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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,930 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.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 8 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #39

Nov 232013


  • 35,000 miles


To the NHTSA person reviewing this: Please assist on this issue, we depend on you escalating this issue. The problem contained here is a major safety issue potentially catastrophic condition waiting to happen. We (owners of Chevy Malibu of years 2008-09, and 10') need an investigation to be initiated. Summary of problem: The Chevrolet Malibu 2008,2009, and 2010 has a manufacturing problem with the door lock actuators (which open and close the locks on the doors). For the Malibu year 2009, at approximately 35K mile mark all power locks of all four doors randomly open and lock at any vehicle forward speed at random times. An unprecedented amount of lack of safety concerns have been brought up from countless customers through different websites and are beginning to come in a more formal manner such as this public tool. Safety flaw: Since the opening an closing of the locks on doors is of random manner and of rapid frequency (opens and closes very fast) it poses all occupants to remain inside the vehicle unable to escape in the event of a fire, vehicle crash, or any other emergency. Likewise, when the intent is to have the doors locked it poses the issue that the door locks will become open at unexpected times. Solution: Avoid casualties, incidents, and keep the safety of our loved ones in mind. We need the NHTSA to launch an investigation on this issue.

- Lake Stevens, WA, USA

problem #38

Jan 292010

Malibu 4-cyl

  • miles
My service engine light has been on continuously because of my ignition switch is malfunctioning; at times it locks up disallowing me to be able to start my car or remove my keys. I have had issues with the camshaft actuators and has since been replaced on the engine; but this car is still malfunctioning. Also, my low beam headlight will not come on, on the passengers side of my vehicle after the bulb has been replaced. All of GM cars made between 2008-2012, needs to be recalled for these issues not just some but all!

- Jacksonville, AR, USA

problem #37

Jan 202014


  • 82,000 miles
Left rear door lock actuator failed to operate. This is the 3rd rear door lock actuator to fail on this car. Original owner, replaced 2 locks under warranty, now a 3rd actuator failure. This door is the primary door used for entry/egress by children. This is a serious safety concern due either the inability to safely remove a child in an emergency, or leave the door unlocked while driving. There are many, many complaints of the same problem on this vehicle nation wide over the last 5 years. Please initiate an investigation into this safety issue.

- Pasco, WA, USA

problem #36

Feb 012014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 85,343 miles


Within a week of owning car error code P0011 camshaft alignment"came up. Dealer got light to go off. Said nothing was wrong with car. Electrical problems with power locks also, now my complete steering column is gone.5 error codes C0545/C0561, non functioning electric power steering. I am lucky that I didn't die in this car or worse kill someone. I can't believe there is no recall on this car. Plenty of complaints online. Are we waiting for people to die???" seriously. My car is at the dealership today and GM district specialist is dealing with the customer experience department at the dealership to see what they can do. I think this will be the last Chevrolet that I ever purchase. Unsafe. I hope people know how to complain on here because there are a lot of complaints online. 2008 was recalled for same issues. Maybe they used some of their old parts in my car from 2008.

- South Portland, ME, USA

problem #35

Jan 102014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 77,500 miles
This is the second time in two years the passenger headlight has went out. The first time was three weeks after purchasing the vehicle. Now again, this can not be a simple headlight just going out on the exact same side.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #34

Dec 162013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
The brake lights will come on randomly. This also causes the cruise control to kick off. The lights will stay on for varying lengths.

- Walnut , IA, USA

problem #33

Aug 232013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


The Malibu my wife and I own have had problem with the left passenger door lock not being actuated when commanded. For example, when the door was commanded to lock, it would stay unlocked. But more seriously, it would stay locked when commanded to unlock. I took it to neuville motors in waupaca, wi, a GM/Chevy dealer, to have it fixed. According to a service manager at the dealership, door lock actuator malfunctions in Malibu from that model year is common and he sees many of them come in with exact same problem as my car's. I believe a door staying locked when commanded to open is a serious safety hazard if a rapid evacuation out of the vehicle becomes necessary. Also, if the vehicle rolls on the side of the opposite side of malfunctioning door, evacuating passengers occupying rear seats can be a challenge as the only door available may stay locked when commanded to unlock. I have contacted GM, but they insisted that they are not responsible as the vehicle is out of warranty and a recall was not issued by your administration. The reference number of my complaint with GM is [xxx]. I believe this is a serious safety issue if children/elderly/pets are occupying the rear seat, or the passenger in the back seat becomes unconscious in case of a crash. Please consider issuing a recall if the problem is a common one. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #32

Sep 022013


  • 68,000 miles
The cruise control was malfunctioning and after researching the problem I discovered that the brake lights could also be affected. When applying the brake the light in the rear window would actually go completely off. The repair is described in tsb 08-05-22-009C and was completed. The problem appears to be fixed. However it appears there was a previous recall for this type of problem with earlier General Motors models and the problem is still recurring. Chevrolet has not send any kind of notice to owners about this potentially dangerous situation. The computer code C0131 is activated when this occurs.

