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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,657 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 1 of 3)

problem #53

Mar 072014


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. When attempting to start the vehicle, it would not operate and the anti-theft system warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000. Updated 05/03/16

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #52

Jan 012013


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the theft system failed. The theft system engaged independently and caused the engine not to start. The failure was experienced several times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who reset the theft system, however the failure was not corrected. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 107,000.

- Bainbridge, GA, USA

problem #51

Jun 232015


  • 138,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the anti-theft system light illuminated and the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The fuel pump was replaced. The failure recurred and the vehicle was towed to the mechanic. The technician assessed that the fuel pump was working up to specifications and determined that the anti-theft system caused the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 138,000.

- Grandview , MO, USA

problem #50

Feb 042013


  • 147,727 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the anti-theft system prevented the vehicle from starting. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, where it was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 147,727.

- New Port News, VA, USA

problem #49

Jul 042014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 153,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the anti-theft sensor illuminated on several occasions and the vehicle was unable to start. The vehicle went into anti-theft mode and was unable to be driven on numerous occasions. While driving various speeds, the key could be removed or fall out of the ignition. The failure became progressively worse. The contact used the owners manual to reset the system. In addition, the air bag sensor illuminated and the radio shorted out. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 153,000. Updated 11/20/14 the consumer stated the manufacturer advised the vehicle was out of warranty. The manufacturer declined to assist with repairs. Updated 8/12/2015

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #48

Jun 062014


  • 167,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the anti-theft sensor illuminated. When the anti-theft sensor flashed, the contact had to wait before making several attempts to restart the vehicle. Also, the contact was waiting for parts and was informed of NHTSA campaign number: 14V400000 (electrical system). The manufacturer could not provide an estimated date for when the contact's vehicle would receive the recall repair. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing and repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 167,000.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #47

Aug 182012


  • miles


Chevy Malibu 03 has issue with anti theft system. Many many complains online concerning this. You get into the car; car will not start, you have to turn key to on position and leave it there; then turn car off and then start it the car. This has happened two times in the last 2 weeks. I am hoping this doesn't happen while my wife is driving. A recall should be made on this defect in all Chevy Malibu's 2003 before a horrendous traffic accident occurs from this defect.

- Middleville, MI, USA

problem #46

Nov 022011


  • 85,945 miles
The anti- theft device in the 2003 Chevrolet Malibu has left me stranded 12 different times beginning November of last year. This vehicle needs to be recalled for this reason. I have read hundreds of complaints online for the exact same problem. General Motors is aware of the problem and does nothing. General Motors is personally responsible for lost jobs. General Motors is personally responsible for elderly people, infants, children, disabled men and women in the U.S. being stranded in their automobiles every day. We bailed General Motors out, they need to recall this model. Thank you.

- Lebanon, OR, USA

problem #45

Sep 212011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 92,400 miles
At least once a week since purchasing the car I am unable to start it because the anti-theft system will block the car from starting. I will put the key in the ignition and the sensor light will flash. I have to wait exactly 10 minutes with the key turned to "on" before the light stops flashing and I can turn the car off and back on again. On a few occasions this has occurred back to back resulting in having to wait at least 20 minutes to start my car. I have seen that this is a common problem for this car, which seems to defeat the purpose of a safety feature if you have to wait in a dark parking lot alone for 10 minutes because of faulty construction.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #44

May 042011


  • miles
I own a 2003 Chevy Malibu with the passlock anti-theft system. Over the past 2 1/2 years I have been stranded 6 times and have paid hundreds of dollars due to my car failing to start at any given moment. The scariest incident of all happened as I was driving with my children and lost all power steering as it started to stall out. As of now, May 6, 2011, it is again sitting at the shop unable to start. The turn the key to on, wait 10 minutes trick, doesn't even work any longer.

- Concord, MI, USA

problem #43

Aug 232010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 35,760 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic where the ignition lock housing assembly was replaced. The vehicle would not start because the computer assumed the vehicle was being stolen due to the ignition security switch feature. The contact stated that the ignition lock housing assembly was replaced just recently prior to the most current failure. The manufacturer would not provide any assistance. The failure mileage was 35,760. Status update 11/15/11

- Parma Heights, OH, USA

problem #42

Mar 102010


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The anti theft system has failed numerous times. The contact stated in order to start the vehicle he had to turn the ignition on and wait at least ten minutes before it would start. The vehicle had not been taken to the dealer for a diagnostic test. When he called the dealer, they would advise him to bring the vehicle in for the diagnostic test and he would have to pay the cost. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Amsterdam, NY, USA

problem #41

May 162010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
Have a 2003 Chevy Malibu with an "passlock" anti theft system in it. This system is acting up considerably and when I bring it to the GM dealer I get charged more and more money but no solution to the problem, because their computers do not detect the problem. As I have done research on this issue, there are many many people having the same problem. There are also many instances where this system has caused cars to stall while being driven down the highway, and this has happened to me as well.

