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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,373 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Oct 072014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 103,175 miles


When I was leaving the regal Chevrolet dealership after having been there for 2 hours for them to place a piece in the key loop of my key ring my car shut off. I asked them why it was still cutting off after it suppose to have been fixed and they stated that they did not know. I had my 13 month old son in the car with me and the entire approximately 5 miles it took for me to get back to my residence the car cut off repeatedly. I was in fear of my child as well as my own safety and was very upset that the dealership did not do more to rectify my issue. My car was not doing this before and now it will not stop. I have replaced several parts on my car and still it is doing the same thing. After hearing about the recall I took my car to the dealership and still it is doing the same thing. I need my car but do not know what to do. I am so afraid to drive the car with my son who is special needs because I do not know when it will shut off.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #21

Sep 192014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving various speeds, the engine rpms suddenly increased and the driver was unable to apply the brakes. The driver had to crash into a curb in order to stop the vehicle. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #20

Jun 122014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving 55 mph, the vehicle's rpms decreased and the engine stalled. The contact was able to restart the vehicle and the engine warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, but the cause of the failure could not be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Ferris, TX, USA

problem #19

Feb 122013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


As I was turning on a street the car shut off and would not crank back up. When it shut off it locked up and I was unable to turn the wheel. I was going about 30mph the next time it happened I was going over a bridge and the car shut off. It would not crank back up immediately and I had to engage the emergency brake so that the car did not drift backward. The next time that it happened I was on a main highway and the car shut off it would not crank back up immediately. My lights did not work so I was unable to engage my hazards the car locked and I was unable to let the windows up or down now was the locks working. I had to sit there for 15 min before the car crank back up. There are times when the car will not crank up and you have to let it sit for a while with the key turned to the on position. Each time that the car has shut off I have been in traffic helpless. It has shut off on me while I have had my infant child at the time in the car as well.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #18

Feb 252013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 63,500 miles
I along with a friend was riding from phila. To chester, pa. About 25miles South on. Interstate 95..I was in the middle lane about 10 miles in and the engine cut off..I remained calm and glad my friend was with me I shifted into neutral turned the key and the engine started right away. This happened two other times before getting to my destination. On the way home the engine cut off two more times.this time I was alone, as you can imagine I was scared and quite upset. I have also had problems with the key turning in the ignition sometimes it works often not even after purchasing a new key and batteries. The engine light remain on, the anti theft system light on and off, the horn, lighter and the receptacle for phone not working even with new fuse and the radiator leaks. Just this year I have spent over $1100. This is dangerous and disgusting. Our family have been very conscience about purchasing american made cars and have invested in made in the usa but it seems GM has little to no interested in our safety. Today the problems still exist and I was told that I have to pay even more to get a diagnostic $149. Wrong answer...please help restore my faith in GM after all we the people did bail you out now own up and look out and take responsibilities fix this before more tragedy.. take care of americans where is your honor ?

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #17

Jun 072013


  • 145,000 miles
I was traveling with the right of way at the posted speed limit when someone pulled into my path causing me to hit them. My air bags did not deploy and I took the full force of the collision into my chest.

- New Richmondo, OH, USA

problem #16

May 152014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 66,237 miles


My check engine light has been coming on and giving me problems. Just took it in to my car repair they said now its shows air bag error also. They want to change out the ignition switch. This car has had nothing but trouble with only 66 thousand miles! now the air bags probably wont work when needed. I want this fixed on the ignition recall. Every time I pull up to my home after driving this car I am just waiting for it to start on fire as nothing seems to work like it should.

- Prescott, AZ, USA

problem #15

Jun 192014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
6-10-14 no crank start, had to reset security systems code B2960 and P1626C Firestone 312-787-8828 store#026514 Chicago, il 60610 6-19-14 was diving on lake shore dr got on off ramp and the car just cut off no power it did start back up but lucky it didn't happen went I was going fast.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #14

May 262014


  • 106,000 miles
My 2003 Chevy Malibu would shut off if I hit even a small bump. If I hit a bump while driving, everything would go dead. Fortunately I was able to avoid accidents when this happened as it happened on both surface streets and the highway. Had this looked at by my mechanic and they determined that the ignition switch failed, causing the engine to shut off. No recall yet on this vehicle. Paid for out of pocket.

