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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,719 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.

2001 Chevrolet Malibu engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #42

Jun 132011


  • 115,000 miles


Just bought 2001 Chevy Malibu, its leaking coolant and the engine is overheating to the point of smoke. So the gasket is shot, I've taken this car in before over this problem but still seems to come back to the car overheating and smoke. No one seems to know how to fix this one guy told me to just get a new engine, the coolant diagnostic didn't help and all of my coolant can't seem to stay in there it just leaks as soon as it's in, so now what"?" there should have definitely been a recall for this GM needs to fix this considering my engine was tested and refurbished by Chevy no more than 8 months ago at the dealer. This car finally stalled out on the highway and almost killed me, there is no damage other than the ones I mentioned above.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #41

Nov 012009


  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chevrolet Malibu ls. Whenever the engine was started, the vehicle would not stay on; it stalled frequently. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer several times but the failure could not be diagnosed. The manufacturer had not been notified. The failure mileage was approximately 109,000.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #40

Jun 152008

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
I have a 2001 Chevy Malibu with the 3.1L V6 engine that has 4 defective pistons in it (GM document id# 773655) also installed in 2001 Buick, Chevy, Pontiac and some olds models. I bought this car new with 4 miles on it, it had a slight "tick" when started cold at that time, which the dealer explained that it was "injector noise", not to be concerned. The noise got just a little worse until it got up to 37,000 miles (just out of warranty), then it became very noisy and didn't go away when warmed up. I had complained about this noise every time I had the dealer change the oil. Then I found a complaint on the internet about these engines and the fix. That is when he finally produced the bulletin explaining the problem, and informed me that it was too late, warranty had expired. I contacted Chevrolet (request#71-79653429) and they told me about the same thing-warranty is gone, sorry you didn't know to get it repaired under warranty. We are 72 years old and bought this car to last us the rest of our lives, and it just may not make it. We do not drive a lot, 46,500 miles in over nine years, but this thing is getting noisier by the month. Can anything be done to help us old folks?

- Portland, IN, USA

problem #39

Apr 162007


  • 60,000 miles


I bought my 2001 Malibu in 2003. I had no real problems till this year 2009. My mileage now in 74,000 and the problems started at about 60,000. After a accident everything started to go. My gas gauge went down and my temp gauge also. My auto lock for my doors was not working. My air vents only work when they knob is on 3.main fuse box has major issues and the water pump went out and cost $2300 and needs a $500 service for the main fuse box. Water pump was replaced also 2005. Cost about $600 then. I wish someone would have pointed these problems before. GM needs to step up to the plate; especially after taking more money from the tax payers for their mismanagement. I love my Malibu but GM better get on the stick and help the ones who have this defective 2001 Malibu.

- Shoreline, WA, USA

problem #38

Sep 242008


  • 53,490 miles
My car over heated twice. The first time I realized that the antifreeze was very low and I filled it up and went to my meeting. After my meeting was over and began to drive the car, it over heated again. I had to refill the antifreeze 3 times before I got it to an auto shop (as I was driving). Once I got to the auto shope, I was told that the antifreeze was running in to the oil pan. Currently, I don't have a car because I was told by the mechanic that the engine was no good and they had seen several cars like mine (same year) with the same motor problem.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #37

Apr 062002

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Bought 2001 Chevrolet Malibu new on March 14,2001 engine started knocking around 35,000 miles. Has gradually gotten worse. Sounds like a diesel. It is either piston slap or bad lifters. Dealer would not fix issue at the time. Car continues to run. Also this vehicle has poor brakes. Replace rotors and shoes at 12,000 miles at dealer. Replaced rotors again at dealer at 30,000 miles. Currently has 111,000 miles on vehicle and is in excellent condition. Would like GM to fix engine issue at little or no cost. Brake issue is better with aftermarket parts.

- Frankfort, ME, USA

problem #36

Apr 202004

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


I am a single mom of two, and am frustrated that all of my savings have gone into this money pit. I have replaced the intake manifold twice, and its going out again! I have replaced the water pump, heater core which are dying, and the theft system twice. I have had a fuel leak by my engine and had it enter inside my car and its doing it again, my ABS brakes only work when they want, and these are just a few of my complaints!

- Johnsburg, IL, USA

problem #35

May 012007

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chevrolet Malibu. The low antifreeze warning light illuminated. The antifreeze had to be refilled once a week. The mechanic stated that the intake manifold was leaking antifreeze. The failure mileage was 45,000 and current mileage was 46,849. Updated 01-15-08. The was informed by to mechanics, that it was common with this type of engine. Updated 12/12/07.

