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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
77,778 miles
Total Complaints:
35 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace fuel pump (32 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
2003 Chevrolet Malibu fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Sep 282015

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


My fuel pump decided to go out on my way to work. I started the car, no problem. I don't even make it a mile before my engine felt like it was under stress. I tried giving it some gas to find out that it didn't help. Then I tried to throw it into neutral and revving up the engine and no luck. Then, my car basically dies at 35mph, and warning lights come on and power steering shuts off. At first, I thought it was possibly the battery, since I replaced it the same month. Checked cables, fuses, and relays and everything was ok, so I try to start it a few more times, no luck. It was then when I noticed that I didn't hear a humming sound of when the fuel pump is priming the engine. I then knew it was either the fuel pump or the relay. I was hoping that I would be lucky and it be the relay, but after swapping them, no luck. I had it towed to a shop that I've never dealt with (which luckily was covered by my insurance), and as the tow truck operator uses the controls to lift the controls, his truck dies. What a bad day. Luckily he was able to start up just fine again.

So I had them drop it off while I got a ride to work, and called a few times to discuss the price, etc. He told me that I also had an intake manifold leak, and would need to have the gasket replaced, a new fuel filter, pump, and relay, all for a whopping $2000. I asked how much it would cost for just the fuel pump replacement and they said $800. It was then when my coworker told me about a guy who works on cars that he highly recommends. I told the shop that I would be towing it to get a second opinion, and by then they tried to bargain with me and reduce the price for $700. It upsets me that places will rip you off like that when I bought the part online for $100 with overnight shipping. So I paid an extra $60 to have my car transported to the guy, and we both knocked out the job in 20 minutes tops, and he only wanted $100. We also did a "smoke test" to find out that they lied about the intake manifold leak, and the reason they suspected that was because of some old fluids that sat on the engine overtime which I de-greased. I made really good friends with this guy, and it turned out that he knew the guy from the place that I originally took it to, and said that he had a friend who quit because the constantly scammed people.

I was surprised how easy the job was, but it was quite unfortunate that I had to fill up to a half tank the night before; that was the hardest job, dropping the tank.

I don't know why these car manufacturers decided to put the pumps in the tanks.

- , Noblesville, IN, USA

problem #34

Oct 092015

Malibu Classic 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,500 miles

I'd just been remarking earlier today to a buddy of mine, how my '03 Malibu was one of the best cars I've had in the past 13 years. I bought the car used with 122k miles on it. It now has a little over 144k miles on it. Only ever had to replace the brake pads and tires, along with some oil changes. Other than those things, car has been wonderful to me.

Then, this evening, I go to take my buddy home, and the car will not start! Cranked it several times and will crank well, but engine just wouldn't start! He had another friend pick him up and take him home. I decided to give my car one more try. It started, ran for 5 seconds, then died and wouldn't start again!

After reading the stories of other peoples' problems with the fuel pump, among many other things, I can't believe that my car made it to this mileage. Then again, it may have been replaced before I bought it, and the replacement has now died! I've been told the average failure is around 70-80k miles. So it's possible that my car has had it replaced before I ever took possession of it, and now the new one has roughly the same number of miles as the original did. But whatever the case may be....the repair is going to be expensive!

I've owned many cars in my 50 years, and NEVER had to replace a fuel pump...EVER!! I know it's not the anti-theft system, as the light only comes on for 5 seconds when the engine first starts up and it goes out with all the other lights. Thankfully, it died in my own driveway and not while I was on the road!!!

- , Geneva, NY, USA

problem #33

May 142014

Malibu 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

The car would not start all of a sudden. It would turn over but was not getting any fuel. Had to get it towed to a mechanic. Fuel pump was replaced. Working well now. Manufacturers should NOT put fuel pumps in the gas tank where your average backyard mechanic can't replace it.

- , Edmonton, AB, Canada

problem #32

Nov 202013

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


I have replaced this fuel pump twice since I bought the car. The first time I had to replace it was in 2006-2007 and at that time it cost me $600.00 plus tow fees because I was traveling with my child in the car when it just died on the freeway. Luckily it was not heavy traffic and I was able to make it to the shoulder on the freeway before it stopped rolling after it died.

