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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,667 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.

2011 Chevrolet Malibu drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #58

Sep 062016


  • 56,600 miles


Had multiple concerns regarding slow acceleration and rough jerking when shifting gears which I was told was normal for my vehicle model especially in comparison to my previous vehicle an Honda Accord. Purchased car with 34K miles on it at 56K miles I was reversing out of a parking spot and felt a sudden hesitation. Car still drove normal in drive, drove about half a mile on highway and once exiting highway I noticed a weird screeching sound coming from my car. Pulled over to a mcdonalds to inspect vehicle and it was still making noise. Turned vehicle off and went through P, N, D and sound persisted. Drove vehicle a few blocks since I was close to home and sound stopped. Brought car to a repair shop to have inspected per the shop everything was intact and they could not duplicate noise. One day later I stopped on a side street at a stop sign and when I pressed the gas to pull away from stop sign car would not move. Tried again, car revved and moments later car would jerk forward violently. Crawled car to side of street and had towed to dealership where they diagnosed the issue as transmission failure, deeper diagnostic work revealed a belt had broken within the transmission. Have received car back with rebuilt transmission however car still is very sluggish with slow response in 1st and 2nd gear.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #57

Aug 102016


  • 86,000 miles
Transmission began lagging between shifts for 3rd & 5th gears. Took it in to the local dealership who noted the issue but told us that there were no codes so they wouldn't do anything. After a couple of months the transmission failed completely which required a replacement transmission which cost us $1500. When we picked the vehicle up after the replacement the steering wheel was crooked while driving straight and there were noises during the drive. Traded the vehicle in for a new vehicle.

- Bossier City, LA, USA

problem #56

Jul 052016


  • 84,000 miles
Was driving and I could get any power. Would not get up to 20 miles an hour.

- Windham, OH, USA

problem #55

Jul 302016


  • 80,000 miles


I purchased my pre owned 2011 Chevrolet Malibu vehicle 3 years ago and after 80000 miles my transmission completely collapsed. I have taken good care of my car and still owe $8000 on my loan. I have seen multiple complaints online from people in my same situation with the 2011 Malibu. I do not understand why GM hasn't issued a recall for the transmissions. This is clearly a safety issue. I was exiting the freeway witj both of my children in the car, when my transmission gave out. It will not go in reverse or go over 20 mph. I feel that there should be some level of accountability from GM.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #54

Jun 202016


  • 83,000 miles
Purchased car 09/2015 haley Buick GMC trucks in richmond Virginia with 75K miles. It was a previous rental car. Was given clean carfax and maintenance record that the vehicle had been maintained per manufactures schedule. It has an enclosed transmission and cannot check transmission fluid it has to be maintained. A year after the purchase and adding only 8K miles this car has a completely blown transmission in will cost $4,888 to have a new transmission ordered. My issue is there is no recalls on the 35R plate which is the cause of ruining the transmission on many form sites for this year of Chevrolet Malibu. Then there are a large number of complaints and issue with this model on forms.

- Richmond, VA, USA

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problem #53

Jun 132016


  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle began to decrease in speed when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The vehicle shook violently and all the warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The failure occurred once. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 72,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #52

May 242016


  • 125,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While idling at a stop light, the contact heard an abnormal noise and the vehicle lost power after the accelerator pedal was depressed. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission malfunctioned and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. Prior to the failure, the vehicle experienced a similar failure. The transmission was replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 125,000.

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #51

Mar 022016


  • 98,273 miles
Less than two months after my 5 year or 100,000 mile powertrain warranty expired my transmission stopped working. It started by driving slowly while pressing on the accelerator. I was able to park the car and when I tried to reverse out of the parking space and it would not go into reverse. I had onstar so I had to get a tow to the nearest dealership which had just closed. I had to wait until the next day and the dealership called me to tell me that the transmission needed to be replaced and it would cost me $3,910. I have read several complaints about this so I do not understand why GM has not recalled this transmission. Many of them failed before $100,000 miles so they would have been able to get a new one. I was just two months past my 5 year but was at 98,273 miles and my warranty was expired. I had to get a new car since I could not afford to pay $4000 to get a new transmission. The car is just sitting and can't be driven.

