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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
91,750 miles
Total Complaints:
74 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. turn ignition to ON for 10 mins, off for 5 seconds, car starts (36 reports)
  2. not sure (23 reports)
  3. replace the passlock sensor(kit) (6 reports)
  4. replace ignition cylinder (4 reports)
  5. onboard computer reset by a mechanic (2 reports)
  6. cut yellow wire, install a single pole toggle switch (1 reports)
2001 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #74

Dec 042017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles


Anti theft system kept my Malibu from starting twice.First time it was towed and cost over $100 to fix. I went on Internet when it did it again today.. My vehicle only has 56,000 miles and has been great till now.

The info I got from internet worked this time,and saved me money.What in blue blazes is causing this problem? I'm worried that it may leave me stranded .Any suggestions if this anti theft thing can be removed? I am NOT stealing my own auto. Much as I paid for it,my bank account felt stolen from.

- James D., Henderson, US

problem #73

Aug 072017

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

The theft system issue in this car has really caused a lot of strain in my life. Everyday I stress over whether or not I will be able to make it to work or back from work. I did have it diagnosed and was told to replace the lock cylinder but that only improved the problem a little bit. The total cost for that repair ( Labor, parts, computer scan, passcode relearn etc, was $454.29 but I only got a minor improvement (being stranded for only 5 minutes now instead of 10 like I was before). I'm horribly stressed because this is my only car. I am currently trying to find someone to help me with the bypass that I've heard about but have not found a mechanic who will do it yet.

- chrissyl., Battle Mountain, US

problem #72

Nov 222016

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,038 miles

My car is hesitating to crank just got a new battery, it was fine for few days. At first it was the anti-theft light now this. Need some help with his problem. This is not fun. THANKS

- deelmo, Garner, NC, US

problem #71

Aug 012003

Malibu LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 225,000 miles


I loved the car, however, I do like to ride in it. Because of this "theft" system, I have been stranded at work, trying to get to work, at the mall shopping, out late at night, stuck out of town for Mardi Gras - stranded; going down the road - locked up, get the idea. If you are reading this, you know the feeling. I have been charged for so many towing charges and mechanic fees that it is unbelievable. It was not until some time ago that I found the 10 minute wait period; pull the key out and wait 5 seconds. Now I just use this time as part of my prayer time. I used to get so worked up but it was not helpful at all - car never started that way.

If GM wants to do the right thing, they will MAKE IT RIGHT with their customers.

- opelikadog, Opelika, AL, US

problem #70

Oct 052012

Malibu LS 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,250 miles

Can't start this car for anything- sick of walking to work!! Turns over but won't start...theft system light still on. GM needs to recall this....Please!! On a limited budget so I can't afford this bullcrap!! If I could I would try and get a lawyer but CAN'T! Tried to reset with key in but....Nope! I will never buy a GM vehicle again!!

- Darrin S., Flint, MI, US

problem #69

Feb 272012

Malibu 3.O

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,465 miles

this passlock problem really sucks and its also very expensive.I mean my car would not start for nothing in the world. they got me for 300.dollars for towing and emmissons and thanks to this site i did what someone suggested and it work. turn ignition to on for 10 min 5secounds off start the car .( PRICELESS)

- williemorales, New York, N,Y, US

problem #68

Jan 092012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


A couple of weeks ago I started having problems with the "theft system" activating. This problem happened a few years ago and cost me $600.00. Now not only do I have to do the "10 minute wait" but the car now will stop running while I am driving it. THIS IS A HUGE HAZARD AND COULD CAUSE ME TO BE HIT AND MAYBE EVEN KILLED!!!! I can't believe that this has not been a recall item.

- acody, Mobile, AL, US

problem #67

Aug 292011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

This is totaly rediculous, the car itself is in great shape, looks like it came off the showroom floor, even drives great but, my wife has had this car for less than two months and in the last two weeks it hasnt wanted to crank twice on us. I thought that it was the fuel pump but vthen we were told that it is a safety defect with the theft system. We were told to turn the key on for ten minutes,turn in off and then right back to on for another 10 mins,then off again and on again for another ten minutes and then try to crank it. Sure enough it cranked up. After that I got on the enternet and seen that there r houndreds of complaints for the same thing and I just cant believe that there is no recall

