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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 6 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #101

Jan 262012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


The first time this happened I tried to start my car and it would not start and ended up having it towed to a garage hundreds of dollars later to find out it was an theft system part that needed to be replaced. So we did that then the same thing started happening again. I got out the owners manual and was reading about turn the key for 10 minutes. Well this has been a on going problem for some time now. It was not until I starting reading all these thing on the internet to realize this is a major problem and that I am not the only one. My vehicle you never know when its going to start or not so in the morning I have to go out earlier then usual just in case I have to turn the key for 10 minutes or not. The scary part is reading all these people that have been driving and the car just stalls out on them. GM what is it going to take for other lives to be taken before you realize this is a major problem. My car has been a great car other then this problem and it still is a great car. Just if the this theft system problem would be fixed. Come on GM step up to the plate and do what's right do the recall and get this fixed so we can go on with our lives. Thanks

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #100

May 252014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 230,000 miles
Previous weeks before car was indicating anti theft after resetting the days to follow car shut of while driving. On May 25th 2014 while driving down road car suddenly pulled hard to the right causing the vehicle to jump the curb and strike a fire hydrant. Some concern about the possibility of it being the ignition switch and was searching for other instance of the same problem. Also shifter appeared to be getting stuck and you had to maneuver the key and the shifter to release the key.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #99

May 192014


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the key became difficult to remove from the ignition. The key was only able to release from the ignition switch when turning. The contact mentioned that at times the key failed to release from the ignition switch and remained in the vehicle overnight. The failure occurred on five different occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacture was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 63,000 and the current mileage was 63,020.

- Oroorion, MI, USA

problem #98

Apr 152013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles


Car powered off multiple times without warning while driving, triggering the doors to lock and unlock on their own. Luckily I was able to maneuver the car to the safe location quickly out of traffic, before the steering power was lost. There were many close calls! after powering off, had to pray it would start again because sometimes it would not. Took to Firestone, they could not diagnose it. So I took to the Chevy dealer. It was originally diagnosed as the fuel pump, which I paid to have replaced. A week later I still had the same problem. I went online to several blogs/websites and realized there were many people with the same issue with the Malibu. Some people online recommended replacing the ignition switch, based on the symptoms. I took the car to dealer and asked them to check my ignition switch, as it appeared online to be long standing issue which was never recalled. The dealer acknowledged that it was the ignition switch, a known issue for Chevy and at that time I had my car repaired. Quite expensive and dangerous for driving. However, I noticed the 2003 Malibu is not listed on the current recalls. Many owners would agree that it should be.

- Antioch, TN, USA

problem #97

May 142014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 58,461 miles
Ignition switch and gear shift lock up and cannot shut engine off or get key out. Cannot put gear shift into park only reverse. Wrecker had to be called the last time it happened and tow to dealer. Dealer had just worked on the car and replaced the ac control panel for the second time since new. You could hit the dash and get the ac on and sometimes the key out of the ignition switch. This all cost me $ $1,118 this last time. Ignition switch was always trouble to work with. Wife was stranded several times at shopping centers in the past two years with these problems of key switch and ac off. Hit the dash and hope to get ac on or key out. I have the old ignition switch and the last replaced ac panel.

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #96

May 112014


  • miles
After driving from our house to a family members house, we had parked our car to visit for a while. When we returned not even 30 mins later, we went to start the car and it wouldn't start. After many past issues with this, we sent it in to a shop to have them take a look at it. They stated that the theft-alert system was malfunctioning. I wish Chevy would finally recall this issue.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #95

May 022014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles


I would like to commend your company for making a durable product. However, I purchase a 2003 Chevy-Malibu in 2004 from carmax-raleigh, N.C. according to the carfax, there was only one previous owner. I purchased the extended warranty for only three years and had the vehicle serviced by rick hendrix Chevrolet in durham, N.C. after the warranty expired, I would take my vehicle to a certified mechanic in Norfolk, va that I have dealt for the past 20 years. Consequently, I would have repairs done and he kept the car running as required. However, about year 2010, during regular maintenance - the check engine light came on, followed by the service engine light - then the vehicle would start but no display on the dash and no electrical functions worked" about 5-10 minutes later with car still running - the dash would light up and electrical functions operable. My mechanic was able to eliminate to check engine/service engine displays with required maintenance. However, the dash display and power loss continued? he decided to replace the ignition switch and shortly afterwards the same problems reappeared? now I have two separate keys, one for door/trunk locks and one for the ignition. Presently, even after maintenance, the vehicle has started missing/putting or possibly losing power" I contacted GM (800)222-1020 and (800)630-2438 and was told that my vehicle was not on the GM recall list" can you confirm that information and the reason why it is not on the list? do I really need to wait until my family is injured or worst before a defect is acknowledge"

