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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,449 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #97

Jan 112017


  • 78,450 miles


I was driving and the car began to shake and jerk, and then the alerts across the dash came up as "service ESC", "service traction", and "engine power reduced". I took it to a Chevy dealership and was told the throttle body needed to be replaced. After paying $550 for the repair the car seemed to work fine until recently, only two months after the initial repair the same exact thing has happened, and now the dealership is telling me that they do not know what is wrong with the car, there is no recall and I'll either have to trade the car in (which I can't afford to do) or just drive it and hope the problem will correct itself. I am beyond scared to drive it as my daughter is in the car with me, and I do not want to be driving a death trap down the highway. Please help.

- Lakewood, WA, USA

problem #96

Jan 012016


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately 65 mph, the vehicle accelerated without warning. The vehicle shook violently and the reduced engine service and traction warning indicators illuminated, in addition to a few other unidentified warning indicators. The contact pulled the vehicle over and shut it off. The contact restarted the vehicle after a while and attempted to drive home; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer stated it was a common failure with the vehicle and referred the contact to NHTSA. The VIN was invalid. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #95

Jan 042017


  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving 70 mph, the reduced power warning indicator illuminated and the vehicle slowed down independently. The contact stated that cycling the engine off and on remedied the failure; however, the failure recurred. The contact stated that the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 99,000.

- Wixon, MI, USA

problem #94

Nov 112016


  • 73,000 miles


1. my car is 5 year old and 73,000 miles. We use it for commuting to work and grocery. And we do all the maintenance at dublin Chevrolet dealership. On Nov 11th, my car broke down on the highway and blocked the traffic. The front trunk was smoking. The car was towed to dealership. They said possible engine problem. Although the car is just out of warranty, it is hard to believe that this car has no quality problem with such few years and relatively low mileage. 2. a few months ago, I received a recall notice from the car making company and took the car to the dealership to get the recall done. But they said the part has not arrived and asked us to wait until they call us. We never get call from them. This time, I called their recall department and left a message. Never hear back from them.

- Dublin, CA, USA

problem #93

Nov 012016


  • 98,616 miles
The engine overheated while driving on the highway, it lost power and started smoking. The temperature gauge dropped to zero and was forced to pull off onto the shoulder and be towed to a service station because the vehicle was no longer operable. The mechanic stated that the engine was damaged due to a coolant leak from the water pump. The vehicle had 98,616 miles at the time of this incident. The engine had to be replaced at great cost and inconvenience! GM issued a bulletin for what sounds like the same problem with the Chevrolet Cruze (2011-2014) and sonic (2012-2014). It is bulletin no.: 14371B. I called GM to request reimbursement but they say no action can be taken because there is no bulletin or recall for this problem for the 2011 Chevy Malibu.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #92

Jan 012016


  • miles
My service ESC, service traction, service engine lights came on. Took my car to dealership where they couldn't duprivate the issue. $240. Problem came bk the next day. Took my car bk to shop with light on and they said I needed an engine flush. $180. Problem still came back.took my car to another shop, bc I felt I was getting taken advantage of after being charged $180 just for diagnostic. This shop changed spark plugs and checked wires. $100. Problem came back. Got in touch w GM. No recall. No assistance until I took my car back to dealership. They kept my car for 4 days and finally told me I need a new motor! it's a 2011, with 110K miles and I need a new motor?? that it would be $4000 I left with my car, because I don't have that kind of money just laying around in hopes that it might fix the problem. Driving a car that scares me bc the lights are constantly flashing at me all of the time now, car sputtering out while at low speeds or idle, co engine flashing, and my car acting like it's gonna die any minute! not to mention the gas it's consuming on top of the almost 700 I'm already out. This is dangerous and quite disheartening to but a car from Chevrolet, it only be 5 yrs old and have this many issues with no resolve. Seeing all of the other complaints similar to mine, someone is going to get hurt. Please help

- Glasgow, KY, USA

problem #91

May 072016

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 72,542 miles


I have been experiencing issues with my 2011 Chevy Malibu. I was driving down the road when suddenly the motor started violently shaking and the dashboard information display would flash, "engine power reduced, service ESC, service traction control, air bag lights and check engine light came on". this was an intermittent issue, it can sometimes go weeks/months without issues, but then out of nowhere it will start happening again. Sometimes shutting the car off, waiting a few moments, and restarting would usually get it running correctly again. However, other times it will remain for several days. The issue has been becoming more frequent and staying longer as time goes on. When I started seeing the issue I looked up online to see if other people were seeing similar issues and found hundreds of people with the same year, make, model car having the same exact issue. I have seen issues started at 50K miles and up, but mine started doing this at approximately 72K miles. This issue has almost caused me to get in several accidents, and I believe this should be recalled as this is a major problem. Here are some of the websites at which I found people sharing their stories of the same exact issue. I have included a couple of images of a couple of the dash messages please help the most recent incident occurred 05/07/2016 but has been happening intermittently for a year or two, it started at 72542 miles but most recent happened at approximately 92K thank you

- Somerset, WI, USA

problem #90

May 022016


  • 91,000 miles
Driving on highway at 65mph, vehicle lost all power. I was almost hit by an 18 wheeler but was able to get to the shoulder in time. No brakes, steering, power at all. GM dealer diagnosed timing chains need replacement. No recall on this known issue? endangering lives

- Lackawanna, NY, USA

problem #89

Apr 292016


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving 50 mph, the vehicle decelerated to 10 mph and the engine power reduced warning light illuminated. The vehicle was restarted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Dublin, TX, USA

problem #88

Apr 112016


  • miles
Car when started steering wheel locks up all the lights start flashing, locks start to unlock and lock themselves. Engine lines comes on hard to move forward or backwards.

