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8.2

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$904.00
Average Mileage:
80,637 miles
Total Complaints:
118 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced intake manifold gasket (58 reports)
  2. not sure (31 reports)
  3. replace gasket (13 reports)
  4. run to the hills and buy an import (6 reports)
  5. submitted my name to class action lawsuit (4 reports)
  6. replaced with non-plastic gasket (3 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Malibu engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #58

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 2.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

my mother took her 2002 Malibu to a garage three times for the same overheating problem and still has the same problem.

i brought it to my garage and started disassembling the engine and noticed 2 and a half gallons of oil sludge in her oil pan.

after tearing it down to the block only (short block) noticed the engine was coated with this sludge. apparently a intake gasket failure.

Can any one give me a educated guess as to what condition i can expect the engine to be in after reassembling?

- , Arvada, CO, USA

problem #57

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

In 2006, while having my 2002 Malibu at the dealer for an unrelated service visit, I was notified that the mechanic had found a small coolant leak coming from the backside of the motor. I was told it was not a large leak, but that my head gasket was beginning to fail. I told them that THEY HAD TO BE KIDDING!! There wasn't that much TIME ON THE MOTOR for it to FAIL! The car was four years old with a mileage reading somewhere between 45,000 and 47,000 miles. I cannot remember the exact dollar amount they threw at me to fix it, but it seems like $1,400.00 is close...it was definitely well over $1,000.00. There was no way I was putting that much into a 4-year-old car, and apparently it is not a warranty issue. I decided to put a band-aid on the problem by adding a radiator stop-leak to the engine to maybe plug up the gap. I was hoping this would hold it for another year or so until I trade the car in on a new one. This past summer (2007), the water pump failed. The dealer wanted an outrageous amount to change it, so i did it myself...not so difficult. But, upon removing the coolant reservoir, I found it was full of this dark brown snot-like substant that is the stop leak. It took me a long time to get that disgusting stuff out of the reservoir. So, do yourself a favor and DON'T ADD STOP-LEAK to the engine. NASTY STUFF!! It wasn't until I chanced on this site while looking for a reason why my Service Engine Soon light is on, that I found all of these other things happening with the Malibu. So, I decided to put in my two cents about my head gasket. I have to be honest, though; other than a couple of things happening that maybe shouldn't have happened (like the head gasket, and that STUPID SUN ROOF SWITCH that hasn't worked correctly since day one & they can't seem to FIND OUT WHY OR FIX IT), my '02 Malibu has been a great car. I've run this thing hard for five years now, and it has served me well.

- , Kent, OH, USA

problem #56

Oct 262007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Definitely a design flaw. Should be fixed at Chevy's expense. Also Dex-cool is horrible. Probably is the cause for gasket failure. If you buy this car you will have to get this done.

- , Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #55

Oct 232007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I have a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu, which I have had for 3 years. Last year i had to have the water pump replaced. and now its only a year later and i have had to refill my coolant in my car 5 times in the last month. next i find out i have an intake leak and apparently this is a very common and apparently very expensive problem with this make and model car. if this is such a problem and i am now going to have to pay upwards of 700 dollars to fix it why doesnt gm do something about it.

- , Panama CIty, FL, USA

problem #54

Oct 172007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

I had just bought this car about 2 months ago and thinking it would be a good car only having 30,000 miles on it!! The intake gasket is already leaking!! I should have known I was a mechanic for about 7 years and have changed about 5,000 of these seems like! but the good thing is the parts are only about 45 dollars at advanced auto!! Where are you people taking your cars to get worked on I want a job!!!!!

- , Kokomo, IN, USA

problem #53

Oct 112007

(reported on)

Malibu LS V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I have been told to replace the manifold gasket as well for $650.00 back in June but haven't done so yet. Since it was summer, I have been running the A/C and making sure the car does not overheat by making sure I keep antifreeze in it; however there is still some leakage but the car doesn't overhead. After reading other complaints, I'm thinking maybe it's best to just get another car if the repair is going to lead to other auto problems. There DEFINITELY needs to be a class actions lawsuit for this costly problem.

- , Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #52

Sep 242007

(reported on)

Malibu Sedan 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,600 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

When checking the fluids in my Malibu, my father discovered a yellowish-brown sludge in the coolant reservoir. We took the car to our mechanic thinking that it was either too much oil added from the past oil change or a possible problem with the head gasket. Turns out it was a leak in the intake manifold gasket! The repair cost me around $900, plus the headache of not having a car for a few days. To make matters worse, my mechanic mentions that many people have had that problem with their Malibus, and Chevy should issue a recall! I say, move it or lose it, Chevy! Too many people's wallets are suffering!

