This post will be a how to on swapping the headlights in your gen9 Malibu. I have a 1LT with the 1.5L, so this may be different with a 2.0L. View the guide with this in mind.
The set of bulbs I purchased were 6000K, 8000 calculated lumen LEDs. They are fan cooled, with a "360 degree" viewing angle. I feel you are safe with either a 5000K or 6000K setup, in order to match your headlights to the LED DRLs on the lower front fascia. I'm not sure how much clearance there is behind the big dust cap, however this set fit with no problems. Maybe I should have tried the chewing gum trick to check the clearance blindly! I also managed to fit the ballast inside of the dust cap too.
Link to set I purchased - Amazon.com: 9005 HB3 Optix LED 80W 8000LM 3-Sided COB Conversion Kit 6000K 6K White Replace Halogen & HID Kit: Automotive
1x Napkin/rag used for gripping dust caps without marring plastic
1x Plastic sandwich bag for storing stock halogens
1x Channel locks (normal straight pliers won't work as you need something with an angled neck)
1x Leatherman multi tool *OR* a phillips head screwdriver and a flat head screwdriver (not pictured)
1x 9005 (HB3) LED conversion kit
1. Pop the hood. (Did I have to add this? No. But some smartie would say it!)
2. Beginning with the driver's side, unscrew the large plastic dust cap. They are not perfectly circular, and have little notches that have to be matched up similar to the actual headlight bulb itself. It may be difficult to turn this cap by hand, so utilize your channel locks (or whatever you may have) and your napkin-rag to get some extra torque on the fins of the cap. Facing the front of the car, you'll want to twist this cap to the left, or counter clockwise. Be careful not to drop the O ring.
3. Reach your dirty little mittens into the headlight assembly and firmly grasp the bulb base, NOT the connector. Give it a good twist and it should free with not too much difficulty.
4. Unplug the halogen from the connector taking good caution to not touch the glass of the bulb. If you reuse these bulbs, you want to be sure they're not contaminated with the oils from your skin. That will drastically shorten the life.
5. Plug in your new light, and test it BEFORE you set it into the headlight assembly. I made the mistake of not doing so, and it turned out that the polarity on the connector was reversed.
6. Set your light into the housing, carefully lining up the notches and giving it a solid twist. If you have a small enough ballast, stick it in there too (that's what I did, somebody tell me if I shouldn't have done so). Apologies for the lack of pictures during these steps, my phone is too large!
7. Give them a test fire inside of the projector housing. Here's how mine looked before and after:
8. *optional* If you feel your light generates too much heat, grab your dust cap and your philips head screwdriver. We're going to help them ventilate.
Take your philips head and stab through the small gray circular piece. It's made of a soft, expandable rubber-type material. Be careful not to stab your hand!
(apologies for my ugly thumb)
9. Reinstall the dust cap, pay close attention to two things: your O ring, and the orientation in which you install the cap. It isn't perfectly circular, so make sure you find the correct orientation and it isn't cross threaded or halfway screwed in. Should have a uniform lip between the cap and housing all the way around.
10. Stroll on over to the passenger side, and grab your flat head. Unscrew the clamp holding the flex-hose to the intake box. Remove this from the airbox.
11. Unscrew all of the screws holding the air box together. Once unscrewed, the halves should be almost separable. There are two tabs on the bottom of the box that need to be unhinged by sliding the box toward the rear of the car, then lifting upward. Don't pull too hard now, the air sensor cable is still hooked up.
12. Rest the top of your air box on the engine cover like so:
as it will remain out of the way and not bother any of your wiring. If you're so inclined, remove the cable for the air sensor and move the whole piece to a safe clean area.
13. You might have to perform some freaky yoga moves here, but crane your head over the airbox and look toward the headlight. You'll see the same dust cap as on the other side. It's located behind a wire that can be easily pulled out of the way (LIGHTLY) making the light accessible with your channel locks. Undo the cover as you did in step 2.
14. We're in tighter quarters now, so be mindful as you begin to repeat steps 3-7. Watch your head!
15. Reinstall the airbox in the reverse order you removed it. Be sure to secure those two tabs on the bottom near the front of the car. I noticed something as I was reinstalling everything though......
If you remove the MAF sensor, it appears that the large plastic resonator holed donut inside of the airbox can be removed. Perhaps this will free up some turbo noises and even MORE throttle response?! Investigation being done soon.
16. Wait for night time and check them out! Here's how mine match:
Living in the city, I don't have a huge requirement for the blinding light of Zeus' lightning from my headlights. The LEDs, however, light up road signs and actual objects MUCH better than the stockers did. They don't appear to flood light out as much, though. I have to see about possibly re-aiming them slightly upward. It was a relatively easy swap, and it's a good way to quickly get acquainted with your new car's engine bay. The 1.5T is so cute, I just want to hold it! So adorable. The change in light temperature certainly gives the car a more upscale feel as well as fixes up the ugly mismatch between the LED DRLs and the stock halogen headlights. Let me know how your swap went and what lights you went with! If you have any questions, I'm open to . This was my first real write up, so don't criticize too much!