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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
69,881 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace intake manifold gasket (6 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. replace dexcool with other coolant (1 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Malibu cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #8

Aug 172009

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,300 miles


After reading all of the posts, we rushed when the low coolant light came on a second time in 2 days. Lucky for us, it was only low coolant and we power flushed the system and replaced the dreaded dexcool anyway. (serviceman confirmed corrosive nature of dexcool)checked everything in sight and so far no residual damage. Also had the a/c switch flipping on and off and had that module replaced in July. otherwise we consider ourselves lucky since we have old peoples driving habits of short trips and many stops. Hope this saves someone else a lot of headaches, I'm glad I read all about it. And thankfully car has been super in spite of our driving.

- , Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #7

Feb 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

I am really really disappointed in GM because the Malibu Sucks. My low coolant light came on back in Feb and I checked and checked no leaks and the coolant level was ok in the car. The light went off after a week of being on, and driving me nuts with the constantly checking the car to make sure that the coolant is proper. Now it's back on again and once again I have looked and have had the mechanic look and they can't find the problem... Now days everytime you take the Damn car to the dealer it's $100.00 just for them to look at it.. and when they don't find anything wrong you are out of the Cash and for each time you have to take the car and and still they can't find anything !! It drives me nuts.. I will never ever buy another Chevy.. Toyota Here I come.

- , Maywood, IL, USA

problem #6

Jan 152003

Malibu 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,480 miles

click to see larger images

low coolant light comes on low coolant light comes on

Hi I was told by my mech that general motors had the intake manifold gasket redesign 3 to 4 times and they redesigned the recovery coolant tank cause of failure problems to go to and look recovery coolant tank and what happens is this see you put coolant in the recovery tank with the radiator cap off and and then put the cap on while the engine is running and wait a few mins and it will leak out of the bottom of the tank and when it leaks out it falls down on the harmonic balancer and gets it hot and cause it to be out of balance and get hot and then it wrecks the water pump. see they replace my water pump and harmonic balancer cause of a squeak noise and didn't find the leaky recovery tank I found it and I am fighting them about it and it cost me so far 858.00 for them to do the work and 45.00 for me to do the recovery tank my self . see the temp gauge say it not getting hot and there a red light for the recovery tank to tell you it is low. they need to redesign how to get rid of coolant in a tray then a hose behind the front passenger tire so it dont leak or get the harmonic balancer wet to get it hot.see we had problems with passenger brake too this has been this way sense we bought the car.

- , Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #5

Feb 012008

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles


Bought this used car (2002 Chev Moneypit) from a GM dealership that claimed it had extended warranty to 160,000 km (100,000 miles). The car had 95,000 km on it at purchase. Had problems with this car from the first month. Problem after problem somehow managed to not be part of the coverage that came with this car. Eventually, the intake manifold went. Ending up costing me $1500 to fix. Would have been $2000 at the dealership.

Asked the dealer to step up and fulfill the warranty agreement. They refused. It turns out that there is enough fine print in the warranty agreement that they never have to fix an issue if you've ever had so much as an oil change at another service center. I complained to GM Canada - they said it was between myself & the dealership, and wouldn't do anything.

Now the check engine light is on.

I've only ever owned GM cars & trucks in the past. This one is my last.


- , Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #4

Jan 022008

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

In January I put $725.00 into my 2002 Malibu, had intake manifold gasket replaced. Kept losing coolant, and low coolant warning light kept coming on. Took back to mechanic several times and he said he could not find anything wrong with it, I have to keep checking fluid level to make sure there is enough coolant so car won't overheat. The coolant is going somewhere but nobody knows where, I'm thinking when the mechanic replaced the intake manifold gasket they f*cked something up and don't want to take the blame for because they would have to take half the engine to fix the problem.

- , Waukesha, WI, USA

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problem #3

Mar 272006

Malibu SL 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,700 miles

I am really disappointed with Chevy and GM for not taking the responsibility for these awful IMG's situations. It may actually not even be the IMG, it may be the dexcool used. I had my intake gasket fixed in march 2006 which cost me $700. It's now April 2008 and I have to do it all over again. This time, I am telling the mechanic to put in the regular antifreeze. I can't afford this every two years!!!!! I am disgusted with GM for not recalling this much sooner. I can say my next vehicle will NOT be American made.

- , Naperville, IL, USA

problem #2

Apr 282007

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

So, here I go with another complaint. This is THE WORST CAR EVER! My old '89 Toyota Camry w/ 200,000 miles is still doing better than this junker. Not only is my anti-theft security system a continuous pain and expense, but then this expensive piece of equipment also went after only 4 1/2 years of owning it. It seems that everyone who owns a 2002 Malibu has the same problems. The car is a lemon, and Chevy is too ridiculous to make recalls or give longer warranties. So, I will NEVER EVER buy another chevy again. I will tell everyone what a piece of junk I have and recommend that they never purchase a chevy, because obviously there is not much else to do. The dumb dealers won't give money back for the misdiagnosis they come up with and no one from Chevy seems to care that all of their customers are experiencing the same problems. Peace out to Chevy!

- , Perkasie, PA, USA

problem #1

Sep 012006

Malibu LS 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles

Mechanic said this is a common problem on '02 Malibu. He has encountered it numerous times. Please include me in any class action suit against GM

- , Flushing, NY, USA

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