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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
70,400 miles
Total Complaints:
48 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. wait 10 minutes and car starts (16 reports)
  2. not sure (12 reports)
  3. replaced ignition switch (4 reports)
  4. turn key on until lght goes off then turn key off for 30 seconds (4 reports)
  5. recall the stinking thing (3 reports)
  6. added an after-market remote starter, which bypasses the anti-theft system (2 reports)
2003 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #28

Feb 022010

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles


we was going down the highway and it just died on us and we got it towed home, and we have did the 10 min. relearn stuff and it is not working either. so we called the GM main office and the lady said that they know about the problem but there is not enough complaints coming in about the problem, bull-sh*t, from seeing all of the people with the same problem i think there is a problem, and if everyone will go and make a complaints maybe GM might actually be nice and fix the problem. if you go and type in nhtsa you can fill a form out about the problem it only takes about 10 mins to do, if some other people will do that maybe they will see that we are serious about this matter. as for now all we can do is just look at the car. what a bummer!!!!!!!!

- , St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #27

Oct 132009

Malibu LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

I'm not sure what to do about this problem. It concerns me becuase it only comes on every once in a while. And it is only supposed to be on if the key is in the ignition and you have the key turned just for the use of the radio.

- , Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #26

Sep 242009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

Bought my car brand new in 2003. For the last month or so I was having a problem removing the key after placing the car in park, I would joggle the gear stick, and the key would come out, well yesterday when I went to put my key in to start the car key I could not even turn the key, it was if the car did not recognize the key, as of now it is still in the shop having the ingnition replaced, do not know as of now what the cost will be. Went online and read numerous complaints and that this is a ongoing problem. This should be on a recall list and the owners be reimbursed for repair charges

- , Bloomfield, NJ, USA

problem #25

Sep 122009

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,650 miles


this problem exists in dangerous situations. this has happened 3 times already in the past month.

- , Hardinsburg, KY, USA

problem #24

Feb 272009

Malibu LS 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles

Problem: 2003 Chevrolet Malibu LS, Theft System Light comes on, car wont start.

Solution: Remove Radio Unit, find 3 small wires bundled together(Black, White and Yellow). With Engine running, cut yellow wire. This will cause the "Theft System" light to come on solid. Proceed to shut engine off. Splice yellow wire, and add in a On/Off toggle switch inline with yellow wire. Leave toggle switch in "Off" position to disable vehicle Theft System. Tape or solder each end of yellow wire to the inline switch. The Theft System light will stay on, but the problem is solved with no further starting issues.

The only time you may have to switch the Toggle switch to "On", is if the vehicles battery is ever drained, or an electrical issue is present. This will cause the vehicles Powertrain Control Module to reset and revert back to factory settings. Once the vehicle is started again, switch the toggle switch to the "Off" position. This costs under $10 bucks, and saved hundreds of dollars as opposed to frequent dealership visits to troubleshoot the problem.

- , Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #23

May 272009

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Kept not starting and had to have it towed two times. Once car got to shop, of course it started. Problem started again the next week. Paid 725. because they said it was my fuel pump. Was fine for one month and then problem began again. Had to to get it towed once again. Spent over 400 dollars to replace the anti thief device. This lasted me one year and now it is starting all over again. Wouldn't start, towed it, once at the dealership started right away.......Got on line and read all of the complaints about anti-thief device. Decided to call 800-222-1020 which is the complaint line for Chevy. She said that several reports have to be filed (but wouldn't tell me how many) before they would even consider starting the recall process. SO please call the number and file your complaint. Apparently fixing it one time is not enough!!!!!!!!!!

- , Abilene, TX, USA

problem #22

May 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles


I bought my 2003 in 2006, used with 38,000 miles. About 3 months ago I experienced my first problem with the Theft Alarm system. Remembered reading on this site the solution, which was to turn the ignition to the ON position and let it sit there until the Theft Alarm light stopped flashing (about 8 minutes for my car), return the key to the off position, then start the car. This has happened 3 times, the last two within the last 3 days.

Went to the dealership and they did a diagnostic on the problem. Said it was a faulty sensor. At first they thought it might be the ignition switch (about $200 for the part) or the key ($9 each). The keys don't show any chips or extreme wear.

They also diagnosed that I have a leaking intake valve. Was explained that if not fixed I could blow a gasket or cylinder! I grew up driving used vehicles, so I know how to check the oil and put oil in the car. They are checking to see if this repair is covered under the extended warranty, if so, then I will let it get repaired. If not, I will see my mechanic for advice. Will let you know what the final cost/verdict is on Monday.