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #31

Dec 002000

Malibu 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

Reported failure and bill to gm. They would not do anything because the garage threw

the fuel pump away and they said it was possible it was not bad.

- , Enfield, CT, USA

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problem #30

Mar 202013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,562 miles

this is the second vehicle that i have bought from this car lot which are both sitting next to each other broke down. the Malibu i just got a week before it broke down on lean and want to know if they are responsible for it or if i am

- , Independence, MO, USA

problem #29

Oct 202011

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 206,000 miles


We bought this car in 2006 from a Chevy dealer in the country. it was a very nice used car and ran great. last year the wife was driving and it got hot and then died. She had blown a head gasket which I hear is a normal problem. after that I was driving and was far from home and after coming back out of a diner it would not start. I got it to the dealer and they said was ignition which they replaced for about $400. I drove it another year and again one day it just would not start. I had it back to the dealership and they said was the same thing and was out of warranty on the last part so again just less than $400 to fix. I was talking to our key man at the wrecker shop and he told me how to get around the problem. I just turn the key on for 10 minutes and then turn off and then it starts right up. This has happened 3-4 times now. Now it won't start and is supposed to be the fuel pump at a 600-800 quote to repair. This has got to be a royal lemon........ But do you think GM is concerned? NO NO NO./ Is the last time I will ever buy a Chevy. I never had any problems with my Fords and am going straight out within the month to get rid of the malibu and buy a Ford!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #28

Nov 192010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

So I've had minimal problems with this car. When we first purchased it as used the coolant was leaking because of a crack, but we had that fixed. Other than that....no problems. I get my oil changed on schedule and get all recommended and necessary maintenance work done every year. So, how do I begin? On Friday morning I take my son to school. Fuel is a little low so after I take him I fill up the gas tank (which I do quite often). A few miles later I hit the gas while in the middle of traffic and the car doesn't move. Luckily, it gave me just enough power to pull to the side of the road, but that was it. I let the car sit for about 30mins and tried to crank it...it started but went out. I'm usually a calm person, but now I'm pissed. Had to call a tow ($70 for less than a mile). Took the car to Firestone and they said the fuel pump, filter, etc needs to be replaced and the total would be $896. Didn't have the money so I had to have the car towed (another $70) to my home where it now sits as I save my pennies and dimes for this repair. As I continue my research I'm starting to see that this may be a known problem for this model car. My car has a little over 75,000 miles on it and I've had the fuel system tuned up this year, so I know this is no fault of my own. There should be a class action lawsuit and these cars should be recalled and this part replaced!

- , Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #27

Jul 312010

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Well, here is another complaint GMC about your Chevy's...as if you folks didn't have enough to worry about as to who pockets the bailout cash!! Anyway, my girlfriend was on her way to work last weekend in a fairly decent mood, that is, until she turned the key to start the car. The love and loyalty she gave to her Malibu for the past 7 years returned the favor by not starting. Engine CRANKED.....CRANKED....CRANKED...and cranked some more and would not fire. I'm not a "gearhead" by any means but one of two things crossed my mind: Fuel problem or spark issue. I had a friend bang on the fuel tank as I cranked the engine...ran for about 5 seconds then puked out. Diagnosis, FAULTY FUEL PUMP! The car is shy of 79,000k which to me, seems a bit premature for a fuel pump to fail. I drive a 1996 Thunderbird with 110,000K and an older Buick with 127,000K as winter beater and NOT ONCE have I ever changed a fuel pump! (Knock on whatever! ) The Ford is without a doubt, the most reliable of the two....3RD FORD PRODUCT BY THE WAY!! SORRY GM!! Anyhow, I called around and the cheapest price I found was $550.00 which included a $75.00 tow for only 1.5 miles! After reading all the other posts on this POS car, I fully understand the gripes! I constantly told her not to invest her hard-earned money into a GM product, especially CHEVY!! She swears by Honda and to this day I still can't figure out whey she didn't buy a used one. For what she paid for the Chevy and the inevitable premature repairs, she could have had an Accord or Civic...go figure! Just had the car fixed today so we'll see how long it takes before it starts nickleing & diming her to death! This fiasco was just another problem with this car...I have another gripe which I will add in another post. To all the Malibu owners out there...I feel for ya! Best of luck to everyone!

