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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,950 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #28

Mar 142013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 90,189 miles


I have high rpms sometimes even when my foot is not on the accelerator, high idle and my check engine light stays on.

- Uniontown, PA, USA

problem #27

Sep 252012


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the accelerator pedal would become stuck and the vehicle would accelerate independently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic however, the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem but did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V528000 (vehicle speed control:accelerator pedal). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 30,000 and the current mileage was 33,000.

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #26

Oct 022012


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving 75 mph, she attempted to brake and the vehicle continued to accelerate independently. The contact was able to move the car off the road when she heard the engine roaring abnormally loud. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and a sensor was replaced. The contact was unaware of the exact sensor that was replaced. The contact was also informed of a recall for the failure under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V528000 (vehicle speed control:accelerator pedal). The manufacturer was notified and informed her that her VIN was not included in the recall and offered no further assistance. The failure and current mileages were 160,000.

- Macomb, MI, USA

problem #25

Jul 272012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 161,000 miles


Accelerator pedal sticks when driving. Have to put car into neutral to try and slow or stop car, the pedal has stuck at various speeds, and even when the car starts up, it revs high. Almost was in an accident due to this situation.

- Manor, TX, USA

problem #24

Feb 142012


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle would not decelerate. The contact excessively applied the brakes and was able to stop. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing where the mechanic was unable to diagnose the failure. The contact inspected the vehicle and replaced the throttle position indicator. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #23

Jan 292012


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated while parking the vehicle, the accelerator pedal became stuck to the floor and the contact was unable to release the accelerator pedal. When the brake pedal was depressed the vehicle suddenly accelerated and crashed into a pole. The contact placed the gear in reverse; however, the vehicle continued to accelerate and crashed into several parked vehicles, before coming to a stop. The contacts shoulder was bruised. The VIN was not available. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 104,000.

- Winston Salem , NC, USA

problem #22

May 282011


  • 118,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving 65, with the air conditioning system activated, the contact stated that the rpms would raise and the engine would increase. In 2006, the vehicle was taken to the dealer and repaired for recall number: 04V528000 (vehicle speed control: Accelerator pedal); however, the failure recurred. No further inspection or repairs were performed. The approximate failure mileage was 118,000.

- Miamisburg, OH, USA

problem #21

Apr 152010


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns an 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that as the vehicle was started, there was an abnormal increase in engine rpms to 4,000. The vehicle was shut off and restarted several times until the rpms were idle. The check engine light would illuminate intermittently when the failure occurred. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic where they changed the exhaust gas recirculation valves but the failure persisted. The vehicle was then taken to a second mechanic shop where they performed a diagnostic but was unable to generate a failure code. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 108,000.

- Waterville, ME, USA

problem #20

Jan 012011


  • 50,000 miles
The car is a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The car was purchased used and therefore the events leading up the failure are not known. The problem that the car has is that the rpms increase dramatically while driving. This makes the car difficult to stop and extreme pressure must be applied to the brakes to stop and keep the car stopped. When the vehicle is stopped and the problem is occurring, the engine can be heard making louder than usual noises. When the rpms increase, the speed of the car increases without the gas pedal being pressed. It is very difficult to keep the car moving at a reasonable speed because of this. At the present time, the check engine light is on, but the activation of the check engine light does not usually occur at the same time as the problem described above. The problem occurs at an of four times a week and occurs more often when the car is driven on back roads instead of highways.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

problem #19

Aug 112010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 20,234 miles
The gas pedal is stick. It accelerates the car by itself. I have to use my foot to get it out to avoid acceleration. I called GM and they told me there is no recall for this. I don't understand why Toyota's sticky pedal is a big deal, while GM does nothing for it. I saw postings of the same problem for a long time. I hope GM take action before it is too late.

- Elgin, IL, USA

problem #18

Jul 072010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 45,581 miles


In Feb 2009 I was pulling into a parking space and my car accelerated but I was able to stop before hitting the car next to me. The same thing happened a few days later. Then again, on February 17, 2009, pulling into a parking space the car accelerated and I could not get the car to stop. I jumped a curb and went into a grassy area and finally got the car stopped. I had it towed to the dealer. The mechanics could not find anything wrong. They told me it was probably the floor mat under the accelerator pedal. However, on July 7, 2010, pulling into a parking space the car accelerated and I jumped a curb. After jumping the curb, I narrowly missed an electrical box and utility pole. I had the car towed to the dealer again. I was told it was a worn cable which they told me needed to be replaced. I am concerned that this will not fix the problem since other Malibu owners have experienced the same problem yet there is no recall for our particular model number regarding the vehicle speed control accelerator pedal. I called the Chevrolet consumer number, but was told that until there are enough complaints to warrant a recall for my model "they" are not responsible for any repairs.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #17

Jun 202010


  • 68,300 miles
Accelerator does not respond when you remove your foot from the gas pedal. This situation occurs after the car has been setting in the sun. It has happened three times during the past week. The car was repaired for this condition in 2005 as part of the recall program. It evidently didn't fix the problem.

