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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
77,750 miles
Total Complaints:
31 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (16 reports)
  2. had entire steering column replaced by chevy (4 reports)
  3. had steering motor replaced (4 reports)
  4. no change - gm still refuses to fix (4 reports)
  5. independent repair shop fixed it (1 reports)
  6. parts related to ignition system, clear code (1 reports)
2006 Chevrolet Malibu steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Apr 022018

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 209,000 miles


Dealer replaced electric power steering sensor per recall. 6 months later same issue occurs. The message comes up on DIC POWER STEERING and steering wheel locks up. Returned to dealer, they get no codes. Happens again a week later, back to the dealer, they test drive, check for codes - nothing found. So they won't cover under recall. I feel replacement unit is defective.

Update from Jun 20, 2019: Never received a reply from GM corporate.

August of 2018, wife crashed into a tree, unable to prove cause was P/S unit.

Car totaled.

- James M., Bloomfield, US

problem #30

Feb 182016

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

Me, my sister and friend were driving on the highway on Feb. 18th 2016 in LA when we went to take a sharp left the steering wheel locked. We lost control of the car and fishtailed it in the ditch and hit the metal marker light. It dented the hood of my car and scared the sh*t out of me. How is it that I took the car in to get it fixed but yet this problem still occurred. Did they really fix it?

- ciarmataro, Layton, UT, US

problem #29

Jul 302014

Malibu N/A 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

Four chimes ring, temporary loss of power steering and the front end drags to the left. No warning signs or lights come on to tell you what is wrong. Seems to happen more when making left turns, merging on to the highway or trying to pass another car on the left.

Update from Sep 4, 2015: After months of complaining and calling GM my local dealership service manager went out with me to recreate the problem.

then he and the tech with the computer went out and found that the issue was a ground wire harness and coil that had not been correctly replaced/attached installed during a full service tune up at a non-GM repair shop.

$267 later my car problem of temporary loss of power steering, pulling to the left and chiming 4 times is now corrected.

If this is happening to you and it started after a tune up at a non GM shop I recommend getting it checked.

- sandieb118, Hagerstown, MD, US

problem #28

Jun 152013

Malibu 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


I recently heard of GM recall on chevy malibu's on TV and went to Scenic Chevrolet to get my problem fixed because my year Malibu was on the recall.They looked up my VIN# and told me that my car was not on the list of cars that they were recalling and that they couldn't help me.I told them that my cars' power steering was locking up just like the ones that they were recalling and why wasn't my car on the list.They told me that they were sorry and that there was nothing they could unless GM added my car to the list and to check back at a later date.I don't understand why if GM is the maker of the Malibu, why they can't take responsibility for something that wasn't done right in the first place.Does it take someone getting in an accident or killed for something to be done?

- bwalk73720, Pickens, SC, US

problem #27

Apr 102009

Malibu LT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,356 miles

Just because there wasn't a fire, accident, or death involve with this issue there could have been. We had it repaired asap to avoid having an issue. I put an average of 39,000 miles a year on this car and make sure all maintenance and repairs are taken care of promptly. Overall for a 2006 car with 275000 miles on it, it has been a nice little car, except for the issues that we have had to address and the extra expense to repair them. This issue that should never had been a problem.

- jodiann5, New York Mills, MN, US

problem #26

Apr 092012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

For a couple of weeks, the "Power Steering" warning appeared on the radio screen. Then on Mother's Day 2012, while driving in the pitch black at 11 o'clock at night and making a left hand turn, the warning came on, the steering wheel locked, the power shut off and we coasted down the road; the wheel was incredibly difficult to maneuver. Once pulled over, the car would not turn on; wouldn't even turn over.

The next morning I had it towed to an auto shop. They said the timing belt busted; had it replaced and the car started up like new. I took it to the local Chevy dealership to explain the problem and they said there wasn't a recall for the issue and there wasn't anything they could do. In the recent past months, this warning has started to appear again. Yesterday, a recall was announced by GM for power steering failure. Umm, hello?!!!

