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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,374 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

Apr 092019


  • 46,786 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the engine hesitated when started. Also, the instrument panel lighting became very dim and the data on the screen was not visible. Also, the passenger door would not lock and the windows failed to roll down. All the warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact jumped the battery and the engine restarted. Later, the vehicle decelerated while driving. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the anti-theft system failed. The mechanic was currently performing a second diagnostic test. The manufacturer and dealer were not made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was 46,786.

- Daytona Beach, FL, USA

problem #20

Mar 122018


  • miles
My vehicle is messing up on me and it was shut off my vehicle is messing up on me it will shut off well driving ill pull over and wait a couple mins and I will pull out the fuel fuse and wait a couple mins and will put it back and it will start again after a week it shut off on me and would not start had to have it towed took it to a mechanic he changed the fuel pump and marjoram worked for 5days then the same problem again changed the sensors worked ok for 2days and the problem came back again so I changed the spark plugs fuel filter all fuses still nothing its been sitting for 3 to 4 months now I can't seem to find the problem I changed everything U can thing of now the check engine and test system light is

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #19

Apr 252018


  • 155,263 miles
My car cuts off and goes into the anti-theft system while I'm going down the road when this happens my car has to be pushed off the roadway and then I have to sit with my driver side door open and my key turned on for 10 minutes until it resets itself this is very dangerous and it scared me because I was in the middle of highway 150 in danville Kentucky. Plusmy heating system is messed up I can't get it to bleed out the air in the system.

- Danville, KY, USA

problem #18

May 232017


  • 10,333 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the engine warning indicator illuminated and anti-freeze was leaking out of the vehicle. The contact took the vehicle to an unknown dealer where it was diagnosed that the head gasket blew out and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The ourisman Chevrolet dealer stated that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer informed the contact that the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The approximate failure mileage was 10,333.

- District Heights, MD, USA

problem #17

May 172016


  • 140,000 miles
Purchased vehicle used from a dealership. Over heating issues began within 3 months. Had thermostat replaced. Always seemed to have to be adding water as the reservoir was low or the indicator light would come on. 18 months later over heating issues returned while driving home on highway. When vehicle could no longer run, we had to have it towed home. Have now replaced thermostat and water pump. Issue remains, but worse. Low water and now check engine lights are on. All indications suggest head gasket issues which will ultimately result in complete engine failure. As such, the vehicle cannot be safely driven and remains parked. No such issues were disclosed at the time of purchase. Only learned extent of problem after researching issue online to find many, many other owners of this vehicle type experiencing same problems. Chevrolet showed little concern when contacted. Representative apologized, but as there is no recall would only suggest taking the vehicle to a dealership for diagnosis and repair. Owner is a disabled veteran on a fixed income. Chevrolet's suggestion is simply not financially feasible and leaves the owner without reliable transportation to and from appointments. He cannot use this vehicle for the purposes for which it was intended. Furthermore, online reports also suggest the problem remains or returns even after lengthy and expensive repairs are made. Once again, creating considerable hardship to this owner who now feels as though he was robbed first by the dealership where he purchased the vehicle for their nondisclosure and now by Chevrolet for their negligent design, quality and workmanship as well as their complete lack of desire to remedy this years old defect. Instead shifting the financial burden from one unsuspecting owner to the next and the next after that.

- Bly, OR, USA

problem #16

Mar 212016


  • 111,800 miles
Vehicle was running fine. Parked car for 1 hour went to start car it would turn over but not start. After checking all fuses and fuel pump I was advised it could be an anti theft malfunction. I followed a procedure to relearn the system and the car started. This has happened on 3 occasions and I fear the car will leave me stranded or malfunction while operating which could lead to a serious injury

- Diamondhead, MS, USA

problem #15

Nov 032015


  • 83,000 miles


There was a breakdown, of the upper and lower manifolds, caused by the dex coolant, and poor engine design. Coolant got into my engine, and needs to be repaired or a replacement engine replaced. Sending a picture of the oil cap with foam on it, and its like this inside the engine as well.

- Jamison, PA, USA

problem #14

Jul 012015


  • 126,000 miles
I had an ignition switch replaced by a dealer (dimmitt Chevrolet, clearwater, fl) because my key was stuck in it. The same dealer also replaced my key and key casing because of a recall. After that I starting noticing that my car would intermittently cut off forcing me to put in neutral and restart. I thought it may be a clogged fuel filter and had that replaced. The issue still exists and it is a dangerous situation to me and my family not knowing when my car will just stop running, especially while driving at highway speeds. I checked and do not see a GM recall on my model for some reason.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #13

May 062015


  • 84,000 miles
I have had a problem start with the anti theft system going off and having to wait ten minutes for light to go out and start vehicle.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #12

Jul 152014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 153,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated while driving 40-80 mph, the vehicle started to jerk violently. The failure was experienced multiple times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the vehicle needed a tune up. The vehicle was repaired but the failure continued. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 153,000. Updated 11/12/14 the consumer stated the jerking became more frequent. Due to the jerking gas mileage is extremely poor. Updated 7/27/2015

