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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
85,100 miles
Total Complaints:
16 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (10 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
  3. installed new wavy plate, input housing, etc (2 reports)
2009 Chevrolet Malibu transmission problems

transmission problem

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2009 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #16

Jun 162020

Malibu LTZ 3.5L V6 Vvt

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,149 miles


I have a 2009 Malibu LTZ with a 3.6L VVT, V6, and the 6 speed automatic transmission.

One day I'm heading to work. I notice a little chug when I put the car into reverse, I also notice that the RPM's are hanging just a little too long before shifting. I continue to work, and then head home at the end of the day with the same problem. Fortunately my car has a Dip Stick on the front of the tranny. I check the fluid and notice its low, so I add. If you have ever seen the dip stick location, its not user friendly. Its hard to get a true reading because you don't have room to re-install the dip stick without rubbing the sides of the reservoir . I decide F-it and take it to a shop and have the tranny fluid and filter changed for piece of mind at a cost of, $180 bucks. I drive it home, seems to be no problems. I'm thinking, sweet it worked.

I get into the car the next day and drive about 80 miles to a buddies house. I get their and put the car into reverse to back up.... Nothing.. Its like the car is in neutral. Its pouring rain so I leave it sit for a few hours. I get back in, and it works as it should, but with the chugging again. Its at this point I realize that I have a bigger problem than the fluid. I drive the car home and never have any problems on the highway. I get home and put it into reverse again and nothing again. flash forward a few days, I drive it to the grocery store in town. I notice its now slipping while driving and the reverse problem showed up again. (I figured it would happen again, but was hoping a time out would show the car I mean business) I was told that it most likely has bad wave plates. The cost to fix was about $2500.00, but that might not fix the problem. A complete transmission replacement was about $4500.00.

I bought the car with 96,000 miles and it time of death is 108,149 miles. We have a Impala that just rolled 260,000, a Satillac (Saturn SL). that died with 300,000+, a GMC Jimmy that died with 250,000+. So for this car to have a transmission fail at 108,149 really ticked me off. I contacted Chevy and got the run around. They said that there were no recalls for the transmission, and according to Cris, they never had any. After reading posts in this site I realize GM knows about the problem and it turning their head. That makes me angry.

- Brian H., De Forest, WI, US

problem #15

Mar 172018

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

click to see larger images

transmission went out

I can't believe my car has so many issues. I don't think I can buy another Chevy car. Transmission fail on my car under 90,000 miles. Wow!

- lene03, Maricopa, AZ, US

problem #14

May 132018

Malibu LT 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,900 miles

GM claims this is not covered under warranty. Other VIN numbers with the faulty 6 speed transmission are granted an extended 10 year 120,000 mile warranty. This is due to a defective wave plate in the transmission.

Unacceptable to have a catastrophic failure at 60,000 miles on a lightly used vehicle.

- Salvatore P., Vienna, US

problem #13

Dec 122017

Malibu 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


2009 Malibu 3.6L automatic transmission went out at 86,000 miles. Never buy another Chevy again!!!! JUNK!

- Cara S., Savannah, US

problem #12

Aug 282017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,741 miles

60,741 and the transmission goes out! I read several reports above that Chevy knows about this problem and is doing nothing. Mechanic says we caught it early. Caught it early? Still cost us $2295. Not covered under warranty. We have been Chevy people all our lives. Never bought anything else. I think we will look for those 10 years 100,000 mile power train warranties. This is BS.

- taylortjt, Glenshaw, US

problem #11

Dec 212016

Malibu LS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,344 miles

I serviced this car all the time when it was due. This car has given me nothing but trouble, lower control arm , transmission , brake pads , door lock solenoids

- fjean, Patterson, NY, US

problem #10

Sep 232016

Malibu LTZ V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


The transmission on my 2009 went out this past week. Have talked to GM and they know it is an issue...specifically a Transmission Clutch Wave Plate defect. While it can be repaired, seems this may not be 100% solved through repair/rebuild and most suggest a full replacement (which seems odd that you'd replace it with another less that perfect GM part). GM has added special coverage up to 120,000 miles...which, of course, my car has just passed at 125,000. Classic case of SOL. So basically, I have a pile of scrap metal in my driveway. I will continue to rage against GM and make this a personal mission to spread the word about this issue that seems to be very common. It should have been made a recall, not treated under an extended warrantee. If this had been the case, Malibu owners would have been notified and could have taken it to the dealer to resolve prior to the entire transmission failing. If you are thinking about purchasing a used Malibu, choose another option. See this link for more threads about this failure.

