F & R suspension noises driving me crazy (long)
I'm new to this board and I hope that we can all contribute to share more information about our 'Bu's.
I got married and decided to get some reliable and *cheap* to maintain - having previously owned four German luxo sedans - wheels for myself and the wife (babies soon to come) and decided to get a 2009 brand new Chevy Malibu LTZ. Keep in mind I live in Mexico and have noticed a couple of differences with the U.S. versions I have read about and seen in your country:
My car's speed limiter has been raised (I believe) to 205 indicated km/h or 127mph. Are yours the same?
Because of that, it wears Y-rated Bridgestone Potenzas summer tires that give excellent grip. We have no snow in Mexico City to worry about hehehe. I have yet to see this option on U.S. models, perhaps I have overlooked this.
I like the Malibu and for the price I believe it poses a serious bang for the buck factor and this is why I got it after analyzing the Accord (too big and expensive), the Mazda 6 (which I didn't get because of door creaks during the test drive), Altima 3.5 (too expensive here) and Camry (too bland, but the V6 is FAST).
The real only issue that I have with the car - and it's so serious I'm seriously considering getting rid of it - is the noise the suspension makes when I go over bumps, especially at low speeds.
Here's the story, in the hopes that Chevy gearheads like yourselves can provide me with meaningful advice or tips:
Currently with 9,700kms or 6,000 miles.
Especially at low speeds, in city driving, on our sh!!!y roads in Mexico City, the front and rear suspensions make all kinds of noises. I'm a car noise and rattle freak and these noises make me really NOT enjoy my new car at all.
The front suspension makes clunking noises when going over small but sharp bumps and the rear suspension makes a *resonating* BOOM over those same noises.
The suspension noises make it feel like it is literally falling apart. On my past older (1998 to 2003) BMW's, noises like the ones the Malibu makes when new usually meant something was really wrong with their suspension and the usual culprites were strut mounts, shocks or bushings.
The noises in both the front and the rear are most prevalent and easily reproduced on washboard-type pavement and are noticeably worse under braking situations on that type of pavement. May God forbid that you break on bad pavement of my car sounds like it is falling apart!
Also, I have noticed that the noise is louder and more prevalent in the rear if I hit a bump or a pothole while making a turn. It makes no difference if I turn left or right.
The dealer owner is actually a friend of my family, so I took it back to them at about 3,000 miles complaining that something was probably loose or defective.
1st time - Lubrication of the rear sway bar and "re-tightening" of the front suspension. I think this worked for about a day...
They said nothing was defective, broken or loose and that they could not find anything else wrong.
2nd time - Intermediate steering shaft replacement for the front noises (I never had the steering clunk that many owners feel) but I figured what the hell, so they changed it and NOTHING changed. I did not feel even the slightest change in any noises, steering feel or steering clunks (which I did not have to begin with) In fact, after this, the steering wheel makes a hissing noise when making parking maneuvers, I know it's not related but definitely coincidental.
My main complaint is from the rear of the car and I repeated this to them and they said that it was probably something loose in the trunk. So they claimed to have taken the interior trim off to check if anything was loose. They say nothing is broken, misplaced, loose or defective in the trunk or suspension.
The head of the service department and the head of customer service rode with me in the car and I demonstrated to them the noises that the car makes under the circumstances that I have described.
Their answer, and believe me, they said this:
"They're all like this and don't worry, it won't worsen over time, there is nothing wrong with your car."
(I'm becoming very angry, again, as I type this).
So, I went and test drove a 2010 Malibu LTZ. It's still noisy, but nowhere near as bad in the rear as mine.
Not content with myself, last night I ripped off all of the interior trim inside the trunk to see if the speakers were loose, if the rear folding seats were loose, if the GM worker who had built the car had left a metal tube in the back and the answer is NO, nothing is loose in the rear so the noise MUST be coming from the suspension.
1. Do you experience similar BOOM (resonating) sounds when hitting sharp bumps in the rear?
2. Could this be the upper mounts for front struts and/or rear shocks?
3. Strut / shock problem?
4. Sway bar mounts (because the noise is more noticeable when making turns)
One of the main reasons I bought this car is because my dad owns a 2004 Tahoe and it is completely rattle and suspension-noise free!!!
Not so with my car, it really detracts fromt the beautiful design, elegant (for the price) interior and driving experience!!!
I have not sold it yet because of financial considerations, but if there is no solution, I will sell it and definitely NOT get a GM car.
We have had many Chevy's, currently family has 1998 Corvette with 16,000 miles on it, 2004 Tahoe with 80,000 miles and neither of these, or ANY CAR FOR THAT MATTER, feels like it's falling apart from the suspension like my BRAND NEW Malibu.
Any advice? Besides go to a different dealer, which I will AFTER I arm myself with more info from this board...
Wanting to get rid of the 'Bu....
Vicente in Mexico City.
2009 Malibu LTZ V6, 6A
Black Exterior with Two Tone Brown and Beige Interior