- Shelley, ID, USA

problem #11

Aug 272014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


As I was getting off an exit from the highway the car shut off and steering became hard. I let the car roll into the right lane where I could stop and turn the key to start the vehicle. The vehicle started immediately, steering was very hard. I took the car to a mechanic and the found that the power steering pump had to be replaced and the rack N pinion steering had to be replaced. One week later I drove the car to go to the beach with my dad and as I was driving the car seemed fine. When I stopped at a light the engine shut off again. Once again I drove to the mechanic the next day and when he put the computer to the car it showed that the #4 coil was malfunctioning. Thankful that I am careful and defensive driver. This situations are quite scary. I owned a Kia sephia for since 2005 and never did I experience what I have been experiencing with this Malibu.

- South Richmond Hill, NY, USA

problem #10

Jun 022011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 35 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact stated that approximately ten minutes of wait was needed for the vehicle to be able to restart. The failure occurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Shelton, WA, USA

problem #9

Dec 012013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
When driving the car it may stall, (and it has many times) which causes failure of power steering and brakes. The car also won't always start. You can turn the key but the dashboard lights don't come on, if they don't the car will not start. Also the battery won't keep a charge, unless you start the car and let it run at least every 2 days.

- Dover, DE, USA

problem #8

May 182013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 107,332 miles
May 2013: Car hard to start; multiple attempts before engine started May 2013: Had new key made at local Chevrolet dealer December 2013: Continued problems starting car; replaced ignition switch July 1, 2014: GM announces expanded recall to include 2002 Malibu; called local Chevrolet dealer; they said we have to wait for the letter from GM; dealer did not know about expanded recall July 14, 2014: Car engine turned off while driving July 15, 2014: Called local Chevrolet dealer again; still knew nothing about expanded recall; couldn't advise as to whether car is safe to drive.

- Portage, IN, USA

problem #7

Jul 182013


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, there was a sudden loss of engine power as the electronic throttle control warning light illuminated. The contact mentioned that the failure was experienced several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 73,000 and current mileage was 85,801.

- Brookeville, MD, USA

problem #6

Mar 012014


  • 57,000 miles
My handicapped mother has a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu that has been experiencing the same exact ignition related issues as those in the current massive GM recall. On more than two occasions the anti-theft light illuminates and the vehicle shuts off while she was driving. This has resulted in two significant repeat repairs, one in 2010 and one this week. In both cases the Chevrolet dealership describes the issue as an ignition pass lock sensor that fails due to key positioning. I have researched this online and have found hundreds of similar complaints. Luckily this issue has not resulted in an injury but easily could have in the very congested metro DC area that she lives in. Why is the Malibu not being included in the current investigation and recalls?

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #5

Feb 282014


  • miles
I was driving my vehicle at 35 mph when I went over a small pot hole on father hurley blvd. My right knee smashed against my key ring on the front dash area. Thee car lost immediate power. I could not accelerate or steer my vehicle. I had to slowly coast over to the side of the road until I came to a complete stop. Vehicles around me had a difficult time avoiding me since this event happened as I was approaching a lane merging with mine as they exited a major freeway. When the vehicle had completely stopped I put on my hazard lights and put it in park. I noticed that the key was not fully engaged in the ignition so I pushed it all the way back into the ignition and turned the key over. The car immediately started up and I was able to drive home safely. This is the 3rd time an event like this (where my knee has bumped up against the key ring and the car lost power) has happened in my history of owning this vehicle.

- Lovettsville, VA, USA

problem #4

Feb 262014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 109,500 miles
Was driving down the road and the theft system light came on and engine shut down as I was driving down the road. Almost caused a wreck. Did online research and found many similar complaints and same incidents. No recall on ignition switch/theft system light. GM knows of an issue and won't fix the problem.

- Sligo, PA, USA

problem #3

Nov 142013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
When the car is started, everything seems to be fine, but then the theft system light comes on. When the car is in park and reverse things seem to be normal. At the point the car is placed into drive, the fuel light comes on and says that there is no fuel in the car. At this point, the car will either stall out, while driving or we are able to continue driving. If we are able to continue driving, the car repeatedly shuts off all electrical systems, all gauges are maxed out and speed says 60mph. This happens repeatedly the whole time the car is being driven, but the car is still functional and still able to be driven. If the car system comes back on, the fuel light comes on and says empty and even the trunk pops open while driving. This is very dangerous for many reasons. If this happens at night, there are no headlights or any other lights or they're flickering on and off the whole time.

- Springfield, OH, USA

problem #2

Mar 152012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 77,235 miles keeps overheating. Put antifreeze it and run for a while and it will overheat again. No antifreeze on ground but keeps losing the antifreeze. Took vehicle to mechanic and was told that the antifreeze is mixing with the oil that it has a cracked manifold gasket. Recommendation was replace engine. 2.took vehicle to the dealer and they said that the on board computer chip thing needs to be replaced and they informed me that is a known problem with the car but no recall is in place as of yet. The repair cost is over $1300.

- Marlton, NJ, USA

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