- , Anderson, SC, USA

problem #51

Sep 122007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

TAKING IN MY CAR FOR A BATTERY CHANGE; THEY MENTIONED I HAD A COOLANT LEAK FROM A CRACKED MANIFOLD GASKET. THEY QUOTED ME $1300 TO FIX. THIS PROBLEM IS A BIG ONE FOR THIS YEAR / THIS ENGINE! (I HAVE SEEN THE OTHER COMPLAINTS!) GET THE LAWSUIT GOING!

- , Roselle, IL, USA

problem #50

Jun 102007

(reported on)

Malibu LX 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

Hi. I have had my chevy 2002 chevy malibu for about 3 months. I have noticed that while I am driving my RPMs will jump when it is not time for my car to switch gears. My gauge that tells how hot my car is goes over halfway alot ... but then it will come back down. After reading all of the complaints on the intake manifold going out.... I checked my coolant to see if it is the same orange coolant that everyone is saying messed up their intake... and it IS! I am not noticing any leaks right now, but my engine coolant is lower than it should be... is this the first signs of it going out? And while it has not went out yet is there anything I can do to keep it from going out? Maybe switch coolants or something? It is so sad to hear that over 35 Malibus have had this problem (and many more that have no idea about this site) and Chevy will do nothing for most of the problems.

- , Findlay, OH, USA

problem #49

Jun 152007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Last, May I had the exact problem with my 02' Chevy Malibu, the manifold gasket was blown. The low coolant light came on and the next day my car would not start. The car was towed to a mechanic who fixed the problem along with fuel pump that also needed to be replaced because of the manifold gasket. The total for repairs was $900.

As of yesterday, when I parked my car, it was leaking antifreeze. Every time I go to get my oil changed they give me a synopsis of my car and tell me it looks as if I need the manifold head gaskets replaced. I explain that it was just replaced in May 2006. Now it seems as if I am experiencing the problem again. I just spoke with a GM representative who in a nut shell told me there was nothing they could do about it even after I told her I was aware this was a common problem on 2002 Chevy Malibu's. I just want to know if there is anything else I can do to avoid paying another $900 to repair the same problem?

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #48

Aug 092007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,263 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Load this P. O. S. on to someone else. I had an 88 chev Beretta, same crap happened, except it was my head gasket.

Pricing out the repair will cost close to $1200 cdn.

check for my other repairs

Run, as fast as you can, away from this car!! and unfortunately anything to do with GM. Stay far away. THIS COMPANY WILL NOT RECEIVE A SINGLE PENNY FROM ME AGAIN. I'M ONLY 35 WITH A FEW CARS TO BUY IN MY LIFETIME. IT WON'T BE GM!!

- , Vaughan, ON, Canada

problem #47

Jul 282007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,500 miles

coolant low light came on, and that was first indication that something was wrong. guess I am fortunate that i bought the extended warranty, because the $1,200 repair was covered except for the deductible. Car was out of service for about a month while my selling dealer (a Ford place) messed around trying to figure out the problem, finally sent the car to a Chevy dealer next door, and was fixed in a day or two. This seems to be the prevalent problem with this car/motor, and if enough people get on GM's case about it, some of us might get our money back...

- , Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #46

Jul 292007

(reported on)

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

Today is July 29, 2007. Problem began about 8 weeks ago. Noticed the low water level light was coming on. 6 weeks ago I took the car to a mechanic. Had the oil changed and asked shop to check the coolant level. They added coolant and all was fine until a week ago. Low water level light started coming on again. Took it to another mechanic. He informed me it is the manifold (head) gasket leaking. I purchased this car new on June 5, 2002. It has less than 43,000 miles. I JUST GOT THE DAMN THING PAID FOR AT THE END OF MAY !!!! Tomorrow I'm getting an estimate on the repairs (I've been told it will cost $600+ A friend in another state that is the manager of an auto shop told me it would probably run me about $1,500) OR I'M GOING TO BY A NEW HONDA I LOOKED AT FRIDAY. This is the second GM car I've owned that had this problem. The first was a Corsica I purchased used. Up until now this has been an excellent car if you don't count the crappy tires and battery that were OE. As I am a single car household, I need a car that will continue to provide dependable service. Even after getting this car fixed, I would always be wary of it. Guess that settles the issue. I'm trading it tomorrow.

- , Wilson, NC, USA

problem #45

Jul 262007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 32.L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Took my POS Malibu in for brake service AGAIN, and along with worn out calipers, worn out rotors and pads, they found oil in my coolant overflow. The mechanic said the intake manifold gasket was leaking and needed to be replaced. He said it's a common problem because of the Dexcool antifreeze, but that GM won't address it. My mechanic is working on it as I am writing this, so I pray to God that he doesn't find anything else wrong. He is going to flush the radiator, replace the gaskets, and add new oil. So far, my bill is up to $990, but like I said, it could be worse. He told me this morning that he might have to replace hoses also. Never again, GM. My next car will be a Toyota.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #44

