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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
80,650 miles
Total Complaints:
118 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced intake manifold gasket (58 reports)
  2. not sure (31 reports)
  3. replace gasket (13 reports)
  4. run to the hills and buy an import (6 reports)
  5. submitted my name to class action lawsuit (4 reports)
  6. replaced with non-plastic gasket (3 reports)
2002 Chevrolet Malibu engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #78

Sep 062008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


The intake gasket screwed up again after I had it fixed 6 months ago! It blew the heads AGAIN! I'm sick of this POS! Chevy... come get it! I'm done with Chevy! I'm buying a new car because I have had so many problems with this car!

- jlh0603, Dallas, TX, US

problem #77

Apr 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

My coolant light was on even though I would fill it up. The car started over heating and I ended up replacing the entire cooling system. My heads blew and I replaced them as well as the intake gasket.

- jlh0603, Dallas, TX, US

problem #76

Aug 012008

Malibu LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

GM should fix design issues like this under warranty.

- Josh L., Farmington Hills, MI, US

problem #75

Nov 152006

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


The 2002 Malibu LS had its problems, and I got bit by one of them. I noticed the coolant light was coming on. At first, I thought maybe it was just a isolated problem, so I filled the coolant. I then gradually began to notice the unmistakable odor of hot antifreeze. It also began to leak out slowly over time. As the problem worsened, I decided to have it looked at.

Once I fixed this issue, the car was great. I never had another problem with it. I would have gladly kept driving it, but I was rear-ended at a stoplight. I can gladly report that even though I was hit by a car that was going at a high rate of speed, my injuries were not severe.

- Jon E., Indianapolis, IN, US

problem #74

Mar 182008

Malibu LS 3.I

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,856 miles

North American automakers are not worthy of the skin it costs to cover their deceitful bodies, they should have scales from laying in the lowest,slimmest depths of morality, the machines they claim to be the best are absolutely the worst, This 2002 CHEVY MALIBU LS w/ 3.1 engine is the last car I will EVER purchase thats made on this continent, made in Canada/USA, assembled in MEXICO!!!!!and not worth the material it takes to build them, the body designs are made to trap road debris, salt,sand,and water perfect for creating rust, and it works great, turns the car into junk. Everyone jumps on the Oil Companies about pollution, well what about anti-freeze, now Prestone and GM have developed a way to ruin the whole car, and engine, rust out the body with sand traps, and pump all the anti-freeze into the oil pan, overfilling the crankcase, causing the oil pump to blow out all the other gaskets and spew an oil/ anti-freeze mixture with the consistency of baby sh*t all over the road,and ENVIRONMENT, all this just by the deliberate installation of an inferior gasket they knew would do this within a certain amount of time / usage. Are we to expect similar reductions in quality by more of our so called reputable N.Am. companies????? if so, should we all buy our autos from a foreign automaker who the US claims to be amassing nuclear material and technology to wage war on us

- Chevy H., Edmonton, AB, Canada

problem #73

May 122007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Have to refill the coolant on a regular basis. Have not yet replaced anything, but am unhappily anticipating it!

- abnc, Charlotte, NC, US

problem #72

Jun 142007

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles


Went and got my hazards/turn signals fixed because there was a recall on that. Which was good, because none of them were working. While there, I was told that my manifold intake gasket was leaking antifreeze.And that it would cost $950.00 to fix. At that time didn't notice much of a problem so we just kept an eye on it. Now, its gulping down the antifreeze and its going God knows where. (There's almost never any puddles). So now, we've concluded that we'll buy the part and my finance` and I will do the work to fix the damn thing! (no labor cost. Ha, take that Chevy!)

Other than that, my car has been a dream to drive. Good gas mileage, etc. Just some dorks won't step up to the plate and recall it!

- Theresa V., Westmont, IL, US

problem #71

Jan 072008

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,952 miles

This is very disheartening that a North American Company that proclaims we must buy American can't stand behind there product. Don't leave much reason to support this company.

- Dog P., Chatham, Ontario, Canada

problem #70

May 152007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,500 miles

How can GM justify using PLASTIC valve cover gaskets. I've never seen such a shoddy and CHEAP way to build a car. Besides other problems, I'm dumping this piece of crap as soon as I can find someone to take it off my hands!

