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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,606 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.

2003 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 10 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

Aug 192009


  • 100,000 miles


I have a 2003 Chevy Malibu. The passlock anti theft system has left me stranded many times. I have recently been stuck at night in a dark parking lot waiting the ten minutes for the system to reset. This is a personalsafety issue for anyone having to sit in an unsafe location waiting for the system to work. This problem occurs often (two or three times a week). This should be recalled and fixed on GM's dollar because it is a common problem and anyone who owns a GM car is spending money out of their own pocket to try and fix the problem when it is GM that is responsible for it.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #20

Aug 052009


  • 41,500 miles
For the second time in two years, as I started my car the theft system light came on and the car would not start. The dealer says that the ignition has to be replaced due to the pass key theft system not recognizing my key (the original key) and breaking the ignition. This has left me with a dead car alone as a woman at night. This is the second time this has happened and I have had to replace the ignition.

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #19

Aug 042009


  • 38,000 miles
The theft system (passlock) engages on my car for no reason. The first time this happened, back in 2003, shortly after purchasing my car. I was at a bank, with my young daughter, getting money out of an atm. After returning to my car, the vehicle would not start. I had to pay money for a tow, and the mechanic charged me $800 to replace the fuel pump. Car did not need a fuel pump, it only needed the theft deterrent system turned off. I know this because the mechanic called to ask me how to do this. At the time, I had no idea. I now know that the $1000 I paid for tow and fuel pump were a total waste of money. Since 2003, this theft system engages for no reason, 2-3 times per week. It is insane. In order to dis-engage it, I have to wait 10 minutes sitting in my car; sometimes with my young children. I have read thousands of complaints for this problem, dating back to cars made in 1996. I cannot believe GM has not been forced to issue a recall for this worthless theft system. I wonder what genius felt it necessary to force someone to sit in their car for 10 minutes, key in the ignition, to reset the theft deterrent system. I'd rather my car be stolen! while I am sitting in my car, waiting for it to start, me and my family could be kidnapped, robbed, killed. This is insane. If it cannot be made to where it does not malfunction, they should just not put in on vehicles. Or, they should only make you wait a mere 1-2 minutes with the key in the ignition. 10 minutes is an insane amount of time to have to wait for this to reset.

- Cedar Hill, TX, USA

problem #18

Nov 102008


  • 87,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that there was an electrical issue with her vehicle. The turn signals would operate without initialization and the power door locks were also inoperable. The check engine warning light continued to illuminate on the instrument panel; however, there were no other failures. The independent mechanic advised the contact to take the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer could not assist with the repairs because there were no recalls available. The current and failure mileages were less than 87,000.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #17

Oct 102008


  • 88,075 miles
I had a problem with my turn signals. They would work when they wanted to. I took my car to a Chevy dealer to find out what it was and how much it was going to cost to fix the problem. The service attendant was very knowledgeable about this particular problem. I was told that they had recall up to 2002 Malibu for this same problem but of course mine is A2003 so I had to pay for it to be repaired. The cost was $110 which wasn't bad but the 2002 and 2003 parts interchange. So why wouldn't they have same recall?

- Fenton, MO, USA

problem #16

Mar 152009


  • 50,000 miles
Anti-theft system kicks in even when original key is used to start vehicle and vehicle will not start without waiting 10 minutes to restart system. This happens at irregular intervals, usually when it is least convenient. I have had to be towed twice until I learned the override trick. I am going into the dealership again today to try to get a permanent fix.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #15

Mar 062007


  • 55,000 miles


Anti-theft system activates very frequently & under various conditions.

- Newton, KS, USA

problem #14

Jan 222009


  • miles
Theft light comes on and anti-theft system disables the vehicle, driving and parked. We have been stranded several times because of this. Vehicle will not start it turns over but will do nothing. I have had to take the vehicle in several times to have the system reset, at a cost to me everytime.

- Noblesville, IN, USA

problem #13

May 012008

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 132,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The vehicle has been shutting off intermittently for the past eight months. The dealer keeps resetting the computer, but the failure persists. The weather was not a factor. The power steering and brakes fail without warning. The failure occurs while accelerating or cruising. The failure mileage was 132,000. Updated 2/5/09 updated 02/10/09.

- Rockwood , TN, USA

problem #12

Jul 022008


  • 82,000 miles
I went to the doctor today. My car was fine. On returning to my car, it would not start. I called aaa. They showed me the passlock anti-theft system was engaged -- with no identifiable cause. The gentleman who helped me, told me he has seen this often. I am using the original key, and I am sure the car was not tampered with. Reading online, I get a sense that this will probably start happening more. Although this is the first failure, I read that the car can switch off while driving. I am concerned as my 16 year old daughter also drives this car, and that she may be endangered.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #11

Jun 272008


  • 61,000 miles


The anti-theft system in my 2003 Chevrolet Malibu is defective, apparently this is a problem for just about every owner of a Chevy Malibu. This needs to be recalled by GM!!!! about once or twice a week when I attempt to start my car I pray the anti-theft system does not blink, because when it blinks that means the car isn't going to start. The owner's manual states that if this occurs then turn the key to the "on" position and let it sit for 10 minutes and then turn the key to "off" and start the car as normal. Well for about 1 year this worked, it was a hassle, but it worked. Now after about a year of this pain in the butt routine twice a week to start my car, finally it died on me while driving and will no longer start. GM is obviously aware of this malfunction because they have given instructions on how to deal with it in the owner's manual, the problem is they haven't done anything to correct the problem, after their suggestion fails to start the car. This malfunction needs to be recalled!!!!!!!