I am one of the lucky ones that wasn't involved in an accident due to my car shutting down while driving. I called into GM yesterday regarding the recall and they said they needed my VIN in order to determine whether I was eligible for the recall. Absolutely ridiculous!!! Obviously I'm having issues and it needs to get repaired before something bad does happen. I'd think they'd want to pay a couple hundred dollars to fix it than what they would have to pay for a lawsuit...

- April C., San Antonio, TX, US

problem #25

Jul 082013

Malibu LS 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles


Took car in because of recall on electric motor. It was making grinding noises when I turned. Once at dealer, I was told that the noise was from the shaft and and that it would cost $800 to I did. Then I had to take it back because it still had the same problem; every time I accelerated heavily the steering would completely lock up. This time they said I needed a new computer...another $800. So now I am at $1,600 for something which was supposed to be free and the problem is still not resolved. What pissed me off even more is that they tried to sell me a break job the last time. I have come to hate dealerships...they could give cars away because they know they are going to make a ton of money on repairs...real and imagined. How can I even sell this car knowing it has this problem?

- sbond, Houston, TX, US

problem #24

Jun 042013

Malibu LTZ 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

Mechanic I went to says he had two of the same vehicle this week alone with the same problem. Says he's never seen the tie rod ends on both inner and outer broke like mine before!

- Chris B., Versailles, IN, US

problem #23

Sep 092012

Malibu LT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

Picked up the kids from my in-laws' and began driving (max speed was 25 mph) and within 0.5 miles the steering wheel locked 3 times (released when I let off the accelerator). Obviously I turned around immediately and my father-in-law and I looked at the mechanics (as much as we could see) and couldn't find a physical problem. He drove it over to our mechanic where it sits now with no repeats of the problem.

Will update when the mechanic calls us to let us know a possible path forward.

Update from Sep 12, 2012: My mechanic connected the car to a computer which generated error code (C 0900). There's a GM bulletin out on the issue (#08-02-32-0005A). There is a KNOWN issue with this model's power assist. The coil within the unit over charges then turns itself off to prevent frying the entire unit when the engine reaches approximately 3k RPM resulting in a complete loss of the power steering assist. I can hang my entire body weight on attempting to turn the wheel without the power steering enabled and all I do is dangle (wheel doesn't budge). Disgusting safety issue which should have been recalled.

We've contacted 1 GM dealer so far with our information and our request to repair the vehicle free of cost to us. We were told that since it isn't a recall, we need to pay to repair the car (and an additional "diagnostic" fee of $95). We're waiting on another to return our call.

- jj92801, Mount Bethel, PA, US

problem #22

Oct 132010

Malibu 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

I have nothing but problems,I bought this used certified in 2007. 5 months it needed brand new steering column (warranty) and the front end was RAGGED,loud,misaligned since day 1. 2 yrs later only light "grocery" started eating brakes,and "pulling" wheels,and clunking (again!!) it was stiff/over loose they "re-adjusted" at the dealer. 2 yrs later WORSE. now its just shaking violent at over 60 mph it actually FAILS..*or locks up! oh then when i park it screeched,and then "shakes" locks. ??? WTF?? NOW 2012 It will lock up while simply accelerating. THIS IS TIME BOMB..I am getting rid of it. but first warning people..!!! don't put your life in danger I did not get a quote.I read your "repair quotes" aint worth it. shame on you CHEVY!

