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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
62,365 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Jun 272007

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


We bought the car used with 34,000 miles on it in 3/2006.there was a clunking in the steering when the steering wheel was turned. The dealership replaced the steering column on 12/2007 with 66,000 miles. The clunking was still there and we were told that this is normal. Since then the steering has gotten worse. The dealership has tried to find the problem but says it can find nothing wrong. Yet sometimes the steering will lockup at low speed when backing up or turning while stopped. It has not done this while driving at road speed (or I would not drive it). However at road speed the steering is very vague. It requires an almost quarter turn of the steering wheel to get the car to respond to a steering input to turn left or right. This is not safe. There is also warning lights that come on the dash, and warning bells that sound, and sometimes they go back off other times car needs to shut off and restarted and it is ok then. Check engine light stays on most of the time, again dealership can not find the problem. Sometimes the whole dash cluster goes out, the car stays running and they come back on after a time and again if you cut off and restart the car it is ok again for a while. The car currently has 150,000 on it and I have an independent mechanic checking it over to see if he can find the problem. The Chevrolet dealership can't find what is wrong to fix it, or so they say.

- Edinburg, VA, USA

problem #41

Jun 102013


  • 129,662 miles
While pulling out of a business parking lot with my mother in the vehicle, I turned the steering wheel to back out and it wouldn't turn at first. I cut the car off and restarted it once again, this tie the steering wheel turned for about half a turn and the just kept on turning with a knock every full rotation. The wheels were not moving at matter how many times I restarted the car it never worked. So I was forced to block half of the parking lot until my car was flat-bedded back to my house. Previous to this incident I had experienced the wheel stiffen up at low speeds but it always went right away, I have seen countless people online posting stories about this happening to them, and I was just driving on the freeway minutes earlier and this could've happened then and been a tragedy, why has this not been recalled"???"

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #40

Apr 012008

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
Sometimes you can't take your keys out of the ignition after putting it in park. I have to shift it back to reverse and then back in park for it to let the ignition switch to turn all the way off so I can remove my keys.

- Henagar, AL, USA

problem #39

Apr 032013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 98,700 miles


While on my way home, driving North on I-95 near Washington, DC, I experienced lots of electrical problems (noise and grabbing to the left in the steering column, repeated bulb and light unity failures) then suddenly, a total loss of power steering. I became so scared while needing both hands to manage in heavy traffic traveling at an average of 65mph that I immediately threw a lit cigarette out the window in a desperate effort to control the vehicle. The steering wheel is almost impossibly difficult to steer. I was unaware that it had blown behind my back onto the driver"S seat until it burnt me, my shirt and the seat. It is by the grace of god that I didn"T have a fatal accident. It is probably needless to say that I continue to experience back pain. A disaster is waiting to happen! the fact is that sometimes while driving the power steering will start working again as quickly as it went out. Consider that I could be turning the wheel as hard as I can and at that second the power returns to send me spinning. Keep in mind that this is occurring more frequently everyday. Sometimes it does stop when the car is turned off and sometimes it does not. With regard to the brakes they make a loud and grinding sound when I lift off of them.

- Fairchance, PA, USA

problem #38

Apr 192013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 159,000 miles
While driving down the road the vehicle just randomly shut off theft light came on as if I was stealing my own car had to wait 10 mins with ignition on to reset the theft system when looking online this is a known issue most of the time it is when starting but for me I was driving this is a serious concern for me.

- Unicoi, TN, USA

problem #37

Mar 102013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Driving down the road when the radio panel started blinking with power steering. I then lost my power steering and my car began to shake this failure occurs without any warning and sometimes the power steering light will illuminate and it will show in the radio panel. As a woman, driving without power steering was extremely difficult. This is not the first time this happened to me it has happened several times and thankfully I was able to avoid an accident. I took the car to the dealer, and after running diagnostics, they told me that the 2004 Malibu's have electronic power steering, and that there is an issue with the power steering motor and that it overheats, causing loss of power steering. The car seat belts are froze and the hazard light button fell inside its hole and the headlight covers don't allow the lights to fully illuminate. This car should have been recalled because it poses life threatening issues. My research shows a high volume of complaints on this 2004 model but the 2005's and above were recalled, I also collected statements from factory workers who left their personal info on the internet and I found this : during my employment contract with delphi automotive (delphi saginaw steering system, 3900 E. holland ave., saginaw, Michigan 48601), I was instructed to conduct a screw "strip-out" study on the electric motor/controller assembly of the electric power steering (eps) system of the general motor's epsilon platform (my 2003.5 - 2006 Malibu). This study was conducted in may of 2004 at delphi's plant 1, assembly. The study included ten production motor and ten production controller assemblies that were assembled on the production equipment and process(ES). The controller is attached to motor by three M 5.0X 0.8 screws. The result of that study concluded that four of the ten motor/controller assemblies had at least one of the screws fully strip

