chevy Malibu.

Okay, friends, so the first thing that I always like to talk about in these videos, as you know, is a safety issue. You'll also notice that I'm still inside the vehicle. The reason for that is because the first safety issue that I wanna talk about has to do with the steering. More than likely, when you find that you have an issue with the steering, it's gonna be when you're driving, of course, because when else are you gonna be steering? Sometimes with these particular vehicles, what could happen is the vehicle actually goes into manual steering mode, which essentially means if you were to drive an older vehicle, like way back in the day, before they had power steering, you might have noticed that they were really hard to turn sometimes. That's kind of how this vehicle can feel at times. Usually, it's intermittent, not always though. The reason why that this might happen is because of inside of the steering column, there's gonna be two things that could go wrong. There's a torque sensor inside there that could have an issue or, of course, there is the steering control module that's inside there. Maybe it's not communicating right with the PCM or the brain of the vehicle, and it just doesn't understand what's going on exactly. So, for some reason, it doesn't apply the power assist or the electrical assist that you need to be able to steer your vehicle safely. Now, luckily for you, the fix for this would be, of course, to bring your vehicle back to the dealer. They're gonna check everything out. And more than likely, what they're gonna find is they're gonna replace the whole steering column for you. Because like I said, the parts that are the issue are located inside of the steering column. Otherwise, what you could try to do is, of course, try to replace that torque sensor yourself and the control module that's for the electric assist. But that's kind of something that's a little bit of a hassle. And of course, if there's a recall, why not just get it fixed for free?

Now the second thing that I wanna talk to you about on these vehicles is the coolant. If you get underneath the hood, you can find your coolant reservoir right here. What you're more than likely gonna notice is the coolant is almost always low for some reason. Now another symptom that you might happen to notice is a sweet smell in the air. Generally, when steam is venting from your cooling system, more than likely it's because there's a leak somewhere, you're gonna have a sweet smell in the air. And it might smell kind of nice, but it's really not very nice at all. Overall, where you're probably gonna smell it is once you open up the hood, just like that. Other things that you might happen to notice is maybe if you're driving in the wintertime and you go to put on your heat, for some reason you just don't have much heat coming out of the vents. The reason for that, of course, would be because the coolant level's low. The coolant is supposed to flow through your heater core, which is located behind the glovebox. If there isn't much coolant in there, or it's air-bound or has air bubbles inside the cooling system, it's not gonna be able to produce the amount of heat that you need to come out of those vents. So you're gonna notice that you just don't have enough heat. And so, a couple other things that you might happen to notice is maybe a little bit of coolant down on the ground underneath your vehicle. If you were to lift up the hood, maybe you might see some coolant running down the engine for some reason. You might also notice a little bit of white smoke coming from your exhaust. Of course, if you had white smoke coming from your exhaust, that means the coolant's getting burnt inside of your combustion chamber, which, of course, means you have an internal coolant leak.

Now for some common causes for this issue on this particular vehicle, usually it comes down to either the intake gasket, which would, of course, make an internal or external leak. An external leak would be one that you can see externally on the engine. An internally one would be something that you would more than likely see, like I said before, kind of blowing smoke out the exhaust because coolant is getting into that combustion chamber. Something else you might notice is maybe some coolant coming down off of that water pump. You'd, of course, have to get inside through the passenger side wheel well to be able to see the water pump or maybe even underneath the vehicle. But there's a little weep hole, like a little dot that's usually along the bottom of the water pump closest to the pulley. Generally, that's gonna be the first place to go. Other things that might go bad on this would be, of course, the radiator cap right here or the coolant reservoir cap. This is a complete pressurized system. So this is actually the cap. If you were to take this off and you don't hear any pressure, more than likely it's because of this gasket right along here. You might also notice that there's a lot of white crusties or even some white crusties up along the hood. This one's actually looking good. The last place I would look would be right along the passenger side floor right here along the carpet area. If that's moist, and it smells like coolant, more than likely that's because your heater core is leaking. It's pretty common on these vehicles. Most cars, the heater core is gonna be located somewhere behind the glovebox here. On these particular vehicles, it's actually located closer to the center area right back here. To do this job, it wouldn't necessarily be the easiest job to replace the heater core because, like I said, it's located behind here and there's just a whole bunch of stuff that you're gonna have to pop out of the way and remove to get to that point.

So now, of course, we have to talk about some fixes for this and I'm gonna try to keep it general because there are a multitude of things that could have a leak when it comes to the cooling system. Overall, what I would like to do would be, of course, to clean down the engine if it looks like it's dirty in any way because you wanna have a nice clean area to start this test. The next thing I would wanna do is, of course, add some coolant. If it's too low inside the reservoir, I might not be able to see all the areas where it could leak. After that, what I would do is, of course, add a pressure tester to it, and I would pressurize the cooling system to approximately 16 to 17 Psi. Once I've done that, I'll let it seat for a little while, and I'm gonna pay attention to that little gauge. We wanna make sure that the gauge stays right where it's supposed to be. If it starts dropping down, down, down, down, down, and it seems as though it gets down to maybe 5 or even 0 pressure, obviously, that's no good. That means you have a leak. Take a peek underneath your vehicle, see if you see any drips. Maybe you don't see any drips, though. Where's all this coolant going? I can't figure it out. I'm losing pressure, I'm losing coolant, I need to figure this out. More than likely, at that point, it's probably has to do with your intake gasket leaking internally.