- Sandy G., Los Angeles, CA, US

problem #21

Oct 222010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles


This problem just started up all of a sudden,each time I would turn left or if the steering wheel just shifted to the left a little it would bing bing bing and show power steering on the lighted display and by the time it does this the power steering has locked up and I have no power until I pull over,put the car in park,cut it off and restart it and the power steering returns until I turn left again and then its a repeat of what I just mentioned.I took the car to Rick Hendrick Chevrolet in Durham NC and they assured me it was fixed after picking the car up from them.The cost was about 750.00 for what they did to it. Now it has been a year since I had that work done and give or take a few weeks it is doing the same exact thing as it was doing last year.I have contacted them about the issue and have an appt to take it in for them to look at,I hope they are not going to tell me that I have to pay some more money to get this fixed

again because this can really become a costly repair if it continue to happen every year and its not so easy to say I am going to trade it in because the economy is not bustling with available money these days,you have to try to keep what you have as long as you can. I just wish GM would do the rightful thing and do a recall on these cars and fix whats wrong with them free of charge for the consumer.

- jburch122, Durham, NC, US

problem #20

Apr 242011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,400 miles

I was driving on the highway at 70mph and all of a sudden the power steering went out. This was VERY scary especially beside a huge semi truck. I pulled over to the side and turned the car off to calm myself down. I turned the car back on and the steering wheel was still not turning. After about 30 minutes of cutting the car off and then back on it finally started working.

I thought all was well but then I almost got in an accident in the parking lot because the car yanked to the left and I had to stuggle to turn the car to the right to prevent a head on collision. This was absolutely terrifying! I am upset that in 8 months the car will be paid off but now I might have to get a new one. This is absolutely ridiculous.

Having no other form of transportation I've had to get rides to go to work. The power steering now acts up any time it is cold in the morning but works after it warms up (sometimes). I don't have $1,000 to fix the problem. What can I do? I need help asap.

- batwaul17, Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #19

Feb 052011

Malibu LTZ V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

I find it hard to believe that this issue IS NOT A RECALL!!!! Given so many cases, why is this expense not being reimbursed by GM? (I think we all know why.)

This car is now fixed (almost $700 later OUT OF MY POCKET!) and will be trade in on a Nissan today.


I really tried to be a good American, but I'm tired of being screwed.

- Ds D., Fishers, IN, US

problem #18

Sep 132008

Malibu LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

Contact your local Chevy dealer/repair shop if you haven't gotten this fixed yet--there is a special policy effective a couple months ago that will allow them to fix your car free of charge by replacing the entire steering column. I had a 2006 malibu that locked up on me for the first time in Sept 2008. I put up with the problem getting progressively worse for over 2 years until it got so bad that I had to take it in--At first it would lock up only when I turned sharply, then it progressed to triggering when I was braking hard and turning to the right, then it was every time I turned to the right regardless of brake use, and by the end it literally locked up every time I took a turn! I had it fixed a little over a month ago by a local Chevy dealer (then I traded it in for a new Ford Fusion). But I wanted to get word out to those of you with the same problem that you can get it fixed!

- kohls81, Minneapolis, MN, US

problem #17

Jul 102010

Malibu LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,643 miles

10 July @ 15:00 : Loss of power steering on start up. Drove vehicle six miles home with no power steering. Stopped vehicle, turned ignition off and on again, power steering assist works normally.

14 July @ 12:15 : Loss of power steering during right hand turn. Confirmed four chimes and a DIC "Power Steering" indication. Stopped vehicle, turned ignition off and on again, continued normally. Called GM Customer Service after finding Bulletin # 07126, dated December 2007, on the Internet. Call was handled by Customer Service Representative (CSR) "Pam". Gave "Pam" two contact numbers for callback.

14 July @ 15:00 : On the advice of GM CSR "Pam", delivered the vehicle to dealer for diagnosis. Service Advisor confirmed Fault code "C0545 Symptom 00" (Steering Wheel Torque Input Sensor) was found in the DTC log on two occasions and would have resulted in the experienced loss of power steering. Paid the cost of diagnosis ($98.00) in full but declined repairs (Replacement of Steering Column Assembly, quoted at $747.99).

15 July @ 17:35 : Called by GM CSR "Pam" and informed that she was elevating this to the District Appraiser, who would call within 24 hours. Was assigned a Service Request.

