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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,405 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #18

Dec 042015


  • 83,556 miles


My son was driving the 2003 Chevrolet Malibu on the highway when the theft protection system suddenly kicked in an shut off the engine causing him to lose speed and power steering and forcing him to stop on the highway. Then he had to sit there 10 minutes with the key turned on to reset the theft system before he could start the car again and get out of a dangerous situation. The ignition and key was already ready replaced under the recall too.

- Little Chute, WI, USA

problem #17

Aug 072015


  • 59,480 miles
This has happened five times now, I am driving and the engine just shuts off, I can not brake I can not steer, I still have lights on the dashboard. It happens when I am gong about 20 to about 35 miles per hour. I am afraid to drive on the highway. I do not know if it will happen at a higher speed! it did it the first time back in June 2015 my daughter was driving, then again last Friday August 7th four more times with in 10minutes and a few miles apart. It is like someone just turned the car off while I am driving?

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #16

May 062015


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated while driving approximately 55 mph, there was an abnormal popping noise coming from the steering wheel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the wheel bearing needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Cotton Wood, UT, USA

problem #15

Dec 272010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 56,040 miles


Was not able to get keys out of the ignition switch. The keys would stick, and I was not able to remove the keys. Took it to a Chevrolet dealership, and they had to replace the shifter and knob assembly. I am the original owner of the vehicle and used the original keys. Furthermore, this car had low mileage, 56,040 miles, for a seven year old car, and was barely driven to have to have such a serious repair. I see that there is some kind of technical bulletin for this issue, but Chevrolet should have paid for the repair instead of charging me the $346.56 to repair a known issue that should have been recalled. I have had so much trouble with my 2003 Chevrolet Malibu that I would never purchase a Chevrolet or GM product ever again. Most of the issues that I see in the service bulletins are issues that I have also had. After finding this website, I hope to let other Chevrolet Malibu owners know of the potential problems that can occur with their vehicles, and also hope that one day, something can be done to make Chevrolet liable for all these issues.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #14

Nov 102014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 76,300 miles
Car will not start. Solid "theft" light comes on dashboard and car will not turn over, or if it turns over, will cut out shortly after. This anti-theft issue causes the power steering and brakes to disable, and am not able to turn the steering wheel. Have also had car stall out in traffic and lose all power. Had to have car towed several times due to the issue. I have tried several fixes and mechanical repairs, but this issue continues to get worse. No matter what I try and do, at random times, my car will not start, while the "theft" light comes on and completely disables my vehicle. And sometimes while driving, the car just shuts off. I am the original owner of the vehicle, and am using an original key to start the car. I do not have any type of security system installed in my car. There is no reason for the "theft" light to come on when I am just trying to start my vehicle, not steal it. The ignition recall for my specific vehicle only involves replacing the keys, but this anti-theft issue, which I and other Chevrolet Malibu owners are experiencing, is a serious safety issue that could cause a crash or other accident to occur if it causes the car to cut out (lose power) for no reason while driving, and at the same time disabling the steering and braking systems. This should definitely be a safety recall.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #13

Jun 052014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The car shut off with no warning while driving on the road. This was a total shut-down of the car; including the loss of power steering and the functionality of the brake booster. The car afterwards becomes difficult to start. It may take several tries or a prolonged waiting period until the car will want to start. After it does start there's no telling if it will shut off again while driving. It has shut off while going through turns, and pulling out into traffic.

- Richland, PA, USA

problem #12

Oct 202013


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle veered to the left and the steering wheel failed to straighten. The vehicle crashed into an unknown object and flipped upside down. A police report was filed and the contact sustained bruising from the glass which required medical attention. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was unaware of the issue. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate mileage was 100,000.

- Stratford, CT, USA

problem #11

Aug 012014


  • miles
Driving car on highway when it powered down, turned off, lost power steering, etc. Had to pull over, stop car, and restart it. Prior to this, had been driving it in town on side street and the same thing happened.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #10

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 #9

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 #8

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 #7

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 #6

Mar 052012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 44,370 miles
I am currently experiencing loss of steering and suspension performance with my vehicle including significant loss of tire tread for my vehicle. The vehicle bounces and makes screeching sounds while steering a curve on the road. The vehicle was inspected in early March and no mechanical problem was observed or detected. A 4 wheel alignment was also done at a Chevrolet dealer a few months back and no problems were found or detected then. I have reason to believe that something is wrong with the mechanical operation of either the steering or suspension component of the vehicle. Kindly investigate and look into this problem. Thank you

- Bensalem, PA, USA

problem #5

Sep 172011


  • 28,000 miles
The power steering has failed 5 times while driving the vehicle. Each time, my daughter has pulled over, turned off and restarted the engine, and the power steering operated correctly again. I have had the power steering system checked by certified GM mechanics at the local GM dealership; they were aware of this common problem but they did know of a remedy. The dealership checked the steering system each time, and did not find any problems. I am selling this is not safe enough for my daughter to drive.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #4

Sep 112011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately 25 mph, there was a loss of control in the steering. The contact was able to regain full control of the vehicle and continued to drive with caution. There was a nearby independent mechanic who inspected the vehicle and stated the sub frame was fractured due to corrosion. In addition, both front coil springs fractured. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Chesterfield, MI, USA

problem #3

Jan 012011


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving at any speed, the contact stated that the vehicle would loose all power steering intermittently, making it difficult to control the vehicle. The failure began three weeks ago. Both the dealer and manufacturer were not notified. The failure was not diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The current and failure mileages were 130,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Sep 272008


  • 103,540 miles
Steering column started smoking, then burst into flames.

- Rockford, MI, USA

problem #1

May 012004

Malibu 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,154 miles
The steering wheel was loose and had too much play in it. Vehicle was driven to the dealership who replaced the steering column but the problem recurred.

- West Mifflin, PA, USA

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