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I'm new to the forum and was hoping to get some advice. Yesterday (11/22) I went to a used car lot with the intention of purchasing a 2005 Chevy Aveo.

Well, due to my crappy credit, I could only get into a 2000 Chevy Malibu with almost 100k miles on it. It is roomy enough and seems to be okay on gas, however, due to its age and mileage, I'm a bit concerned.

Can anyone give me a heads up on what kind of maintainence issues I should expect? Does anyone think this was a bad purchasing decision? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

- Jay

I have an '04 Classic, which is pretty much the same car except with a four-cylinder Ecotec engine rather than the 3.1 L V-6. Overall I am happy with it, and like you it was the best I could do for the money I had at the time.

Be advised that Malibus of this generation eat front brakes unless you are _very_ easy on the brake pedal. I am not a 'brake rider' and I had to replace pads and rotors after slightly more than 30K miles. I was not thrilled by that, till I saw online that if anything I was lucky to last that long. From what I've read, either the front discs/rotors are not large enough or it's 'just one of those things'....or both.

That's the only issue I've had in three years of mostly easy driving. Run good tires with a fairly aggressive tread pattern if you want more responsive steering and handling---but this is no sports car. (Which is fine by me, and most other 'Bu buyers; but just so ya know.)

Here's what MSN Auto lists as issues for your ride:

Issues that get mentioned online:

The a/c-heater fan will only run on higher settings. A common complaint, but not a problem for me.

Water pump. Goes like clockwork after warranty expires but sooner than seems normal. Not a cheap fix. This MIGHT be connected to Dex-Cool coolant, especially in the 3.1 L V-6.

Which leads to: Your car is one of the models covered under the infamous "Dex-Cool" class-action suit that was recently settled. The combination of Dex-Cool long-lasting coolant and plastic intake manifold gasket caused big problems in some GM V-6's of that era. There are lots of links to this online.

The good news is that by now your car either has the problem---or not. Did you get a Carfax report or service records? Check for oil sludging and coolant in the oil. Those are the signs.

See if you have Dex-Cool or the green stuff. If you have Dex-Cool it is (almost) certainly not the OE factory fill at this point, but I would still flush and replace it sooner rather than later. If you have Dex-Cool be sure to keep the coolant topped off, above the "full cold" mark in the surge tank. (Which is where you add coolant, BTW. There's no "direct" opening to the radiator. First car I've had like that, but it makes my mechanical friends shrug. I'm out of touch, maybe.)

I hope the dealer fixes your Check Engine codes and there's no big problem there. The 2000 'Bu is a solid, affordable, comfortable, relatively safe and fuel-efficient (for a V-6) car that could serve you well for a long time to come....IF you maintain it and keep a close eye on all potential problems.

Good luck and have fun and enjoy your ride.

Eric M
in PA
2004 Malibu Classic
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