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Maintenance issues can be a concern when purchasing a used car, and the Chevy Malibu is no exception. Specific model years have received more owner complaints than others, highlighting potential reliability problems and high repair costs. The following four Chevy Malibu model years stand out as the worst in terms of reported problems and owner dissatisfaction.

2002 Chevy Malibu

The 2002 Chevy Malibu has faced its share of problems that have troubled owners, according to reports on One prevalent problem is leaking coolant and a cracked intake manifold gasket, leading to engine overheating and potential damage. On average, the cost to fix a leaking coolant and a cracked intake manifold gasket is around $900.

Another common concern is a Passlock issue, where the vehicle won’t start and the anti-theft light illuminates. Fixing the Passlock problem requires an average cost of approximately $600.

In addition, some owners have experienced engine knocking, which could indicate internal damage and necessitate repairs of around $2,100.

These issues arise at around 81,000 miles for coolant leaks and Passlock concerns and around 93,000 miles for engine knocking.

2003 Chevy Malibu

2003 Malibu owners have complained about various issues. One of the worst problems concerns the anti-theft system, which can leave drivers stranded. Fixing this issue sets owners back an average of $300.

Another challenge is a finicky fuel pump that tends to call it quits prematurely, demanding an average repair cost of approximately $500.

Additionally, the 2003 Malibu has struggled with coolant leaks and cracked intake manifold gaskets, leading to overheating and average repair expenses of around $800.

These issues tend to crop up around 72,000 to 81,000 miles, so potential buyers should carefully weigh the costs and potential headaches associated with the 2003 Chevy Malibu.

2004 Chevy Malibu

A 2004 Chevy Malibu, one of the worst Chevy Malibu model years based on owner complaints
2004 Chevy Malibu | David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The 2004 Chevy Malibu has several mechanical issues, including erratic power steering that makes maneuvering the vehicle challenging and dangerous. Addressing this concern costs an average of $700. Adding to the steering woes, a defective steering column has frustrated many 2004 Malibu owners, necessitating an average expense of $900 to rectify the issue.

Furthermore, an unsettling clunking noise emanates from the steering system. Fixing this annoying issue costs around $600.

These problems typically appear between 42,000 and 81,000 miles.

2010 Chevy Malibu


1 Cheap and Reliable Chevy Malibu Model Year Has Potential Safety Issues deems 2010 the worst Chevy Malibu year due to higher repair costs and more issues at lower mileage. But confusingly, the site also gives this model the “Seal of Pretty Good.”

Nevertheless, various maintenance woes have left 2010 Malibu owners furious. A common concern involves the transmission suddenly grinding to a halt, rendering the vehicle useless. Fixing this critical component requires a hefty average repair cost of $3,200.

Adding to the frustration, the 2010 Malibu exhibits problems with shifting gears, leaving drivers stranded. Remedying this problem costs an average of $3,800.

Furthermore, an unsettling tendency for the car to stall costs about $700 to fix.

These issues manifest around 46,000 to 101,000 miles.