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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
75,016 miles
Total Complaints:
51 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced intake manifold gasket (36 reports)
  2. not sure (7 reports)
  3. re-sealed manifold and replaced water pump (4 reports)
  4. replace intake manifold gasket (3 reports)
  5. replace engine gasket (1 reports)
2003 Chevrolet Malibu cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #31

Nov 112008

Malibu LS 3,1 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,015 miles


How about this one, this is a ongoing problem with the Chevy Malibu 3100 Engine, the coolant company was only taking claims on this problem until Oct. 28th 2008, This problem will live on for ever. My neighbor has had to replace the gasket for a second time. Mine is the first, and the biggest beef is I had a Extended warranty, I was made aware of this problem when I purchase the vehicle used, Our mechanic at work made me aware of this issue, But here is the kicker. The warranty company has filed bankruptcy and guess who is stuck holding the bag. If any one has any information for filing a class action with Gm or extending the class action against the coolant company please let me know. A note to everyone, if you can afford the extended warranty, do not buy it from a outside company, only buy you warranty from the big 3, If they can make it out of this crappy economy.

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #30

Oct 092008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

I've had my 2003 Chevy Malibu for exactly 2 years, I haven't had that much problem with it. I started noticing about one year ago I would have to add coolant to the reservoir. I didn't think much of it at first because it wasn't a lot and every couple months. I didn't see it leaking on the ground, though. Then it was leaking every month, then every other week. Now it's almost every other day and I see it leaking on the ground. I took it to mechanic today, said it was the intake gasket & something else. Cost around $800 to fix, he said it was common problem with this car. I have no extended warranty, don't know how I can get it fixed. Desperately need my car for work, this is so frustrating, I work two jobs just to make ends meet. My car is not brand new but I did not expect this after 44,000 miles! If there is class action suit for this, I will definitely be in it. I need to find who to complain to and how!

- , Sharon, PA, USA

problem #29

Feb 012008

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I've read all your complaints over the past few days and I'm so amazed this is what American car companies have come to. I've had the same problem with a cracked lower intake manifold gasket and took it upon myself to fix it. Got it fixed, no leaks but now the car runs so bad, a bonafide P.O.S.

There's a reason when you look at the job classifieds that there's a million ads for "mechanic wanted". American cars are built to last right past 50,000 miles so then they fail and they can rape you for a couple more thousands of dollars on repairs.

One of you posted about the DexCoolSettlement website and I went to it and filed my claim. It's a class action lawsuit that allows you to get up to $400 dollars back for this problem as part of the settlement but you must submit the claim before October 27, 2008. Just go to google and type in "DexCoolSettlement".

I'm a fan of american cars, but I believed they are called classics now. You know the one's I'm talking about. The old Camaro's, Chevelle's, Nova's, Impala's. It's no wonder GM is now the 2nd biggest manufacturer behind Toyota. From the first time I took this Malibu apart, I was saying every 5 minutes, "what a horrible design!" What were the idiots at Chevy R&D thinking by designing a motor this way.

Luckily I still have my old reliable 1999 Honda Accord with over 160,000 miles and not a complaint. Do yourselves a favor and buy Japanese, you won't regret it.

- , Corona, CA, USA

problem #28

May 092008

Malibu 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


The government wonders why people want to buy foreign vehicles This will be the last american made car for me. Ford proved in 1995 when I had TBird which I was able to give back through lemon law. But here is another big corporation trying to screw the american people again by keeping this under the carpet. Who today has $1200 laying around with cost of gas. But what do they care if the engine blows or what could happen to anyone driving the car. Profit Profit in their pockets is all that they care about.

- , Cleveland, OH, US

problem #27

Apr 162008

Malibu 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

One time leaking intake manifold gasket happens. But twice on the same car....come on.

- , Little Rock, AR, USA

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problem #26

Apr 042008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Like so many others, the kid at Jiffy Lube pointed out that I had oil in the coolant reservoir. Fortunately, I found this site with Google, and discovered that there is a class action law suit that will cover your repair costs!


Absolutely ridiculous that GM has not issued a recall and had to be impelled by a court to fix this issue. NEVER AGAIN WITH GM!

- , Orem, UT, USA

problem #25

Mar 292008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,500 miles


So I took my car in for routine maintenance (i.e. tire rotation and an oil change) about 5 minutes after I sat down in the lobby the technician comes in to tell me I'm looking at a 5.5 hour repair and at least $800 in parts and labor. The intake manifold gasket was leaking but doesn't need to be repaired immediately. Of course I want it fixed sooner than later because every noise or funky smell makes me wonder and worry that I'm going to be stranded on the side of the road! Now that I've read all of these complaints I'm even more annoyed! I was contemplating trading it in for a newer vehicle but I'm having second thoughts about buying another Chevy that's for sure! Good luck to the rest of ya!

- , Jackson, WI, USA

problem #24

Feb 012008

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

Same problem here. It is the second problem that we have had on this car that is seen throughout all Malibu's (the other being the flasher/hazard failure). I can't believe they don't pay for these.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #23

Mar 062008

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,617 miles

I was forewarned about the prevalence of this problem with Malibus AFTER I had bought the car in 2004. Well, it has come to pass and now I have a thousand dollar repair bill facing me! How has Chev gotten away with this? I was droolong over the new 2008 Malibu just last month, but now...NEVER AGAIN will I own a CHEV product!