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #50

Feb 102016


  • 74,000 miles
Transmission completely broke after 74K miles while driving at about 20mi an hour. It would jump into 3rd gear and then wouldn't come out of 1st gear. After pulling over reverse had already gone out. There were no prior warnings that the transmission had any problems, there were no indicators that the transmission had problems. After the transmission broke I ran across many other consumers who have the same problem on their 2011 Malibu's. all of them are 4 cylinder 6 speeds with an MH8 transmission.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #49

Oct 292015


  • 120,000 miles
Since purchase brand new, my cars RPM's have fluttered between 2000 and 2500, but I did not have any problems until recently. Out of nowhere, my car started shuddered when it was idling in drive position and foot on the brake. It scared me, so I decided not to drive it for awhile. Then I had to take in it for some body work, when I got home from the estimate I stopped to get the mail. Car was in park idling, I put it in drive and pushed on the gas and it did not move! the RPM's stay stuck at 2500 when I took my foot off the gas. I put in back in park then back in drive and accelerated and it still would not move. I turned the car off for a few minutes, restarted it, and got it just far enough to get into my driveway. It does not move but check engine light did not come on until after it broke down!

- Covington, WA, USA

problem #48

Oct 062015


  • 92,000 miles


Transmission failed at92000miles hard shifting reverse is bad drive home from on the city streetwork transmission stated to shift hard and slip.un safe to

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #47

Mar 282015


  • miles
On 3/28/15 I purchased a 2011 Chevy Malibu from rainbow Chevrolet in laplace Louisiana. When test driving the vehicle, I noticed a very small and hardly noticeable jerk when the car changed into 2nd gear. I was told by the salesman that it was normal and I took his word for it. Almost 7 months later, the issue has gotten 1000 X's worse and the engine light is now on. I know for a fact that this is not normal now. The jerk is violent and it now jerks when putting the car in park, drive and reverse. Pulling off slowly, makes the car jerk very hard. If you apply more gas when taking off, the jerk is not as bad but it's still bad. The car did not come with a warranty but I was ok with that because I was told that car had been inspected thoroughly, that an elderly couple previously owned the car, that there was nothing wrong with the car and I had also just gotten rid of a 2005 Malibu that I bought brand new in which I had no serious problems with. I purchased this car for my daughter in college. This car is not safe. I have read hundreds of complaints online and on the Chevrolet Malibu forum in regards to the same problem as well as other problems. The car currently has 53,803 miles which is not very much in car years and I do not feel that I should have to pay for this problem since there are so many issues documented that I am having. Last but not least, I am unable to fill up the car with gas. It stops at about tank and starts to spill out. This was noticed shortly after I bought the car also. I bought this car for my daughter who is in college and it is definitely not safe to drive. I am a single mother and I do not have the resources to repair a vehicle with issues that should be part of a recall list.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #46

Oct 102015


  • 68,976 miles
While I was driving/the vehicle was in motion on a city street, the transmission suddenly gave out/stopped working. The drive gear no longer worked and no warning was given. I was stranded in the middle of a busy, city street and no error code or check engine light warning was given as well. I purchased this car in February 2015 and have had only about 8 months. It was purchased from burns motors in mcallen Texas.

