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2013 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems: loss of power while driving

Loss Of Power While Driving

2013 Chevrolet Malibu (Page 1 of 2)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Chevrolet dealer.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
54,600 miles
Total Complaints:
26 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (22 reports)
  2. replace cable and (2 reports)
  3. ubec cable replaced (2 reports)
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2013 Chevrolet Malibu electrical problems

electrical problem

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2013 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Oct 062018

Malibu LS 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles


I have a 2013 Chevy Malibu LS. The car dies while driving and the service power steering light comes on. I have read several comments on this site that has had the same problem. I can take the ground cable off the battery and it will reset it, for a while. This has happened 5 times in the past two weeks. I have it scheduled to take to a dealership tomorrow.

- Randy S., Nicholasville, US

problem #25

Jun 272018

Malibu 1LT 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,909 miles

Been dealing with this problem for a while. While I'm driving the radio, dash and anything electrical cuts off. Then jerks the car to the left or right almost either hitting another car on oncoming cars on the side of me. Then it comes back on and able to gain control again. It doesn't matter if I'm stationary with feet on the brakes it does it then too. I have been having issues with this car since I brought it. Check engine lights comes on every so often but of course never know why it comes on or if the problem is fixed. The statement I get when the engine light comes on is "engine power reduced". Can't accelerate to get going. Its loud and idles high but can't tell me why. I only had this car for 3 years almost and the dealer keeps telling me it's wear and tear. It can't be that. I don't care how much you drive a vehicle, the issues are too many and dangerous. I wish I never got the car sometimes. This is going to cause me to get in an accident or something. Nothing is ever done to avoid this. Putting in too much money to keep trying to fix the same issue constantly. Scared to even drive to work or around the corner. I have kids I have to drive around. So over it!

- tatkins40, Virginia Bch, US

problem #24

Nov 042017

Malibu LTZ 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,064 miles

Since February 2017, I have been dealing with electrical/steering issues with my 2013 Malibu LTZ. Whether stationary or in motion, the car loses all electrical power, power steering, radio, etc. All dashboard lights go out, come back on. Several times, my car has completely died after I put it in park. It doesn't matter whether I'm traveling 10mph or 55+ mph; the problem still occurs. It has happened while turning right or left, while parking, as well as traveling down the highway. It is dangerous, and I'm afraid to drive it more than a few miles from home. During the past several months, my car has been in and out of my local dealership numerous times, and they can NOT pinpoint the issue. They've "attempted" to fix it each time, but it continues to happen. I have also contacted GM corporate THREE times. I am shocked that nothing has been done after seeing all the similar complaints about the same make/model car!

- Kimberly B., Homer, US

problem #23

Nov 012017

Malibu LTZ V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles


I picked my daughter up from practice today and on the way home my radio screen went black and the power steering locked and lost power to my car going around a curved road and it veered into on coming traffic and almost had a head on collision. The power came on and I was able to swerve and barely miss the car heading straight at us, I had to pull over to get myself together and calm my daughter down because it scared her to death!!.... My daughter and I were almost killed driving home today and so I called to schedule an appointment to have my car looked at in the morning, so I decided to look at the recall list to see if this was just some kind of a fluke but after reading these complaints frustrates the hell out of me to see that CHEVROLET has been notified about this problem and has not recalled these damn vehicles.. I guess someone will have to be killed before they take any action on this matter!! I don't feel safe driving my car now knowing others are having the same issues!!

- Karon E., Atlanta, US

problem #22

Oct 142017

Malibu LTZ 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,340 miles

Had vehicle serviced by a Chevy dealer-transmission flush, air, cf filters replaced, oil change with filter replaced, tires rotated. Less than three days later lane departure light comes on. I disabled and enabled. All seemed fine. Next day the Traction Control System warning light comes on, car has reduced engine power. Mechanic to work on it .

- paulinetap, Worcester, US

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problem #21

Sep 202017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

My DIL is having the SAME issue with her 2013 Chevy Malibu just shutting off while driving. Most days, the car won't even start and we have to call AAA and have even had the battery replaced. Taken into Ferman Chevrolet, Brandon, FL where the car was purchased and they look at it and say they can't duplicate the problem. The very next day the car would not start and after disconnecting the battery terminals and reconnecting, it started and was driven directly to the dealership where they say they won't work on it because the fuses are blown in the battery connector and want us to pay to fix THAT before they will even try to diagnose the original problem! Mind you, THEY were the last to work on the vehicle 2 days prior!


- Lori J., Brandon, US

problem #20

Jul 072017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


2 weeks ago as I was coming home, my radio went off, instrument dash lights went off, and power steering shut down. Just for a couple of seconds but did it 3 times by time I got home. Took to dealership very next morning and was told, "can't duplicate the problem" and was sent home. This morning while driving 65 miles per hour on highway, it happened again! Car does not stop but I have little to no control of the steering! I was able to make it home, called a tow truck to deliver the car to dealership, but just received call again indicating, "can't duplicate the problem" and to come get my vehicle! I am going to print some of the other similar comments and take with me to the dealership!

- Gwen G., Lee's Summit, US

problem #19

Jun 012016

Malibu ECO 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,887 miles

come up with the fix please so this thing can be corrected. hopefully before I go broke!!!

- James T., Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #18

Aug 052016

Malibu LTZ 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,981 miles

I have a 2013 Chevy Malibu LTZ. While we are driving there is a loss of power. The car shuts off and turns back on,also the Electrical System completely shuts down while driving it.The gauges go crazy reading all kinds of codes.When experiencing car's loss of power the steering and brakes lock up, losing complete control of the vehicle. When the car shuts down the Radio shuts off & Wipers come on and different codes appear. This Is Dangerous while on the road with other vehicles!!! We have avoided being killed a few times! We Have sent it to the Dealership to have it diagnosed but they can't seem to find the problem...They keep replacing parts but it is not fixing the issues! I Have bought the car to the shop 4 times for the same problems,paying Warranty Deductible getting nowhere! This issue has happened to us 7 times in one day,every 2- 4 minutes apart.Though it seems to not show out for the Dealership Service Department workers. (Which they seem to know about the problem,but Chevy wont rectify the situation.) We have shown videos of this matter from our car. The car is a weapon on the roads!!!

- Tonia G., Lincoln, US

problem #17

Jan 012017

Malibu LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

the computer system shuts down, loose power steering - had to dealership 5 times, first time they sold me a new battery, not the problem, second time they replaced battery cable wires, not the problem, 3rd time worked on heating and air and radiator, why I have no idea, the last time it was in the replaced the power steering rack, two weeks later I am having same problem only this time when it shut down the windsheild wipers came on windows rolled down and car completely died. It is at the dealership again. Not sure what they don't understand that the computer is not working and shutting down and rebooting.

- Carolyn H., Yorktown, IN, US

problem #16

May 312017

Malibu 2LZ 2.0lturbo Dohc 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


Okay, I had already had my car in twice. First they repaired and wrapped wires under the front passenger seat that had chaffed. $55.45 and a 3 days no car.

3 days later at a red light sitting idle, radio just went off screen went black. So it was not fixed.

Brought it into the dealership and they said my car needs a new radio. But they had to order it. The day I got the call that my radio was in, they didn't have a loaner for me to get to work until next week. I was on my way home from work, rush hour. I was at a red light waiting for green, my whole car shut down/off. My car was dead, cars were honking and I was leading the pack.

Right now I was told today they put a new radio in. But they want to keep it because they have not diagnosed the problem. As soon I brought it in they plugged the BOX in. I asked them to google it and they would find a lot of complaint with the same issues I am having.

I don't feel safe in this car. It scares me.

- Wanda M., