Chevrolet Malibu Repairs & Maintenance

Last Updated: January 25, 2018

Chevrolet Malibu Problems and Repairs

The Chevy Malibu is a popular option for midsize sedan shoppers. However, there are a few common Chevrolet Malibu problems that you should know about. If you're considering a used Malibu, schedule a pre-purchase inspection with a mechanic to ensure the car is in good condition before you buy. You may also want to consider a certified pre-owned Malibu, which is a used car that has undergone an inspection from a certified Chevrolet dealer and comes with additional warranty coverage.

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Here are some common problems and complaints about the Malibu as reported by owners to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Chevrolet Malibu Common Problems

Chevrolet redesigned the Malibu for the 2016 model year. This new Malibu generation has received relatively few complaints so far, though some owners have reported decreased engine performance and a recurring check engine light. GM is aware of a pre-ignition issue with the Malibu's 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, which could result in misfires, piston damage, and low compression. Reprogramming the engine control module (ECM) can remedy this problem if it is caught early. If there is a greater level of damage, the car may require piston or engine replacement.

The previous Chevy Malibu generation (2013 to 2015) has received complaints about wheel bearing failure, engine stalling, and power steering loss. GM issued a recall for the 2013 Malibu Eco due to a fault with its eAssist mild hybrid system, which could cause the vehicle to stall or have problems starting. The company replaces the system's generator control module (GCM) for free, if faulty. A blown fuse or broken fuse block could be responsible for stalling in nonhybrid Malibu vehicles.

A blown fuse could also disable the power steering system and make the wheel hard to turn. If drivers experience the steering wheel locking up, the electric power steering control module may require new software as well. Chevrolet reprograms the module for free within 10 years of the original purchase date or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The 2008 through 2012 Chevy Malibu generation has received similar complaints about power steering loss, in addition to complaints about faulty door locks, intermittent brake light issues, and transmission failure. Chevrolet recalled the 2008 and 2009 models to replace the steering motor control unit and torque sensor. The same fix is available for 2010, 2011, and 2012 vehicles, but as part of a 10-year/150,000-mile warranty extension. Chevy also recalled a number of these vehicles due to faulty intermediate steering shafts, which can loosen and eventually separate. This may explain the clunks some owners have heard coming from the steering system.

Some of the Malibu's brake light problems are linked to a connection fault with the body control module (BCM), which can cause the lights to work intermittently and trigger dashboard warnings. GM repairs this connection under recall. Chevrolet also notes these electrical issues - as well as engine starting problems - may result from contact between the car's wiring harness and body beneath the rear seat.

The Malibu's transmission issues may have multiple sources. A faulty pressure control solenoid in 2011 models can cause the transmission to skip certain gears, making the vehicle feel low on power. A damaged transmission fluid pump (2011 through 2013 models) can also keep the car from starting or shifting into gear. GM recalled the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Malibu models due to a shift cable defect that may allow the gear lever to move to the park position without actually shifting the transmission.

Chevrolet Malibu Recalls

Use the links below to find recalls for each Chevrolet Malibu model year. Notably, the airbags in the Malibu are not affected by the Takata airbag recalls.


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