- Twin Falls , ID, USA

problem #31

May 012012


  • miles
I had a headlight go out over a year ago, had to pay 300$ to get it replaced (new design.... makes everything complicated, thanks GM!). not even 3 months later, same headlight out again (passenger). My mechanic noticed water in the light compartment (condensation) which he says will cause them to overheat and die. Got the light changed again, hoping avoiding car-washes was the solution. Nope. Out again. And then on again! and now out again for the past 4 months. I haven't had the money to get it fixed and by the grace of god I have not gotten a ticket. The brights both work!!!! I believe it is a wiring problem, and judging from the internet this problem seems frequent enough to warrant a recall. Note: There have been numerous electrical problems on this car, but I would like to Focus on this one getting recalled.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #30

Sep 072013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
Brake lights malfunction. Thank god, I was driving behind my wife and her Malibu's brake lights were not on when she braked. And then turned on when she didn't have her foot on the brake pedal. Took to dealership, and he said he's been seeing that alot lately. Please recall before someone has major accident! thank you

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #29

Sep 062013


  • 111,000 miles


For several months my passenger side door will either lock (and you cannot get out of the car) or, once you are out, the door lock prevents the door from closing. This has occurred only when stopped, at this point.the problem has been intermittent and gives no warning. I am also having issues with the lighting on the instrument panel; when outside lighting is dim, it often will not come on if set in auto mode. Both have been reported to dealer and I am told they "cannot reproduce the problem- bring it back when it is occurring!". both issues raise significant safety concerns for me. I certainly hope GM isn't waiting for some of us or family members to be killed before they act to correct these issues.

- Cool Ridge, WV, USA

problem #28

Sep 142012


  • 34,000 miles
Within a one year period, had to have all 4 wheel bearings replaced, a strut, and the front sway bar linkage. 2009 Malibu ltz, 3.6 L V6 with approx. 32,000 miles.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #27

Jun 012011


  • miles
While driving down the road the brake lights turn on. If I touch the breaks they go off. This happens most often when it rains, snows or if driving with the air conditioning on. The cruise control stops working at the same time. I have had this into a local dealership on three occasions where I have been told "we have to experience this in order to correct it." I am aware that many other Malibu vehicles experience this as there have been rumors of this becoming a recall for many months. This has been going on for a couple years for my car and I was under warranty when I had it in and not corrected. I try not to think about it now that it is out of warranty, but because I am expecting my first child and this is a safety concern I am becoming more worried. What will it take to get this corrected" how could they prove that the brake lights didn't come on when someone stopped to turn and then was hit" please help!

- Flint, MI, USA

problem #26

Jul 182011


  • 50,000 miles
Door locks randomly locked and unlocked. I could be driving or the car could be parked and the door locks would go up down up down. If it locked, there was no way to open it, I was stuck in the car. I felt it was such a hazard that I just had to remove the fuse that operated the door locks.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #25

Aug 092010


  • miles
While driving, the car will appear to think that the brakes are being applied. The brake lights will all activate, and cruise control will cease working. When the brake pedal is depressed, the brake lights turn off. The brakes still stop the car, but the lights and cruise control appear to be not calibrated to the brake sensor. Also, sometimes 3 warnings appear in the dash display: ESC off, service ESC, and service traction, though it is not necessary for the problem to occur. This happens very intermittently, but once it starts, it usually doesn't go away. I've had the problem repaired about 6 times, but it keeps coming back. I am out of options, as the repairmen seem to not know what is wrong with the car.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #24

May 012013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
I was in my driveway preparing for windshield installation. Kept on hearing intermittent clicking. Realized it was the power door locks. They were not fully locking or unlocking, only attempting to. It continued for a few days then stopped for a few weeks. Yesterday we were on a 75 mile drive and 75 miles back with the locks incessantly going through their intermittent rapid cycling. I never know for certain if my doors are locked or not. Besides being extremely distracting and irritating while driving, there is the presence of a safety issue. There are a lot of scenarios that could be played out.

- Saint Michael, MN, USA

problem #23

May 032013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 59,300 miles
Brake lights come on without pressing the pedal and when U press the pedal they go off for a second and come back on this has happened numerous times.

- Princeton, WV, USA

problem #22

Sep 072010

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
I bought this car in June 2010 and the first thing to happen was the battery exploded in 09/2010. A few months later a my car was broken into because I did not realize that when I lock my doors that all locks but 1. the next thing that happend was the front head light shorted out, not the actual head light but the socket that the light goes into and that happend around 03/2012. Around January 2013 I was stopped beside my daughter school and a man pulled over and told me that my brake lights had been on for a few miles. I did not realize this and could not see this unless I was driving at night. I rarely drive at night but when I was driving at night I noticed when you get to a certain speed the brake lights will come on and and then go off if you tap the brake and then come back on and stay on until whenever they decide to go off. Sometimes they will be on when you crank up the car. It concerns me because what if they brake light fail all together. It seems like there is some kind of eletrical malfuntion with this car. I have researched online and find many people have the same issue with lights coming on in the care at sporadic time times as well as the brake light issue. I called GM, they took the info but offered no assistance. I really believe a recall or some type of investigation should be done on this. I know people that have gotten behind the same car I drive and they see they brake lights continously on like my car. This is very dangerous.

- Clinton, NC, USA

problem #21

Apr 112013

Malibu 4-cyl Diesel

  • 45,000 miles
Recently, I experienced a failed door locking actuator in my 2009 Chevy Malibu while driving my 2yr old to daycare. I was turning right out of my neighborhood, when my door(driver's door) swung open. I grabbed it and tried shutting, but the locking mechanism was locked, so it wouldn't shut. I pulled over and had to manually unlock the door so my door would shut. I couldn't even imagine if this situation occurred to a door in the backseat with my daughter sitting there in her child seat. Fast forward one week, and now 3 of my 4 locking actuators are failed. I did some research on the internet and noticed that there are numerous complaints from Malibu owners about these failed locking actuators. I then started to wonder if there was a recall on this. I called GM and they said there isn't a recall and that is just normal part failure. Normal part failure"!"! I've had the car for less than 4 years and have only put 45K miles on it. In my opinion, this is a major safety issue.

- Macomb, MI, USA

problem #20

Aug 012012


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the doors would sporadically become locked and unlocked independently. Additionally, the contact noticed a burning odor inside the vehicle and the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was taken to dealer for inspection and the contact was awaiting diagnosis of the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 90,000. The current mileage was 100,000.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

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