- Brooklyn, OH, USA

problem #16

Jun 152009


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. She stated she depressed the brakes and when she removed her foot from the pedal, the vehicle began to abnormally accelerate. She put the vehicle into neutral and depressed the accelerator. The vehicle stopped revving and she used extreme force to depress the brakes until the vehicle began to decrease in speed. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. There were no repairs made to the vehicle. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 71,739.

- Columbia City , IN, USA

problem #15

May 032010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 121,405 miles
My 2003 Chevy Malibu began idling very high while driving, causing it to be difficult to control. It was a hot day when it happened and I almost was in an accident. I found a recall on line NHTSA campaign # 04V528000 which was exactly the problem I was having with my vehicle. My VIN number was not on the recall list according to GM. My mechanic performed the test on the accelerator and brake assembly and it failed. The accelerator would not return to the engine idle position when my foot was off the accelerator pedal- it would go 35 miles per hour without my foot on the accelerator- very dangerous. My mechanic replace the accelerator and brake assembly, and gave me the part. They suggested I pursue through GM. I did so, case #71-827370783. I received a call today from GM stating they would not pay for the repair since it wasn't part of the recall, regardless of the fact that it was a defective item, not a wear and tear item, and further, very dangerous. I think there should be a new recall for the rest of the 2003 Chevy Malibu that were not on the original list- they obviously missed some vehicles that were affected. This happened very suddenly and I was lucky I didn't kill someone or get killed myself.

- North Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #14

Mar 012010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
2003 Chevrolet Malibu accelerates without assistance about 1 month ago (March 2010). Taken to mechanic and when tested there weren't any codes. Also the engine light didn't come on. So a road test was done and the iac sensor was diagnosed as the problem. The iac sensor was replaced but the problem hasn't stopped. So the tps (throttle position sensor) tested over 2 volts and when tested going the other way it tested at.63 volts. So the mechanic also replaced the tps but the car is still idling high without assistance. Unable to fix so I took my car to a local Chevrolet dealer and they too were unable diagnose the problem. They said they checked the vacuum hoses, the parts put in by my mechanic, and other diagnostic test (not sure what) and still no resolution. Now the car speeds down the street, when stopped in park, neutral, & drive idles at 3000 and hard for the brakes to hold, and when the gas is pushed the car acts as if it wants to cut off. Not sure if the old part are available can contact mechanic to verify. This problem happens every time the car is driven but is worse when the car is hot. I don't know what to do especially since the Chevrolet dealership was unable to locate the problem.

- St. Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #13

May 262009


  • 62,000 miles
2003 Malibu accelerator stuck to floor when car was in heavy traffic. The car was checked for this problem during a recall in 2005 and it was determined by the dealer that my car did not have this particular problem. It has happened twice since then, as recently as last week. I took the car to a GM dealer to have the problem repaired and they said it was no longer under the recall because I had already had it checked. They now tell me it is a result of wear and tear.

- Harrisonburg, VA, USA

problem #12

Jun 162007


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. During warm weather or when the vehicle has been parked outside in the heat, the accelerator would stick. The contact must use her other foot to release the pedal. The vehicle was previously repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 04V528000 (vehicle speed control:accelerator pedal). The current mileage was 36,000 and failure mileage was 28,000.

- Toledo , OH, USA

problem #11

Jun 162008


  • 13,000 miles
Took the car to the service station for maintenance. When I pull into the drive way of the service station the car accelerated by itself. I ran into the door and the building. I turned the ignition off and inspected the damage to the car and the building. The car had some scratches and damage to the front bumper. The building damage was superficial. The service station did the maintenance and repaired the faulty acceleration cable. I remembered later that there was a recall service that was done in 2005 on this vehicle. This also happen again, I had it repaired again. I am concerned that the car is unsafe.

- Brooklyn, OH, USA

problem #10

May 252008


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. On May 25, 2008, while driving 40 mph, the vehicle began accelerating faster than normal. The contact had to merge out of traffic. She could not feel the brakes working and sped through a stop sign. She drove into a parking lot to avoid crashing into other vehicles. The vehicle finally stopped when it crashed into an embankment. The front driver's side air bag failed to deploy. The vehicle was taken to the body shop to replace the driver's side door and headlamp. The manufacturer stated that an investigator would investigate the failure. They are currently stating that due to the body work that was performed on the vehicle, they will not investigate the acceleration failure, only the air bag failure. The contact has a back injury that was aggravated due to the crash. A police report was filed. The failure and current mileages were 24,000.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #9

May 222008


  • miles
About two years ago when it started getting humid, I would be driving at a constant speed, and all of a sudden I would begin to speed up. I would let off the accelerator, and the car would continue to gain speed. When I tried to come to a stop, the car still wanted to go forward, and the RPM was stuck at 1.5. I need to stick my foot under the accelerator pedal to lift it up, as if it gets stuck. It typically doesn't do it in the winter months, but does it all summer long, especially on hot, humid days. I've also had problems with blinker noise: I will be driving down the road, and for no particular reason, I will hear the noise it makes when signaling. My turning lights don't come on, but it does make the noise and has continued to do it excessively for periods of 10 minutes or longer. My car has also started to make a dinging noise, as if a door were open, as I'm driving along....extremely annoying!!

- Dubuque, IA, USA

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