The 1999 Chevrolet Malibu is part of the fifth generation (1997-2003) manufactured by General Motors. This is the first smaller, front-wheel-drive Malibu that General Motors put back on the market after the Malibu line was temporarily discontinued in the early 1980's.

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Is the thermostat in my 2001 chevy malibu bad or just not strong?

I just drove 25 miles and my heater was still blowing cool air but my temperature gauge never went more than a hair above thee 100 mark it is at when I started it. car ran fine all the way without hesitations or over heating. if the thermostat is bad wouldn't the car overheat or is that only when the radiator is low? shouldn't the temperature have been a little higher than just barely above the start up mark even under normal driving conditions? is the thermostat just not strong enough for this below zero weather? Just bought this used car so don't know much about it but have had cars in the past that have overheated and broke down on the way to or from work a lot. only been driving it for a week. don't know about thermostats so wanted to know if a bad one only meant the inside of my car will not be warm or will the engine overheat like when the radiator is low or coolant level wrong and it is blowing cold air into the car for that reason.

Signed car idiot who would just like to learn how a few things work. reply to

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Rita @ritac Although Im not going to rule out a bad thermostat there are a few things that could be in play here . First check the cool level make sure you have a enough in the tank. Leave the cap off for this next bit . Let the car sit and idle for about ten to twenty minutes speeding up the engine to generate heat . As the engine runs squeeze the top rad hose . This should move the fluid in the rad tank . When you do this see if it make bubble .

If you see bubbles continue to squeeze the hose until there are no more . Watch for the rad fans to come on . when it does squeeze again and watch for more bubbles . Top up the fluid as it goes down , make sure you use proper coolant . (GMs use Dex Cool an orange coolant . Dont mix green Preston with this) . Keep squeezing the hose till you get all the air out . If you get no air and the engine never gets warm enough to start the engine fans then I would look to replace or install a thermostat as there is the possibility the car hasn't got one installed . If the car does warm up and you still dont get heat you may have a clogged heater core . This video shows how to clean the heater core .Hope this helps

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@ritac this does not sound like a thermostat issue at all. You are right with your assumptions and logic about the overheating. First thing you want to check is your cooling fluid. Make sure it is filled to the proper level. Second could be your outside temperatures. I've lived and driven in areas that were cold enough that the outside temperatures did not allow the vehicles to reach proper temperatures. Try to run your engine away from the wind (garage or heated shop and see if it does warm up sufficiently. Or you can temporarily cover the radiator with a piece of cardboard and see if your engine temp will come up.

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Sounds like the thermostat needs replacing as they are designed to stay fully open when the bellows fail. A fairly simple job but check you have no airlocks in the coolant system by topping the radiator up with the engine running (from cold) leaving the rad. cap off for a few minutes .The heater unit can get air trapped inside. If this happens again then possibly the head gasket could be leaking and pressurising the system.

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it was helpful in that it confirmed what my boss said about it probably being the thermostat but not whether the car could overheat like it would when it blows cold air when the radiator is low on coolant. I will check the radiator on my lunch but if doesn't need topping off I still have another 25 miles to drive home when I get off work at 4 and I wanted to know if it could over heat or not.

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