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #36

Jul 152011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


In July 2011 the power steering went out. About a week later it started going out while driving. Had the steering column, and racket and pinion replaced, and the then the radio stopped playing cds, and the seat belt light constantly stays on even if you have the seat belt on.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

problem #35

Jul 092012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 55,850 miles
I was driving about 45 miles when the car cut off with no warning, when the car came to a complete stop I was able to restart the car.this has happened 7 different times. My son thought I needed a tune up, I took the car to the dealer, I was told it was electrical but didn't know what was causing it.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #34

May 262011


  • 108,000 miles
Since purchasing the vehicle (used), there have been more than 12 instances where the car cuts out while driving. This has occurred at speeds as high as 55 mph. There is a total loss of power and the car must be brought to a rolling stop outside of the traffic flow. Also, there have been weekly instances of the car failing to start. This has since increased to daily. The key will only start the ignition when the dash lights (battery, oil, etc) are on, and they are on and off completely at random. Sometimes I have to wait up to 10 minutes with the key partially turned before the lights come on and I can turn it the rest of the way and start the car. The other electrical issue that has happened is that the blower fan has gone on and off and the power windows have gone on and off.

- Richmond, IL, USA

problem #33

Apr 042012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • miles
My anti-theft system activates and leaves me and my one year old child stranded in Florida heat.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #32

Mar 102010


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph when the power steering warning indicator illuminated and there was a complete loss of power steering. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road where the engine was turned off. Upon restarting, the vehicle resumed as normal. The failure occurred three different times. Also intermittently, the four power windows and power door locks failed to operate when the control mechanism was engaged. On a separate occasion the the key would not release from the ignition switch until after several attempts. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Lake Oswego, OR, USA

problem #31

Jan 102012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
For about 3 years the theft light would come on when trying to start. Then you would have to wait 10 minutes to start. In December while driving at 60 mps the engine stopped, power steering was lost and the theft light was on. After 10 minutes the car started again. Then two times later the engine stopped while driving between 60 & 65 mph, power steering was lost. One of these times the car started up again and power steering recovered. I took the unit to the Chevrolet dealer in emporia, Kansas. They said the switch needed to be replaced and that the fuel pump cuts off because of the age of the vehicle. Both need to be replaced at a cost of over $1,100 according to them. Normally the car operates great! I can't understand why a product is allowed on the market with a fuel pump that works part-time. Prior to going to the emporia Chevrolet, I explained the problem to the burlington, Kansas Chevrolet dealership and they said it had to do that at the time they were checking it or they could not find out the problem. This is a disaster waiting to happen. I am glad that my wife of 4'11" was not driving it when the power steering was lost because of the engine stopping.

- Hartford, KS, USA

problem #30

Nov 162011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 98,200 miles
Purchased vehicle for daughter on 8/17/2011 from asset recovery dealership Colorado. While she was driving on a major road (approx. 40 mph), a warning light on dash went on and the power steering went away (almost to the point of feeling like it was totally locked). She was in rh lane, put on flashers, turned off car and restarted car. Warning light went off and power steering was back. This happened two other times while pulling out of a parking space. It happened intermittently. Took the vehicle it to my mechanic who ran diagnostics and found the power steering assist relay to be faulty and replaced entire steering column at $580 (the relay cannot be replaced without replacing entire steering column). Since then I have found a number of websites ( were 100+ other 2004 Malibu owners have had the exact problem. There does not seem to be a recall on the 2004 Malibu for this particular problem but some have written there was a recall or bulletin for 2005+ Malibu for this problem. This a very serious safety (and scary) issue to loose your power steering assist out of no where and a very costly repair. I also read in some of the posted complaints that their repair did not last and the problem recurred. I purchased this car from a"recovery" type car dealership. I would like to get reimbursement from GM. This problem occurred with people at various mileage ranges some as low as 7,000 which would seem to me to indicate a defect. Although the steering column has been replaced, I'm concerned about this problem recurring. Thank you.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #29

