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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
85,935 miles
Total Complaints:
14 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (8 reports)
  2. replace head & intake gasket (3 reports)
  3. replace engine (1 reports)
  4. replaced fuel filter, injector & air filter (1 reports)
  5. these cars have air pockets so that's why they overheat (1 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Malibu cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #14

Mar 102016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles


Yesterday while driving on the interstate the engine became so hot, the temp touched the maximum limit. The lights came on. I slowed down and got off the interstate. I felt the engine jerking. I got home driving very slow. Lost a lot of time. Not sure how much it will cost me to fix this problem.

- , Tumwater, WA, USA

problem #13

Jan 162012

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,995 miles

The car will be driving fine short distance. Without warning, no codes or other indicators, the temp will jump to the red (not gradual) and light will come on. After car cools and fluid is added and system bled, the car will start again and run short distance before repeating. The cooling fans kick in as they should. The car has 97K. I have replaced the head 3 xs. I replaced it 2x but the problem continued so my mechanic blamed it on replacing head with defective head and now the 3x. We have also replaced the water pump, the pressure fit overflow cap, thermostat, manifold intake and still show pressure test issues.

I have only had the car for 1-1/2 years and only added 10K. I have a phenomenal mechanic who can normally troubleshoot these problems without fail but we are out of ideas and the car continues to overheat. My mechanic continues to check all related systems but everything seems to check out codes, brand new heads and clue. PLEASE advise any known remedies or repairs not yet attempted and advise of any known lawsuits against chevy as there are no recalls or remedies offered.

- , Saint Petersburg, FL, US

problem #12

Dec 112009

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,532 miles

Let me first say I LOVE my car. It's been good to me- up until now.

My heater went. I was driving my normal hour and a half to work listening to the radio announce it was 9 degrees outside and had no heat. I called my father (who knows cars) and he said that that I should check my antifreeze. It was almost empty. So I stopped somewere, filled it, and hoped it would be a problem forgotten. Of COURSE it couldn't be that easy!

I was losing antifreeze up to a gallon a day and the engine was overheating. So I took it in to a garage. We could see that the intake manifold gasket had a leak, so we assumed that was it... The garage fixed the gasket, my thermostat, and while they were at it I asked them to change my hydrolic lifters (they were starting to make noise). In total, I spent $850.

Not even 3 miles from the garage, the car overheated. They towed me back. They looked into it again and said it MIGHT be the heater core since I had used Stop Leak with the antifreeze issue. Anyway, My father (remember: the man who knows engines) said that there was no way that was the issue and blah blah blah. They worked on it a bit and said it was free to go. Again. I got the car back and it was STILL overheating. We made it 7 miles this time. THen an additional 3 after the engine cooled (and we had put antifreeze into it). I decided to take it back.

Long story cut to the end, I took the car to another garage with a man who worked for Chevy for about 23 years. It is not my heater core. In fact, it's my head gasket. So right now we're pricing the head gasket and/or a new engine.


- , Sterling, PA, USA

problem #11

Nov 012009

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


I just bought this dam car about 4 months ago what a mistake!! The first day i drove it home it over heated and had to be bought back the head gasket was blown ! Then I kept smelling gas and the car was running like crap bought it back again. This time it was the fuel injector.

Now its 4 months later and the car over heated again replace thermostat still no good. Head gasket had to be replaced again!

This car should NOT be sold to the Public. Its a danger to yourself and anyone around you. I am far from rich and cant be throwing money into it! CHEVY needs to start helping its customers and fix these problems for FREE!!! If there is a law suit against them I will be on that list!! Needless to say I will be getting rid of this car as soon as possible.

- , Sussex, NJ, USA

problem #10

Feb 142008

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This car has been nothing but problems overheating, alarm system, and at time the a/c. For me this is definitely a lemon car..

- , Weslaco, TX, USA

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problem #9

Sep 182007

Malibu LX 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Runs hot constantly. Cant even drive 5 min. have tried everything....waterpump, coolant system, radiator, and intake manifold. AND IT IS STILL RUNNING HOT. POS! GM needs their ass whooped for this bundle of mess. Im online searchin for anything i can find as far as recalls. HELP!

- , Americus, GA, USA

problem #8

Sep 172007

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


got the car because we need a car to go out of town with but it is no better than the car we had before first it started to leaking than it would not start because of the theft system have changed the heater core the radiator water pump even the engine it still wants to get hot the engine i put in the place i got it from said they replaced the intake gaskets for us now i am trying to sell it because we had to get another car but not a Malibu this time a Audi

- , Hugo, OK, USA

problem #7

Jul 132008

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I think GM should put these problems on recall. It only has 920000 which is not alot of miles. Will never buy a Malibu again

- , Belleview, FL, USA

problem #6

Jan 022006

Malibu LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

So far I've flushed the radiator, changed the thermostat, replaced the heat sensor, put in new coolant tank and cleaned out the hoses; to no avail did it do anything other that just slow down the overheating a little bit. Due to this, I can't drive the car very far from home. Took it to a certified mechanic shop and they can't figure it out either and they had it for an entire week... The water pump is still working no leaks and i double checked the fuses for the coolant fans and they seem to all be working. Just a pain in the Butt not being able to figure it out, other than just driving it off the nearest cliff.

- , Teec Nos Pos, AZ, USA

problem #5

Jan 302005

(reported on)


  • 78,000 miles

problem has been on going since the summer. after long drives 1000,to 2000 kilometers heat gauge goes up. it can be freezing cold or a normal day. does not act up when driving at 100 to 140 k when i slow down or stop the gauge will creep up. in slow traffic the heat gauge may go up or may not .

- , Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

problem #4

Oct 242007

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


The manufacturer should do a recall due to the fact of how many of these have failed.

The Hazard switch also keeps coming on.

What's also hard to understand is that when taken to a place to fix it (Pet Boys, where's its been 3 times) why would a large repair/parts shop like this not be aware of a common problem like this with the vehicle. It just goes to show you can't trust any repair shop to be competant, professional or honest.

- , Hendersonville, TN, US

problem #3

Dec 122007

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I never knew what was going on with the car...the engine finally blew..i kept water in it...replaced it with the same kind of motor..i know its only a matter of time before it blows again..i wouldn't pawn this problem off on anyone..the manufacturer should step up and recall or fix the this what big business has come to?

- , North Wilkesboro, NC, USA

problem #2

Aug 032007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

engine overheating. sux.

- , Columbus, IN, USA

problem #1

Apr 172007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,565 miles

Took car in several times when overheating. Main coolant hose exploded and I have had it replaced three times. This time I was told that the injector got frozen and the valves that controlled the heating/air cooling system had busted so they had to replace the entire unit. Again nothing was covered even though I have the extended warranty. Seems that since the car hit 48K miles everything has started falling apart. I will tell you one thing the original tires on this car lasted me 50K miles.

- , Ontario, CA, USA

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