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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
77,238 miles
Total Complaints:
100 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced intake manifold gasket (56 reports)
  2. not sure (28 reports)
  3. run to the hills and buy an import (6 reports)
  4. submitted my name to class action lawsuit (4 reports)
  5. replaced with non-plastic gasket (3 reports)
  6. new engine (2 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Malibu engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #100

Oct 282011

Malibu LS 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,748 miles


$600 repair included replacement of the intake manifold gasket, water pump, thermostat, and an oil/filter change. For some reason I've done better than most since this repair took place after 117,000 miles. This car has consistently averaged 30 miles/gal on road trips. Now, three years and 40,000 miles later it looks like the gasket has gone bad again. Not sure what I'm going to do.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #99

Jun 012011

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Have been told by several it's the worst motor made!! Autozone stated that they sell more parts for Malibus, even brand new ones, than any other car. Big money pit! Decided to keep car & try to get it fixed considering I had already put thousands into it...Started overheating, leaking antifreeze, & etc. just like other complaints I've read. Couldn't make it to work!! I thought Chevy's were built to last!! lol Can't wait to sell it & go back to a Toyota. Paid $400 recently to have this problem so called fixed & it still has issues overheating.

- , Winchester, KY, USA

problem #98

Aug 112010

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

I had this car 3.5 years and the coolant has been leaking since the day I got it and my dad could not figure out where the leak was coming from. I had filled the car up with Dexcool two days before and I got about 5 miles from my house and the coolant light came on like it does when the coolant is low. I made my way 3 more miles to a gas station and I got out of my car and the smoke was rolling from the engine. I had to call my dad to meet me and I had to wait for a while for the engine to cool. My dad checked the car and found the car was out of coolant so he brought a bottle and started filling the car up and the coolant was pouring out of the bottom of the car. Dad tried putting seal leak in the car so I could get it to a garage and that didn't work. So he told me to get some water and fill it up and try to drive it. I put water in the car and drove it 3 miles before it was dry again. I put more water in it and drove to my Uncle's garage and had to leave it there. It took my dad 3 days and $300 to fix it.

- , Warfield, KY, USA

problem #97

Aug 142011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


Well let me just say i am not the owner of the malibu but all it took was a 14 hour trip (which should of been around 7.5) home from NYC, to Toronto, Ohio to realize id never own one. We checked the basics of the car like tires and oil prior to our trip, yet failed to look at the coolant. It wasn't until being 6.5 hrs away from home in NJ that the temp. gauge went up and so did the rpm's without gaining speed that we noticed transmission fluid in the coolant. To top it off it was a saturday at 2pm and every mechanics shop either didnt have a tech or they would say "Try this one right down the road, but being a saturday i doubt u'll have any luck". There was one shop that the mechanic mentioned the manifold gasket and then seen the coolant and told us we had a major problem. Let me just say we cranked the heat (in 80+ degree weather) thinking nah maybe its just the thermostat. and continued to NYC. On the way home at 11pm the car again starting losing speed and never gaining unless we were downhill. We stayed for like 4 hours at a service plaza 2.5hrs away from home and decided we were gonna try and make it. At this point i have prayed more than a dedicated nun and it worked! I have no clue how but we managed to get the car home. After seeing the pictures of what could of been i very glad of how fortunate we were. Needless to say i think the cars next trip is the junkyard.

So to end this story i would say if this starts to happen to you I would ditch the car. It is an expensive fix and depending on the year would surely not be worth it. I'm already assuming however its already happened to you if you're on this site, but if it hasn't happened yet please have the sense to either get rid of it or get it look at immediately and often.

- , Toronto, OH, USA

problem #96

Jun 292006

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

I buy as much antifreeze as I do gas! This is a problem that cannot be ignored.

- , Houlton, ME, USA

problem #95

Jan 022011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

I have been having a problem were my coolant fluid is leaking. Though there is no fluid on my driveway. After speaking to a friend about this. He informed me that this has happened with many Chevy Malibu's. I'm unable to fix this problem because I was recently laid off from my work. It does not appear that Chevy has a recall for this even though so many people have complained about this problem. I'm not sure what I'm going to do to fix this.

- , Essex, New Jersey, USA

problem #94

Sep 072010

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,530 miles


I take great care of my vehicle and I am the only one that uses it. When I brought in to the mechanic for a regular oil change and tire rotation he noted the leak and said it would cost about $800.00 to repair. Expensive repairs never come at a good time and this is right on-time. I am hoping Chevrolet will bail me out like we did them.

Update from Sep 30, 2010: Had my local wrench replace the gasket and in the process the EGR Valve too. The bill was $733.00. Friends suggested I try stop leak first, but I wanted the peace of mind knowing that the job was done right. work is very slow and I am not in a position to gamble with seizing an engine.

- , Montague, NJ, USA

problem #93

Nov 222006

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Replaced intake manifold gasket at 86k miles. Intake manifold gasket went out a second time at 134k miles. Head gasket was also gone at 134k miles. Water in bottom of engine. Chevy said the motor was trashed and would need to be replaced. Because of emissions, the government will not allow me to change to a different motor. Stuck paying $4000 for the same motor that has been giving me trouble. This will be my last domestic car.

- , Mebane, NC, USA

problem #92

Oct 012009

Malibu 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I am looking into this. I have very low miles for the gasket to go out. Then to see this. Yeah, I think it should be a recall on all Malibu's. If they want to keep people buying American. How are they wanting us to trust them if we can't trust our own products. Cars are alot of money. People work to hard and the prices in this economy and the warranty and good anywhere.