- China, MI, USA

problem #87

Mar 042016


  • 64,253 miles


1/26/2016 I got my camshaft solenoid fixed due to my check engine light coming on. When it started to shake real bad with the dash lights stating that my engine power was reduced, loss of traction (something to that effect) I instantly put it in the shop. Then last week 3/4/2016 I was driving up to erie, pa from Ohio, which is about 4.5 hours away. I say a good 40 minutes from my destination it happens again right on the highway. Engine light comes on and the dash says that my engine power has been reduced and loss of traction (?). thankfully there was an exit near that I could get off at and as soon as I put my car in park it started to shake real bad. So I did what I did before and turned the car off to let it reset and then started it back up. It ran fine for the remainder of my stay until it came time for me to leave to go back home. This time I only got 20 minutes away from erie before it started acting up again, but it kept doing it. Talk about being frustrated 4.5 hours away from home in your car. Especially since I just got it fixed not too long ago. This needs to be on the recall list, because this is ridiculous.

- Englewood, OH, USA

problem #86

Feb 152016


  • 101,000 miles
While driving on the road, my car, out of nowhere, began to shake and the engine suddenly lost power. I immediately looked down and noticed the "ESC is off" indicator was on. I pulled over, put the car in park and begin pressing the gas to keep it from cutting off for fear it may not start up again. I did that for about 3 minutes and began moving again. I had to do this 3 times on my way home. I was about 5 miles from my house at the time.

- Norcross, GA, USA

problem #85

Nov 012015


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving 25 mph, the vehicle rattled and vibrated consistently which made the vehicle difficult to drive. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 63,000.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #84

Feb 162016


  • 119,200 miles
Received messages of: Service ESC, service traction, service air bag, eng pwr reduced, engine disabled this morning while driving to work. Engine lost all power, had to pull to side of road to try and turn the engine off and on, until I received the engine disabled message and after that the car would not start. Had to have the car towed to nearest dealership.

- Jackson, MN, USA

problem #83

Feb 142016


  • 88,258 miles
First, I had to jump the car to start it. Cold morning but the battery was only 3 months old. Driving from downriver mi area all expressway to grand rapids. Just entered grand rapids area when I had to reduce speed from 75 to 60. Car would not accelerate back to original speed. Cruise control had been engaged. Problem resolved itself but 15 minutes later the car went from 75 to 25 mph by the time I had exited the freeway and stopped the car. The car would not accelerate and the pedal was to the floor. The traction control light went on as did messages:reduced engine power, service ESC, and the check engine light went on. The engine light stayed on. I was able to turn car back and accelerate but the check engine light stayed on and the engine felt like it chugged a bit. When I stopped at intersections, the car felt as if it wanted to stall. Mileage is 88,258.

- Wyandotte, MI, USA

problem #82

Feb 122016


  • 119,000 miles
Service ESC, service traction, eng pwr reduced. This message has happened to me several times lately, most notably when travelling 70 mph on the interstate. Engine loses all power no mater how far I press the accelerator.

- Jackson, MN, USA

problem #81

Feb 102016


  • 123,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately 45 mph, the engine stalled and the vehicle shook violently. The traction and service ESC warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle did not restart. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 123,000. The VIN was unavailable. Updated 05/11/16

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #80

Jan 222016


  • 59,250 miles
30 minute drive to work, in rain at approximately 32 degrees, vehicle was running good until I pulled into a parking spot and an error message appeared (reduced engine power). I later left and the service engine light remained on. I then received an error message (service ESC) and later again received the (reduced engine power) while on the highway. It was snowing during this time. I was unable to fully accelerate but it felt as though the acceleration was not running well. I researched this issue and discovered many people/ Chevy Malibu owners having the same issue with no resolution; even after taking to dealer on many occasions. GM needs to recognize this issue and discover a resolution.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #79

Jan 192016


  • 79,000 miles
My 2011 Malibu while on the highway through a sensor code for multiple problems the first stating reduced engjne power, then service ES, service traction, service airbags etc... probably 8 codes. At which point on the highway I could no longer accelerate above 40mph creating a very dangerous situation for me. The car was jerking and shaking and the RPM was reving up between 500 and 1500 even after I stopped. I turned the car off fearing damage to the engine and called myhusband. He asked me turn it on again so I did and although it was now idling normally the engine light remained on. He suggested I continue my commute. I pulled back on to the highway and experienced this same dangerous problem 7 yimes between jackson mi and lansing mi. We took it in to a repairshopand they assessedwhat they could stating that it appeared to be a throttle body issue but they would have to take it apart to look at it. The mechanic also statedthat many of the Chevy made vehicles have had this problem and he was very surprised that therehad not yet been a recall on the part.

- Jackson, MI, USA

problem #78

Jan 132016


  • miles
The violently shakes almost as if it is about to die. It doesn't go over 23-30 mph. The car accelerates while holding the brakes. A message displays saying engine power reducing, service traction, service ESC. The car stalls while driving it on the street and highway. I'm scared of hitting someone while my foot is on the brake! my car is at 103K miles on it. I'm out of a car that I'm paying a note on. Its out of warranty. I haven't even had the car for a while year yet. The check engine light is on as well. The code for the check engine light is C0242. This is a very dangerous electrical problem. This should be a recall! many Chevy Malibu owners are having or have had the same issue!

- Monroe, MI, USA

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