- St Louis , MO, USA

problem #34

Dec 012001

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
The car made a horrible knocking noise shortly after I bought it brand new. 5 different dealers stated that the teflon from the rocker arms in the engine wore out and thatw as what was making the awful noise. Itwas cosmetic, so to fix it would cost a lot of money. Also, the intake manifold on the car has cracked causing the engine/radiator to leak anifreeze out the exaust. GM needs to recall these cars because of all the problems. I can go on and on with my car. I have maintained it every 3,000 miles meticously and should not have this problem with a car that only has 60,000 miles.

- Duluth, MN, USA

problem #33

Feb 262007

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles
Defective gaskets causes engine coolant to leak into engine and mix with engine oil. Common problem for years on Chevrolet Malibu's and GM has never issued a recall. Or contacted consumers to notify them of this issue? I have always well maintained my car and done so to manufacturers specs. This is obvious disregard for their customers.

- Alexander, NY, USA

problem #32

Jun 012006

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


Engine leaks anti-freeze, turn signals go in & out, fuel gauge not always right, making a loud banging noise, and now dead won't even start. 2001 Chevy Malibu 3.1L V6 $22,000 & only 67,000 miles.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #31

May 172005

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,031 miles
Myself and many other 2001 Chevy Malibu owners have had to replace all the major engine gaskets in their cars. I am disabled an the car would stall everywhere putting my safety in jepordy. The engine can't maintain compression because of the leaks. GM refuses to even resond to my emails. I urge you to check into this matter. I even had to replace the air conditioner. It's not fair to the consumer to let GM get away with this. It has cost a lot of money not to mention the safety factor. Please check the to see all the other complaints.egr valve also had to be replaced. In the process of filing my complaint with the BBB and the doj the dealer inadvertly provided documentation that tha engine had been leaking before we purchased it.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #30

Mar 092006

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles
I am having problems with my car overheating. I have brought my car to several different places and everyone tells me that this is common in Malibu, and something should be done about it. I have had my radiator replaced, my thermostat changed, my coolant system flushed. Now Chevrolet is saying it might be my water pump that's causing the problem. That will cost 586 and if that's not the problem they will check other things while im going to be the one taking the lost.

- Reserve, LA, USA

problem #29

Feb 092006

(reported on)


  • 70,000 miles
On two occasions 2001 Chevrolet Malibu has failed to start. ** answer required*** the vehicle was taken to the dealer twice. Diagnostic test were run but the dealer was unable to find a cause for the problem either time.

- Wisconsin Dells, WI, USA

problem #28

Jun 252004


  • miles
While driving home from work in 90+ degree heat my car overheated to the point where I had to have it towed in and was told by the mechanics that my coolant had been leaking and causing the car to over heat there blowing the head gasket and causing me to have to pay $1200+ to have another engine put it. I have heard this is a commom with the 2001 Chevrolet Malibu. I don't know what the repair shop done with the old motor, but it was fried.

- Wildwood, FL, USA

problem #27

Jun 262005

Malibu 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Contact states while driving the vehicle overheated, causing it to stall. The temperature gauge went up very little before the temperature gauge read completely hot. Vehicle was taken to service dealer, who stated that intake manifold gasket failed, which caused the head gasket to fail, leading to the warping of the cylinder wall and head. The entire motor needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was looking into this matter.

- Temple Hills, MD, USA

problem #26

Nov 152004

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,200 miles
I notice that my coolant had to be refilled because the "low coolant" light was staying on in the dash. The repair shop told me they had to replace the intake manafold and I now have coolant in my engine and in my oil. This is a potential dangerous problem with the Malibu. The engine could blow creating other problems. The same problem has been noted with many other Malibu owners.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #25

Sep 012004


  • miles
2001 Chevy Malibu complained of head gasket and fuel pump problems. The consumer had the upper intake and head gasket replaced. A month later the vehicle's fuel pump failed which caused the starter to burn up.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #24

Sep 012004


  • 57,000 miles
During inspection dealership informed the consumer that water was leaking from the head gasket. The problem was repaired.

- Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #23

Jun 012004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Filled gas tank, drove 100 yards, gauge drops to read empty. Happens occasionally in the same manner. Erratic. Requires utilization of the trip meter to track fuel usage. On one occasion gauge read tank was about 1/8 full, car stopped running and was out of fuel. Second issue: "theft security" light has begun to come on erratically. Driving along, light will suddenly come on. After departure of car, and return, driver must then follow 10 min. Procedure to alleviate the problem. Third issue: Without installation of high quality tires on this vehicle, the noise level and wear pattern is absurd. The cupping and wearing has occured on 2 different sets of good quality tires. Upon installation of Michelin high quality tires, the problem stopped.

- Upperville, VA, USA

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