Chevrolet Malibu Forums banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wife is due for a new vehicle. Impala was the first choice, but has now been leaning towards a newer Malibu, 2018-2020.

Been reading about a lot of 16's having the piston issue. Was wondering what year they "resolved" the problem and started using the updated pistons?

Look/listen for the coolant/air pockets noise, got that.

Anything else? Been reading a lot and am seeing random issues besides what I already listed, which is somewhat expected.

Plan on hooking up my laptop/HPTuners to read out all faults. Anything particular to watch for?

Also plan on having them do any PCM/TCM/BCM updates if available.

Any pointers or input is greatly appreciated.
 

· Super Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T/6-speed 6T40
Joined
·
4,577 Posts
Are you seeking a 1.5 or 2.0 engine car?

If 2.0, any of those years are solid. You always run the tiny risk of piston failure in a turbo direct injection engine. The risk is minimized with quality top tier fuel and dexos1 oil changes at routine intervals but the reality of LSPI is there. It randomly happens now and then to a forum member.

If 1.5, it gets tricky. I own a 2016 1.5; powertrain is still rock solid at 130k but my maintenance habits have been aggressive. If someone leased or had intention of dumping one id be suspicious the maintenance was as thorough. If your preferred years are 2018-2020 there is a significant difference: The 2018 has the 3rd gen 6T40 6-speed transmission and is a reliable match. 2019 introduced the VT40/250 CVT and has been decent so far but long term reliability is a big question. Late in 2017 they did alter the pistons so 2018+ all have whatever that was. Still like above any turbo direct injection engine can suffer LSPI causing piston failure. It's a risk but pretty minimal now with the right fuel and oil.

When purchasing any year gen9 Malibu check for dampness on the rear headliner and spare tire area (from leaking CHMSL). Drive at least 10 minutes. Stop the engine and open the driver door a couple times to see if any codes pop up over multiple ignition cycles. This will also show if shift to park issue hides in there. Bounce a bit in the driver or rear seat and see if you hear a knocking in the back - that would be the knuckle. Check the sides of the engine for any evidence of oil leaks or recent cleaning.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Are you seeking a 1.5 or 2.0 engine car?

If 2.0, any of those years are solid. You always run the tiny risk of piston failure in a turbo direct injection engine. The risk is minimized with quality top tier fuel and dexos1 oil changes at routine intervals but the reality of LSPI is there. It randomly happens now and then to a forum member.

If 1.5, it gets tricky. I own a 2016 1.5; powertrain is still rock solid at 130k but my maintenance habits have been aggressive. If someone leased or had intention of dumping one id be suspicious the maintenance was as thorough. If your preferred years are 2018-2020 there is a significant difference: The 2018 has the 3rd gen 6T40 6-speed transmission and is a reliable match. 2019 introduced the VT40/250 CVT and has been decent so far but long term reliability is a big question. Late in 2017 they did alter the pistons so 2018+ all have whatever that was. Still like above any turbo direct injection engine can suffer LSPI causing piston failure. It's a risk but pretty minimal now with the right fuel and oil.

When purchasing any year gen9 Malibu check for dampness on the rear headliner and spare tire area (from leaking CHMSL). Drive at least 10 minutes. Stop the engine and open the driver door a couple times to see if any codes pop up over multiple ignition cycles. This will also show if shift to park issue hides in there. Bounce a bit in the driver or rear seat and see if you hear a knocking in the back - that would be the knuckle. Check the sides of the engine for any evidence of oil leaks or recent cleaning.
I very much appreciate the help. Should be looking at a 19-21…so the piston issue shouldn't be as important. And it'll be a CVT....which I'm skeptical about. Skeptical of all non manual transmissions, but that's another story.

Top tier fuel and Dexos brandings I'm not going to get into in order to avoid arguments.

The drivers door opening procedure and the shift to park issue has me curious. Will look into that more.
 

· Super Moderator
2017 SS Sedan 6.2L
Joined
·
5,627 Posts
I wouldn't give up on the Impala so quickly. Both engines are more reliable and neither of them are connected to a CVT. Even moreso since you seem skeptical of fuel additive packages and synthetic oil qualifications. Do not take turbocharged engine ownership lightly.
 

· Super Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T/6-speed 6T40
Joined
·
4,577 Posts
No year of a gen9 will eliminate the risk LSPI poses. Whether you go 2.0 or 1.5 there is a small risk. Maintenance is a big factor but on a used car is out of your control. People still stop by here reporting it on occasion. There is no piston or design that can change that fact on a turbo direct injection engine.

As far as top tier and dexos1, no need to argue. Use it or don't buy one of these cars. If your station isn't part of the top tier program they don't receive random audits for octane and detergent level. They can claim whatever but they refuse the accountability. As for dexos1, you might buy something like Pennzoil Ultra Platinum you think is better than Pennzoil Platinum (dexos1 licensed) but it is loaded with calcium that will increase intake port buildup and increase risk of LSPI events.

The Impala could be a nice option but being discontinued it's a different risk. My father in law has a 2015 and needed a parking module. The part was on backorder and there was no aftermarket alternative. It never came in. GM does a poor job supporting discontinued cars these days. If you do look at an Impala get the 3.6. The 2.5 is a dog in the very nice but heavy Impala.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top