I am interested in the new 2013 Chevy Malibu and would like your thoughts on the 2.5 four-cylinder engine. I looked at a few and saw an LTZ model. Sticker price was $30,000.

QUESTION: I am interested in the new 2013 Chevy Malibu and would like your thoughts on the 2.5 four-cylinder engine. I looked at a few and saw an LTZ model. Sticker price was $30,000.


ANSWER: The New 2013 Malibu is all new, from the new quiet and smooth 2.5 four-cylinder engine at 197 HP to the turbo charged 2.0 four-cylinder 259 HP due this fall. I spent a week in a LTZ model. With all the options, sticker price was $32,000. It is a lot of money to spend on a car, but this is a real quality car. The Malibu has grown up to first-class midsize car, not a low dollar rent-a-car. It offers great style, high quality paint, fit and finish and multi-adjustable front heated seats. The interior is user friendly and all controls in reach of the driver. The Malibus of years gone past were small entry-level sedans. The 2013 is now a midsize quality sedan that seats four with comfort and can compete with any higher priced import. The suspension is redesigned and does a great job isolating the bumps in the road. The new 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine is very smooth and much quieter than the outgoing 2.4 four-cylinder it replaces. Combine the new engine with all noise reducing body insulation and stiffness and here you have the new 2013 Malibu. Our test car had the upgraded electronics package, LTZ package, safety forward collision, lane warning departure warning, crystal paint, black-brown fashion color trim, which will bring the sticker price up to the $32,000 price.


 


QUESTION: I own a 1997 Cadillac DeVille and have to replace the heater blower motor. I looked at the motor under the hood and cannot get the motor out. I removed all the bolts and the motor is hitting the engine. Can you help?


ANSWER: There are a couple of ways to remove the blower motor on all the Northstar-equipped Cadillac vehicles. It looks harder than it is to change. The first step is to make sure the key is off and disconnect the battery. The blower motor has an electronic module connected to it. That is why you must disconnect the battery before removal and replacement. The second often overlooked concern is the engine has to be running, not just putting the key to the “on” position, for the blower motor to come on. You can remove the strut tower brace if equipped, ignition coil, module and bracket, EVAP solenoid and bracket and on some vehicles the camshaft cover. The other way is to lower the engine cradle down enough to get the blower motor out. Either way this is not a major job. You must install the insulation heat shield on the new motor and make sure that the sparkplug wires are not touching the blower motor.


 


QUESTION: I recently got a discount oil change coupon from my local dealer and they also offered a no-charge inspection. The cost of the oil change was $19.95 and I thought that was a great deal. I did go for the oil change and the list of recommended services came to $1,000-plus. I spoke with another customer that had less than 30,000 miles and her estimate of needed services was $800. I went back to my local repair shop with the recommended service list. They checked the car out and came back with only $300 worth of needed service. After talking with a lot of my friends they had also got expensive service recommendations from their dealers and these are different brand cars. Why do the dealers try to sell so many unneeded services?


ANSWER: The key word is up-sell. Most coupon deals are loss leaders and meant to get you in the door as they did and it got you away from your local shop that charges $29.95 and up for the oil change. Most (not all) customers will go for the repairs and that’s what keeps the coupons coming. Another coupon special is buy three tires, get one free. Think about it – We are not talking about a $4 Monday special pizza. There are a lot of up-sell services that are not listed in the maintenance manual and unnecessary.


 


Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.