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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,226 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.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #20

Jun 052016


  • 92,000 miles


My car has been making a horrible sound for a couple months now and the last week it's gotten really loud when I go over 20 it sounds the worst of slow down I can't go over 40 without it sounding like it's taking off and my front end shakes like my tires gonna come off I replaced the breaks and it's still making the sound it's to the point I can't drive my car because I don't want it to die on me my battery has been dying a lot and my service ESC light comes on and goes off please can someone tell me why my car is doing this or an idea it sounds like an airplane that's the best way I can describe it and my right rear tire is always saying my tire is low I rotated my tires and it's still not reading it right there brand new tires to boot please please help

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #19

Apr 242016


  • 88,201 miles
When going from 0 to 20 miles per hour vehicle shifts constantly and unexpectedly. I had the problem diagnosed by rick hendricks Chevrolet @ 6252 Virginia beach blvd Norfolk, Virginia. The dealer printed out the diagnosis stating the transmission cooler needed to be replaced. I took my vehicle to priority Chevrolet @ 1495 South military highway chesapeake, Virginia to have transmission problem repaired and this dealer diagnosed the lower cooler line and radiator transmission cooler lines needed replacement which I had done by priority Chevrolet that day however the transmission problem still exists.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #18

Jan 122012


  • 600 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving 20 mph, the transmission slipped without warning. On several occasions, when the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle failed to respond. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the transmission sensor and transmission seals needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The contact stated that the failure was intermittent. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 600.

- Ann Harbor, MI, USA

problem #17

Nov 122015


  • 95,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately 65 mph, the traction warning light illuminated and the vehicle stalled. In addition, the "engine disabled" warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 95,000.

- Bakerfield, CA, USA

problem #16

Sep 022015


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately 5 mph, the gear shifter skipped and the vehicle jerked as the sec warning indicator illuminated. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or independent mechanic. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 53,000.

- Pasadena, TX, USA

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problem #15

Aug 182015


  • 37,000 miles
The engine light came on and a code read engine power reduced service ESC. My car was shaking and would not gain speed. I was finally able to make it off the highway and stopped to see if I could figure out what was wrong. Could not see anything wrong. We got back in the car and everything seemed to be working okay now so we headed home. We got almost home when once again my car lost all speed and we were almost hit by another car.this has happened on several occassions.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #14

Apr 202015


  • 19,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving at approximately 45 mph, the service ESC and service traction warning indicators illuminated. On one occasion, the vehicle did not shift out of the park position. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, where it was diagnosed that the brake modulator sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V252000 (electrical system, electronic stability control, exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic, vehicle speed control). The failure mileage was approximately 19,000.

- North Chesterfield , VA, USA

problem #13

Jun 102014


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate from a traffic stop when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. However, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 83,000.

- Glen, MS, USA

problem #12

Jul 022014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the service stability control warning light illuminated as an unknown chime sounded. The contact also mentioned that the vehicle decelerated and stalled. The vehicle was towed to a private mechanic where the failure was unable to be duplicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage 17,000 and the current mileage was 17,200. After the dealer removed the plastic engine cover, the vehicle performed as designed. Updated 11/17/14

- Melvin, MI, USA

problem #11

Jun 292014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • miles
I was just arriving home and while driving I felt a change in the gears of my car but when I arrived home and place the car in park the ignition would not turn completely off and I had to leave my car on for approximately 4 hours before I left for work.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #10

Sep 262012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles


Transmission constantly slips, when trying to accelerate it does not catch up and revs really high. Transmission has locked up once and it has been replaced by the dealership; however that issue still happens on a regular basis. 2012 Malibu lt, I would like this issue investigated and GM held responsible for selling me a lemon car with a defective transmission that has not run correctly ever since my purchase in 2011. I have the paper work that shows the replacement of a defective transmission on a new 2012 Malibu that I purchased.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #9

Apr 072014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
2012 Chevrolet Malibu with horrible shifting - 1st to 2nd is a hard shift and 2nd - 3rd isn't a whole lot better. When it down shifts while coming to a stop it again shifts hard and sometimes abruptly. The RPM gauge also flares when shifting down. I have been jutted out into oncoming traffic when it decides to slip shift. I am afraid to drive this car with my family. The worst part is that the dealership cannot find anything "wrong" with it or tell me why it does this because the poor shifting is intermittent, not constant. Not happy!

