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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,781 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.

2002 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 7 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #51

Jun 142010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 104,500 miles


Passive alarm system malfunction. Theft alarm led comes "on" while driving. There were reports of car dying while driving, see the link Consumers spend hundreds of dollars and great inconvenience not knowing why the cars does not start or stopped running.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #50

May 252010


  • miles
I own a Chevy Malibu 2002. The problem is the anti-theft system. The anti-theft system shuts down the fuel injectors and the car won't start. I have to put the key in the ignition in the on position for 10 minutes to reset the computer. Sometimes this will take more than 1 attempt. This happens on a regular basis for no reason. There are thousands and thousands of dissatisfied customers who are currently experiencing this problem. Also many after market parts claiming to disable the anti-theft system to try to satisfy customers. I purchased this vehicle in October 2001 and have had this problem for years. I only wish I had found out about this site sooner to voice my concerns. Please do some research. There should be a better way to fix this issue than to disable the system.

- Byhalia, MS, USA

problem #49

Jan 012010


  • 85,000 miles
2002 Chevrolet Malibu turn signal intermittently working/not working. This situation poses a safety risk when not working properly.

- Wheation, IL, USA

problem #48

Mar 152010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 16,000 miles


I drive my car and it cuts off. Try to start it but cranks no start. Bought new battery no start. Smell fuel. Don't know what it is afraid to drive.

- Hyattsville, MD, USA

problem #47

Apr 052010


  • 50,955 miles
2002 Chevy Malibu, failure to start. Towed to repair show, determined it is a bad anti-theft sensor that is preventing me from driving my own car, using official Chevy key, but not starting. Cost $575 to tow and repair. Scam. Why is Chevy putting such a device in the car that is obviously faulty and serves no purpose whatsoever expect to scam people out of their money.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #46

Mar 152008


  • 90,000 miles
I had to get the "ignition locking system" fixed 2 times in the same year at $600 each time. My car would not start so I would get it towed then when it got to the auto place it would start right up. This happened 3 times before I finally had to bring it to the place I bought the car and have it put on the machine to find out what was wrong. Then the same thing happened 13 mon. Later and it was not covered under warranty because it was more than 12 mon. I called the recall place and they said there was not a recall on it but I still think it definitely is a recall. This car has cost me alot of $ in repairs.

- Wrightstown, WI, USA

problem #45

Mar 152010


  • 0 miles


The theft system keeps turning on and I cant find out what is triggering it and it happens frequently the car will not start unless the key is in the on position for 10 minutes.

- Hollister, CA, USA

problem #44

Mar 072010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 33,359 miles
Without warning, car suddenly will not start. Anti-theft system will activate when trying to start car. It appears that the ignition does not recognize the car key. Seems it thinks someone is trying to still the car. This first happened in the summer of 2009. It just happened again on 3/7/2010. In both cases the car had to be towed to a repair shop. The first shop was an independent repair facility. They reset the computer that controls the ignition system. The second shop was the dealer. They reset the computer that controls the ignition system. Then, they replaced the BCM unit and the ignition key cylinder. I've done some background checking on this type of problem. Many, many owners of this make & model (Chevy Malibu) have had this same issue.

- La Grange, GA, USA

problem #43

Mar 102009


  • 102,000 miles
2002 Chevy Malibu has a faulty passlock system that disables the vehicle about 25% of the time when a valid key is inserted into ignition. Safety issue if person needs medical attention, if in dangerous area, or if car needs to be started and refuses to do so because of faulty part. I have found a workaround that has seemed to work for me. Place key in ignition, turn to "on" position. Open driver's side door and wait until warning chime comes on. Then turn car on as normally. Seems like the passlock system has a hard time registering if there is a key. Anyway, this is simply unacceptable on GM's part and I sincerely believe a recall should be issued for this problem.

- Devon, PA, USA

problem #42

Dec 062009


  • 136,516 miles
The theft system of my 2002 Chevrolet Malibu periodically is triggered for unknown reasons. It happens fairly often up to several times a month - most recently twice today, 6 December 2009. To correct this issue I have to set my car in the "on" position for ten minutes while the system resets. This is very inconvenient (if I was on my way to an appointment or job) or could be quite dangerous &/or life threatening (trying to get family member to the er or trying to escape an attack of some kind). Chevrolet needs to do an investigation & recall whatever is causing this fault in their cars.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #41

Aug 172008


  • 72,182 miles


Intermittent fault in turn signals on my 2002 Chevy. Malibu. Nothing happened to create this problem, they just stopped working. Now I have to use my hands as turn signals.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #40

May 012009


  • 40,000 miles
2002 Chevy Malibu, 80,000 miles brakes always noisy even when new..brakes and calipers have to be replaced every 2-3 months with minimal use......hazard light and turn signal intermittently.....ignition lock-out....could not start car or remove key from the ignition....lower intake manifold gasket failure......left headlamp field of vision narrow and short.

- Liverpool , NY, USA

problem #39

Nov 012009


  • miles
For the past few weeks, my car has had a problem starting up. I had someone look at it and he said there is a problem with the theft system. When I try to start the car, it will not do anything. I have to wait until the theft light goes off before the car even starts. I thought that seemed strange but after reading other complaints I see that I am not the only on having that problem.