- Jana L., Santa Rosa Beach, FL, US

problem #69

Jan 272008

(reported on)

Malibu Sedan 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

click to see larger images

leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket

This was the worst car I ever purchased. Even worst than my 1984 Ford Tempo. Experienced problems from day 1. Drove car 3 days when it started losing anti freeze.. Returned to dealer where they replaced the intake gasket, thermostat and gasket. After test driving it, they found engine was missing so they replaced a cracked plenium. The dealer had the car for nearly a month. I got the car back just before New Years Day. I drove the car for a few days before going into the hospital for a scheduled procedure. Did not drive the car again until Jan 12th when I filled the tank. While driving to work on the morning of the 13th, I felt a pop from the engine. Both the battery light and the oil light came on and I coasted to the shoulder of the road. Within seconds black and gray smoke was coming from beneath the hood.I got out of the car and seconds later flames appeared totally destroying the engine.As you can see from the photos, it was a total loss. Dealer refused to do anything about it. Only drove car less than 300 miles. Vehicle had a 90 day warranty but dealer refuses to return my calls. So I guess a stop at the PA Attorney Generals office is next.

- Chet G., Wilkes Barre, PA, US

problem #68

Apr 202007

(reported on)

Malibu 4DR SDN 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,400 miles


During a recent trip, March 6, 2006, to the VA Hospital I had a horrifying experience with my 2002 Chevrolet Malibu engine’s performance. With only 42,400 miles of normal wear and tear on my Chevrolet Malibu the engine cooling system suddenly lost coolant while in slow, stop and crawl, backed up traffic on Inter State 40 west. I began to smell antifreeze and at that time I noticed steam rising from the hood of the car. The temperature gage was one line above normal. I immediately pulled over onto the paved shoulder of I-40 west and immediately the temperature gage returned to normal as the car gained speed. I proceeded around the backed up traffic and continued to my hotel. After the engine had cooled I checked the coolant tank and the engine compartment. There were no visible leaks, broken or busted hoses, only the coolant tank was empty and the low coolant light came on. I added one gallon of water. Started the engine and let it run for twenty to thirty minutes. The temperature gage remained on normal.

The next day, March 7, 2006, I returned home without any problems other than a slight rise in engine temperature on the gage at stoplights. The following morning, March 8, 2006, I took the car to my Chevrolet Dealer for a checkup, service and repairs because of the incident.

March 9, 2006, service repairs were completed at a cost of $1,002.19. Earlier the service agent “Peter Cornali” had explained what the problem seems to have been and the estimated cost of repairs would be about $1,004.00 roughly. After twenty years as a new car customer (Buicks and Chevrolets) I am extremely disappointed with General Motors and Chevrolet as an American Car Manufacturer.

I should not have to pay for these repairs. I expect Chevrolet to reimburse me the full cost of parts and labor for all repairs related to the engine coolant failure. Enclosed for your review and consideration is an original repair order, copy of my registration of ownership and a copy of my cancelled check.

All american made cars (GM, Ford, Chrysler) made in Aremica by americans for americans when serviced and maintained in accordance with manufactuers reccomendations by qualified dealer's mechanics far exceede 100,000 miles without any major problems. As much as I hate to I am forced to look into buying a Honda, Toyota or etc.. I am a buy American, American. The BIG THREE needs to get their act together. Larry Ford Fayetteville, NC USA

- Larry F., Fayetteville, NC, US

problem #67

May 252007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

My Malibu has been leaking coolant and it ended up cracking the intake manifold gasket.

- Andrea Y., Shawnee, KS, US

problem #66

May 252007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3.1L N6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,670 miles

I bought this car in 2005 from a private owner and it only had 42,000 miles. It ran great until it started to leak coolant in my driveway. I also had to keep adding coolant to the engine because my coolant light kept on turning on. I called about a dozen mechanics, gave them all the information on the car and they all gave me the same answer... the intake manifold gasket was shot. All twelve mechanics gave me a repair quote around $800.00-$900.00. I found an auto shop that had a good reputation and took my car in. It turns out they were replacing intake manifold gaskets on 4 to 5 Malibu's a week! Needless to say this shop was quite proficient at the repair. Here's the kicker... when the mechanics tore down the engine, they also discovered the head gasket was blown, (this is why I had to keep adding coolant to the car!). Two out of the six spark plugs were getting coolant deposits on them; I saw the plugs myself. So now I was looking at $1,696.07 in repairs!!! If it hadn�t been for the timely arrival of my tax refund, I would have shot the car with my twelve-gauge shotgun! Don�t get me wrong. I�m a true Chevy fan but if the gasket problem is as prevalent as it sounds, GM should be mandated to make the repairs or reimburse repair fees!!!