- Madison Heights, MI, USA

problem #13

Jun 112007

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
I have had several issues with my car over the years. The first was when the fuel pump failed and my car stalled in traffic in 2006 and repair was $600. The intake manifold gaskets failed about 10 months later that was repaired at the dealer for $1200. I have replaced the engine twice ($600 each time) because of the head gaskets and too much oil inside the engine. Now I have a strong odor of gasoline inside my car when I start it up that lasts for about 15-20 minutes each day. I've replaced the ignition switch twice now and the gear shift does not lock properly. Now anti theft security light comes on often and I have to wait approximately 11 minutes to reset it before I can leave my location. The hood latch recently broke and now the wire must be replaced from the inside to the exterior of the car.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #12

Apr 282011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles


2003 Chevrolet Malibu. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch and fuel pump repairs. The consumer stated the passlock sensor had to be replaced, because the vehicle would not start. Also, the fuel pump was replaced, because gas was not going from the tank into the engine, the cruise control occasionally would not work, the service engine light would come on intermittently, and electrical components, such as the radio and windows stopped working.

- Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Jul 102012


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated while driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred several times. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 28,000. The current mileage was 33,500.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #9

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 #8

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 #7

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 #6

May 012013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Started having problems starting my car, theft light would come on and I would have to sit and wait to get the car started, very annoying problem having to play a waiting came to start your car. Then one day I was driving and the car just shut off in the middle of the high way, I had no idea the car was even off until I tried to acclerate or turn because the radio remains on. Have to stop and put my hazzards on and start the car again, some days it does repeat stalls which causes me to almost get hit by cars behind me (very very dangerous), some days it drives fine. Then one day while shutting my car off and returning home the horn started honking and would not turn off for about a 1/2 hour, and after that it hasnt worked again. Took the car in to the shop because im fed up and they said it is all linked to a faulty pass key/anti theft system that causes these electrical problems. Did some research and noticed this is and has been a reaccuring problem in the Malibu's.

- Thornton, CO, USA

problem #5

Jun 052012


  • 59,071 miles
Over the last year, 2003 Chevy Malibu has not started on four different occasions. It was started and driven to another location (ie work, shopping, class, etc) and then upon returning to the car, it would not start. This is a major safety concern and especially so if one of the children is using the car. As I have read, others are having similar issues - this is a safety issue and warrants attention by the manufacturer!

- Hopewell, NJ, USA

problem #4

Aug 012012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
After my 2003 Chevrolet Malibu had been parked in the sun for a while, on a short trip of 4 miles, the car started revving up and taking off on it's on. It also caused my A/C hose to burst (I am convinced it is related). I took it to dealer for repair and they cleaned the throttle and replaced the A/C hose. There is still the same problem. It seems as though it happens when it is very hot weather and I am making short trips running errands which calls for turning engine off and restarting. I drove back home with my foot entirely on the brakes while trying to keep the car from running out of control. I am very reluctant to drive it now, until I can find someone to "really" fix the problem (as I was stuck with a $487 repair bill).

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #3

Mar 142013


  • 65,000 miles
My 2003 Malibu(65000 miles) started to idle high (2000-2500rpm). We took it to our regular mechanic shop, they decided it was the idle air control valve, replaced it and it worked fine until early June when it started idling high, intermittently. The rising idle would start with a rough acceleration, then the RPM's would start to rise and not come back down. We took it back and they could not get the problem to recur, so they told us to bring it in when it was acting up, since it was not constant. They assume at this point it was a faulty iac that had been replaced. 2 weeks later, it did and we took it in. The RPM's were close to 4000 and it was starting to overheat while the mechanic was checking it. That was on Monday, June 24, 2013. The mechanic reached into the engine and did something to stop the rpms from continuing to increase. Today is Wednesday and they do not know what the problem is. If anyone has any information on if this is a problem with this make and model, please let me know. Thank you.

- Clute, TX, USA

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