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #94

Sep 252013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The car will not start due to antitheft light being on. It started happening occasionally, now it happens all the time. Some days every time you try to start it will not start. Have to turn key to on position wait 10 plus minutes until antitheft light stops flashing then turn off and restart. This is getting very frustrating and I have read millions of complaints from others online about this. GM is well aware of the issue and will do nothing to fix this. This car is for my 17 year old daughter and I feel uncomfortable with her driving this vehicle as I am now reading where this also happens while driving in traffic the car will just shut off. This is a major risk and GM needs to do something to repair this constantly happening problem. If they will not recall then they need to publicly issue the correct remedy for this not just the 10 minute restart quick, but temporary fix which causes many problems. My daughter has been stranded in places until her car will start. This happened once while my husband was driving on highway in June 2013 we thought it was the fuel pump and had that replaced approximately 4-5 months later the antitheft issue started. Obviously the fuel pump was not the issue rather than the beginning of this never ending problem. Thankfully my daughter was not driving at that time as the car just died going down the highway. I feel that GM needs to do something to address this problem as it does affect millions and with this vehicle I seen a lot of young, new drivers, in this type of vehicle. There has been a lot of complaints regarding this issue and GM refuses to do anything about it. Hopefully they will address this before they begin being sued for serious accidents or deaths due to their lack of action and regard for the safety of consumers.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #93

Apr 022014


  • 80,000 miles
Antitheft ignition problem car cuts out while driving.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #92

Apr 192012


  • 109,000 miles
When I am driving the key will just fall out of the ignition while running for no reason, especially while going over bumps. The car recently has also started to continue running while the key is turned into. The off position!

- Naples, ME, USA

problem #91

Nov 012012


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning more than one time. The check engine light illuminated intermittently. The key made a clicking noise when attempting to start the vehicle. The vehicle continued to make a ticking noise at random once the vehicle was driven. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who was unable to replicate nor diagnose the failure. The vehicle continued to shake violently while traveling at any speed above 60 mph. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure on more than one occasion. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #90

Oct 212011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 65,245 miles
We own a 2003 chev Malibu, sold and serviced in Canada, but manufactured at GM's lansing, Michigan assembly plant. Chev Malibu are not yet included on the GM ignition switch recall list, but in Oct/11 we had exactly the same problems reported by those vehicles currently on the recall list: For perhaps 5 seconds, a total loss of all power (engine, lights, power steering, power brakes, etc.,) while driving on a highway at 60 mph, at night. After that 5 second delay, all power resumed, (lights, engine, etc) and the car operated perfectly for the rest of the drive home. A day later, we again had a total loss of all power, this time while turning a corner at slow speed. The loss of power steering and braking made it very difficult to avoid an accident then. A couple of days later, on 25 Oct/11, I had my ignition switch replaced at my local GM chev dealership, at a cost of $416.51. At no time did the dealer mention any known problems with these ignition switches. In light of the recent recall, I contacted my GM dealership, who stated they could not comment on whether the replacement switch is potentially faulty or not - and how would dealers know, if GM replaced the original switches without changing the part number" were dealers told to get rid of the "old stock", or to return it to GM" the dealer stated that, if and when my vehicle is added to the current recall list, they would "replace the replacement". in other words, I could be driving with a faulty switch - a potential danger to myself and to others....and, to date, GM apparently doesn't plan to do anything about it. I'm out $416 and may still have a defective ignition switch. I recognize that your department's authority doesn't extend to Canada. However, although my vehicle was sold and serviced in Canada, it was manufactured in lansing, Michigan - like hundreds of thousands of other chev Malibu.

- Vernon British Columbia Canada, WA, USA

problem #89

Mar 222007


  • 53,728 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the vehicle would sporadically stall without warning. The contact was usually able to restart the vehicle however, there were instances when the vehicle would not immediately restart. The failure was recurring and the ignition switch was replaced three times by an authorized dealer however, the failure continuously recurred. The contact also stated that the power steering assist would intermittently fail. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 14V153000 (steering) but the vehicle was not included in the recall campaign. The manufacturer was notified of the failure multiple times and provided no remedy. The approximate failure mileage was 53728.

