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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,644 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 9 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #40

Nov 292010


  • 100,000 miles


While driving the car on freeway it just stalled. I coasted to berm. It then restarted. I've had all kinds of electrical problems with this car, but this is a safety problem. I've read that this engine cutting out is probably associated with the passlock system. I've had problems with that system ever since I've had the car.

- Lancaster , OH, USA

problem #39

Oct 312010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 60,206 miles
The passlock anti theft system is a very dangerous system. There have been thousands of complaints about this system. Thousands of angry, frustrated people that are being left with no recourse. The problem dates from the 1990S.through 2010. The problem should have been addressed before now. I just spent over $5000. For a car that cannot be moved out of my drive way I donżT think congress heard the screams I've heard and read about this problem (żI'll never buy another GM car againż, or żif there is ever a class action suite, count me inż) we donżT know how many people have been hurt because they have been left stranded, or their cars caused wrecks because the passlock system kicked in and cut off the fuel while they were going down the highway at 70 miles an hour. It is very difficult to read about so many unhappy people. I came from a generation of people that worked for fifty years. We did all the things we were supposed to. We worked hard, paid our bills and trusted that we would be treated fairly. To really find out about passlock, just google passlock complaints. These are just a few of the links to complaints."cx=partner-pub-0200629403145096%3aqt7mbbqybbg&cof=forid%3A10&ie=iso-8859-1&Q=passlock&sa=search& is there no hopeż..ever"

- Maryville, TN, USA

problem #38

Jul 252010


  • 187,521 miles
2003 Chevy Malibu, 1 out of 3 starts forced to wait 10 minutes before trying a restart, usually twice before succeeding. Forces waiting in the dark or in unsafe places at night, such as finishing work. Extremely unsafe for any female. $300 quote at stealership to repair. Fitted 20cent resistor to feed correct resistance value to anti-theft system, which is also guaranteed to fail eventually. Will have to build a circuit to bypass this also to remove the problem completely. Shame on the stealerships for not correcting this problem as a recall. The potential for criminal activity personal injury/death are high and the high cost of repair is a disgusting tactic for any company to use to coerce customers to line their coffers replacing defective equipment.

- Picton, 00, USA

problem #37

Sep 122010


  • 100,367 miles


2003 Chevy Malibu passlock passive security system failure. The passlock system engages on my car frequently. It costs over $245 to reset and $800 to fix. I did an internet search and thousands of other GM car owners with passlock systems are having the problem. My car will suddenly stop while driving and I've narrowly avoided serious accidents because of it. Other times it will simply not start.

- Burlingame, CA, USA

problem #36

May 242006

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
Own 2003 Chevy Malibu that will just shut off. The anti theft system built in the vehicle will do this. Have to wait 10 min before it resets itself then it will start. Chevy dealership that I went to is aware of this problem in this model and offered to fix it for $400. I was told that this is fairly common. Sounds like a defect to me and needs to be fixed for free by GM. Bought the car brand new. This started in 2006 and has continued to do this 1 or 2 times a month since then.

- Munford, AL, USA

problem #35

Aug 032010


  • 50,000 miles
For years, car stalls while driving and can not be re-started, or more frequently, just won't start. No warning except a fine, dim red anti-theft system light which is unlikely to be noticed at all, and certainly not immediately. Can happen several times per day, or can go two weeks without a problem. Short term remedy is reliable if inconvenient and in some situation, dangerous; with car in "park, " turn off all system, turn on ignition switch but do not start, do not disturb for at least en minutes. System will then be reset. There is evidence that this problem had multiple causes. Got partial, temporary improvement (less frequent failure) by replacing defective ds lock switch, which is also used to program that locking system features. Because the users is supposed to initiate locking system programming by holding the switch closed, and the lock was sticking closed and opening unpredictably, it was surely creating inputs not anticipated by the system's programmers. I believe the ignition switch system, including the interface with the transmission selector system, is still causing this problem, and frequency of occurrence increases. Have not found satisfactory solution. Can't afford the $400 dealer says it will cost for (possible) fix, ambiguous explanations make me doubt the dealer really understands the cause. No actual property damage or crash yet, but obviously risk is high when car suddenly stall in traffic.

- Sandusky, OH, USA

problem #34

Aug 112010


  • 158,119 miles


2003 Chevy Malibu: The theft light comes on and the car will not start for a period of time. This happens just about every day, and we have to wait for the car to start. The car also dies on us while we are driving, putting us in a very serious and dangerous situation. Without warning it just shuts off.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #33

Aug 122004


  • 15,000 miles
Passlock system is defective due to nickel plating on starter tumbler causing oxidation. Dealers are able to make a killing on this defective connector because they have to troubleshoot a full fuel pump system and wiring harness before they will replace the passlock system. Occurs once every few months intermittently and becomes more serious as the oxidation worsens. Potentially dangerous situations occur when vehicle would stall in an unsafe location (ie: Railroad tracks or highway) and vehicle will not restart. Coupled with the recall these vehicles had with the accelerator sticking (which mine did on a highway) this could be a very dangerous problem. I have researched the problem online (all you have to do is google "passlock problem" and you will get thousands of results and consumer fixes complaining about how GM ignores every service request for a solution that doesn't gouge customers. There is practically an underground club designed to handle this problem.) according to the shop foreman at colonial Chevrolet in Norfolk, va, after his 14 years of experience with service this is a problem he is intimately acquainted with and recommends replacing the key tumbler (passlock chip integrated inside) and the connector that leads to the body control module.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #32

May 202010


  • 133,000 miles
The anti-theft light has been coming on and off for the last four years - and when it flashes I need to reset by turning ignition to on and wait ten min. - now the light stays on all the time and I'm concerned that at some point the car will not start and I will be stranded.

