Had Vlad the Impala in the shop today to get the brake job done that
it needed to pass inspection (apparently all pads were worn out at
only 50Kish miles, as well as front rotors below wear limit...
sheesh!) and I needed to visit a job site. Ended up taking my boss'
old car which was due to be turned in, which is an '04 Malibu. First
of all, I really liked the 'bu. Much tighter ride than the Impala,
flatter cornering, quieter, and the thing felt like a little
rocketship compared to the Impala. I guess it should, with a larger
engine (3.5 vs. 3.4) and smaller body. Since my house was on the way
to the job site, I even stopped at home and pulled into the driveway
to check ground clearance; while it is near impossible to get the
Impala in my driveway without dragging the front air dam, the Malibu
can be pulled straight in with no issues. Really, the only fault I
could find with the car was that it pulled to the left and also had a
disconcerting "pop" in the front end when making slow speed turns,
which I attribute to a worn out ball joint or strut bearing, which one
could consider a normal wear item.
And then, on my way back to the office, one of the turn signals
stopped working. I had my toolkit with me, out of habit, so I just
pulled into my FLAPS and pulled the right front headlight assembly.
Holy crap, what a POS. Not only did I need a 10mm nutdriver to R&R
the headlight assembly (would it have been too hard to stamp a
Phillips recess into the bolt heads? It's not like most drivers
travel with a full toolkit...) but both headlights showed obvious
signs of heat damage due to the bright filaments of the park/turn
bulbs being on all the time. This is an '04, mind you. The amber
lens over the bulb was browned and bubbled near the little vent slots
that were cut into it, and both the "chrome" backing of the light
cluster and the polycarbonate lens itself showed obvious discoloration
for a large area around the turn signal bulbs. The driver's side was
Someone please tell me that the redesigned Malibus don't have this
garbage DRL implementation - I was seriously leaning towards getting
one for my replacement company vehicle but if I have to replace the
headlight clusters every few years (I've heard enough stories that I
know it's pretty much futile to get GM to disable the DRLs on any non-
police or military vehicle, and it's not an easy DIY job) I'll be
quite a bit less likely to consider it.
This is why people have a negative opinion of GM cars... if they can't
get blatantly obvious details like light clusters right, what does
that say about the engineering that went into the rest of the
functional bits of the car?