Print this page


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
64,054 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace starter tumbler and wiring connector (3 reports)
  3. complete bypass system (1 reports)
2003 Chevrolet Malibu accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Chevrolet Malibu:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #8

Mar 012012

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,320 miles


passlock 3 sucks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is great bypasses the bcm and the lock cylinder

- , Clarendon Hills, IL, USA

problem #7

Oct 042011

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

The entire design team at GM who signed off on the Anti-Theft system on my 2003 Chevy Malibu should be gutted like a deer and left on the front lawn of GM headquarters to bleed out. These people are in the wrong line of work. F**K You all !!!!!!!!

- , Freedom, PA, USA

problem #6

Mar 082011

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

I was left high and dry in a Walmart parking lot when the car would not start. The symtoms indicated a fuel flow problem as it would attempt to start. I had the vehicle towed to a garage where even they were at a loss until they checked on the internet and found the common passlock problem. This problem is so common, it's even covered in the owners manual. I bought and replaced the lock cylinder which contains the problem resistor. A garage will probably try to sell you a switch assembly as well to double the price of repair. It's not needed! After replacing the cylinder I realized the problem is fixed, but my new ignition key will no longer open the car doors. I will be going back in to by-pass the passlock system and re-installing the old cylinder. It's easy to get to. You can have the ignition out in 10 minutes

- , Kennesaw, GA, US

problem #5

Mar 092011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 108 miles


I am 18 years old and i bought a 2003 chevy malibu. I spent every last penny i had to buy this car. I am fixing to be going to college and have to drive about an hour away to get their, but my car keeps f*cking up. I have know spent $700 in parts and i knew someone who could do labor!!! I first replaced the fuel pump,it rode then it quit. Second i replaced the fuel filter, it rides again and then quits. I then find out my water pump is leaking so i fix it, nothing. Then i buy a new ignition switch, and now i need a passcode for my anti-theift system and their is a possibility it still will not work. which if i can not figure it out, will cost about another $500 to get a dealership to reprogram my "new" igniton switch. i just dont know what to do, i have no more money to get a new car and without a way to college i can not go.?????

- , Brownsville, TN, US

problem #4

Jan 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles


Hi Folks, yes, I know this site was intended for the 2002 Chevy Malibu, and I have a 2003. (Apparently, GM did nothing to fix the problem the next year.) But through this site, I have learned much that I needed to know, and I think we share the same problem.

I purchased my car in May of 2007, with 38,000 miles on it, in mint condition. (48,000 miles in late 2010.) The car has been a dream since that time, except for a freaky little problem with the accelerator gas pedal sticking, which fortunately didn't get real serious until I'd come down off the mountains in western NC, when it was then fixed. Then, this past year, there were four times when the car wouldn't start--- rather, it DID, but then it would lose RPMs immediately, and die. After about 6 or so attempts to restart, w/ the battery seeming like it was about to go dead, it would start right up and go merrily along for a few more months. (Did have to get a new battery, though.) Recently, too, I noticed that the Theft System light sometimes stayed on, then sometimes it didn't, but it has never blinked. All of the above has started happening more often. It never occurred to me that this was anything to do with the anti-theft system, because my manual didn't say anything about what would happen, symptomatically, if there was a problem with this-- it only said to have the engine checked out at a chevy dealership. For some reason, I always thought that what would happen was that the horn would start blowing. Also, I learned that if I put my foot on the brake, and reved it up, then threw it into gear and released the brake at the same time, I could drive w/o any more problems (probably not a good thing for the car, but when you're stuck somewhere, you just want to get unstuck). You can laugh at me all you want, but it didn't seem illogical to me to think that this had nothing to do with the anti- theft system, because if I could figure out how to get passed it, surely a real thief could!

With such in mind, I called the local Chevy dealership and spoke with the service manager, telling him of my car's symptoms. He told me that he had absolutely no idea what it could be, and that it may be a matter of guessing until they got it right... and that, BTW, it would cost $80/hr just to take a look at it. Told him I'd have to think about it. Something smelled fishy to me...

Another woman clued me in, saying it probably WAS the anti-theft device, and it might possibly have something to do with a computer chip in the key? Well, after I looked on the internet, and especially your site, I realized this was not an uncommon problem. SURELY the service manager would have SHOULD HAVE known something about it?