- ammo, Syracuse, UT, US

problem #65

Apr 122007

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

the engine finally blew and completely destroyed the motor...the shop told me it was due to a gasket that let water on the head....He told me he has seen several problems of this type with the same car.... unfortunately i wasn't aware of the problem.. I knew I had to keep adding coolant and it was disappearing...Looks like the car company would have made me aware of the problem... they need to make this right

- reginar, North Wilkesboro, NC, US

problem #64

Oct 182006

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have had to have my thermostat, water pump, and intake manifold gasket replaced. I contacted the dealership regarding this problem and of course they acted f*cking dumb. I want to file a lawsuit against GM for repairs done to my car that were caused by the Dex-Cool coolant in order to get my money back.

- Vanessa W., Houston, TX, US

problem #63

Dec 222007

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I still owe 5000 dollars on this car until now it has been a great car i got that paper in the mail last year about the class action lawsuit for the same problem i am having. Now here it is the day before Christmas eve, my car breaks down on the way home from the hospital where my mother just went into a coma that the nurse tells me shes not coming out of. So thanks chevy for being there when we need you most.

- rpnelso, Arnold, MO, US

problem #62

May 272007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,079 miles

I am concerned anytime I find oil in the coolant overflow tank. This means that their is coolant in the engine oil and there is a significant possibility that some engine damage has occurred. I wasn't sure how serious the problem was until I read the rants on this website. I will be talking to my GM dealer immediately. I bought the car new in 2002 and have changed the oil every 1800-3000 miles due to the fact the car was driven mostly in the city. I am hoping this has mitigated the danger of engine cylinder damage caused by the ingress of coolant into the engine. The electric Sunroof quit working after 3 years. I only used it about 20 times, so it didn't die from fair wear and tear. The arm rest on the drivers side cracked. The hinge on the glove compartment is plastic and broke in two. The price tag to repair was $400.00. You have to buy the whole glove compartment, not just the hinge. They quoted me up to $1200.00 to fix the sunroof. Thankfully it is closed and I just don't use it.

My last 3 cars were a 1978 Malibu Classic, (loved that car), a 1991 Chev Cavalier 4 door, excellent running car but rusted out quickly and finally the 2002 POS Malibu LS.

I will fix the car and run it until it blows up then I will buy a Toyota. Never again will I buy a North American made vehicle. I would by a Lada first, at least my hands would be warm when I push it to the side of the road.

- Douglas M., Victoria, BC, Canada

problem #61

Nov 082007

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,486 miles

What a crappy car. I loved my car up until today. I started smelling antifreeze burning when I would get out of my car, then my low coolant light came on and now I am seeing antifreeze on the ground. When I took it to a mechanic he told me that I need to replace my head gasket. THANKS a lot Chevrolet FOR RUINING MY DAY!!!!!

- Shirley B., Lexington, KY, US

problem #60

Nov 022007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

My add coolant light came on and I topped it off.Next day-same thing. Reservoir was empty again.I figured out that I was losing it through the overflow tube.Took it to my mechanic and paid $76. for him to tell me they could find no leaks and he went ahead and put a new thermostat in it.A few days later I am out of coolant again.I went and bought a repair manual on my Malibu,studied up on it and went to Autozone ,bought a new cap,TA DA! problem solved. My o ring was gone on my radiator cap.$6.00. Guess they were looking for something hard and it was so simple.Oh yeah guys-I'm a 54 year old FEMALE.

- Lynn T., Grand Bay, AL, US

problem #59

Nov 082007

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

guess im not the only one auto mechanic says it is common

- Bob E., Rego Park, NY, US

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