- Orangeburg, SC, USA

problem #38

Oct 252009


  • 96,000 miles
The passlock system on my 2002 model Malibu has failed several times causing my daughter and grandchild to be "stuck" at different locations away from home. The system even failed during her driving one day which could have been a very bad situation for her as well as other drivers. Luckily, she was able to control the car as it completely shut down. I took the car to Chevrolet and they told me the fuse box had shorted out due to rain (?) as well as the ignition switch was screwed up. Anyway, over the course of 1 year, I spent a total of approximately $1700 in so called repairs until I found out about the 10 minute trick. Nevertheless, the 10 minute trick turned out to be a 1 hour trick just yesterday. And Chevrolet won't fix the problem"!?!"! this is a nuisance and dangerous as well.

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #37

Oct 172009


  • 55,000 miles
Electrical system-anti-theft/passlocksystem. The situation arises with no prior warnings, I insert my original GM key in the ignition switch to start my 2002 Chevrolet Malibu and the electronic anti-theft system goes into theft mode (as if I am stealing my own car). The theft system light on the dash starts flashing and the car will not start. The engine turns over but will not start. I have to leave the car switched on for 10 minutes (while draining the battery) until the theft system light quits flashing and stays on steady. At that point I must turn the ignition switch to off and then try starting the car again. This has occurred about 6 times since I reached 55000 miles. The last time was last week and I am now at 76000 miles. Dealer pretended that they have no idea what caused this and had not dealt with any other problems of this type with the Chevy Malibu at their dealership. I see after doing much research that this was a total lie on their part. They supposedly tried to recreate the problem, but could not. They told me they had to wait for it to happen again, at which point I could have it towed there and they quoted me $650+ to replace ignition assembly (what they considered the "likely" cause). Car also makes outside horn noises randomly and the inside alarm chimes randomly. I've read all of the complaints on this, even one woman whose car just stopped while she was driving on the highway due to this antithefft system problem. This is an obvious defect needing recall and obviously dangerous on many levels. There are many complaints on auto complaint sites (ie., autoforum) and I can see complaints on this site as well. Why aren't you doing anything about it?! please respond!!!

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #36

Aug 162009


  • 38,790 miles
I drove my 2002chevy Malibu to work and when I got in to start it, the car would not start. I had to have it towed to a garage. It cost me a tow bill and $278 to have the anti-theft system reset. Now I am reading that this may happen again and again as long as I own the car! there should be a recall for this to be fixed permanently. My daughter also has the same model and it has happened to her twice.

- Okmulgee, OK, USA

problem #35

Oct 032009


  • 75,000 miles
Anti-theft system will not allow car to start even though I am using the factory key that came with the car. This occurs approximately every ten to fifteen times I try to start the car. It has been doing this for the last two months.

- Townsend, DE, USA

problem #34

Sep 072009


  • miles
My mother owns a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu that sometimes will not start because the theft deterrent system gets a false reading and shuts off power to the fuel pump. Placing the ignition key in the on position for 10 minutes will usually reset the theft system. This problem has happened to us several times. I did an online search and found where many people have experienced this same problem. Some have spent several hundred dollars trying to correct the problem. Can GM be forced to correct this. Now that we the people own a majority stake in the company, it seems a perfect time to have this corrected. You know that they knew about the passlock problem, but in their arrogance and greed, would not correct it. If you have any questions please call james mcdonald. Also, if you want to see other peoples complains do a google search of Chevrolet Malibu theft deterrent system problem and you will see the numerous complaints. If this cannot be corrected with your intervention, I will never buy another General Motors product. Thank you for your time.

- Meridian, MS, USA

problem #33

Sep 012009


  • 94,000 miles
Tried to start my 2002 Chevy Malibu ls and would not start. Anti-theft system light was on. The failure seems to be the passlock to the anti-theft system. The computer can be reset but this does not fix the problem it is only a temporary fix. Apparently there is not a fix for this problem at all. It will just keep happening as long as you own the car. I have been luck that it's only done this while parked. It is my understanding that the anti-theft system could kick in at anytime and shut off the car even while driving. This to me seems dangerous and should be a recall.

- Castro Valley, CA, USA

problem #32

Aug 142009


  • 164,000 miles
I purchased a used 2002 Chevy Malibu in 2005. In 2006, I had to have the pass lock sensor replaced due to the car not starting. This is apparently a common issue in GM cars, I've since learned. There is something wrong with the theft deterrent system. About two months ago, the car would not start again. The fuel gauge read empty even though it wasn't. the body control module was replaced. Today, I took my car through a car wash. While sitting the dash indicator lights all came on, but the car was still running. The lights stayed on and none of the dash gauges were working. I made it home, turned the car off, restarted it, same thing. I was advised to attempt to reset the pass lock sensor. This seems to have worked so far. I have been advised that it is most likely the pass lock sensor or BCM again. Apparently, this is a super common issue in GM cars for the pass twelve years. In total for the two repairs already mentioned, I have spent about 1200 dollars. I strive to maintain my vehicle for safety purposes. It very frustrating to know that GM has been aware of this issue, yet has made no attempt to resolve it for car owners.

- Nicholasville, KY, USA

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