Apr 222007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3100

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,200 miles

ONLY 22,200 miles on a 2002 Malibu, and ive got yellow mud in the radiator? ive never even spun the tires on this car and ive got a blown intake gasket? GOD help me, i hope the phone number and class action link works. anybody got a link to what after-market gaskets and anti-freeze are best to use when i get this fixed???? how about a link to the white papers GM sends to authorized dealers/repair centers??? (FWIW, "white papers" are service alerts from GM to their mechanics, and in general, are things GM does NOT want US to know about...)

ive been a chevy fan for over 40 years, but right now im ashamed to admit that. it started back in the day when there was only 15 wires under the hood tho, and eight of them were for sparkplugs...

if this car had 122,200 miles on it, id expect a few issues. but at 22,200, the motor is barely broken-in!!! and now its just broken. right from the factory. my father likes this car, and was going to buy a new one for himself before we found out about all this mess. WELL HEAR THIS GM, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Niagara Falls, NY, USA

problem #43

Apr 142007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,236 miles

I purchased my 2002 Malibu in January, 2004. I JUST HAD MY 2002 CHEVROLET MALIBU V6 DIAGNOSED AND THE MECHANIC TOLD ME THAT I NEED TO HAVE MY ENGINE REPLACED BECAUSE OF THE OVER HEATING, and CONSTANT LEAKING OF THE ANTI FREEZE. MY QUESTION IS: WHY WOULD CHEVROLET HAVE ON THE ANTI-FREEZE BOTTLE USE GM DEXCOOL PREFERRED IF IT CAUSES SO MUCH DAMAGE. MY CAR HAS RAN HOT EVERY SINCE I USE IT BEGINNING LAST YEAR IN 2006. EVERY SICNE THE WARRANTY COVERAGE EXPIRED, I HAVE HAD NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS. ALSO FAILED TO MENTION HAD THE WATER PUMP REPLACED, THERMOSTAT REPLACE 2X WITHIN A 6 MONTH LAPSE. GM SHOULD ACT ON REIMBURSING MONEY BACK INSTEAD OF DOING NOTHING AT ALL

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #42

Apr 072007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

[Malibu with 95,000 miles, reported [April,7 2007]

Just had my intake manifold gasket fixed ($850.00)and it sounds like Chevy has put this as an "expected" problem for Malibu's. I agree that Chevy should do something, warn consumers and/or pay for this defect!!

I have had a Chevy for the last 10yrs. but this may be my (sniff, sniff)last Chevy after this.

- , Channahon, IL, USA

problem #41

Apr 092007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3.1 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

The problem: At 33,000 miles began having to add coolant to the reservoir with no visible leaks (bad indication). Found sludge in oil filler cap and in coolant reservoir. Search of internet indicated a defective intake manifold gasket is a known problem with the 2002 Malibu. Dealer would not acknowledge there was a problem in this area but, ultimately diagnosed problem as the intake manifold gasket and charged me $960 to replace. Any long term engine damage is, of course, now a lurking unknown. Strongly suggest any current owners get any loss of coolant quickly diagnosed and repaired to avoid more serious engine complications.

Now the rant: I have been a loyal GM buyer for decades. I have owned 10 GM vehicles in 30 some years (8 were Chevrolets) plus one Toyota. All the GM cars have been problematic ranging from annoying (starters/alternators/water pumps) to major (engine replacements, one at 35,000 miles, one at 48,000 miles and one at 65,000 miles (only one of which was covered by any kind of warranty)). On the other hand the single Toyota I owned was driven 85,000 miles over 11 years on nothing but gas, tires and oil changes (and then sold for a whopping 50 percent of its original purchase price). If GM is struggling and losing market share all I can say is there are probably many people like me who sincerely wish to buy American but are tiring of being suckers in order to do it. It's truly a shame in that I do like the Malibu (and my other GM cars) in general terms but, I now fear the Malibu will follow the path of the other GM vehicles I have owned and will cost me dearly in dollars and frustration for my conviction to buy American.

- , Richland, WA, USA

problem #40

Mar 292007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I have a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu with 55,000 miles on it. It has been well cared for since I bought it in September, 2005. It exhibited no problems until last week when the check engine light came on and it was running slightly hotter than usual. I took it to the shop where I bought it.

It has two blown head gaskets with water and sludge in the oil. I have used the Dex-Cool coolant as directed in my owner's manual.

For those of you seeking to join the class action suit, here is the link to the website of Girard Gibbs, the firm I found online that is the lead firm in the class action suits:

http://www.girardgibbs.com/dexcool. html?gclid=COP8o53alYsCFQlQWAodVUPdWA

I had never bought a Chevy, or any GM car, before this one (although I grew up with Chevies) and I guess I never will again.

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #39

Mar 212007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

GM needs their ass kicked for not recalling these defective gaskets. I am positive there are many owners who have not reported this problem. Ask any mechanic or auto parts person about this and they will tell you the problem is rampant

- , Jackson, TN, USA

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