- Mcallen, TX, USA

problem #45

Sep 012015


  • 89,000 miles
Had transmission fluid change at dealership. Transmission started to slip.... the transmission fluid was burt after 13000 miles.. car just went out of warranty is there anything you all can do for

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #44

Aug 242015


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving at 45 mph, the vehicle started to downshift independently. The contact heard an abnormal noise under the vehicle shortly after the vehicle stalled. The contact was able to maneuver to the shoulder of the road and restart the vehicle; however, the vehicle would not shift. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 105,000. Updated 11/06/15

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #43

Sep 012015


  • 52,000 miles
I was driving down a side residential street, when I went to park noticed that the car was stuck in reverse. I wasn't able to put the car in park. The shifter began shifting into different gears and felt as there was no catch. I turned the car off because I didn't know what had happened. The key was stuck in the ignition, because couldn't put the car in park. I exited the car and the car started to roll backwards and hit the car behind me. I applied the emergency brake and the car still rolled in reverse. So I unhooked the battery cables and applied bricks behind the tires. I had a mechanic come to see what happened and he stated that this had been a recall on prior years of this model, but not the year of my car. I am afraid to drive the car and I went to the Chevy dealership in which they nothing about this part, but state many people have complained and nothing has been done. It is unsafe with this defect. The cable comes off the hook and you will not be able to apply a shift to any gear and the car will accelerate regardless. I don't want to put my infant in this car knowing that is a defective part that Chevy should fix. Not to mention the car seatbelts are a malfunction. Chevy this really needs to be looked at for this year make and model.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #42

Apr 302015


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately at 20 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate when the accelerator pedal was depressed. In addition, when the vehicle was parked, the shift lever was not able to shift out of the park position. The contact stated that an independent mechanic inspected the vehicle and diagnosed that the transmission module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 76,000. The VIN was not available.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #41

Apr 222013


  • 70,934 miles
Purchased my 2011 Chevy Malibu in April of 2012 with 56K miles, in April of 2013 with 70K+ miles, my transmission failed and I was informed by the nearby Chevy dealership that it required a total rebuild and all parts needed to be replaced. My car was still under the warranty and therefore, I did not pay for the services. Around May 5 2014, I received a recall notice for issues with the electrical system/ ABS system/ body control module, etc. I took my car back to the same shop for repairs, in which my car was kept for 30 days & returned. Upon receiving my car back I've noticed my car having issues with the electrical system such as the headlights keeps going out when the bulb is still good. My radio constantly shuts off on its own & randomly switches to the aux. The interior lighting is constantly flickering! not only do I have electrical malfunctions, it makes this odd noise & the brakes lock up whenever I slow down to around 20mph & or turning a corner and this ESC icon appears. I contacted Chevy & asked if there are any recalls for this matter & I was told no, that my car was fixed for all recalls for my model. This issue continues to occur today. On/ around June 19 2015 w/ 115000 miles, my car suddenly stopped accelerating in the middle of I95 hwy & I could not put it into any gear! I knew it was my transmission. I had it towed to the same shop and was told that I have no warranty & I would have to pay $4,106.45 for a new trans! I have been seeking assistance for this matter, its unfair that I have had this car for 3/4 years and its on its 2nd transmission!! I was quoted for this $ amount and they haven't even opened the trans yet! I was then told to come to the dealership & they would try to get me a new car and it was a complete waste of time. I was told to let my car get repossessed because it was no good and cannot be fixed! I left in tears!! unprofessional!!

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #40

Jul 012011


  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving at various speeds, the vehicle began to vibrate violently. In addition, the vehicle would fail to start. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who was unable to diagnose or repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 5,000.

- Oak Creek, WI, USA

problem #39

Mar 302012


  • 3,500 miles
Auto is equipped with the 4 cyl 6 speed auto trans. The transmission will shift into neutral when rounding a corner. Also the transmission will fly into neutral when shifting the transmission from low to drive. I have been close to being rear-several times when I pulled out on the highway and moved the shift from low gear to drive and the transmission goes into neutral and stays in neutral. Several times I have had to pull off the road to keep from getting rear ended because the vehicle stays in neutral. Dealers have no fix for the problem and apparently this problem is widespread in these 6 speed auto trans for the year 2011.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

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