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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
87,499 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.

2004 Chevrolet Malibu drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Jul 062012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact noticed smoke underneath the vehicle and it became difficult to shift gears from drive into reverse. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing, but was not repaired. The contact was later notified of NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V252000 (electrical system, electronic stability control, exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic, vehicle speed control), 14V153000 (steering), and 14V224000 (power train). The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000. The consumer was informed the vehicle needed a new wiring harness. Updated 12/04/14 the consumer stated the recall has not been performed. Updated 02/04/15.

- Henderson, TN, USA

problem #22

Sep 102014


  • 142,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the power steering malfunctioned and the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. Also, the transmission failed to shift into the reverse gear. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V252000 (electrical system, electronic stability control, exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic, vehicle speed control), 14V153000 (steering), and 14V224000 (power train). The dealer indicated that only one of the three recall repairs would be performed since the parts were not available. The brake light recall repair was performed. The dealer was unable to indicate a specific timeframe to schedule the two remaining recall repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 142,000.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #21

Apr 112014


  • 99,271 miles
While shifting from park to reverse to back out of my driveway the shift handle popped up and is no longer attached completely to the shift lever. I have to push down on the handle while pushing in the button to shift or else the handle pops up and I am not able to shift.

- Waskom, TX, USA

problem #20

Oct 162013


  • 140,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the gear shifter handle fractured. The contact had to use both hands to shift the gear into drive. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing, but was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Athens, GA, USA

problem #19

Nov 012006

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
I have 3 recall letters and each states the parts aren't available. Those recalls are:14116,14152;13036. These recall repairs state that they affect the safety of this vehicle and yet we are forced to drive a vehicle with possible life threatening issues while the parts are not available. The safety issues aside, the recalls affect the value of this product by the implication it's defective. These issues should be dealt with swiftly as to minimize possible fatalities and if no parts are available, then a safe rental vehicle of like kind should be available at no cost to the owners.

- Atascosa, TX, USA

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problem #18

Jul 102014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
First, my transmission shifter cable went out (thankfully in my driveway where no one was harmed) so after doing some research we discovered GM had a recall for this part, that supposedly covered my make, model and year. After calling GM with my VIN they claimed my car was not a part of this recall. This makes very little sense to me because my car had the same problem the recall stated. They refused to cover my car. All while they had this part on a national hold, making it nearly impossible to fix their mistake. Now, my car has a used and possibly faulty part in it because they still will not cover it. Well now about a month later I'm having a hazard switch problem with the same car. Come to find out they recalled this part on 2000-2001 Malibu, but they're are many reports of 2002-2004 Malibu with the same problem that they refuse to cover. My point here is that GM continually makes mistakes that need fixing, but pick and choose what they will be fixing. Both of these problems could be potentially dangerous and could easily cause an accident. Something needs to be done about this situation with GM.

- Alden, MN, USA

problem #17

Aug 092014


  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while attempting to turn the vehicle off, the gear lever failed to shift into park. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician made the contact aware of recall NHTSA campaign number: 14V224000 (power train). However, the part needed was unavailable to perform the repair. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000.

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #16

Jun 032014


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the parking brake would malfunction and the vehicle would roll away when parked on an incline or a flat surface. Additionally, the vehicle would sporadically hesitate when the contact attempted to accelerate. The contact also stated that the transmission would become stuck in first gear and began to exhibit an abnormal jerking motion. The key would also become stuck in the ignition and the vehicle would intermittently fail to start. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 112,000.

- Hollister, MO, USA

problem #15

Jul 172012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated the brake lights failed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the vehicle was not included in recall NHTSA campaign number:14V252000 (exterior lighting). The failure and current mileage was 95,000....updated 09-05-14 the consumer stated the vehicle the vehicle has also had issues with switching from park to drive, the exterior as well as the interior lights would go out during highway speeds and an alarm would sound, whenever the vehicle would be filled with gas the low fuel alarm would sound, and the blinker lights would burn out prematurely. Updated 09/15/2014

- Snohomish, WA, USA

problem #14

May 152014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 0 miles
Hi I was wonder how long Chevy going to lag on getting people Malibu fixed and when their going to start raging VIN to car I need the money that I did not have in the first place to pay up so I want it back now.