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #26

Apr 212010

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

Bought the car used in July, put 23,000 miles on it with out any real trouble (had to replace the battery in September). On April 21st, I was going out for lunch and to run a couple of errands for work, made two stops. The last stop was at an office supply store. Went outside to go back to work and the car won't start. It would crank, but wouldn't start. Had it towed to a dealer and they couldn't recreate the problem. Didn't charge me to look it over, so I picked it up went to a wedding out of town (4/23-25), got back to my brother-in-laws house to drop him off, went back out to the car to go home and it wouldn't start again. At least I didn't get stranded out of town. Had my car towed back to the same dealership and low and behold they couldn't get it started and found out that it was the fuel pump. have to buy the complete assembly to the tune of $857.00.

- , Akron, IA, USA

problem #25

May 032008

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles


I noticed that the needle on gas gauge was teetering a lot within 1/8-2/8ths for some time, but was told it was probably just a sensor. Then the car had trouble starting up randomly. It always came back on though so I lagged on getting it checked out. This goes on for probably 2-3 weeks until I'm out of town at the gas pump and it just refuses to turn back on. Spiteful POS. I had to call a tow truck ($30) and buy a fuel pump & a fuel filter ($700 w/labor) annndddd to top it all off the mechanic basically guaranteed it would bust again because these cars are known for it! Thanks for the bid of confidence! So far, so good though. I've put another 20000+ k on it since then, but its still a painful memory.

- , Victorville, CA, USA

problem #24

Jan 182010

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,660 miles

Car was hard to start two days before failure. It wouldn't start at the grocery store 2 miles from home. The tow truck driver was able to get the car started by banging on the bottom of the fuel tank while I cranked the engine. Car started, but died within 10 seconds. I bought this car new, and have never run the vehicle below 1/8 tank or run out of fuel. The low fuel light only came on once and I purchased fuel within 2 miles. Based on the other complaints regarding this problem with this vehicle, this was a manufacturing defect that GM should have stood behind.

The repair was done at a local BP Station for $535.00 including labor and all parts which included a new fuel filter. The dealer estimate was approximately $800 but could have been more or less depending on what was found during the replacement. We received the old part removed from the tank after the repair. The tag on the part indicated that the part was outsourced and made in Singapore. Unfortunately, this is just one of many problems experienced with this vehicle. Repeat problems with heater control repairs, and the other major repair needed was the intake manifold gasket. I'm 70 years old and don't feel this car is reliable enough to support my needs. I realize the car is 7 years old now, but expect at least 60-70,000 miles before major repairs need to be made.

I've had it with this car and have already researched the Milan on Mercury's website. I have a print of a window sticker of the vehicle I am going to look at tomorrow. Sorry GM -- you've got to do better than this vehicle if you want to retain customers.