- , Zephyrhills, FL, USA

problem #22

Sep 012007

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Well, this is a follow up to a previous post. My Malibu finally went in after not being able to start. The intake gasket had been leaking for quite some time. Was minor at first and got worse. I guess it had finally leaked inside where as before it was just leaking/spraying outside to engine compartment. Total cost for my repairs was about $680.00. That included them replacing plugs and wires and fluid/oil replacement after doing the gasket job. The Intake gasket job was $500. This was at a small family owned shop. They do great work on top of it. Although now my check engine light is on which I hope is something minor or something simple they just forgot about Looks like they replaced coolant with standard green. It isn't the orange dex-cool. I hope that helps keep the gasket in better condition.

There was a class-action regarding this issue. I found this site that has some info on it: and this document:

Hope that helps somebody. I haven't tried yet to recoup any money from GM but will be trying soon.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #21

Jan 012008

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles


This is my sister's car. She does not have a lot of money to spare, so I do her engine work. Jiffy Lube found water/coolant in her oil. After very little web research she found that a leaky intake manifold gasket is a common problem with the Malibu. I am going to do the surgery this weekend. When I looked at the three piece intake manifold on this engine, I had to laugh, WHAT A JOKE. Lets use three parts do the job of one. And triple the gaskets. It is a true statement: "You can not buy a good value in a new American car for less than $25K." American auto manufactures are NOT your friend, never think they are. If you buy a low end car go with HONDA, TOYOTA, NISSAN. I drive a TDI VW Beetle. I like Honda better. Sell your Malibu if you don't mind selling from some one.

- , Riverbank, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 152007

Malibu 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

Same as other users have mentioned, blown intake manifold gasket, this happened back in Jan. of '07, it was covered under my extended warranty, but it would have cost me $900 otherwise, that's ridiculous on a car 4 years old with 57k miles.

- , Tewksbury, MA, USA

problem #19

Jan 172008

Malibu 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,208 miles

It is a sad day when you can't trust American made products shoddy workmanship and lousy parts.

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #18

Sep 102007

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I have taken my 2003 Malibu to multiple auto shops for estimates, all around $850-1200, and they have seen the same problem over and over. Chevy should really take responsibility for their screw up. Any info about a recall or class action please keep in touch.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #17

Jun 152005

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I bought car used from private owner. Noticed oily gunk in coolant tank. Dealer service rep. said it looked like stop leak and noticed some seepage from gasket on engine block. He told me I should have a coolant flush and should watch coolant levels. I waited for a year to have the cooling system flushed. I never had to add coolant. A few months ago I had the cooling system flushed and then was told that sometimes the coolant GM uses gets an oily scum buildup in the tank. Now the I'm losing coolant since I've had to add coolant to the tank and it is still losing some-I'd guess a quart every month. I'm wondering if the fresh coolant without the leak stop is now leaking more? I talked to the previous owner who bought the car used from a dealer. He thought it was a leased car. He claimed he had nothing done like add stop leak. I suspect the dealer who sold him the car did that. From reading the other complaints looks like I may be facing some significant repair one of these days.

- , Lancaster, OH, US

problem #16

Oct 182007

Malibu LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

My low coolant light came on several times and when I had this car in for a problem with the security system/ignition switch, I told the dealer about it. They said the manifold gasket was leaking and if I didn't fix it, the coolant would end up in the engine and cause even more damage. Third major problem in less than six weeks and only 53000 miles. Extended warranty expired at 50000 miles.

- , Minneapolis, MN, US

problem #15

Nov 072007

Malibu 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Engine coolant light comes on, very low on coolant, all of a sudden, leaking somewhere.

- , Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #14

Oct 302007

(reported on)

Malibu LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I had no idea that this was a common problem. I have always been a Chevy fan but perhaps i will change my mind. Now I see why their warranties are horrible compared to others.

I don't rem when exactly it started, but just realized at about 55,000 that it leaks coolant around the head gasket area on driver side. It started out as just a little bit of leakage and couldn't tell where exactly it was coming from and thought it was just a hose. Might take a month or so to have to fill reservoir when first started. But, now at 55,000 it lets me know every few days that it is low. This is not acceptable.

Right after the initial 3 warranty went out(still had plenty of mileage) had to replace Water pump. Dealer would not touch it under warranty. Replaced pump my self. Everything went back smoothly. So some time after 3+,000 miles is when the leaking started but wasn't noticed. I used the Dex-Cool like it said and it still did this. Supposedly the Dex-Cool is supposed to curb deterioration. I hate to think what the Green stuff would do. Either way how do they make a less inferior gasket than before?

I agree something needs to get started.

This isn't the only problem that has occurred with my vehicle either. This is just one that will prove to be highly inconvenient.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #13

Oct 252007

(reported on)

Malibu V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

I think we all need to look into a class action lawsuit. I called to get an estimate on how much it would be to fix my vehicle and Pep-boys said and I quote "This car always has the same problem" I called 3 different shops and they all said the same thing. Please lets get the show on the road. Does anyone know how to get one started?

- , Bellflower, CA, USA

problem #12

Oct 242007

(reported on)

Malibu Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I took the car in for a smog check. The mechanic pointed out to me that I have a coolant leak which is very crucial to fix. He suggested that I not even drive my car home. He did ask if my car has been overheating and I told him no. I haven't seen any leaks except once when the cap wasn't on tight. There is coolant in the car but it is full of sludge. I worked with a lady who also had a 2003 Chevy Malibu and her coolant was full of sludge too. She was fortunate enough to trade her vehicle in and get a new one. Not a CHEVY!!

I was quoted an estimate of $585.00. I don't have that kind of money right now!! What will happen if I keep driving the vehicle without getting the repair? It's not really overheating right now. However I have been having a problem starting the vehicle. It starts then cuts off and my oil pressure light and my battery light comes on together. Does that have something to do with it.

Please let me know if there is a class action law suit going on because this is truly creating a hardship for me.

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

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