Blower motor resistor, the resistor is gonna be located right underneath the dash. So that's where we're gonna go. You wanna pull off your wiring and take a look and make sure you don't see any funny colors. We'll set that aside. Take out the two screws that mount in your resistor, go ahead and take it out. Now we'll take a nice close look at it. Your blower motor resistor is actually a circuit board of sorts. If it has an issue where moisture gets into it or contaminates it in any way, such as this right here, you're obviously gonna have an issue with your blower motor functioning the way that it should. When you switch your blower motor switch, whether it's level 1, 2, 3, or 4, the power has to go through here and then go through there. And this is gonna tell exactly how much voltage needs to go to the blower motor itself. If it has an issue that looks like this, well, then you figured it out what your issue is. Other things that you would wanna test or even check when you're dealing with a blower motor issue, of course, would be the switch. It would also be the blower motor. But this is most likely a candidate that's gonna cause the issue. If you have an issue with the resistor, it's good habit to replace the blower motor at the same time, but we'll call that your prerogative.

Now the fourth problem that I wanna talk to you about on this vehicle involves the ignition system right up here. And I'm not necessarily talking about the ignition cylinder where your key goes into and turns but actually the Passlock system, which is actually part of your theft-deterrent system. So a symptom for this, of course, would be if you were to try to start the vehicle, and you crank, nothing seems like it happens for some reason. But what you do happen to notice if you were to look at the dash, you might see your theft light is flashing. Now the reason why this happens is because located right behind the key/ignition cylinder is actually a part that's incorporated with it And it's called a Passlock system. And what that's actually supposed to do is acknowledge the fact that this has the right key in it and it's actually trying to do what you want it to do, which would be, well, start. I wish this would. Anyways, the reason why it doesn't start is because that little Passlock switch inside there isn't corresponding correctly with the computer, and the car thinks that for some reason it's being stolen. Now a common fix for this would be if you want to temporarily fix it, what you could do is take your key and you could put it in the on position. At this point, you would wanna leave it for approximately 10 minutes. Just hang out inside your car and wait for about 10 minutes. You can watch the clock, if you wanted to. At that point, what you're probably gonna notice is the that lock light goes out, and then you would be able to actually start the vehicle. Perfect.

Okay, friends, so hopefully I still got you here, because the fifth problem I wanna talk to you about on these vehicles is the fuel level sensor. That's actually gonna be located up inside your fuel tank here. So of course, if I was to take this down and take off the little top there, I could pull out the fuel pump and you're gonna see the level sensor right on there. It's not necessarily something that I'm gonna do right here for this video only because it is kind of a big job. But if you were to imagine it, on the inside of your fuel tank you're gonna have a big old fuel pump. The fuel pump is gonna have to have a level sensor, of course, because if you fill up your gas tank, there's supposed to be a little bobble that goes on a little shaft. And as the fuel tank level goes up, it brings up the shaft. And that, of course, is gonna change the level on the sensor so your vehicle knows how much fuel you have. For some reason on these vehicles, what tends to happen is the level sensor actually either goes bad or for some reason, gets jammed up somehow. There's some little wires and, of course, there's a little bit of tubing on the inside there. And for some reason, it just tends to get in the way. Some of the symptoms that you're probably gonna notice if this happens would be, of course, maybe your check engine light turns on. If the check engine light came on, and you were to grab our little code scanner from 1aauto.com, you might pull up a code that says P0455 or maybe even P0461. What essentially this is gonna mean is you have an issue with that fuel level sensor. Other things that you might happen to notice is just because you thought that your fuel level was low, you went to the gas station, and you went to fill up, and maybe it just didn't take very much gas. You go to start it up, and the gas level still says, "I'm empty" for some reason. Well, why? Like I said, that fuel level sensor on the inside of the gas tank is no good. Something else that might cause this issue would be, of course, if you have a mouse in the house, and for some reason they wanted to chew up your wiring. So now for fixes for this. Like I said, you'd wanna check that check engine light code and you wanna make sure that it does actually have to do with a fuel level sensor. If for some reason it did, go ahead and carefully drop down that fuel tank. As you bring it down, take a look at those wires.

Like I said, make sure that nobody chewed them up just because they were a little hungry and they didn't really care that it's your car and it's not theirs. Of course, if you didn't find any issues with the wiring, you could also test it. You'd wanna test those wires to make sure everything's functioning as it should. This isn't necessarily a diagnosis video, so of course, you'd wanna do your research. Other than that, what I would do is, of course, get inside that fuel tank, pull out the pump and see if there's any obstructions for where that fuel level sensor is. If you find that everything seems like it's functioning as it should, more than likely the issue is actually just the sensor itself.

Okay, friends, so we tried... You know what? One last problem on these vehicles, this piston right here, it's supposed to hold up the hood for you so you can get underneath here and safely work. For some reason, it's very common for them to just be weak and no good. Overall, the fix for this would be, of course, to just go ahead and replace it. With that said, we had a lot of fun making this video for you. Hopefully you learned a little something along the way. If you did and you wanna talk about it, leave it in the comment section below because I'd love to hear from you. While you're at it, if you like the video, go ahead and smash that like button for me. It would mean the world. Go ahead and subscribe and ring the bell, that way you can be kept up with all of our latest content. Thanks.


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