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #10

Jun 032008


  • 113,952 miles
I own a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu, I have experienced on 3 separate occasions a no start incident, twice the car was towed to repair facilities where various components were changed after the car started right up. This most recent incident happened in my driveway at home and, I decided to thoroughly check out this problem. I have replace various components on the car and spent upwards of $250 in parts and even after that, once I got the car running again I had a check engine light on and a very rough idle. So, I took the car to a garage to have it scanned for fault codes. Now, I have discovered a faulty ignition switch (fault code U1000) has been behind these incidents. And, in reading various internet forums/discussion boards, I am not alone!! (Chevrolet is well aware of this defect !!) this is a manufacturer defect in the passive theft system on General Motors cars. There should be a national investigation and subsequent recall on these vehicles to have this problem remedied. The dealers are getting 300-350.00 per repair and most times this problem re-occurs. I wanted to bring this to your attention as I am about to spend $300 plus at my local Chevrolet service department to have my faulty ignition switch replaced. The new one must be "programmed" to your vehicle and only a Chevrolet dealer can do this. Please render any assistance you can in this matter. Thank you very much......................................chris merckx

- Holland, PA, USA

problem #9

May 152008

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
I have a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu and the theft deterrent system keeps activating for no reason. The vehicle use to have a problem starting and now has started dying on me in the middle of driving. This is very dangerous and nearly caused an accident. There are many people having this same problem but Chevrolet refuses to do a recall. It is going to cause someone to crash. It costs anywhere from $700 - $1,300 to do the repairs and most people can't afford it. Chevrolet is aware of the problem.

- Cairo, GA, USA

problem #8

May 032008

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 100,450 miles
Passive anti-theft would not allow us to start the car. We sat there for over 15 minutes. No other odd had occurred before that but suddenly it would not allow us to start.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #7

Apr 122008

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 70,167 miles
Luckily I was not on the highway on my way to work when this occurred or a crash would have been unavoidable. Engine shuts off without any warning and then does not restart for 10 to 15 minutes. Dashboard lights do not come on during this time. You can tell when it will restart as the lights finally come back on. GM dealership is aware of problem but is unable to fix - they keep replacing parts and the problem still exists. ( has several complaints of this exact nature listed online.)

- Granite City, IL, USA

problem #6

Dec 192007


  • miles
Anti-theft light flashing on my 2003 Chevy Malibu.

- Flint, MI, USA

problem #5

Apr 122007

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles
Without warning while on a shopping trip (we are in our late 70's), the car would not start and had to be towed. We were told that it was the anti-theft security system, and it was re-set. We were told that it may or may not happen again. Well, it happened again about 6 weeks later, and we had to take a two hour bus ride just to get home. I believe that the dealers are fully aware of this problem and that a recall needs to be issued, or at the very least the cost of repair should be covered under warranty.

- Johnstown, PA, USA

problem #4

May 232006

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
When driving after a rain noticed there was water in right rear taillight. When trying to start the car the only way to get it started was to disconnect the negative battery terminal and reset the computer. Well that was great except you might not want the car started then because everytime you step on the brake the radio shut off, gauges would peg out and not be able to be reset. Then car would die in the middle of highway driving. If it takes the nhsta to have a death for someone I am not the one if it is water the car doesn't like I will send it back to detroit where they can put it in it's final resting place, lake Michigan. Let our voices be heard because these small inconveniences to them are major expenses to us all. And they wonder why the car industry is struggling own up to the problem General Motors.

- Raeford , NC, USA

problem #3

Aug 192006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
At some point, I triggered my alarm system by not using the remote key and manually unlocked my car door. Right after, I tried to restart my car, at which time it cranked, but did not start. Since this incident of triggering my alarm, I have been daily reminded of this.. with the crank, no start. I have taken the car to the dealer who informed me that I need a PCM (power control module) which they replaced but to no avail. Two days later, the car was crank/no start again and again.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #2

Jun 172005

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 66,405 miles
06/17/05 car stopped with no warning on a hot day with 4 kids not good! cylinder 2.188/ BCM 2.560 08/01/05 car stopped with no warning hot day 3 kids heading out of town! module3.107/fuel filter 3.890 just purchased the vehicle 01/28/05.

- Conyers, GA, USA

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