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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,285 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Aug 232016


  • 58,000 miles


Engine power reduced message appears while vehicle is running and the engine immediately stops and vehicle stalls after a very short period barely enough to pull over to the side of the road. If the ignition is turned off and turned on again, the vehicle starts fine. This pattern repeats randomly at various speeds and even when it was stopped at a stop sign. This is a dangerous situation especially on the highways. Dealer check revealed that it was engine control module that got shorted and needs a replacement. The part is back ordered, which indicates that there are multiple vehicles having the same issue.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #34

Feb 072016


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the engine stalled without warning while driving 40 mph. The contact lost control of the vehicle, drove into a ditch, and stopped in an embankment. The front driver side air bag deployed and the gas inside caused the contact to contract pneumonia. The contact suffered chest pains that required medical attention. The vehicle was towed to storage. A police report was filed. The VIN was not available. The contact stated that NHTSA campaign number: 14E021000 (electrical system) was received over one year ago; however, the repair was not performed. The manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was unknown. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Hohenwald, TN, USA

problem #33

Nov 272015


  • 61,208 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while operating the vehicle, the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who diagnosed that the timing belt had stretched and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact indicated that approximately one month later, the check engine warning light illuminated again. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who diagnosed that the actuator solenoid needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 61,208....updated 03-10-16

- Ownesboro, KY, USA

problem #32

Dec 312015


  • 11,500 miles


When the car was started the information panal was not reading, it consisted of mostly dashes. The car was running much louder than normal and the check engine light came on. It started saying service traction and engine power loss. I placed the car in drive, the interior lights started flashing and locks went up and down rapidly. I shut the car off and re started it, attempted to see if it would drive but it had no power, could only reverse and there seemed to be no power steering. The next day I started the car again, this time no immediate issue until I pulled out on to the street. The steering wheel was tight, and the car failed to accelerate. Loss of engine power was on the dash, engine and traction lights remained on. Restarted the car and I was able to park again. The car remains at the dealer after being towed a week ago, and they are unsure of the cause. This is extremely dangerous, especially if it were to happen on the highway I would not have had any control of the car and most definitely would have caused an accident.

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #31

Jan 012016

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 146,000 miles
Takata recall: Hello my name is [xxx] I am constantly having problem with my Chevy Malibu 2008. My car shut off while still in drive on my way home on the street and then my gear shifted to park while again the car is in drive. I have bad electrical problems that I gotten fixed and it still acting up but what's is important is that my car is not driving and I cant start it at all. Yes I got a new starter and its still responding the same. These problems been ongoing since I purchased it almost 3 years ago. Can you please contact me and help me. Thank you. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #30

Dec 312015


  • 131,000 miles
Check engine light comes on.engine power reduced 99 %.sometimes engine dies while driving 40-55 mph.engine code P2135 is displayed on my code reader. The problem goes away after cycling the ignition switch several is un-reliable.this problem can cause you to crash the car.I was driving on the highway and city street when this happened.

- Brentwood, CA, USA

problem #29

Dec 012015


  • 125,000 miles


Engine intermittently reduces power, engine lamp come on or blinks, runs rough. This reduce power causes the vehicle to shake and accelerator does not work properly and occurs when moving in normal driving conditions and then it all stops. Mechanics cannot recreate it. It is safety issue and can cause an accident.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #28

Sep 202015


  • 0 miles
When I drive the car it drives fine. In the morning when I try to leave at 7 or 8 it refuses to turn on until it is warm I guess. There's definitely an electrical issue I've only had the cat for 2 months and when it does start it says power steering and service ESC. Sometimes I can't even drive over 20. It's definitely an issue that needs recalled.

- Watonga, OK, USA

problem #27

Oct 122015


  • miles
The check engine light came on so I took it to the shop and was told that it my catalytic converter and I only have 71000 mile on my car, shouldn't it be still under warranty? pleas advise

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #26

Sep 202012


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owned a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately 35 mph, the door lock switch operated independently without warning. After parking, the vehicle caught fire under the hood. The contact sustained a back injury attempting to put the fire out that did not require medical attention. A fire report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 89,000.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #25

Apr 102015

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles


My 08 Malibu ltz is having trouble shifting gears. I have to let off accelerator for it to shift gears.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #24

Mar 082015

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
On Sunday March 8th, 2015 I turned my car about 7 pm in the evening to realize that the engine light was on, service ESC was populating on the dash and traction control had been lost in the car. I was having difficulty braking as if the ABS brake system was not working in the car. I drove it immediately home from work and parked it at my home address. On Monday morning at 7:30 am I called the Chevrolet customer support to discuss the current recall which appeared to be the issue. I was instructed that I could drop my car off at best Chevrolet and they were aware of the recall and would assist me. I dropped my car off, explained the situation, I also asked them to quote a price on a leak and left. They called me to let me know the recall wasn't the issue even thought everything I experienced was listed in the recall. They held my car for two extra days after the car was no longer displaying the check engine light and no one informed me.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #23

Jan 052015

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 222,500 miles
While driving on a crowded freeway the car started to slow down on its own. I figured I was out of gas so I checked the gauge and it was at 1/2 tank. The message said service ESC, engine power reduced. There was no place to safely pull over so I had to continue to the next exit at the reduced speed. Needless to say this was very frightening as traffic was trying to pass me. I could have been rear ended but luckily nothing bad happened. I found a place to stop, shut off the engine and waited 5 minutes. I restarted the car and it ran normal as if nothing happened. The check engine light was still on. I reset the code ( something about a tps) when I got home. This scenario has happened several more times even at city speeds (35 mph). I don't drive on the freeway anymore and have to take alternate routes that are safer to pull over when this happens. I think I should sell the car but I cant in good conscience pass this on to someone else like GM did to me. Really guys this should be investigated asap so that no one gets hurt or killed !