16 July @18:00 : No call received from GM, so I called "Pam". She said the appraiser had left for the day and would contact me on Monday (19 July).

19 July @ 16:35 : Power Steering loss while recovering from right hand turn. Confirmed one chime and a DIC "Power Steering" indication. Accelerated vehicle to 40 mph with no improvement on the significant turning force required to steer the vehicle. Stopped vehicle, turned ignition off and on again, continued normally.

19 July @ 18:00 : No call received from GM. Called the CSR number and discovered that the District Appraiser had been calling the wrong number because someone at GM had recorded this information incorrectly. Was given the number and extension for the assigned appraiser, "Ariel", so I left a message requesting a callback as soon as possible. The CSR I talked with on this occasion stated that the log indicated that a decision had been reached, but that there was no indication as to the decision itself.

20 July @ 11:15 : Informed by GM District Appraiser "Ariel" that GM would not pay for repairs to the vehicle because the vehicle did not fall within the block of VIN numbers identified in Bulletin # 07126. After a short discussion, "Ariel" said I could pay for the repairs myself and submit a claim for review by GM. I stated that this solution was unacceptable, given that I understood that the only reason the claim was being denied was that the vehicle did not have a VIN number within the block. "Ariel" claimed that the repair for my problem was inconsistent with the repair indicated for the problem identified in Bulletin # 07126 (she said it was the Assist Motor, not the Steering Column). Both the bulletin and the dealer diagnosis stipulate a Steering Column replacement.

20 July @11:30 : Called National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 888.327.4236 and filed a complaint against GM (ODI#: 10344188).

20 July @11:45 : Called the Better Business Bureau Auto Line at 800.955.5100 and filed a complaint against GM (# CHV1020885)

20 July @ 13:15 : Called GM at 866.790.5600 and requested a return call from "Ariel"s supervisor.

Update from Jul 29, 2010:

21 July @ 10:00 : Called GM at 866.790.5600 and made a second request for a return call from "Ariel"s supervisor. Was informed by CSR "Eileen" that a callback was scheduled for 14:00 - 16:00 this afternoon.

21 July @ 14:10 : Was called by GM's BBB Response Line (didn't catch her name... "Paula" or "Pamela" maybe?) who reiterated that GM was unwilling to fund repairs to the vehicle because it was outside the block of VIN numbers identified in SCA Bulletin # 07126. This employee either could not or would not explain how or why GM chose this specific block on VIN numbers and not others, nor would she provide the telephone number for GM's VP of Marketing, Joel Ewanick.

21 July @ 15:35 : Called by "Ariel"'s supervisor "Patrick" who, again, reiterated that GM was unwilling to fund repairs to the vehicle because it was outside the block of VIN numbers identified in SCA Bulletin # 07126. When asked how and why that specific block of VINs was chosen, he could not answer the question, only saying that the component for which the SCA was raised was not the Torque Sensor. He could not, or would not, identify the component for which the SCA WAS raised, just that GM considered the failure on my car to be due to failures occurring during normal usage.

When presented with the hypothesis that if the issue for which this SCA was generated is the dangerous condition that results from the failure of a component in the Steering Column Assembly, and that the VIN of the vehicle does not cause, contribute to or affect the problem, why, then, if the vehicle meets the age and mileage stipulations of SCA Bulletin #07126, doesn't the SCA cover it? He simply reiterated that GM had decided that the only vehicles to which they would extend the SCA were those in the subject VIN block and that GM considered the failure on my car to be due to failures occurring during normal usage. At this point, there seemed no further point in discussing the situation with him so the call concluded.

My next action will be to write letters to Joel Ewanick (VP Marketing for GM), Alan Batey, (VP-Chevrolet Sales and Service), and Jim Campbell, the (VP Marketing for Chevrolet) at 100 Renaissance Center Detroit, MI 48243-1114...

