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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,808 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.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 6 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #41

Jun 012012


  • 65,000 miles


The right rear door lock no longer functions properly, and must be manually locked or unlocked. All doors in the vehicle are supposed to, and assumed to be, locked while the vehicle is in drive and when the lock is hit. Having a door that does not function as it is assumed that it will presents a potential safety issue through vandalism/thieves or in the event of an emergency as the result of an accident. Looking through the existing list of complaints here and also on model specific forums, this issue is without a doubt a widespread one that needs to be addressed by GM, considering the number of cars it affects not only for the Malibu model, but also other vehicles that they sell.

- Frankfort, NY, USA

problem #40

Feb 242010


  • 76,000 miles
Doors stopped locking when the car is put into drive or reverse, and unlocking when in park. This is a safety issue as we carry a toddler/child in the back seat and they are not locked in, and could open the door. We are told this is very common in Malibu's and the dealer maintains an inventory of actuator's to repair all of the vehicles that are brought in.

- Lees Summit, MO, USA

problem #39

Jun 012011


  • 49,000 miles
Steering wheel shook violently when the car was at rest and then began to shake while driving down the highway at approximately 49K miles. Took it to dealer and had the steering column replaced. Then the power door locks began to fail; both passenger door locks and the driver's lock must be operated manually now (well, the driver's door lock works 1/2 of the time...never know if it is actually engaged unless you do it manually). No outside keyhole exists for the passenger door side to be unlocked, which is very inconvenient and potentially unsafe, especially when you are driving alone and cannot get the doors locked by pushing the button. Have driven GM vehicles my entire life, but this is the last time the company will ever get my money. Sad....

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #38

Aug 012011

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles


Keyless door fob will not unlock rear doors. Looking this up on the internet has shown this problems is a comon complaint and not covered after 3 year or 36000 mile warranty though mileage is not a factor for this problem. The safety factor involved would be inability to open rear door in the event of a crash with injuries.

- Orange, CT, USA

problem #37

Oct 192011

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 32,579 miles
I first experienced a problem October 2011 when the dashboard message indicated service traction and service ESC, I took my car to an independent garage where they put dielectric grease on the BCM connectors. They stated if the problem continues, I would have to go to a dealer for the BCM to be reprogrammed. While this fixed the problem of my service brake lights coming on without touching my break pedal and then while breaking no break lights come on, the fix only worked temporarily. I took my car to a dealership, because like others have mentioned, when you shut the car off it clears the message until you are no longer at the garage and it comes back on. I too took my car back to the dealer and did not shut the car off. The service writer saw the messages which were, service traction and service ESC. The first time I visited the dealer was on June 1, 2012, their report states code C0131 ABS traction control system pressure circuit. I had this problem fixed on June 25, 2012 in which they replaced and calibrated brake pedal switch, greased BCM connector, cleared code, road test, replace brake light switch for a sum of money. This has not fixed my problem to date. The problem is especially persistent during damp and wet weather. It is an uneasy feeling driving because it happens at random times.

- Perkiomenville, PA, USA

problem #36

Feb 012011


  • miles
You have to take off front end of car to change headlight bulb(bumper, grill, brackets). Replaced 3 headlight bulbs in little more than 1 year. Problem with replacing have to take off front end to change bulb. Last time I changed bulb was 3 weeks ago. Bulb out again. I am not a mechanic or body person so I have to pay someone to change the bulb. Paid someone to take off front end and change the bulb. Because it only lasted about 2 weeks or less, I am assuming there is a problem with electrical. I never know when bulb will go out. I can pay to fix it again, but, I cannot see at night with one light and others cannot see me. It is a hazard and I don??T know what to do. Chevy quoted me $320 to do this. I paid 1st $220 2nd $180 3rd $180. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- because of lock problem described below, that is why I think it may be electrical my brother and I got a car (same car 3 months apart) his car did the same thing - all door locks malfunctioned - he took in to Chevy. Gave him some weird excuse and said it would cost him so much money to fix which was a ridiculous amount. He traded his 2008 Chevy Malibu in finally because of all the problems and bought a Toyota Camry. The cost quoted him was the reason I did not take mine in to repair. I couldn't afford to pay for Chevy malfunction. ## VIN failed ##