- Bowler, WI, USA

problem #22

Dec 292014


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle stalled and the low traction, ESC, engine power reduced, and engine disabled warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Crownsville , MD, USA

problem #21

Jan 082015

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
While on my way to work, suddenly my traction light and service engine light came on and the reduced power notification came on moments later, the car slowed to about 10-20 mph(like it almost died but still running) and the car was shaking. I could not accelerate, I coasted into a parking lot and it was idling rough. I shut it off, waited a few moments and started it like nothing happened. I was scared and just wanted to get home and borrow another car to get to work. I was less than a mile away from home, and managed to get it home. While returning home it did the same thing but, it added a new code disabled engine. I have read these forums, and I don't have extra money to waist on replacing parts that do not fix the problem. It seems to be a common issue with GM, I don't want to be giving the run around with bs reason, I want to fix my car.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #20

Jan 012014


  • 74,460 miles
Started car and service traction ESC lights came on. Upon driving car would not accelerate as it normally does, and seemed to loose power. The engine vibrated an unusual amount, much more than normal. The next day we took the vehicle to the dealer for recall no. 13036, the htsa campaign id no. For this recall is 14V252. The dealer only replaced what was outlined in the recall, which was clip, retainer, strap, retainer. However, this had no effect on the problem. They would not further diagnose or fix the problem.

- Pittsford, NY, USA

problem #19

Dec 022013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The exhaust manifold of the 2008 has a severe crack which allows exhaust fumes into the cabin of the vehicle. I cannot keep the fan on while the vehicle is stopped, idling, or in slow traffic as the fumes are so strong that it causes headaches and nausea. The vehicle was taken to two different Chevrolet dealerships to pinpoint the source of the exhaust fumes and nothing could be found. Afterwards, it took my husband less than 10 minutes to locate and photograph the exhaust leak on the exhaust manifold. Two other close friends also have 2008 Malibu's and both of their cars have the same dangerous issue of exhaust fumes leaking into the cabin. One has had this replaced at Chevrolet dealership with oem parts at a cost of $1500 with the explanation of the high cost for the repair being that the exhaust manifold is connected to the catalytic converter and the whole unit had to be replaced. One year after this expensive repair, her exhaust manifold has cracked again. Another friend got a quote of $1300 but cannot afford the repair. I cannot afford this repair either and it baffles me that Chevrolet will issue a service bulletin to replace my chrome wheel covers but when I called to ask about the well known issue of cracked exhaust manifolds, told me that they hadn't heard anything about the issue and simply passed me off to a local dealership to make a repair appointment. This is a dangerous situation and one that is common and well documented with a quick internet search on exhaust cracks on Chevrolet Malibu's and cobalt's in the 2007-2009 years. Given the dangerous nature, the high cost of the repair that many cannot afford, and the common occurrence of the problem, Chevrolet should issue a recall to address this issue.

- Farmington , NH, USA

problem #18

Nov 122014

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Driver side seat frame broke, head gaskets failed.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #17

Feb 032014


  • 130,000 miles
My vehicle looses power and ability to accelerate suddenly while on the highway traveling around 65 mph. This causes a very dangerous situation for me each time it occurs because I am driving at a high speed and most of the time on a busy highway. I have to turn my hazards on and do my best to get off the road all while the vehicle continues to slow itself down and loose all power. I've come so very close to being hit or causing an accident. It is very frightening. "engine power reduced" is the message that appears. The check engine light came on and I took it in a few days later to a mechanic who read the codes. There were several that came up. I explained everything that happened with the car and after looking over everything decided I needed a new cam shaft sensor. Car drove well for about a week and then the problem came back. I have taken it back in to the mechanic and they're unsure of what the problem could be now. They have told me unless I can get the vehicle to them right when the problem is happening they're unsure what could actually be the source. How am I supposed to drive to a mechanic or a dealer at a coasting speed of 10 mph without stopping before I get there" I have read several Chevy forum threads and found that this is a very common problem amongst Malibu and Impala. Many people have spent hundreds of dollars making repairs that mechanics and dealerships say will correct the issue yet have stated the issue still occurs in their vehicles. I refuse to throw money into repairs if there isn't a known source as I have already made one repair that dis not fix my vehicles problem! with the number of Chevy vehicles experiencing the same problems, why isn't this a recall??"

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #16

Oct 162008

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
I have had nothing but trouble with this car. I should have kept exact records, but I haven't. the first issue was the factory battery in 2008. It exploded in the car within 5 months, they stated that this was not covered under warranty. I have replaced 3 batteries in this car. I have had 4 sets of tires. I have had to change the front headlights 2 times. I had the entire computer system go down 2 years ago and had to replace. When I reached out to the place I purchased the car, they wanted to charge me outrageous amounts of money. So, all of my work has been done at another auto mechanic. Of course, because of that they are not willing to do anything because the work was never done with them. I believe there is something wrong with the electrical system, along with the suspension, and god only knows what else. I am currently getting ready to replace the headlights again, along with I am needing new tires on the front end after only 4 months. I have had this car for 6 years.

- Fortville, IN, USA

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