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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
81,447 miles
Total Complaints:
119 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (46 reports)
  2. leave ignition on for 10 minutes and restart (30 reports)
  3. have GM research and fix their problem!!! (18 reports)
  4. had ignition module and harness replaced (5 reports)
  5. had the ignition cylinder(where key is inserted)replaced (5 reports)
  6. replacing sensors for anti-theft (3 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #39

May 122007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


"Theft System" light is on constantly. Car used to not start and the "fix" would be to leave key in the on position for 10 minutes and restart. At that point the theft system light would be on intermittently. In the past 4-5 months, it is on consistently, but I have had no problems in starting the car and it runs fine. Mostly an annoyance, though I am concerned about resale value if this is something that is costly to fix or will decrease the trade-in or sale value. GM should have recalled these cars as this is not my only problem!

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #38

May 162007

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I had problems at first with detonating the anti-theft, have to wait 10min etc. issue. Now mine has apparently morphed into another, similar problem. I can drive my car. My electronics does not appear to be effected, but my anti-theft light is on all the time. Like, what's with that??

- , Westmont, IL, USA

problem #37

Feb 222008

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Well, I have to say thank you to Madison Motors for not telling me about this problem when I bought the car used. I have been to the mechanic 3 times for the same problem - anti-theft bullshit! Car would crank, but not start. Being familiar with car repair, I did checked fuel pressure (good), spark, all good. Take it to the mechanic, he charges me $150 to "recode the ignition to the BCM." Four months later, same problem, left me with my car stuck at work! The second trip had me going back to have a new ignition switch and ignition lock with hall effect sensor replaced - $ 300!!! Two months after that I experience the same difficulty and had to spend the night at the friend's house where my car crapped out - too bad I did not know that if you crank the car, then without removing the key, turn it to the on position and wait 10-15 min for the ignition to recode itself with the BCM, so I get it towed back to the mechanic. Now he tells me I need to replace the BCM, and from what I have read on this site, I might need another BCM before the care expires. At least the mechanic I went to knocked off $250 for the unnecessary replacement of the ignition components. Still cost me another $250!!! Bastards! I entirely blame GM and Chevy for not having any kind of recall or restitution for putting out a faulty product. I do not feel that Jap cars are any better, because with all automotive companies, it is all about how to make more money, which means selling crap that they know will break. Where do you think the Japs have their electronics made? China, just like everyone!

- , Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #36

Apr 062005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


I cannot believe how many people have had this same problem and that the dealer is unwilling to consider it a recall! How many complaints does it take for a dealer to fix a problem??

- , Chilliwack, BC, Canada

problem #35

Nov 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

The more complaints I read here, the more I realize I'm not alone. Too bad we all share a frustrating experience. In Nov 06 I spent $470 to have the ignition, etc, replaced. Now, just this January (2008) I had the same type of problem, but I bought-in to the mechanic telling me it was the battery, etc, etc. I bought-in for $170. Now, this past Friday (02/08/08) I had the same damn thing happen again. The mechanic says it IS the same problem as Nov 06, but it'll cost $540. I've never tried the "set the ignition to ON for 10 minutes, turn back off for a minute" technique, but it sounds cheaper than $540. The other problem is that I have no guarantee that this won't happen again.

I bought this car 10 days after 9/11 and I felt proud to buy an American car. Now I'm going to save the $540 for my first 2 Toyota car payments after I trade in this piece of junk!!

- , Cleveland, OH, US

problem #34

Jan 152008

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Ok, so I'm the second owner of this 6yr old car. The first guy had it for 3 and had problems from day one. He actually found a dealer that temporarily fixed the problem (for a year or 2) but then I got the car. I can't tell you how many times I had the car towed to a mechanic only to have them tell me it was the anti-theft system. The problem always showed up in a slightly different way though, so it always threw me off. Sometimes it just wouldn't start. I finally learned about the turning the key to on for 10 min, so that usually gets me out of the bind, but one day the car actually shut off on me while I was driving...lost the power steering and everything. Luckily I was right near a parallel parking space and could slide right in. But my main complaint is that I keep taking it to the dealer EMPHASIZING that it is problems w/ the security system, and first they tell me it's the fuel pump, then the ignition switch. Now $1100 and two weeks later, I have the same problem. And they won't own up to it. I take it in for one diagnosis, and they come up w/ other ones w/o ever fixing my main complaint. Thank God they're not doctors, or I'd be one ticked off, overcharged, and messed up patient. SO WHY DOESN'T CHEVY DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS? Does anyone know who I can talk to that would actually be able to help. Right now I'm living in Detroit, motor city, what better place to get help, right? Obviously not!

- , Perkasie, PA, USA

problem #33

May 152007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,500 miles


GM ought to have to recall this problem Not only does the anti theft keep the car from starting, it comes on while driving, all the electrical shuts down, including the A/C and locks the radio. This now happens about four times a day.

- , Santa Rosa Beach, FL, USA

problem #32

Jan 182008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

We've loved the Malibu until this happened! I hate to even have it towed because it sounds like it's the anti-theft device . I wish Chevy would do a recall!

- , Pinetop, AZ, USA

problem #31

Jan 072008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,775 miles

Well, add me to the apparently long list of folks who have been SCREWED by GM!!! I have tried religiously, several times a day to start my car using all of the methods listed on this site and several others I have found on the web, but to no avail! My car sits in the drive while I take a cab everywhere I go, which is getting very expensive. BUT...I have no other recourse as one has to work, you know. The Passlock "anti-owner" system is a transparent money-grab by GM, and is a source of aggravation and exposes people unnecessarily to dangers they would not normally face, as in the "dark parking lot scenario." Why don't those of us who have been taken advantage of by this conglomerate of automotive abuse find a really good law firm and file a class action suit against GM for all the time and money we have lost on this POS car (read REAL lemon). I would be willing to help organize such a suit. If anyone is seriously interested, please e-mail me at I am totally fed up with corporate abuse of the little guy.

