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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
126,468 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
  2. leave the key in the ignition cylinder (1 reports)
1998 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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1998 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #6

Sep 052010

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


Why there hasn't been a recall on this whole intermittent passlock thing with the malibu in the past 14 years is beyond me but I have a suggestion which I haven't seen mentioned on the web so far. Leave the ignition key in the ignition. It's that simple folks. The owner's manual says the passlock system engages when the key is removed from the ignition. So don't remove it. Have your key fob or spare key with you (purse or wallet) to open the car and the ignition key stays in the ignition telling the car not to run the passlock system again. Sensors in the ignition cylinder are read from the key being inserted into it so by not inserting your key every time it doesn't go thru the sensors reading it again. I think this is better than having to wait the 10 minutes or so for the passlock to go off then start your car. What are you going to do if it happens at a busy gas station? What if you need to get to the hospital in a hurry? What if you are running late for class or work? My wife says doing this will be an invitation to thieves when they see the key in the ignition of the locked car. But I think the convenience of having your car start when you need it to is more important. What do you guys think?

I'm still going to call GM and dealerships to complain and look into this further. It hasn't happened for over a year and now starting doing it again in damp weather like others wrote here. I find it very frustrating that there is not a fix in all the years GM has used this passlock feature. I only see 4 recalls in the history of the 98 malibu and none have anything to do with the passlock. Any thoughts?

- , Hudsonville, MI, USA

problem #5

Apr 012010

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,807 miles

People get a bowl of popcorn. You think your Malibu's are bad! Pfft. Mine has been a giant lemon. My car has 122 000 kms on it. I have replaced or doesn't work; Intake gasket Water Pump Brakes like crazy 4 bearings 1-3 heater doesn't work Check engine light always on Anti-theft no start car My ignition locks the engine if you don't turn the key fast enough Replaced the body work around gas tank 2 mufflers Drivers back window wont go up or down (power) Headlight burn out, same with break lights Gas mileage is getting worse My gauges like to dance (Not the alternator) Heater doesn't turn off at all now!

Oh wow.... that's just off the top of my head... I've had this car since AUGUST 2009! Ive had to do all this to it!!! But the car not starting with the anti theft light. That's what is really ticking me off... The cars a giant lemon.

- , Dundalk, ON, Vanuatu

problem #4

Sep 092009

Malibu LS 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

I have the same problem as another person who wrote about their Malibu.The theft system light is flashing & will not start.....(seems to have a fuel cutoff as starting fluid lasts @ 5 seconds) Intermittently happens...never know when! Please get me an idea to disarm or bypass or reset something....I am sure it's an easy fix, but no one has revealed if they know how to fix it....

- , Burleson, TX, USA

problem #3

Jul 242006

(reported on)

Malibu LS

  • 153,000 miles


My Girlfriend owns a 1998 Malibu and about twice a week the car decides to not start. The car cranks over but doesn't start. She proceeds to wait almost exactly 10 minutes every time and then it will start. She had the starter replaced and it still does the same thing. I'm now wondering if it is possibly the cylinoid? Any Ideas???

- , Lansing, MI, USA

problem #2

Jun 062005

(reported on)


  • 138,000 miles

Car will not start when the theft system light is flashing, and it is really annoying. At times it will start just as normal, then others I have to wait sometimes up to an hour before the car will start again. If anyone knows an inexpensive solution to this nightmare, please let me know.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #1

Mar 172005

(reported on)

Malibu LS

  • 130,000 miles

I never know when this will happen to me and it is the only car I own. I have 2 disabled people in my home and I need this transportation for their doctor appointments and such and I never know when I will be out and it just won't start after doing so well the rest of the day. Took cable off and it wasn't anything there and the battery shows good so I don't know what it could be and being on a limited monthly income, I can't afford to take it to a car dealer mechanic to see what is wrong with it so we go on until something definate shows up or it just quits on me. I still owe on this car and for it to go down on me would ruin me financially. There has to be an answer to this, something I can look for myself or have someone else look for or check for me. HELP ASAP!!

- , Cave In Rock, IL, USA

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