- , Caseyville, IL, USA

problem #91

Nov 232009

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,068 miles

I can't believe this isn't something recalled yet after so many complaints. When I brought my car into the shop, they knew exactly what the problem was and that they had seen it so many times. More people need to be complaining about this so can be a recall.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #90

Dec 162009

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles


bought a pre-owned Chevy Malibu about 3 years ago. seemed like a really nice car. noticed that my temp light was popping on every two or three months then more like once a month, now about two weeks...doing some other work on the motor today and noticed antifreeze on the back side of my motor...that would explain alot....went to internet for help with other problems and happened onto this site....to my surprise this is a BIG problem for lots of others...Don,t want to spend the money to fix right now so i,ll be driving it as little as possible....THANKS CHEVY for your screwed up engine....HELLO TOYOTA....will be in touch with you soon....

- , Madison, TN, USA

problem #89

Nov 072009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

The leaking intake manifold gasket caused me to have to replace two oxygen sensors and a catalytic converter last year -- that was $850. Now, this year, the car started overheating on a three-hour road trip... I put coolant in and it was fine to get me to my destination, but on the way home it started overheating and wouldn't stop. (Of course this happened in the sticks on early Sunday morning, so I was stranded for a day.)

I paid to get the intake manifold gasket replaced -- $600, plus the costs of getting a hotel room, etc. A month later, it wouldn't start, leaving me stranded AGAIN. The dealership that it was eventually towed to initially said it was the Passlock anti-theft system, which of course I'd had problems with before. $500 for that fix... problem was, by that point, the head gasket was blown. It was a decent car up until this year, when EVERYTHING started going wrong with it.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #88

Jul 022009

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I noticed my car started running really bad a few weeks ago. I thought it might have been the spark plugs. I had those changed and come to find out that I need the intake manifold replaced. The mechanic just called me and told me that the head gasket is cracked. He is going to try to seal it up but I can't afford to get that fixed. I wish I knew about this problem. I would like chevy to pay for this problem. I loved my car but I don't have the extra money to get it fixed like this.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #87

Oct 152008

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I was driving down the road when I started hearing this clicking noise. I took it to a radiator shop where I was promptly informed of Chevy's issues with DexCool antifreeze. I was a little taken back since the manual says the car requires Dexcool. I then took it to the local oil change place to flush out the reservoir. The guy looks at me and has the balls to ask me if I put oil in the coolant location. I said "What?!?! Are you serious?" He then told me the problems would come back if I didn't take it to the mechanic. I took it to the mechanic who was able to fix it. Needless to say, I no longer use Dexcool.

- , Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #86

Jan 062009

Malibu 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

My emissions test failed because of this engine light on, due to the problems, one being... of the intake manifold gasket leak.., that has been replaced... I have now, a rejection sticker on my car,...(F** sucks)...so, now, I fix the problem AGAIN. FOR WHAT? so, it can happen again and again and again. When will this problem be addressed thru the dealership.? It is obviously a nuisance with other car owners...let's get together a class action suite. BUT< ya know what....we need to drive our (F*car)

to work each day to pay for the bill accruing ... for this chevy malibu. GO FIGURE.

HELP...next time....foreign car for me....never CHEVY...chevy malibu...POS

- , Peabody, MA, USA

problem #85

Oct 302008

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Can We Just Replace The Gaskets And Clean Heads And Then Sell That F*cking Car? HELP.

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #84

Oct 072006

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

GM will not stand behind their stupid design. What kind of freak'n idiot would use a plastic Intake Gasket. This needs to be recalled. Paid up, had no choice!

DON'T BUY GM....... THEY SUCK!!!!!!!!

- , Ashland, OH, USA

problem #83

Jan 012006

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,039 miles

My car is leaking antifreezer from somewhere, we thought it was the thermostat and replaced it but that is not the problem. We are replacing the antifreezer on a daily basis.

- , Polacca, AZ, USA

problem #82

Nov 022008

Malibu LS 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,429 miles

Well this is the second Chevy Product I have owned with this Engine... I won't blame it on the car. I like my Malibu... but the 3.1 engine has got to GO... GM has known for years of this issue. I owned a 1996 Buick with a 3.1 as well and when I bought the Malibu I was cautious but the Salesman assured me that GM had fixed this issue... I am now finding out that NO they haven't. Looks Like I will have to fix it myself, Thank God for being mechanically inclined. But I will be looking at Imports once I repair it... so I can sell it. I use to want to support domestic auto makers...But not if it is going to cost me dearly...

- , Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada

problem #81

Mar 072007

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

I bought the car used in March of 07 and by the end of May my car had broke down 3 times. I had to replace the fuel pump, the whole front end came loose and had to have it put back together again and while they were working on these $600.00 problem's discovered that there was an upper intake gasket that needed to be changed that would cost me another $600.00. I had to replace my battery because coolant was shooting all over the place and ruined my battery. have had nothing but problems with this car. Still owing nearly $5000 at this point in 2008 and now finding out after having to have my water pump replaced ($318.00) that now the lower intake gasket needs to be replaced at another $600.00 and that the coolant is leaking everywhere and my car well... is a LEMON!

I don't have $600 - $1200 extra dollars to get this fixed nor can I afford not to have a running vehicle. I am a single mom with four children. If I don't have a car to drive I can't work and and if I can't work I can't support my family and who else is going to do that???? Chevy? I don't think so.

I agree with the many other people who have posted on this site that Chevy should either replace or pay for the damages that is clearly a defect made by the maker (Chevy) of the vehicle.

- , Barstow, CA, USA

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