Update from May 6, 2009: May 5, 2009 - Took car to dealership - the problem with the Anti-Theft problem which was not covered under my extended warranty

Misc replaced passlock sensor and programmed theft system - 238.00 1 25832354 cylinder - 219.47

The diagnostic evaluation showed I had a leaking intake seal - this was covered under warranty but the fluids were not - this was about $100.00. There was $100.00 deductible.

I asked the shop tech what is the warranty coverage for repairs - was told 12,000 miles or 12 months. I only drive 10,000 miles a year on average. I hope this has fixed the problem, if not I know where to find everyone to let you know!

Question: My extended warranty expires in August 2009, it cost me $900 when I bought the car in 2006. Do you think it will be worth it to buy additional coverage? Don't know the cost for the next 3 years.

- , Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #21

Apr 232009

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

First of all I would like to thank all of your help. Every search I ran on the internet told me more and more problems costing more and more money. Thankfully I found your website before taking my POS to a mechanic. I used to do all of my own car repairs back when I actually owned a car, not a computer. When I first read about the anti-theft problem I laughed....then I continued reading. I wish I would have found your site before spending all my time trying to figure out the problem myself. I would like to say thank you to Chevy for selling yet another substandard vehicle. Growing up my Dad always told me to buy American and back then he was right, but not anymore. This will be the last Chevrolet I buy unless the year on it is before 1975!

- , Cedar Lake, IN, USA

problem #20

Apr 302008

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Theft switch was shutting the fuel pump off. Of course I thought it was the fuel pump failing and almost replaced it before taking it to a shop and having the code read. Expensive ass repair and they charged me $50 for some re-key locksmith fee.

- , Parma, MI, USA

problem #19

Mar 062007

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

i have an 03 Malibu/w a anti theft system that just activates every time i turn around. this just really pisses me off. i have to let the car set/w the switch on for 10 min.every time it happens. already had to replace the battery because of the drain on it at night and when it is really make matters wose is waiting when the baby is un the car.

Chevrolet should issue a recall and repair this problem. it appears that this is a rather common problem.

D. Wood

Newton, ks

- , Newton, KS, USA

problem #18

Nov 292008

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


My car would not start the other night. It would turn over, act like it was going to start, but then would not stay on. After panicking profusely (because this is my only car), I decided to google the problem, and came to this website...thank god.

The problem was my theft security system. For a while, my theft system light would come on then turn off periodically while I was driving. Then I noticed that my second release for my trunk was not working either (the first release pops it, the second one pushes it it would pop, but would not open). I figured, no biggies, but apparently they are big biggies. Now, my car wont start because since my theft system is acting up, which causes fuel to not get to where it needs to. I had to turn the ignition on for ten minutes, then turn it off for five seconds, and then try to restart it. It works, but man, this is going to really get annoying.

This car has been a royal piece of crap for me, and I have done nothing but take extra care of it with tune ups, regular oil changes, I don't "hot rod" it, etc etc etc. Not only is this happening now, but at 45,000 miles, my fuel pump AND intake gasket went out AT THE SAME TIME. It was over $1,000 to fix. My lighter fuse wont stay working...I have had to replace it numerous times, and the blower motor for the heater is acting up as well, which will eventually go out as well and I will have to get that fixed. The mechanic said I should have never got this car because it will be a money car and that they are junk. Mine is a gas hog, and the check engine light will not come off, and the tests say there is nothing wrong with it, just possibly a sensor. If you have one of these cars...GET RID OF IT. If you are looking for a car, DON'T BUY THIS ONE.

- , Webster City, IA, USA

problem #17

Jul 012008

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

I've had intermittent problems with the anti-theft system disabling the ignition of the car for a few years. When still under warranty, I had the ignition replaced, although that didn't seem to do much. What I recently did, that seems to have permanently fixed it (been several months w/ no recurrence) - added an after-market remote starter, which bypasses the anti-theft system. Mostly because I wanted to start the car on those cold winter mornings w/o going outside to do it, but was also hoping it would make the anti-theft disablement problem go away. It did, and has. With installation, theft bypass harness, the extra release for the trunk and everything, cost around $250. Beats the hell out of replacing the ignition, risking tow or disablement, etc. Really like the remote start function too. As an aside, another unexpected benefit was that both the factory and new remote starter key fobs all work for the locks (I was thinking the factory ones wouldn't any more). Now have 4 working key fobs, vice the factory 2. Well worth the $250 to permanently fix the problem, get a remote starter and two extra key fobs in my opinion.