More disturbing are the reports of people's cars shutting off while driving down a highway at 75 mph. Are these problems related? And, the fees they are being charged to fix a problem that most certainly GMs responsibility, that they are certainly trying to shirk! And no doubt, one must go to a GM dealership to have it fixed.

As I said in the opening of this letter, THE MEDIA is the one to alert to this problem, otherwise GM will continue to collect the bucks, instead of recalling these car models, as they should.

- , Hayesville, NC, USA

problem #3

Oct 292010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

pretty much the same as everyone else! Drove downtown to have dinner, and after dinner, the car won't start. It just turns over and turns over, like it's getting zero gas. I finally notice (after a someone comes to see if they can help,) that the 'autotheft' idiot light is blinking. I figure the stupid car thinks I'm stealing my own car, with the dealer key no less. Well, I call the tow truck (insurance for the tow at least) and the tow driver tries to 'reset' the Malibu by doing a careful full electronic lock and unlock with the Remote, but that doesn't help. He looks for other 'anti-theft' system 'resets' in the trunk and stuff because I guess good cars have some way to convince the car that you are not a thief.

It wasn't until the next day while the car is in the shop that I found out about the 'wait 10 minutes' with the car in 'ON' mode, and then turn it off, wait 10 seconds and then back on again. And then you can drive until the dumb car does it to you again. The Chevy mechanic confirmed this method to 'get around' the problem if you are out in the middle of nowhere and don't want an expensive towing bill.

But I can't be wasting 10 minutes everyday for the rest of my owning this vehicle and I couldn't sell it as-is, so I forked over the nearly $500 to get a new key-ignition-core put in. The shop could guarantee it for a year, but after that.... I'm on my own.

I will definitely sell this Chevy Mal-i-poo before this year is out. (or donate it to charity, I don't think, in good conscience, I could sell it to anyone.)

I put $1000 in repairs into this car so far this year, and $1000 the year before, and $2000 the year before that. And now the thing is only worth $3000 on KBB. I'm starting to think a payment on most anything else will end up being cheaper long term.

- , Bothell, WA, USA

problem #2

Sep 092010

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

PassLock Theft System DOES NOT WORK

I just bought a 2003 Chevy Malibu. It look beautiful....but...It only starts when it feels like it...I tried to figure out the idiosyncrasies.

Turn key, car should start. Not so. Put key on "on" count to 10, (sometimes 12) turn key to start. It may or may not start

Took car to dealer....they could not tell me what was wrong !!

Who came up with this sorry...sorry system. The car only has 60,000 in great shape...

I'm SO disapointed !! More of the Heart Break of America !! Chevrolet How Could YOU ?

Update from Oct 31, 2010: 10/31/2010 Well today it will not start at all. It cranks and tries hard to start, but dies. Like the Passlock is cutting off the gas.

So tomorrow I'll be calling AAA to have it hauled back to the dealer.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #1

Aug 132005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Ok, So first off, let me just say that this is something I have seen NUMEROUS other people complain about. The anti-theft light comes on and the car won't turn over and will have to sit and wait for the system to reset before you can try again. If your car stalls in a dangerous area then be ready to RUN! Hope you don't have kids in the backseat or are driving in a dangerous area. GM has been ignoring us on this issue for nearly a decade, and all because they're too cheap to use the right materials. They refuse to acknowledge the issue officially because they installed this system on a LOT of cars. If you have the same issue, PLEASE file a complaint with the NHTSA to force GM to fix ths issue. All the home remedy solutions are nice and all, but it's still devilishly wrong of GM to keep profiting on their own oversights at their own customer's expense!

This issue (as stipulated in the article describing it) is due to cheap parts that run very sensitive critical systems that allow GM to charge a diagnosis every time you come into the shop, they will troubleshoot your fuel system, recommend replacing the fuel pump, the body control module, (master computer) the starter tumbler and casing and has cost me a grand total of over $6000 in repairs and labor (thank GOD my family has AAA Plus!)

There is a lovely description of the problem at this link:

A facebook group dedicated to it here:!/group.php?gid=129805317054124&ref=ts


Also, if anyone starts a class action lawsuit, please let me know!

Best Regards -Pissed yet informed Malibu owner

- , Norfolk, VA, USA

Not what you are looking for?