- Jake E., Dalton, MA, US

problem #9

Jun 112015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

It is such bs that you pay good money for a car and they don't stand by their product. This tranny has all kinds of issues. Why isn't it on recall? I have always drove Chevy. My dad is retired GM worker. THIS WILL BE MY LAST CHEVY EVER.

- Jeannie S., Charles City, VA, US

problem #8

Apr 012015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

My 2009 Malibu has been at a local Chevy dealership for nearly 2 months waiting for a remanufactured tranny. I've verified with another Chevy dealership that there aren't any transmissions for my car in the entire US. I've done extensive research and found many transmission problems for the 08/09 transmissions. The warranty was extended to 120,000 miles for the clutch wave plate, my car has 126k.

I called customer relations prior to towing to the dealership and was led to believe that there might be financial help with the replacement, but only if towed to a Chevy dealership, so I did. Upon being told it needs to be replaced, I called back to CS and was told, no, we can't help you.

About a month ago a replacement came in, they installed it, test drove it only to find major problems. Chevrolet sent them the wrong transmission. So now my car sits at the dealership, they have no idea of when there might be a replacement, and the original transmission is in a box. I've got a call into Customer Relations (had to leave message for call back). NEVER AGAIN will I buy Chevy.

- klskls7, Lyons, OR, US

problem #7

May 302015

Malibu LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,553 miles

I bought my 2009 Malibu three years ago and for the first year the car drove great. Soon after I went pass 60,000 miles, the car started having issues. The wheel bearings went bad, so I had to pay $300 to get it fixed.

Recently I notice that while trying to back up my reverse started to go and the transmission wouldn't gear down. Now my reverse is completely gone. Luckily for me I had received a letter that said that my Malibu may have issues with the transmission that is caused by a cracked wave plate and if this happens take it to a Chevrolet shop to get it fix no charge.

My issue is that I am responsible for paying for a rental. This is crazy because I'm not at fault, this company GM is. That is why they sent the letter. They knew there was an issue with these transmissions so why do i have to pay for a rental? Now since the Chevy shop knows that they wont get paid for this repair they're taking their sweet time fixing my damn car! I called GM's Customer Service Rep and they assured me that they would get to the bottom of it.

A week has passed and I'm still without my car and nobody has contacted me. Chevrolet, GM doesn't give a damn about their customers!!!! I will never buy another Chevy, GM vehicle ever!!! I get letters for recalls all the time! And you wonder why the government had to step in and help you!!

- Antwan B., Nicholasville, KY, US

problem #6

Dec 242014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


I own a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. I purchased it new off the lot in April of 2009. In Dec 2014 with only 60,000 miles and 5 1/2 years old, my transmission started doing a hard knocking/bucking when it was shifting. I took it to my local Automotive and since the check engine light did not come on they couldn't tell me the problem. Then 30 days later while driving down the road my transmission completely went out. Luckily no one was behind me. It was Towed to our Dealership. Keep in mind that I am very diligent about having my oil changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles. I was told it was out of warranty and that no recalls had been placed on the transmission.

So after several thousand dollars out of pocket the transmission was replaced. Now 4 months later it is doing the same hard shift again but this time the engine light came on. I am so frustrated with this vehicle!! I will never buy another Chevy again! Come to find out my pastors wife had to have her transmission replaced in her Malibu as well. Looks like they still can't get it right.