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #35

Feb 112013


  • 44,000 miles


Chevrolet Malibu ltz 3.6L, as you drive down the street at any speed the traction control light comes on check engine light comes on and the display say check traction press ESC I have had it checked at the Chevy dealership where I purchased the car and the tech said the engine misfired that it was probably due to bad gas or a particle in the gas but it has happened about ten times with gas from several places and all grades regular to premium and know the check engine light has come on and am know taking the car back to the dealer to have them scan the car again I have had the car a little over a month, if the dealer decides it is no longer there problem I will report this problem and hassle I have gone through to GM management and will return the car back to the dealer or owner of dealership for a refund.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #34

Jul 202012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • miles
Key fob does not unlock or lock the front and back doors on the drivers side. If someone is in the back seat the driver can not get them out as the door lock will not open with the fob. When the car is put in drive the drivers door does not lock, so it is assummed that you are safely locked in the car, but the door needs to be locked manually after in the car is put in drive. When locked manually when in car, when the car is turned off the door will not open automatically and has to be manually opened by pulling the lock on door up on the driver door and the back passenger door. When trying to use the remote to lock the doors, the front and back doors do not lock unless done manually. When the fob is used to unlock the doors as I try to get into the car the fob does not work and I have to manually with the key unlock the door. When trying to remote start the car the remote start does not work, as the driver side door and back door will not lock, so remote start does not work. I had an incident with the back door when I needed to get an individual out of the back seat quickly and it was not possible. I had to run to the other side of the car and get the individual out by pulling them to the other side of the car. When I am approaching my car in an area that I feel unsafe in, such as a garage, I am not able to open my car door with the fob and have to again use the key. Again then when I get in the car I am unsafe as the door does not lock, front or back if not locked manually. I feel very strongly that this is a safety issue, especially not being able to get someone out of the back seat or me out of the front should I encounter an emergency situation, or if I am in an accident, or if for any reason I have a fire in the car.

- Bethany Beach, DE, USA

problem #33

Jun 062012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Steering shakes violently, while driving or stopped, to the point of losing control. Condition is intermitent. Vehicle has been checked by dealer and diagnosed as needing a steering control module. So far Chevrolet has not offered a fix, except to replace it at a cost of 743.00$ with the same part that is defective? engine light came on at 70000 miles and dealer replaced cat conv at no charge. The third issue is door locks stopped working at 74000 miles, and will only open manually. The steering is a very dangerous condition and I fear will cause a accident.

- Oceanside , CA, USA

problem #32

Oct 012012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Whilst driving home one night I noticed that my brake lights were on, however I was not applying the brakes. I then pressed the brake pedal and the brake lights turned off. Once I let go of the brake they came back on after a few seconds. At the same time, I received an error that read along the lines of: ESC service traction. My husband and I found a forum where other Malibu owners seemed to be having the same issue, so we removed the panel on the passenger side floor to check for any corrosion, then replaced the panel. The problem stopped, however this issue is re-occurring, and has occurred several other times since then. I always receive the same ESC service traction error each time this happens and I am not able to use cruise control as the brake lights are being engaged without the pedal being pressed.

- Chuluota, FL, USA

problem #31

Dec 042012


  • 70,500 miles


The check engine light displays constantly. The fuel gauge will randomly drop down to low/empty even though there is a full tank of gas. Also at random, the tire pressure system light and airbag safety light will randomly display on the car's dash board. There are 49 other similar complaints on

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #30

Nov 092012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
Three of my car doors do not lock unless manually locked. The electronics have failed on all three doors. I have to replace the motor in each door, at the cost of over $750. The cost is not the only problem. The motors that failed in each door will be replaced by the same faulty part. I can't believe it costs $300 to fix one door's locks alone. The drivers lock had greater problems than the others because sometimes it locks me in the car because it shifts the lock a little and the door gets jammed. This should be recalled. I filed a complaint with GM.

- Mason, MI, USA

problem #29

Sep 192012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
On several occasion I have notice that my brake lights come on without me even pressing the brakes. It also lights up and when I press the brakes it goes off. I have spoken with other Malibu owner and they complain of this same brake failure. It is very frustrating and not safe.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #28

Oct 012012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
Automatic door lock failed to open when transmission was put in park. The only way to open the door was to pull up on lock knob which was almost impossible due to limited mobility (arthritis in shoulder). Needed to remove seat belt, slide over and sit on console to reach lock knob. Automatic locks still engage when car is put in drive but will not open when put back in park. I can not easily or quickly exit the car with this failure. GM says not a safety issue since automatic locks are only a convenience and older cars were not equipped with automatic locks. However, on older cars the door would unlock when the door handle was pulled. On the Malibu pulling up on the lock knob is the only way to exit the car. Cost to have dealer repair $300. An internet search reveals automatic door lock failures are very common.