- Randall A., Mexia, TX, US

problem #66

Dec 012011

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

problem started in June 2011, mechanic stated that it was from me using copies of my key from the local hardware store, not originals from dealer. Talked me into paying for a new ignition cylinder @ the cost of nearly $600.00 and said to me always get keys made by the dealer,. After the work was done my p(ass)lock system has set the theft system off 4 times. Each time I left the key in the ignition with the car running for 10 minutes and

my car would start and the theft system warning light would not be on, until the next


Today, I shut the car off, go into the store, (do not recall seeing the theft system warning light), come out and my car won't start. Begged for help from a friend who was available and after talking through it, we went on the internet and found out just what a pain the

p(ass)lock system is. We went back to the car and followed the over ride instructions, leave the key on in the ignition for 10 minutes until the theft system light is on solid, shut off and try to start. 1st time it did not work. Tried again, leaving the key in the ignition in the on position for 15 minutes, the theft system light went off. I shut the ignition off for the 5 seconds and Hurrah, it started. Now I am going to get the passlock override system installed. I am going to have a talk with my mechanic about this

- Diana R., Aberdeen, ID, US

problem #65

Apr 112011

Malibu 3100 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,211 miles

I had a new ignition and key put in in April of 2011 and now today September 2, 2011 Same thing Theft light blinking and car will not start. I am reading all types of complaints on google. One would think GM would have to fix this problem as I'm disabled and live on a fixed income and need my vehicle to bring my daughter back and forth to school. I don't have 425.00 dollars lying around every four or five months to repair this problem. Something needs to be done.

- sleicher, Seminole, FL, US

problem #64

May 022011

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,656 miles


What hasn't gone wrong this car? The only time it started normal was when i test drove it. the night I bought it, it failed to start. the day after i bought it last may it had to be towed to the dealer and so began the Malibu saga! first the idiots at the dealership replaced the battery and gave it back to me. drove it back to them the next day. they replaced the key sensor. 2 days later had to have it towed back to the dealership. they replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, cleaned the fuel injectors. drove it for a week worked fine. then the starting problem began again. took it to my mechanic. stupid idiots at the dealership had put in a bad fuel pump/put it in wrong because it was leaking all over the place. so the fuel pump was replaced again. still didn't solve the problem. kept taking it to my mechanic and everytime i took it to him it started for him first try no problem, so even he thought i was crazy. so i got into a nice routine since last june of the car not started the first time but it always started on the 2nd try. annoying, but a nice little routine it was, at least it would start. one mechanic who looked at it said maybe it was the fuel regulator, said i would have to pay another $400 to have that fixed, but my main mechanic said the fuel regulator tested fine so i decided not to repair that. then in early fall of 2010 the engine noise began, that awful clanking, clicking rattling noise when it's running, especially in the cold weather. i was informed by a friend who knows cars that i could hopefully get maybe 2 years out of the engine, but that the problem and noise would only get worse until the engine finally blows(maybe he's right maybe he's not). so the plan was to try to make the car last until 2012, pay off more of it and try to sell it off to someone for $2k/trade it in, because i can't afford to get into a new loan on a car 2012. still $5K on the piece of crap. if i had known i never would have bought the thing. then a few months back random warning lights would go on while i'm driving. the theft system light would randomly turn on periodically while i was driving, but it didn't seem to be causing any problems. then the airbag light started flashing randomly, who knows why, who cares. and then about a week ago, it went from always starting on the 2nd try, to not starting till the 3rd try. then a few nights ago it took 4 tries to start it and i smelled gas strongly and it sounded like my starter was about to go, i finally got it to start and since then until this morning it would start on the 3rd try. this morning i went to start it and instead of the usually crank and no start the first time or 2 and then starting, it made the noise like the car was going to fire up and start normal and then it just died. tried that 10 times and it sounded then if i kept turning the key for a long time like it was hurting the starter and made that awful scrapping noise when you over turn the key. i kept trying to start it and same thing making the noise like the car was gonna fire up and just died, if i kept turn the key it would make that awful noise.i then noticed that the anti-theft light was blinking(previously that had never occurred when trying to start the car, only had happened randomly while driving) also the airbag warning light was blinking. and of course as always the oil and battery light were on but thats no different then when it typically doesn't start. i couldn't deal with it because i had to get to work, thankfully i found a ride to work. my dad is going to go over and try the little "reset trick" and see if he can get it started and drive it to our mechanic. hopefully this time the car will mess up in front of the mechanic so he doesn't think I'm crazy. hopefully whatever he fixes will make this piece of crap car hang on until 2012 when i can get a new car. i hate Chevy. they know that every Malibu from 2001 is a piece of crap and yet they do nothing. and they keep making cars that are pieces of crap. the only Chevy product i would ever buy would be a Camaro, other than that i will never ever ever even consider buying another Chevy product. a friend of mine has a 2006 Malibu and said they fixed the starting problem in that year, but everything else about it is still awful and keeps breaking. so Chevy should just make Camaro's and forget about making any other cars. Chevy should be punished for making such awful cars.