Oct 312011

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 88,010 miles
Car engine will shut down at random times showing anti-theft light. Even while driving. This is a dangerous situation.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #28

Oct 012006


  • 35,000 miles
Vehicle's anti-theft system frequently locks up, preventing driver from starting car for a minimum of 10-15 minutes. Has failed on average once per two months since 2005. Have had the ignition switch replaced multiple times yet the problem persists.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #27

Jun 172009

Malibu 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start at times after several attempts. The vehicle would also suddenly stop while she was driving. She had the vehicle towed several times as a result. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where a passlock sensor was replaced; however, the failure continued. The contact called the manufacturer who offered no assistance. The vehicle had not been repaired. The current mileage was approximately 125,000. The failure mileage was approximately 18,000. Updated 01/06/11

- Ravenna, OH, USA

problem #26

Aug 312010


  • 44,462 miles
The electric power steering in my vehicle is faulty. The steering wheel will move by its self while driving or in park. Also my power steering will go out without warning while driving at any speed. When the steering wheel locks up due to power steering I have a very hard time turning and controlling car. I have barely avoid several accidents because of this issue. I have taken car to dealership to see if can be fixed because when I called GM I was not eligible for the warranty that would have fixed issue but because it was past their recall time they would not assist me and the dealer wants $800 to fix and they say that even fixing the steering column and or the assist motor that I will more then likely have the same issues! my car is a 2004 with only 44,462 miles on it. I got the car used February of this year (2010) and didn't know that it would be a nightmare and a death trap for my family! I have video of the wheel moving by its self as well as video showing that when I loss power steering the car is hazardous. I am really afraid that I will not be able to keep up with this issue and will one day loss complete control of the car and hurt myself and possibly others! Chevrolet needs to fix this issue for good or replace the cars all together because its really only a matter of time before this issue bites them in the butt! I really like my Malibu but I really think that I should have never got it because of all the issues losing power steering, pulls bad to left and right, loose shifter knob, & the remote keyless entry doesn't work right. I hope by filing this complaint with you that maybe it will be resolved. I want to have piece of mind while driving my family in car not worried about the car being a death trap on 4 wheels that will loss control when it feels like it and kill my family and myself. I know that I am not the only one with these issues with the Malibu and Chevrolet really needs to step up and make these issues right for us the consumers fast!

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #25

Jul 152010

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 44,500 miles
2004 Chevrolet Malibu ls, the left turn, parking, & drl bulb overheated and caused a fire that melted the amber plastic lens inside if the headlight assy causing it to scorch the inside of the headlight assy around the amber part. The right side had previously just melted the top of the amber lens. These were the original headlight assys with 3157 bulbs that caused the problem. The daytime running lights are very bright all the time. The bulb caused a fire that went out by itself that is the safety problem. Bought certified replacement headlight assys.

- Elmhurst, IL, USA

problem #24

Jun 302010


  • 65,000 miles
Wife started up her car after work on June 30th, come to find out, the electronic power steering failed and, good thing, she wasn't driving when it went out or else there could have been an accident. Now, it fails every once and awhile, still steerable, but very hard to steer. If you shut the car off, then, it goes a way for a while but then power steering fails again later on. We were driving down the interstate and it did the same thing while going 75mph. We're trying to research on if this is a recall or what the problem could be. Something needs to be done, I've seen a lot of complaints on the Chevy Malibu about the electronic power steering failing.

- Pierre, SD, USA

problem #23

Jul 212010


  • 95,000 miles
2004 Chevrolet Malibu - both front headlights assemblies are melting from the heat coming off of the turn signal/marker light. The plastic bulb housing is actually melting enough to drip onto the bulb causing them to break and need replaced. This is definitely a fire hazard.

- Smithsburg, MD, USA

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