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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 8 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #61

Dec 012011


  • 110,000 miles


I bought a Chevy Malibu new in 2003. I never knew it had any anti theft device. Three weeks ago the anti theft light came on. I ignored it. After a few days the car would not start. The engine started to run but sputtered out. I looked in the instruction manual that came with the car. It says if the anti theft light comes on (for no reason) turn ignition to on position wait ten minutes turn car off and the car will start. I followed instructions and car started. Same thing happened again yesterday. I followed instructions and car runs again. Problem I have is why would the anti theft system be activated for no reason? Chevy knew this happens and this is why they have it written up in the instruction manual. If the anti theft system is faulty ie comes on for no reason and prohibits the car from starting, Chevy should not have installed it in the first place.

- Lehigh Acres, FL, USA

problem #60

Feb 082011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact attempted to start the ignition but the engine failed to operate with the illumination of the anti-theft security system warning indicator. The engine was restarted after ten to fifteen minutes. In addition, the same failure would occur while driving and result in the vehicle stalling. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who advised that the ignition system and computer module would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 36,000. Updated 01/03/12 updated 01/04/12

- Miedway , MA, USA

problem #59

Oct 172011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
Parked the car, came back out and it wouldn't start, though there was power from the battery and the engine acted like it was trying to turn over (indicating that it wasn't the alternator). Had to have car towed. Turned out that the "theft system" (passlock) locked me out. Mechanics "reset" it. It happened again about 10 days later.

- Kirkland, WA, USA

problem #58

May 012011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles


NHTSA action number (PE05055) was initially issued in 2004 for a defective turn signal/hazard flashers that become inoperative on model year 1999-2000 Malibu, Alero, Grand Am, and 1999 cutlass. This action number was later revised in 2005 to include model year 2001-2002 Malibu, Alero, and Grand Am vehicles. The resulting document from GM for the initial model year range was: Special policy adjustment - turn signals/hazard warning flashers #04098 - (Dec 16, 2004) GM document id# 1578551 and when the model year range was extended: Special policy adjustment-turn signal/hazard warning flashers #04098A - (Jan 11, 2006) GM document id# 1750030 - I own (bought it new) a 2003 Chevy Malibu that has experienced the same symptom of intermittent turn signal failure. Both left and right turn signals sometime work and sometime do not. You can never know when it will or will not work. This is a real safety risk. The switch type in the 2003 Malibu appears to be the same as in the previous years for which GM issued the special policies (noted above). On October 8th 2011, I replaced the turn signal/hazard warning flasher switch that was identified in the GM document. (replaced with dorman part 924-601). It has been almost 3 weeks since the replacement and I have not experienced the problem. I would have seen the problem occur during this 3 week period. In case it helps in your investigation, the number on the defective switch I removed from my 2003 Malibu is : 22594146 0843 F I wanted to report this failure as there is a possibly that there will be others with the model year 2003 Malibuż's that have experienced this problem and will also file a claim with NHTSA. If this is the case, GM will need to once again extend the range of vehicles affected by the defective switch/hazard flashers and include this extended range in their special policy adjustment.

- Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #57

Sep 142011


  • 62,300 miles
Car will not start fuel pump shuts down, car thinks it is being broken into. Have to sit in car for 10 minutes with key in ignition to override system. Has happened 4 times in last month. Also, fuel pump shut down while driving on parkway- lucky to get to side of road without an accident. By the way, new fuel pump and module replaced at 60,000 so that is not the issue.. how many people need to get into accidents or die before the NHTSA gets involved and makes Chevy do the right thing and replace this ignitions and passlock parts that are defective!!!! oh, and they got a bail out- but the consumers don't get any and have to continue to pay them for repairs that they caused in the first place GM makes an astronomical amount of money on these repairs. I hope the NHTSA gets a share of that money because you certainly aren't interested in correcting the situation. How many years and tens of thousands of complaints does it take"?????"

- West Long Branch, NJ, USA

problem #56

Oct 022011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
My 2003 Chevy Malibu would not start. I learned that the reason it would not start was due to the theft system pass lock. Somehow the theft system was triggered and cut the fuel supply to the engine. I did what the manual said and waited 10 minutes with the key in the on position. The car started after that; however two weeks later, the car does the same thing. The process is repeated to reset the theft system. But now I wonder how many more times this problem will occur and why hasn't anything been done about a recall. Over 30 incidents have reported online at so why hasn't there be a recall for this problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sure that more people have had problems with this they just have not reported it. This problem is very inconvenient and you never know when your car is actually going to start. Something needs to be done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Slidell, LA, USA

problem #55

May 022011


  • 17,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the key would not release from the ignition. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic where the contact was advised to place the gear in park in order to release the key from the ignition. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 17,000 and the current mileage was 17,100.

- Staten Island , NY, USA

problem #54

Apr 042011


  • 93,000 miles
The vehicle will not turn on every few times when trying to turn it on. The theft light begins to blink. I have to turn it to the "on" position for 10 minutes for it to restart, then it will work.

- Maiden, NC, USA

problem #53

Apr 242009

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
Passlock anti-theft system engaging and not allowing car to start. Started happening about two years ago. Researched on the internet and asked professional ase mechanics. No warranty or tsb available to fix problem, but plenty of complaints. Car has not shut off while driving.