- Lori P., terre haute, IN, US

problem #5

Apr 262015

Malibu 2LT 2.4L Dohc Mfi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,671 miles

Button on gear shift stuck 2x early last week; resolved it by pressing it in even harder to make it pop back out so I could put the car in park. Didn't think much of it, except that it was a symptom when my car had problems with the body/brake control module (BCM) which was replaced through a safety recall. No problems for about the next five days.

Left my home one morning but about 20 minutes into my drive, my car did not have much acceleration when I tried to advance at a stop light or when a traffic light turned green. Felt like I had accidentally slipped the car into neutral, but I had not. It jerked forward once or twice, as if it were trying to find the right gear. Then about 10 minutes later, the check engine light came on. The car would slip in and out of this condition for the next 10 minutes until I reached my destination. I parked head-on into a parking space. When I tried to pull out in reverse an hour later, I couldn't. Car was on, and gear shift in reverse, but car would not move.

Had car towed today to local mechanic who confirmed it is transmission. Estimate is $2,600 to replace. Car has almost 137,000 miles on it. Disappointed that I am facing this major repair when it just turned 6 years old. I've had other cars that I've driven well over the 100K mileage mark, never had to replace the transmission. Had to replace front rotors on this car at 55,000 miles. Have had to replace exhaust solenoid valve when car was slow & sluggish last year. And have had a lot of trips to dealer service dept. and other mechanics for problems related to the BCM (although GM later reimbursed me $520 for my expenses).

- kathleenny, Carmel, NY, US

problem #4

Aug 202014

Malibu LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

The transmission failed on a busy road in Dallas and almost got me killed. The transmission had less than 6 months warranty. The dash lights don't work half the time. The locks go up and down, not good with young children in the car. I've had it with this 2009 Malibu.

- Susan S., Mesquite, TX, US

problem #3

Aug 192014

Malibu LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,163 miles

I will never purchase another GM product. It’s not the dealership’s fault for the transmission to fail after 53,000 miles on a five year old vehicle. I am 60 years old and I drive like one so I have a hard time understanding how the transmission became damaged.

I have only bought GM products. My Cutlass had issues in the 70’s, but all American cars had issues. That’s why foreign cars emerged big time in the 80’s. I bought two Geos that were wonderful cars, but it is probably the Toyota influence on the vehicles. How can Hyundai guarantee their transmission for 10 years or 100,000 miles? GM is making billions. It can afford to lose a few grains of sand from each fistful it grabs. For me, the $2,800 it cost me to repair the transmission is painful. My next purchase will be an American made car by Toyota or Honda.

- Joel R., Adrian, MI, US

problem #2

Jul 082014

Malibu LTZ 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

The car has been kept up with maintenance. transmission oil changed twice, once at 50000 miles and again at 100000. Once it hit 103,000 transmission went out. Cost $4000.00 to fix.

- Jessica B., Cypress, TX, US

problem #1

Jun 012013

Malibu LT 2.4L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle. Had a high pitched whining ( was so bad you could hear it for blocks) and after taking the car to dealership, where it was bought, I was told 'gee they have no idea what it is'. I took to small little guy garage and HE told me it was in tranny and that it was covered under GM's 5 yr tranny warranty. So I HAD to take it to one of their dealers to get fixed or they wouldn't cover it. They 'fixed' it.

My locks have gone out several times. locking and unlocking by themselves. Finally took to the 'little 'guy and he had to replace ALL 4 door parts! Remember I had already had this problem 'fixed' at their service ctr. They 'fixed' my remote key, not, it is still broke. Cannot use the remote to unlock/lock doors nor the auto start. The car has stalled 4 times, once on railroad tracks. And now there is something wrong with shifting. I cannot drive any longer. I'm still paying on a paper weight. I was told at one of there dealership/service center that they wouldn't fix any thing because I didn't have a 'relationship' with them!! I have taken this car to them every time I had a problem and the things they "fixed' haven't lasted 4 months! I freaking hate them and I hate this piece of crap car! I will update because I know there are other things that I'm missing.

- deedeehey, Otis Orchards, WA, US

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