- , Logansport, IN, USA

problem #30

May 012005

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,500 miles

Dealer replaced the ignition cylinder and the problem was solved. Unfortunately, warranty had already expired.

- , Sandusky, MI, USA

problem #29

Dec 042007

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles


I had the same problem as everyone else with the anti-theft system, at least now I know that I don't have to have it towed every time it happens

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #28

May 282007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.1

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

I have a 2002 chevy malibu 3.1 with 104 thousand miles. I work on my own vehicles most of the time. This anti theft system is a pain in the a@@## !! I now turn my key on and listen to hear if the fuel pump is going to run. If I hear the fuel pump, then I know it will start... If I don't hear the fuel pump then I take the key out of ignition and lock and unlock car, open and shut door, then repeat process... sometimes it takes several times before the theft system will allow the electrical system to engage my fuel pump so car will start... so far I've only had to reset theft system twice..( which takes 10 min. ) what a pain.. I drive 80 miles one way to work and I car pool with 3 other people.. I can no longer trust this car and my car pool people are threatening to kick me out. I've owned this car since 2003 and have put all the miles on this car except the first 23k. I have pulled the ignition theft lock system out but can't see which wires go to theft system. Does anyone know?? If I knew which wires are for theft system maybe it could be disengaged ?? Any help would be appreciated.

- , Moundsville, WV, USA

problem #27

Nov 252007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Chevy needs to do a recall on this problem. This is a family car, if I had to rush my son to the hospital and I had to sit in this car for 10 mins due to a problem they know about. Huge problem for Chevy. I see over 20 complaints already.

- , Mt.Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #26

Nov 182007

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Well, once again the Passlock system on my piece of crap Malibu acted up again this morning. I am very tired of this happening without any help from Chevy, or any dealership. While I realize it is not the dealerships fault, I have paid them over $1,000 for the FIRST THREE times it happened and they could not fix it. Luckily I found the fix on the internet. But, I am not satisfied at all. It is no wonder that GM is in the situation financially that they are. The build shotty products that do not hold any type of resale value, and do not back their quality up. I own a Nissan Xterra because I refused to purchase another GM when we were in the market for a SUV. I am going to buy a Honda Civic this week, and trade this piece of garbage in on it, although I am sure I will only get around 10 bucks or so in trade. I will never buy a domestic again. Import (although most are made here in the USA now, but with tremendously higher quality, and standards, but that is due to the UAW in the 'big threes' facilities, while the Japanese will not stand for it, but this is a whole other issue).....anyway, Import is the way to go. I hope all three of the 'big three' are out of business in less than five years. None make a quality product.....

- , Hanover, IN, USA

problem #25

Nov 042007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,166 miles

I drive truck long distance for a living. I came in at 2:00am from my trip the Malibu started up, I drove it about 200 feet to the office,and turned off the car while I went in and did up my paper work. 20 mins. later came out and presto the motor turns but the car won't start after several attempts my boss and his wife are now awake and came outside to see what the problem was. He put gas in from a gerry can thinking it may be out of gas but it wasn't the problem. Now after everyone in up and freezing in the middle of the night I had to have my boss drive me home. Went back next day called a garage the mechanic came over checked everything took over an hour thought it might be anti theft system, said send it to the dealer. now 2 days later after many complaints someone told us to try the 10min trick and voila it started piece of JUNK.

And don't get me goin on the front wheel bearings this will be the third time I'm change the passenger side. I'm real impressed with Chevy and the fact that there is no recalls for these breakdowns.

- , St Paul Ile Aux Noix, Quebec, Canada

problem #24

Oct 082007

(reported on)

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,949 miles

this was the first actual repair made for this problem, however the same problem keeps recurring.

- , Novato, CA, USA

problem #23

Oct 252007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

I had this problem initially 3 weeks ago & end up getting a new battery to fix the problem. Then, the same problem occurred again 10/22/07 while getting ready to leave work. The light came on 2 days previous for like 2 minutes & shut off. Then 2 days later my car doesn't start while I'm getting to leave from work in the pouring rain. A big headache... I told my mechanic & he figured out what the problem was. He suggested me turning it to the on position for 10 min. and then start the car. I was so happy, it started but annoyed by what was causing it not to start. The dealership needs to fix this problem immediately at their cost. Its such a big inconvenience, especially when you have small children to pick up after work.

- , Rochester, NY, USA

problem #22

Oct 242007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I hate it because sometimes I be in a hurry and have to sit 10-15 minutes before I can crank my car. It happens at least 1-2 per month. If this is happening to more than just me there should be a recall.

- , Fordyce, AR, USA

problem #21

Sep 262007

(reported on)

Malibu 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,231 miles

A huge mess, time stealing, aggravating, pain in the butt. I have two kids so my time is precious. Husband drove to work and the vehicle messed up badly on him. Made a noise when unlocked and brakes are all the way on the floor. WHY?!?!?!?!?!?

- , Fairborn, OH, US

problem #20

Sep 222007

(reported on)

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I have the same issue as everyone has listed on the Pass lock. I was at work and came out to start my car and it will not start. I also went thru the issue of turning off the car for 10 minutes or so and let the car reset. It lock up completely. I had to pay $280 to have this fixed. I am very upset over this and this should be a manufacturing recall.

- , Opa Locka, FL, USA

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