- , Lyndon, KY, USA

problem #16

Jul 022008

Malibu Limited 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles

My car wouldn't start about 4 times in the past two months. I had to call AAA to get towed each time. I went to three different garages, including my Chevy dealer. No one knew how to fix it; but they each charged me for what they thought will work. I've paid almost $800 in useless "repairs". I came on the internet and found out that I have to leave the key in the ignition in the "ON" position for 10 minutes and then restart the car. This works. I had to do this three times in the last two weeks. All the problems began after 39,000 miles. Chevy should recall this crap and reimburse us. Do not buy another GM (or American) car. Everyone told me this; now I will listen.

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #15

Oct 082008

Malibu LSI V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

Ok, now this problem occurred back in the Spring of 08'. The car wouldn't start so I assumed maybe I had some bad gas in the car, put fuel injection cleaner in the car and it still wouldn't start, so I had the car towed to the dealership and all of sudden THE CAR STARTED!!! Now I go to class this fall (08') and try to leave class to go to work and once again after months here we go again. Tried all kinds of tricks with locking/unlocking the car, leaving the key in the ignition and the stupid THEFT SYSTEM light kept blinking. Before all of this though my THEFT SYSTEM light would come on while I was driving. Well unfortunately this time it chose not to start and they said it was my ANTI-THEFT PASS LOCK SYSTEM which part of this system is located inside your ignition which also means that if it has to be replaced they replace your ignition switch along with giving you a new key and re-coding the car. I BOUGHT THIS CAR USED A YEAR AGO WITH 32,000 MILES ON IT AND HAD THE THING TOWED TWICE AND THE DEALERSHIP KEPT IT FOR ABOUT A MONTH DUE TO THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT(whole different issue that got covered under warranty), I OWNED A 98 PRIZM FOR 8YRS AND HAD 245,000 MILES ON IT AND ONLY HAD IT TOWED TWICE. MY CHEVY PRIZM WAS GREAT TOO BAD THEY COULDN'T DO THAT WITH THE MALIBU.

- , Hillsborough, NC, USA

problem #14

Sep 282008

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,202 miles

If your theft system light comes on and is blinking, then turn the key to the "on" position, and leave it on for 10 minutes, then when the light stops blinking, turn the key off, wait 5 seconds, then turn it back on. It should start right up. This is a big pain in the ass, but it sure beats going to a mechanic. I hope this works for you. Good luck.

- , Poulan, GA, USA

problem #13

Sep 052008

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,500 miles

This will probably never be fixed by GM because the procedure is in the OWNERS MANUAL. Try to start car, if it just turns over but does not start then leave key in the ON position for approx. 10 min. The Theft light in the dash will blink until the reset procedure is completed in the approx 10 min time frame. Once the Theft light is no longer blinking or illuminated then turn the key to the off position for 5 seconds. Start the car normally. This procedure while a pain in the ass, will work. I hope the engineer who designed this has a Malibu in his garage, chances are he owns a product that actually works.

- , P.C., FL, USA

problem #12

Aug 202008

Malibu 3.1V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I just bought this car and drove it all day yesterday with no problems. I pull in a gas station, turn the car off for maybe 30 seconds, never removing the key from the ignition. I go to start it back up, and it wont start. I called the dealership and they said to turn they key on until the light goes off, turn the key off for 30 seconds, then start your car. It will work every time.

- , Moshiem, TN, USA

problem #11

Jun 162008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

This has happened to my car once in June now it happens EVERY DAY!!!! I called the dealership and they say ohh this will be around $700 I loved my car before this what a crock!!!

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #10

Feb 262008

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

I was stumped when it first happened. Car turned over but was not getting fuel. I noticed the fuel pump was working and it was filling the fuel injection rail, but I had to squirt fuel into the intake to get it to fire, then it would quit running. The security system must not allow fuel to leave the injectors. I stopped at a few auto stores and a guy at Checker told me to replace the ignition key. He also recommended that we not have a lot of keys on the chain as the weight can wear out the ignition switch. I thought he was nuts. Ever since using a new key, we have not had the problem. (knock on wood)

- , Chanhassen, MN, USA

problem #9

May 072006

(reported on)


  • 62,000 miles

This is happening on average two times a day now. I can't possibly do this complaint thing for everytime it happens. I do know that I have to turn the key on, sit for 10 minutes, turn key off and then back on again for another 10 minutes, and when the theft deterrant light quits flashing, it will start.

- , Wetummpka, AL, USA

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