- North Chatham, NY, USA

problem #31

Jun 082010


  • 100,785 miles
03 Malibu with electrical problems.... the car shuts itself off while in motion...

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #30

May 012010


  • 139,000 miles


I have a 2003 Malibu the anti theft comes on alot to fix this U have to have the key in the on for about 10 min, then turn the key in the off and turn the car on, and it starts, but that trick is taking longer and longer each time one day it will leave me there, I think Chevy should recall this and fix it... there is no way of knowing when and why this happens. Chevy says they need more people to campaign about this before they will do anything so here it is...

- Powers Lake, ND, USA

problem #29

Apr 232010


  • 52,145 miles
Car would not start, theft lamp flashing, went online and found issues with GM theft deterrent system[pass key] many others are having same issues, also some claim the car quits on them and they have to wait 10 min. To restart car. Even in my owners manual it states that this system may fail. And it gives a procedure to follow. Car may or may not start//recommend fix is a new ignition switch/passlock sensor at a cost of $500 to $800 dollars to the consumer I feel that GM should replace these on an as needed basis under warranty for any one who encounters this quitting//no start condition may cause accident if car just shuts down while driving"??"

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #28

Apr 092010


  • miles
I own a 2003 Chevy Malibu. In the last 6 months, the theft system light pops on and doesn't allow me to drive my car. I found out if I turn the key in the on position for 10 minutes, the light will stop flashing and will allow me to start my car. This has happened 4 times now where my car will not start and I have to do the 10 minute wait for it to restart. My car is the only means of transportation for me and my husband who is severely disabled. I have read online that this is a problem that has occurred to hundreds of Chevy Malibu owners. I need my car to function correctly. What if I have to take my husband to the emergency room or doctor and my car stops running? I believe Chevy knows about this problem as they listed the 10 minute remedy in their owners manual. I would like Chevy to fix this as it appears to be a ongoing problem with the Chevy Malibu.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #27

Mar 122010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
2003 Chevy Malibu anti theft system light comes on and car won't start. Car is sitting won't start.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #26

Mar 072010


  • 84,000 miles
Anti-theft light continuously comes on. Replaced ignition lock cylinder two months ago. Now the car does not start at all and the anti-theft light is still on! this is a serious safety issue. I cannot travel with my kids, especially during the winter cold B/C I never know if I have to wait 10 minutes for the theft system to reset. I called the dealership today and they told me they need to hook it up to a $5000 computer to de-code the anti-theft errors. The gentleman said it sounds like the passlock module. With the cost of towing, the computer scan and parts/labor, I'm looking at $800. He also said there is no guarantee it couldn't happen again days or months down the road!

- Brown Deer, WI, USA

problem #25

Nov 292009


  • 76,739 miles
Car is not starting. Anti theft system light will not turn off.

- Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #24

Jan 152010


  • 116,700 miles
During normal operation of my car, I will randomly have issues with the passlock theft system not allowing me to start my vehicle. I had the modules replaced at a GM dealership approximately 15 months ago. At that time, I simply parked my car for the night in my driveway. I came out the next morning to take my daughter to school and the car would not start. I had to have my car towed to the nearest Chevy dealership. They called GM and it was recommended that I replace the ignition module and a sensor to the tune of over $500. I was told this would fix the issue. Now, I find myself facing the same problem only 30,000 miles later. I stopped at a gas station and filled the vehicle up with gas. When I went to leave, the car would not start and the theft system light was on. Being a veteran to this issue, I immediately turned the car off the waited for 10-15 minutes. This will sometimes work to allow the car to restart again. However, this time it did not. This same issue occurred and the results were the same. If you simply do a search for Chevy Malibu passlock, you will easily find the thousands of people affected by this problem on a daily basis. It puts everyone at an inconvenience and even some lives at risk (as it can turn the car off while it is in motion).

- Archbald, PA, USA

problem #23

Nov 022009


  • miles
Okay, this complaint is about Chevrolet Malibu. They are having a huge problem with their anti theft system. The car would run perfectly and then the next time you turn the key it wouldn't start. This has happened 3 times to us within a week. And if you google it, you'll see that there are thousands of people who are having the same problem! it's a real safety issue and has to be taken seriously and dealt with. Tonight my mom who owns the car was stuck on a dark parking lot at a temperature below 0 for over an hour. She's sick now, thanks to Chevy. Of course the technicians won't find anything but start replacing the ignition, reprogram the anti theft system, etc. But this all doesn't help. The problem is that there are single women out there in the dark not being able to start their car. There are elderly people who are unable to make their doctor's appointments. And there are people on the highways praying the car won't shut down in front of a truck this time. It is a huge safety issue and has to be dealt with. Please confront GM with this and let them fix it. We don't want to wait for an incident like a rape, robbery, or even death to start them thinking.

- Brandon, 00, USA

problem #22

Oct 152009


  • 45,000 miles
2003 Chevrolet Malibu signal and hazard lights have an intermittent failure. Relay switch may be bad.

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #21

Aug 192009


  • 100,000 miles
I have a 2003 Chevy Malibu. The passlock anti theft system has left me stranded many times. I have recently been stuck at night in a dark parking lot waiting the ten minutes for the system to reset. This is a personalsafety issue for anyone having to sit in an unsafe location waiting for the system to work. This problem occurs often (two or three times a week). This should be recalled and fixed on GM's dollar because it is a common problem and anyone who owns a GM car is spending money out of their own pocket to try and fix the problem when it is GM that is responsible for it.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

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