- The Villages, FL, USA

problem #27

Oct 162012


  • 50,000 miles
The door locks do not work. How is this not a safety problem? sometimes the door locks work sometimes they don't. I have a newborn that rides in the backseat. If the doorlocks don't work, the only way to unlock the back door is to either roll down the rear window or crawl into the back seat from the front. If I had to get my child out of the car in an emergency, I don't know how I would do that without working door locks. I have researched this problem online and it appears this is a common problem with this car.

- Raceland, LA, USA

problem #26

Sep 252012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 66,600 miles
The driver's side rear door lock no longer works when using the power lock button. It must be actuated manually- by manually lifting the knob up. The main problem is the knob is located to the rear of the door and is not accessible unless you are in the back seat- the knob cannot be raised from the front seat area of the vehicle in order to unlock the door to help occupants exit the vehicle, especially in case of emergency. The lock pull knob is located in a poor position.

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #25

Oct 052012

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 66,890 miles
The brake lights, including the third brake light, were observed on during normal operation, when the brakes were not being applied. This gives a false indication of intended operation.

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #24

Jan 192011

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Both back door locks stopped working. They will not unlock or lock without manually doing so. This makes it very hard to quickly get my toddler son out of the car without rolling the window down first to unlock it. Cruise control works on and off due to the break lights flashing off and on even when I'm not pushing the break pedal. This is very dangerous when I am driving on the free way and my break lights stay on. This also occurs more often when it has rained and the car is wet. I assume this is due to a leak of water getting into the electrical... my trunk leaks when it is shut. When it rains heavy I notice the bedding becomes very wet on one side. The radio is also effected along with the cruise control. Certain buttons stop working for periods of time. The screen will also go black and the radio will not work at all then suddenly come back on.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #23

Aug 102012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 40,500 miles
Turn signal arm does not stay in place when signaling to turn. Also the turn signal arm when it does stay in place it will not return to normal position/turn off signal by itself after making a turn. When turning the steering wheel it makes popping noises. Door locks on all doors stay either in the "lock" or "unlock" position at all times. One of the rear passenger door lock has been replaced at the dealership for $300 and the door lock still fails. The only way to unlock the passenger doors is to do it manually and climb over the seats. The driver door has to be unlocked with the key and manually locked when exiting the vehicle.

- Burleson, TX, USA

problem #22

Jan 012010

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
On multiple occasions while driving, speed doesn't change outcome, door locks will continue to lock and unlock by themselves and car alarm will go off and will set itself while driving down the road. This is very distracting to the me, the driver and to the drivers around my car. Thus potentially causing a crash. Also, the brake lights will illuminate until you press the brake pedal then they go off. This is definitely backward! the doors will unlock, sometimes. However, you will have to guess which ones will unlock. Usually, the ones that unlock are the front-right passenger and back-left passenger. The reason the unlock is because they don't lock! no one can "duplicate the problem". the driver door and right-back door sometimes are unable to be opened. This requiring me to find a door that can be opened or that did unlock and climb through to the drivers seat. All of this while making sure my autistic son and daughter remain safe in a parking lot. This is very unsafe, as I park in a parking garage several times a week on a college campus. Unfortunately, neither key less remotes work either! most recently the shifter cable has broken. The care wouldn't budge. Chevy was notified, we were told to have it towed to the closest Chevy dealer. Just to be charged a diagnostic fee, we told them the problem, and they decided not to cover it under the power train like we were told would happen. Then two weeks ago, the shifter cable broke again! this seems very odd. The entire time I have had this car when I press the accelerator pedal it feels like the car is running out of gas or like its having a hard time shifting. This has been reported from the beginning with no help. So, this is my last reach out for help. As I hear about all the carjackings, cars getting stolen and robbed, I just think my car is an open invitation! please help. Chevy wouldn't help us even under warranty.

- High Springs, FL, USA

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