Used 2002 Chevrolet Malibu Consumer Reviews

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$1,173 - $2,898

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A 12 year review

Jason, 08/26/2015
4dr Sedan (3.1L 6cyl 4A)
19 of 20 people found this review helpful

I bought my Malibu in 2003 when the transmission in my old Grand Prix started to go. It was a rental previously, and I knew this going in. I will say though, despite it's faults, I have a hard time saying the car is complete junk, because my kids (ages 9-11) rode in it when they were babies. I will start with what I believe to be the minor faults, but they can cost: 1. 15 inch tires are getting hard to come by now, and being FWD, it eats up tires quick, if not rotated properly. 2. It only uses the front disc brakes for stopping, thus eats brake pads fast. The drums are only used for parking brake. That said, I will now go into the more expensive repairs I have had: 1. Fuel pump went out 5 years ago, driving down the road. 2. The starter has a safety switch, that will go bad in time, and require replacement, unless yu know how to bypass it, which I did. 3. The biggest....the head gaskets from the factory, are junk and a ticking time bomb. He manifold gaskets are plastic and will crack in time. You will start to lose oil and coolant once they do. I overheated the car 2 winters ago, causing the heads to warp, which required mill work, than changed the gaskets with Fel-Pro gaskets, use regular coolant, and since than, the car drives almost like new. It was a complete PITA to get the top half off and put back together. Just beware that if you have one, and are approaching 150k miles, you have a time bomb on your hands. I recommend flushing the cooling system, to help slow down erosion of the gaskets. Total time and money, we spent 4 days, and around $400 to fix. 4. The fan sensor, which turns the electric fan on and off, went bad, which caused my overheating problem. Would have cost $500 for a new one, but rigged a wire and toggle switch, and it now works. I just have to remember to shut it off, or I will have a dead battery. Interior: Not much, very basic, which I like. Over the years, the arm rest on the drivers door has developed a hole, a couple holes in the driver seat, and the headliner is starting to droop some. All in all, I would have to say that through it all, I should have considered more when buying a car, but I can't complain 100%, because after some work and money put in it, it still runs. Would I recommend it to anyone else? No, especially for anyone wanting a car that lasts a while. The only reason we put money into it, is because we couldn't afford to buy a new vehicle. After the first of the year, the Malibu will be retired to a local driving car only, and one used for a backup, as I will hopefully have a new vehicle.

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Definition of a "normal" car

noah14, 06/27/2014
14 of 15 people found this review helpful

The 2002 Malibu is extremely normal. It's practical, a bit faster than you might think, but its boring looks keep it in the "grandma car" category. Pros: -Practical size. Not to big on the outside, plenty of space on the inside. -Reluctantly fast. At first I thought I was driving a slow car since I got it from my grandmother, but it's actually pretty quick compared to these new eco-friendly 4-cylinder sedans with a million gears that won't let you touch 4,000rpm. If you coax it, it'll move. Cons: -Looks. It's not ugly, it's just boring. Silver lining: cops won't notice you. -Lots of little repairs. Annoying things like the indicator keeps clicking for no reason.

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Has its quirks but keeps on plugging

pegdee, 05/31/2014
8 of 8 people found this review helpful

I bought this car used from Hertz (at 24,000 miles) in 2003, and 11 years later it's at 152,000. I've used it for lots of city driving in San Francisco (those hills and traffic are hard on a car), highway driving, and trips on rough roads in the Sierra. Engine is still going strong, and I haven't had to spend much on repairs. The biggest (and scariest) problem was a fuel pump failure while I was on the road. The anti-theft system can be annoying when it won't let you start (has happened to me about 4 times over the years), but all you need to do is wait it out for 10 minutes.

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Gone but NOT forgotten..........

LJackson, 10/31/2002
7 of 7 people found this review helpful

I sadly had a wreck that totalled our 2002 Malibu last Wednesday. It was a very bad wreck with a fully loaded double-sized gravel truck hitting us on the rear passenger wheel. He was speeding along through a red light and hit us at roughly 50mph. The car withstood that awful impact so my son and I did not get hurt badly or worse yet- killed. We do have assorted bumps and bruises and a couple of very severe headaches but no broken bones, no serious cuts. The Malibu protected us beautifully- I'm glad to know it was such a safe car.

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Look and Drive of More Expensive Car

Frank Provasek, 11/02/2005
7 of 7 people found this review helpful

I bought this car new for $16,000. Everyone who I showed it to and let ride in it guessed $22,000 to $25,000. Average 24 MPG with 3.1 litre V-6.

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It Goes and Goes

Howard, 02/25/2006
5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Over 100K miles and it has yet to break down. The only mechanical problem so far was when an electrical problem caused the fan not to work at the lower speeds. This is my concept of a luxury car. Although nothing about it is spectacular, there is nothing that is truly deficient. It still runs just about as smoothly as the day I bought it.

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Terrific bang for your dollar!

stfdc00069, 10/08/2012
7 of 8 people found this review helpful

I will preface my comments with this: I do not trust GM for a second and was very sceptical when buying this vehicle and fully expected a potential headache. I purchased this car used in 2009 at 58,000km (36,000 miles). Presently I have 84,000km (52,000miles) on it plus 10 Canadian winters. Replaced original tires at 80,000km. Battery went last year, also original. Replaced brakes once only because I wanted new pads and discs in the face of approaching harsh Canadian winter. You really couldn't ask for more. This car so far cost me $5k for three years of ownership. Taking a bus woudl have been more expensive! Absolutely love it! Go GM! Terrific value for not much dollar

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1999 Malibu

MKO, 03/02/2002
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

This car is relatively fun to drive, has good gas milage for a V6. Driving all the way from Appleton, WI to Mount Rushmore and back in three days was a breeze. The equipment level is fantastic, and the absance of traction control has never been a problem. This and the Hyundai Sonata are the two cars my heart goes for: Affordable, comfortable, and low cost. Note I did not use the word cheap.

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Engine Trouble At Sixty Thousand Miles

Switched to Honda, 12/12/2006
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

For three years the Malibu was a wonderful car to own. I liked the engine power and the extremely comfortable driver seat. However, the car started developing severe coolant- related engine problems at 60,000 miles. I did some research and discovered that this is a common occurance with Malibus. Last week I traded it off and bought a brand new Honda. If you buy a Malibu, you will eventually have coolant-related engine problems. I faithfully maintained mine and it still happened. The Malibu has a serious design flaw in its cooling system. Buy at your own risk.

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Great car

jilikins, 04/01/2014
11 of 14 people found this review helpful

We had a 2002 Malibu that we originally bought in 2007. Never had any major issues with it and because of high mileage hubby put on it driving 90 miles back and forth to work, we decided to look for another car. We found a 2002 Malibu (this one is loaded) with 80,000 miles on it and promptly bought it. My husband is a back yard mechanic of sorts (built a '66 Chevy II from the ground up into a pro-street car) and so he does regular maintenance on it and changes the oil religiously and tune ups and such. Sure, we've had to change the brakes on both our vehicles, but that is the norm. Great, great car.

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