- keithga, Gainesville, GA, US

problem #16

Jul 102010

Malibu LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,640 miles

Loss of power steering on start up. Drove vehicle six miles home with no power steering. Stopped vehicle, turned ignition off and on again, power steering assist works normally.

- keithga, Gainesville, GA, US

problem #15

Jun 072010

Malibu LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

This just started hapening - the steering locks up and I get a messaget that says Power Steering. When I shut the car off and restart it the steering is fine. I'm a little nervous that the steering will go out when I'm on the road and not in the parking garage!

- Susan M., Schaumburg, IL, US

problem #14

May 222010

Malibu LT 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I love this car!!!

I have had this same problem as others, however, do not ignore it! Even if the glitch occurs momentarily take it in ASAP. Yes it is annoying and unnerving to experience steering failures but the problem will get worse unless you address it immediately. My family and I were accelerating onto the interstate when the steering failure occurred. However, it was for about two seconds and I didn't panic. I suggest you don't panic either.

I took it in to our dealer and found out that the electronic steering system is tied into a part of the ignition system. This makes sense if you know how it works. I have a great mechanic, however, my experience is that they are not always aware of the details the dealer is privy to; such as service bulletins. Yes, there is one that has been issued by GM on this, clear back in 2006, for this exact problem. There were some parts that needed to be replaced as suggested by the manufacturer(GM). Getting to the root of the problem also depends on how willing the dealer is to take the time and do the job right. So I will admit that it also depends on the competency of your dealer.

While searching through the diagnostic codes they found nearly 20 codes that needed to be cleared. They were surprised that no alerts in the vehicle had ever gone off. This leads them to believe that if other alerts go off they could hint at a problem with the steering system. So, my advice is to always have it checked even if the alert comes on and then goes away(which has happened to us several times).

In the end, the Malibu is an outstanding car, well made and receives great reviews for a reason. Get used to the electronic steering system, most front wheel drive cars nowadays have this feature regardless of the manufacturer. Honda has been using this feature on some of their cars since the early 2000's and Nissan since the early 90's. Obviously alot of R&D has been implemented with this system and it is not something that was just thrown together for the new model, especially since this is a pretty important system on your car to have fail. I don't consider it a weakness or flaw in design and therefore a reason to get rid of the car. If it really concerns you that this might be a frequent problem, then get an extended warranty.

- Ben C., Orem, UT, US

problem #13

Jan 192010

Malibu 4-door

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,721 miles

I am a single, self-supporting woman who has only one vehicle. My 2006 chevy Malibu has intermittent problems with the power steering locking up but if I turned the engine off and re-started the motor, the steering worked. One day when leaving my drive to go to work, the power steering locked. I drove more than 30 miles with no power steering to Team Chevrolet in Starkville, MS. I was given the quote of $1044.99 for the installation of a column and a motor to repair the problem. I heard of other chevrolets having similar complaints and being on a re-call. I complained to Chevy, Service Request 71-808867634 and was told I have no recourse for reimbursement because Team Chevrolet closed down the Chevy place in Starkville and there is no way to confirm the work completed. I told Jean I could fax the receipt to her, but she said she could not help me since Team Chevrolet is closed. Yes, my car has high mileage but it is only four years old. It would be different if similar models have experienced the exact same problem. I am one dissatisfied customer. Chevrolet is not better than Toyota with its recalls and repairs. The customer is shafted any way you work it.

- Peggy H., Starkville, MS, US

problem #12

Oct 262009

Malibu LT 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

After reading all the issues about GM's electric power steering components I'm not sure I will be any other GM vehicles unless they cover this under the "Special Coverage" extension issued on the 2005 Malibu.

I'm taking it to the dealer today for diagnosis, so I'll withhold judgment until after I hear what they have to say. I spoke with the service manager and he didn't sound like he was familiar with this particular problem but I remain optimistic.

- Kelly L., Phoenix, AZ, US

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