- , Taylor, MI, USA

problem #23

Nov 022009

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I just recently purchased this car from hell on September 12, 2009 with no warranty. When I bought the car, both wheel bearings had to be replaced and that was done one week later. The dealership fortunately paid to have this done. Then 10 days later my car would just stall on me and one day, at work, I drove my car to work, parked it, and when I went to leave for lunch, my car would not start. I had to have it towed to a nearby garage and was told that the fuel pump had to be fixed. Now I had only had this car since the 12th of September so even without a warranty I still had a 30-day warranty to be honored. I called the dealer where I got this car and they told me that they would have my car towed to their shop and that they would have it fixed. Ten days later again they finally had it towed from the garage I had it towed to their garage. Why they didn't just fix it there I have no clue. It would have saved them plenty of money but now I understand why they did what they did. They had my car for another three days before they called to tell me what was the problem and that it was fixed. (Mind you I had been calling daily to prod their asses to get this done.) So when I got a call I was told that my fuel pump relay was bad and when I questioned about what the garage had told me about the fuel pump being bad, the dealer told me that it wasn't bad and that the relay was the only thing wrong. I have come to believe that they knew the fuel pump was bad all along and chose not to fix it but tell me that they fixed the relay. I did get my car back and it did run great for about two weeks. Then, one day on my way home, I was stopped getting ready to turn off of the exit ramp, and when I went to go it just stalled on me. So I had to get out and push it off the exit ramp and onto the shoulder of the road. Thank goodness for little hills because this worked in my favor for pushing the car by myself. So I call the dealer and tell them about this problem and I also tell them that I am not going to pay anymore for this damn piece of sh*t and for them to come and get it. I did some calling around and it would cost me about $250 for a new fuel pump in which my boyfriend could install and a used one would cost me $125. So we are going to replace the relay again to see if that is the problem. If it isn't, then I am going to have them come and get it becuase I don't have the money to repair it and I refuse to pay for a car that does not run and that I haven't had over two months. This car is a huge POS and do not ever buy one!

Update from Nov 9, 2009: Well I went out and purchased a new fuel pump relay to see if that was indeed the problem. To our luck, it wasn't. So I called the dealer and told them that it was indeed the fuel pump and I questioned them as to why this wasn't fixed in the first place. They told me that they didn't know and would have to call their mechanic, they don't have one on duty. So when I called them back once again, I was told that the fuel pump indeed needs to be repaired. When I told them that was what I said in the first place they came back with, well the relay was bad. I told them that I had replaced the relay and that it was now their turn to fix my car or take it back. I also told them that if they buy the fuel pump from a parts store, we would go and pick it up and my boyfriend would then put it in my car. This would save them money on a tow charge and getting it fixed, plus I will know that it was fixed the right way. They have not gotten back with me yet on this idea and if they don't fix it or buy the part that I need, then they can come and get it and put me into a different car.

- , Luther, MI, USA

problem #22

Oct 302009

Malibu 4DR SDN V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,821 miles

I am a student and I was driving home around 12:30am from campus and noticed the car began to struggle. So I turned to a side road, turned off the engine and tried to start it again to see if everything was normal. It would not start. It seemed to turnover but just wouldn't go. I had to call CAA to tow the car ( the tow man and I tried a few things, even added fuel in an attempt to get things going (we spent over an hour.)) I had the car towed to the dealership garage where I bought the car used at 68 000km. They looked at the car the next day and told me the fuel pump would need to be replaced and it would be $1100 for repair and $150 for the inspection. I thought that was ridiculous and told them I would not repair it at that price. They called back a day later and priced the repair at $750. I still think this is ridiculous for something that happened so suddenly. On the same day of the car failing I had taken my car to the same dealer and had winter tires put on the car because my brother was going out of town and was going to borrow the car for a month and a half (makes me wonder what the dealers played with, its certainly not past them).

This car has been nothing but problems! I cannot afford to pay such prices for this malfunction. If they offer repair at $500 I may have no choice, but otherwise I will get rid of this once for all. It has been nothing but problems. Right when I bought the car in the first week the window wipers (one literally flew off during a rain storm as I drove to work-WTF!) and the battery failed and had to be replaced. Next the muffler had to be replaced, then the front turn signal lights,then the brake pads, then the head gasket was leaking, the catalytic converter became loose, and now besides the fuel pump the turn signal lights are not working. I am sure now that this car is NOT SAFE. I live in Ottawa, Canada and the winters are dangerous, icy and frigid cold. I had the car for about two years and its been a major pain, and a financial stress. I missed a chance earlier to get rid of it and buy something new while I was working a lot. As a full time student I feel my hands are tied but this piece of might motivate me to work more again and replace it forever and never buy GM again!!! I hate GM!!! F*ck you ChevyWest in Ottawa!!!! F*CK YOU! I placed trust in buying this car as a young adult and you took me for the inexperienced fool I was!!!! All I can do is vent! Thanks for the internet, once mid-terms are through trust me, my next hobby will be a blog dedicated to the bashing of your dealership and your cars and your sales men and care replacement parts! Hopefully a google search of your dealership will have my blog high up there!!! F*CK you GM!!! Anyone got any name suggestions for a blog?

- , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

problem #21

Aug 242009

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I hate this car. The fuel pump died after I loaded up the car at the grocery store. I was going to have it towed to my house and fix it myself, but I said screw it. I'm tired of working on this car. It was going to cost me $290 for the fuel pump assembly, a siphoning tool to get the gas out of the tank, and all the aggravation of dropping the fuel tank. So I sucked it up and paid the mechanic $550 to do it. So far I've replaced the fuel pump, a front wheel bearing, both outer tie rod ends, the rack/pinion, and an early tune up. The steering column is bad. I talked to the mechanic and he said it's safe to drive, but it handles like crap. This car is junk. GM is junk.

- , Dearborn Hts., MI, USA

problem #20

Aug 072009

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,585 miles

After already having a WATER PUMP replaced and a crack in the MANIFOLD repair 2 months ago, now I find the damn FUEL PUMP has died and I have to pay for that also. The freaking engine just DIED on the very day we were to go on vacation. So I end up spending more money to rent a car (otherwise forfeit the hotel charges. What a waste! I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER GM VEHICLE AS LONG AS I LIVE!!!!! AND WILL WARN EVERYONE ELSE TO STAY AWAY!!!!!

- , Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #19

Mar 282009

Malibu LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

2003 Malibu

We were on vacation in Mesa, AZ and 2 days before we were to come home all of a sudden the car wouldn't start. It would crank, but not start. Of course it happened at 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. Had to have it towed to some schlock outfit that said it was the fuel pump and it had to be replaced. We had no choice as we were leaving for home on Tuesday. Towing cost us $80.00 and the useless fuel pump they say they replaced cost $758.00. We picked it up Monday late afternoon, drove it home, got up the next morning to leave for home and it wouldn't start. Just like before it would crank, but wouldn't start. My husband tried and tried and tried and finally it started so we left, but we were scared to death it wouldn't start if we turned it off so we had to leave it running for 3 days straight while we returning home. We left one set of keys in the vehicle at all times(motor running) and locked the car. When we arrived home we took it to a auto diagnostic company who kept the car for 3 days and couldn't find anything wrong with it. They said it started most of time and they weren't all too sure that the fuel pump was replaced or not. He said it didn't sound quite right. That cost us another $150.00. We then took it to a friend of a friend who has his own auto repair small company and he kept it for a couple of days and said it started most of the time, but didn't want to tear the thing apart because it would cost too much and we already spent enough on this piece of ** and he didn't want to put us through any more with this car.

He didn't charge us a dime!! There is a god!!!!! We want to trade this car in, but are afraid that if we shut if off at a dealership it won't start again. Other than this 1 pain in the a problem, the car has been perfect for us. I don't know who to contact at GM to try to get this problem resolved for us and all of you too.

- , Mishawaka, IN, USA

problem #18

Feb 252008

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

Worst car ever for repairs and would recommend getting rid of this vehicle fast because of other issues with head gaskets, etc.

- , Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #17

Mar 242009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Just a few weeks ago, we had to replace the head gasket for the second time in 12 months. Now the fuel pump has gone out. What is next?

The government shouldn't waste the time bailing out GM so they can keep on manufacturing piles of junk and marketing them as automobiles... they should be bailing out the people who are stuck driving GM's pathetic vehicles.

- , Joplin, MO, USA

problem #16

Nov 152008

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

The lemon of a malibu's fuel pump failed. After just having the ignition replace 6 months prior due to the theft switch shutting the pump off, I didn't know what to think the problem was. I did a lot more trouble shooting than normal to verify it was the pump.

- , Parma, MI, USA

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