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #13

Mar 012010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 67,987 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the drivers side seat frame was fractured. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician verified the failure and stated that the seat frame needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 67,987 and the current mileage was 95,000. Updated 09/26/2014 updated 02/27/2015

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #12

May 032010

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Driving down the interstate and all of a sudden, steering got stiff and my dash light (wrench) lit up and chimed. I'm glad I had both hands on the steering wheel or else it could have taken me for a joy ride. Had my wife and my infant son at the time with me. This definitely needs to be attended to because it's a serious safety issue. Now, I have 100,000 miles on the car and it's still doing the same thing. I don't have the money to replace such a thing. This needs to pushed with GM to have recalled!

- Pierre, SD, USA

problem #11

May 232013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 93,169 miles
My daughter was driving to school this morning, and everything seemed to be fine. She pulled out of our neighborhood and into the turning lane on a fast moving street to turn into her school parking lot. As she went to turn, the steering wheel locked up right as she was turning into oncoming traffic. She said it took everything in her to turn the steering wheel enough just so she could get onto the curb and out of the way. She then went to park and could barely make it into a parking space. She said when she first started to turn, a sound went off; and a gold wrench sign appeared underneath her rpms. She turned off the car once in her parking space and then turned it back on, and the steering wheel was still locked. She did it one more time, and it finally unlocked. Her, my other daughter, and my friend's two kids who were also in the car, were extremely shaken and on the verge of tears. It was a terrifying experience for them all. My most precious things in life were almost in a serious (perhaps even deadly) accident because of this power steering failure. I know this is not the first time this has been reported because I found numerous accounts of this exact same thing happening online. It's time Chevrolet finally steps up, takes responsibility for this, and recalls all these vehicles to get this power steering failure fixed before it takes a life (or lives)!

- Ammon, ID, USA

problem #10

Apr 012008

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
When I have to slow down, like when having to let a car turn in front of you. When the car shifts gears it jerks really hard, and will do this in all gears it shifts into.

- Henagar, AL, USA

problem #9

Apr 182013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 155,000 miles
One evening while driving on the expressway @ aprox 55mph the wrench light came on and three chimes the steering wheel locked causing loss of control resulting in a collision with the concrete wall causing suspension damage and body damage to a tune of over $3600! steering and stopping are more important than going! GM needs to be held accountable for this safety issue before someone is killed.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #8

Feb 032013


  • 83,456 miles
I was driving my sons 2004 Malibu when suddenly there was a few dings followed by the car symbol light with the wrench inside it on the dash light up. The wheel immediately became difficult to turn. It's as if the power steering stopped working. I drove to a safe location, turned off the car and the problem was gone. This does not seem right to me. Please have GM rectify this issue.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #7

Feb 012013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 132,200 miles
2004 Malibu ls-driving down the highway today and the bell goes off, the yellow wrench appears and the radio shows power steering. The power steering just went out all at once and I almost ran into a truck. Called the Chevrolet dealership and they stated there is not a recall on this and it is also not covered under the powertrain warranty. NHTSA please issue a recall on this power steering problem before it causes someone to loose their life. I have a 1998 Malibu ls and a 2004 Malibu ls and they both have gave me problems. I will never purchase another one. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Dermott, AR, USA

problem #6

Oct 022012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 149,862 miles
I came to a stop at a red light and 3 seconds later I heard a chime and a car with a wrench through it appeared on my dash. My wheel locked up and the only way to unlock it was to turn the care off and back on. The same thing happened on two other occasions while stopped at a light.

- Glendale , CO, USA

problem #5

Sep 102012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 125,191 miles
Came home from work on 9/10/12 and pulled into the driveway. When I placed the car in park it did not go into park and the car kept on rolling almost hitting my other vehicle. I tried putting into other gears but they were off (shift to drive it might be in neutral, shift to reverse it might be in neutral too). It's like it doesn't know what gear it is in and you have to kinda play with it to get it into the right gear. Also, since it's not reading that it's in park I cannot pull the keys out of the ignition. Thank god my kids were not in front of my car when I got home....pretty dangerous as you don't know if it's in park or not and the car will just roll.

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #4

Aug 232011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
I read you are looking into 2004 Malibu shift cables. Our cable broke a few month back resulting in an inability to start the car or shift gears. We replaced the cable. I have the old cable if you would like it.

- Gurnee, IL, USA

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