- Williamstown, NJ, USA

problem #88

Mar 122012


  • 85,000 miles
The car would randomly stop running. This could happen while on the highway or when the car was in motion. Daughter was caught a couple of time in the situation. No power steering of brakes. Could have had a fatal accident. If you look at this car and other GM cars, there have been a lot of complaints, the problem lies with the pass lock system (anti theft). The car thinks that its the wrong key and kills the ignition. I found a work around online. Which involves wiring a resistor into the ignition system....the car has been fine since.

- Walton, KY, USA

problem #87

May 032012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 124,947 miles
The car has cut off while I was driving on at least 10 occasions since 2012. Usually, if driving at normal speed it would happen as I slowed down to turn a corner, although it has also happened once or twice while I was driving on the highway. Each time, I was fortunate enough to either drift over onto the shoulder or complete the turn without getting hit. When the car cuts off I lose the ability to steer. During that period I also experienced significant electrical problems: Sometimes the turn signals would not come on, the auto locks would come on and off by themselves while driving and the air conditioner would not stay on. On 5/3/12 my key would not turn the ignition. I had the car towed to a mechanic who advised that I probably had too many keys on my ring and it wore down the ignition. Shortly after having the ignition replaced, I noticed the anti-theft system light stayed on and it affected my ability to start the car. For the past 2 years, in order to start my car, I have to put the key in the ignition, then turn it to the "accessory" position for about 15 seconds, then to the "on" position and wait for the gas gauge and dash to light up (perhaps another 15-40 seconds) in order to start the car. I researched online and found similar problems for my make and model. This is how I learned how to start the car under these conditions. I have my repair receipts and internet searches for this problem from 2012 as well as every oil change and service ticket from 2003. I think that the 2003 Malibu should be investigated for inclusion in the ignition switch recall.

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #86

Jan 012004


  • 12,000 miles
The car will turn off by itself. We will be driving along and then for what seems like no reason the car shuts off - the ps/pb don't work, nothing. The car starts right back up but this is very dangerous. We took the car back to the dealer and they said that there were too many keys on our key ring and that is why it was turning off - well it doesn't happen with the same key ring on any of the other cars we own so why just on this car? I believe this relates back to tsb 052203, but it is still very dangerous and GM isn't doing anything about it. This has been an ongoing problem and hasn't gone away.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #85

May 152013


  • 66,000 miles
Car stalled while driving. Everything quit, even power steering and power brakes. This has happened twice. Both times, I took the vehicle to the Chevy dealership and they said the ignition was faulty. I've replaced the ignition both times. I'm afraid this will happen when we are driving it and we will get into an accident because the power steering and power brakes quit when all the electrical components quit.

- Onsted, MI, USA

problem #84

Jun 102010


  • 75,000 miles
Car failed to start. A local mechanic was aware of the problem that GM was having with the Malibu's. he showed me how to turn the key to on for 10 minutes and then the theft light would stop blinking and you could then start the car. This past year it has been happening about daily or every 5 to 6 times that you go to start the car. Mostly on short trips of less than 2 miles. I contacted 2 local Chevy dealers and they claim to know nothing about the problem! I have been told to bring it in and they would check it out - at a charge. What if this happened in an area that was not safe for my family or me - we could not start the car and would have to just sit there for 10 minutes!

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #83

Dec 062012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 49,882 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact was driving approximately 75 mph when the steering wheel shook violently. The failure also occurred when the brakes were applied. Additionally, the door chimes would sound sporadically and the turn signals would engage independently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 49,882.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #82

Feb 012014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 138,388 miles
Vehicle would not start after I came out from grocery store. Could see anti theft system light on dashboard but I had no idea what that meant this has never happened before. I would laugh when you lock the car using the lock on the door when you get out to lock all the doors then you hear a beep like other peoples vehicles who have alarm systems which this car doesn't have. I mean I don't have a key lock for my vehicle. One repair person told me it was the fuel pump estimated $800, I had the car towed to a shop and found out on Sunday that it was the anti theft system, they had to reprogram my keys and I had more than one ignition key on my ring was told not to do that anymore and cost me hundred dollars, this is a problem though and it needs to be addressed. I have gone on line and found many complaints and people have spent a lot more money than I had to.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

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