- Marquette, MI, USA

problem #40

Mar 312010


  • 146,000 miles
2003 Malibu theft system light. This light was on all the time and finally just stopped while I was driving down the interstate. I looked online and it says to turn the key to on for 10 mins then re start but this as well doesn't always work. This is extremely dangerous!!!! someone could get seriously hurt in this matter.

- Elkhorn, NE, USA

problem #39

Mar 152010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
November 2009 my theft system light came on. Replaced the ignition module with a cost of approximately $500. March 15 2010 the car doors unlocked and the car died in traffic. Replaced faulty body control module. March 17 2010 theft light came on and car doesn't want to start. Replaced rcdlr (I' don't know what this is an abbreviation for but it cost another $67.44 for the part. Theft light still comes on and the car doesn't want to start.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #38

Feb 012010


  • 111,000 miles
I have a 2003 Chevy Malibu that I bought though a friend, it ran good and one day I went out to start it and the ignition locked up. I went out and got one and replaced it and now the anti-theft system will let it start but shuts off in 10 seconds. I have called the main office and there is nothing that they can do about it and they know about the problem but will not do nothing about it. I have been on the internet and there is alot of people complaining about the same thing what can I do about it. Please help. Thank you

- Overland, MO, USA

problem #37

Mar 012009


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. When the anti-theft light is illuminated, the contact is unable to start the vehicle. A mechanic replaced the fuel pump because the vehicle constantly stalled; however, the fuel pump was not the cause of the failure. The vehicle continues to stall, the check engine light is illuminated, and the anti-theft light remains illuminated. The contact will take the vehicle back to the repair shop for further inspection. Report number 71-74-9932502 was filed with the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 82,000 and current mileage was 88,000.

- St Paul , MN, USA

problem #36

Oct 122008


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start. She noticed that the anti theft light was illuminated. She placed the ignition in auxiliary mode for 10 minutes. The contact then turned off the ignition and restarted the vehicle. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle shut off without warning. The contact had to climb in the back seat to exit because the passenger and driver's side doors would not unlock. Upon exiting, she would then have to lift the hood of the vehicle and slam the hood back down in order for the vehicle to restart. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the anti theft system was failing. The vehicle is currently being repaired at the cost of $1,168. The manufacturer stated that because regular maintenance, other than oil changes, were not performed at a Chevrolet dealer, no compensation would be provided. The failure mileage was 36,000 and current mileage was 40,943.

- Laplace, LA, USA

problem #35

Jan 252009


  • 80,000 miles
The theft system on my Chevy Malibu 2003 has left me stranded on multiple occasions and cost me more than $300 in repair costs. The theft system believes my car is being stolen and shuts off the fuel to the engine. Some posts say it's when you use an copied key, but I'm using the factory original. At first, this happened once every month then increased with frequency to once and week and now every two/three days. The 1st this happened, I replaced the battery. This one 1 1/2 yrs ago and now the battery needs to be replaced again. When the theft system locks me out, I have to wait 10 minutes for the light to turn off and try to turn the key over again. With the amounts of complaints about this system, I would think GM would change systems or remove the problem. It's a disgrace that they continue to put this system in a car effectively locking out the very owner instead of doing its intended job.

- Port Orangw, FL, USA

problem #34

Aug 152008


  • 83,000 miles
Bought a 2003 Chevy Malibu 1 1/2 years ago (used). Since that time the anti-theft device has failed twice. The first time it was at home, the 2nd time left me stranded an hour away from home. I have spent over $300 for towing, plus the cost of repairs on the vehicle. I am a college student who as limited funds. GM is aware of the problem, but refuses to acknowledge or fix the problem. It will take GM several deaths when these cars shut off while driving down the road before they get off their "butts" to fix the problem. GM doesn't know how to keep their customers!

- Grand Blanc, MI, USA

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