- Holt, MI, USA

problem #8

Jun 132012


  • 1,000 miles
While driving car have noticed that it shifts hard either up or down. This has happened too many times to count. Also car feels like it is trying to stall and I can not accelerate. This has happened several times once on a very busy intersection in my city. Have taken car to dealer and was told could not find anything was probably bad gas and to put premium gas in. This did not help either. Car continued to have same issues. Called dealer to let them know. Said nothing wrong. I have two small children and worry about our safety each time I drive this car. Hoping that GM does something to fix this issue soon. Looks like we are not alone with this issue.

- Sioux Falls , SD, USA

problem #7

Jul 012013


  • miles
I purchased the car in March 2013. It only had 18,000 miles on it. While slowing, such as exiting the interstate, as the car down shifts, it down shifts hard. Especially going from 3rd gear to 2nd and then 1st. It seems to have a slight delay when trying to pick up speed. More so when you have slowed and then sped back up, like when someone is turning and you have to slow for them. There is an awful noise in the dash around the steering column. If you are on a gravel road, it sounds like the dash/steering column is going to fall onto your feet. Its a rattle type sound.

- Ripley, WV, USA

problem #6

Dec 232011

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 5 miles
From day 1 of purchasing the 2012 Chevy Malibu, the transmission has had a shifting problem. Gears 1 to 3 seem to be the worst (including acceleration and deceleration). The transmission shifts "hard" upon accelerating and decelerating. Also on occasion while driving I will be going about 45mph and try to accelerate and it is hesitant like it does not want to so I am forced to push on the gas pedal to the point of a rev from the engine. I have researched and noticed I am not alone with this issue, there are very many other people with the same issue.

- Fort Campbell, KY, USA

problem #5

Feb 092013


  • 3,128 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, the vehicle accelerated independently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the transmission needed to be rebuilt. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 3,128.

- Pheonix, AZ, USA

problem #4

Jul 242012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Experiencing erratic throttle response time and hard transmission shifts. When the accelerator is pressed you don't know if the response will be immediate or delayed. The inconsistent delays in the throttle response time pose a safety hazard.

- Gideon, MO, USA

problem #3

Feb 292012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 11 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the front end of the vehicle started to wobble at 55 mph and above. The contact also stated that the dealer did an alignment four times and replaced the steering column once but the failure recurred. The rear right wheel had been leaning outward from the time the vehicle was purchased and had not been corrected by the alignment. The failure mileage was 11 and the current mileage was 19,500. The consumer stated from the day she purchased the vehicle, the steering was difficult to control. As time went on, the problem became worse. The vehicle was wobbly, choppy and careening. It was difficult to control on uneven pavement roads and streets and extremely difficult to maintain at 55 mph and higher. Each time the consumer went to the dealer, the vehicle was out of alignment. At times, the steering was very loose. Also, the shifting was erratic and lagged. It lagged from stop signs. It often failed to down shift to gain power needed on highway upgrades. When the consumer attempted to pass semi-trucks on an uneven pavement on the interstate, the vehicle pulled to the right, jerked to the left with almost an uncontrollable shifting and swaying. If there were curve, the vehicle would dangerously swing wide out into the curves. The steering wheel, would then freeze up and would become difficult to turn and steer safely. On one occasion, while driving on the interstate highway, the consumer had just passed a semi at a speed of 70 mph and as she was returning to the right lane, the vehicle stuttered and started to stop. She pushed the accelerator pedal to the floor and there was a dangerous lag before enough power came to the vehicle.

- Stevensville, MI, USA

problem #2

Jun 112012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 14,574 miles
I am experiencing erratic throttle response and erratic transmission shifts in my 2012 Malibu. The inconsistent delays in throttle response pose a safety hazard. This issue is compounded when it affects the transmission shifts. When you push the accelerator you do not know if you will get immediate response, or delayed response, nor how sudden that response might be to the extent of almost losing control of the vehicle. The transmission shifts are not consistent. While driving down the interstate I have had it shift 2 gear down, and other times it has not shifted up to a higher gear. When both issues occur at once it is extremely hazardous. The only reason there was no accident is the other drivers realized something was wrong and were able to slow down and avoid hitting me by driving around me on the shoulder.

- Bentonville, AR, USA

problem #1

Nov 172011


  • miles
This car suddenly lost power as it began to slow down on a busy street, and then would not drive. The car continued to run, but would not go forward, even after gas pedal was pushed to the floor. It, in fact, started coasting backwards when it was on a slight incline. No indicator light came on. It happened suddenly, and without warning. Service dpt. At dealership can find nothing wrong. We feel that this brand new car has a faulty computer system and is very dangerous to drive. The car is running fine at present, but there are no guarantees that this will not happen again. It poses a safety hazard, and neither Chevy or GM are willing to do anything about it. My daughter is afraid to drive the car.

- Cambridge, OH, USA

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