- Noelle M., Lakewood, OH, US

problem #63

Apr 152011

Malibu ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

this is such a hassle wen u r tryn to handle business to reset yr car in the middle of town

- morganla, Jonesboro, LA, US

problem #62

Nov 152010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

GM sure knows how to make $,huh? I wonder how many people paid to have this fixed?! HOW DARE THEY install a system that fails miserably!!

- Sue A., Toronto, OH, US

problem #61

Jan 102010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

SOBs at GM know about this problem because it tells you right in the owner's manual that this may occur. Says to wait 10 minutes and then start!!! NOT very safe for a single woman leaving work at 11:pm in a bad neighborhood!!

- Sue A., Toronto, OH, US

problem #60

Feb 082011

Malibu LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,222 miles

All Chevy cars are garbage. They aren't even worth looking at. Problems with the anti theft system can get really irritating. The problems arise when one least expects it.

Apart from this, the engine has a knocking noise. Not much of a surprise since it is a Chevy. Sometimes I get a little scared when changing the oil. Will I find some more metal shavings on the oil pan plug?

Then there are those other electrical problems. There are moments where the heater, radio, gasoline or temperature gauge suddenly stop working. The thing about this is that the problem is on and off.

At this point I don't even know where Chevy is going with this. I see them comparing themselves to Toyota or Honda, brands that are way above and more advanced than Chevy. Chevy, one big mistake!

- ca67gmpont, Aurora, IL, US

problem #59

Jun 202010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

at this point I'm gettin' really pissed!!!! was late for work due to problem and got docked pay!!(not to mention a mark on my attendance record!)

- Sue A., Toronto, OH, US

problem #58

Jan 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

went to a friends for dinner at 4pm-tried to leave at 9:30 but NO START!! tried all the tricks i've read on-line every 10-15 mins. til 11:30pm with no luck!! waited til 1:00am to try again and still nothing! THANK GOD i didn't have to be at work today 'cuz we didn't get home til 10:00 this morning!!!! good thing we were at a friends and not in the middle of nowhere(we often hike in remote areas that don't have cell service) or i would probably not be writing this as i'd be DEAD from frostbite!!!THIS IS A SERIOUS SAFETY ISSUE!!!! If GM does not recall and repair very soon i'll badmouth them everywhere!!!!!!!!!!! will NEVER buy another vehicle with this feature. i DID find instructions online to disengage passlock but I shouldn't have to deal with this,GM should!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Sue A., Toronto, OH, US

problem #57

Aug 222010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

I'm so goddamn tired of the Passlock System coming on & disabling my car. The first time it happened I didn't know what to do so I had my damn car towed & the assholes said my fuel pump was out. So I got the fuel pump fixed & guess f**king what? Same goddamn problem. Now today....I have the same problem. Got ready to go home & my damn car won't start. I'm sick of this bullshit!

- Kacie R., Texarkana, AR, US

problem #56

Sep 262010

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

this passlock anti-theft thing stinks to no end. I have gotten in my car to go and in the last week i have had this happen at least 6 times this last week. something has to change with it because its a pain, you should be allowed to get in your car and go not have to wait 10 minutes.

- Michelle S., Cherryvale, KS, US

problem #55

Oct 142010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

I had had my car towed there thinking that the dealer would be the best place to go and I was sick to my stomach with being held hostage and having to pay $121 even if I didn't have them install the new ignition barrel, so $757.00 much later I drove unhappily off the lot. I now find out that I could have bought a device for $69.00 on the internet that would have by-passed the problem. Absolutely disgusted but back on the road with a lighter pocketbook.

Update from Nov 27, 2010: I complained to the dealership and GM but have not had a response, great customer service huh? Now I am definitely calling the governement number to take this further.

- agnew, Sunrise, FL, US

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