- Panama City Beach, FL, USA

problem #52

Jul 072005


  • miles
After a year the lights on the dashboad/radio and window wouldn't come on right away. Then the engine light would come on but there's was nothing wrong with it. Then the service light would come on month after I had a oil change done. While I was driving, the car just slowed up and stop. Told by my mechanic it was the fuel pump but while he had it for half the day; the car started right up with no problem. Also sometimes there's a clicking noise like my signal is on but its not. I was told it was my alarm key. Every time there is a incident computer shows it but can't explain the problem and it stop for awhile but comes back. Been like this since I had it and I have taken it to the dealer they keep it over night same thing.

- Paterson, NJ, USA

problem #51

May 182011


  • 68,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the anti theft system would engage, involuntarily, and the vehicle would not start. On a few occasions, the vehicle would start, but the warning theft light would continue to illuminate. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, where they could not duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #50

May 012011


  • 77,000 miles
I had trouble with the car starting/stopping in traffic. Replaced the key switch which solved the problem. Also have had trouble with the heating/air-conditioning fan system. The system will lose the ability to run except on setting 4 or 5. also the switch that puts the system on recycled air has stopped working. This is the second time in 5 years that this has happened.

- Ft Wayne, IN, USA

problem #49

Sep 012009


  • 55,000 miles
Passlock system is not working properly. Occasionally the theft system light comes on and occasionally the fuel system gets shut off so that the vehicle doesn't start. I have seen many complaints on the internet about this problem with all GM models that have this passlock system.

- Warwick, RI, USA

problem #48

Sep 012010


  • 157,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving, the contact stated that the vehicle would cut off; in order for the vehicle to start, the contact would have to reset the vehicle. The dealer and manufacturer were notified, but did not assist the contact. The failure was not repaired. The failure mileage was 157,000 and the current mileage was 170,000.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #47

May 182011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
My 2003 Chevrolet Malibu shuts off while driving. It happens two or three times each day. Initially I only had problems with the engine not starting and having to wait 10 minutes before starting. It is a very dangerous situation. I went to a repair shop nd they said it was my ignition. This is a scary and dangerous situation.

- Burbank, CA, USA

problem #46

Jun 022010


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the anti-theft system would engage sporadically causing the vehicle to shut down independently when the failure occurred. In addition, the directional lights were inoperable. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop where the mechanic was unable to diagnose the problem. The mechanic advised the contact on how to reset the alarm when the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current mileage was 68,000.

- Bradford, RI, USA

problem #45

Jul 012007

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I have been having repeated problems with my cars theft system defaulting and not allowing my car to start randomly on several occasions, this problem has been reoccurring for about the past 4-5 years.there were no events leading up to this failure, it just happend. It occurs almost daily and is a huge inconvenience. I have taken the vechile to several GM dealerships and have been told its the passlock, BCM, car not reading the key, and several other issues. I have been told they could not duplicate the problm as well but wanted to charge me over 900 dollars for fix something they think it could be as well. I can place the key in the on setting in the ignition for anywhere from 15-30 minutes plus sometimes and this eventually works, but it a huge inconvenience. I have been stranded several times due to this same issue as well.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #44

Feb 182011


  • 68,142 miles
GM Chevy Malibu passlock system. Originally I had a 1998 Malibu and thought that it was unrepairable so I sold it for scraps and bought a 2003 Malibu and about every month (2 times per month for the past 3 months) I go to work or store just fine and when I come out it doesn't start. I've been taken through several different scenarios by the mechanic at the Chevy dealership where I purchased the 2003 Malibu from, only to be told that there were several issues with it and they have fixed it costing me about $500 every time it occurs. It wasn't until it happened last month while leaving work and a co-worker called a mechanic friend of hers who informed me of the pass lock system failure and told me to wait 10 minutes then start it up. Since then it's happened 2 more times, once while my daughter was driving (luckily I was with her to know how to handle it). I've called the GM to no avail; they seem to know nothing of this issue and their mechanics don't acknowledge it being a problem either so because they've "replaced" or "fixed" several issues (not the issue plaguing the vehicle) which they probably made up; I'm out of thousands of dollars! this is an issue that has apparently been going on with this model for several years and they (GM) refuses to recall the issue or make any effort to fix the problem. Thank god I put away money for rainy days but I am livid thinking about how much I would have saved if it weren't for GM or Chevy! the government needs to recall this piece of equipment immediately; before GM swindles anymore unsuspecting drivers out of their money! fyi check this website or just google (or what ever search engine you use) "issues with Chevy Malibu" and see what comes up!

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #43

Sep 012010


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact attempted to start the vehicle but it failed to start. The contact had to hold the key in place for approximately ten minutes in order to start the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated that the ignition switch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure continued to occur intermittently. The failure mileage was 95,000 and the current mileage was 97,000.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #42

Jan 282010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 82,315 miles
I have a 2003 Chevy Malibu with a passlock system. The "theft system" light comes on even while I'm driving! or the car simply won't start, even though it's in my own driveway and no one has messed with it. The only 'solution' is to wait 10 minutes (sometimes longer) until the car will start again. This is ridiculous! I've checked online and there's complaints about the passlock system everywhere. Why has this not been recalled yet" I'm a single mother and I can't afford -- literally or figuratively -- to pay for unnecessary car repairs....especially when the passlock is a *known* problem and Chevy refuses to do anything about it. I also can't afford another car and now I'm worried every time I shut off the car, will it let me start it back up again" help!

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

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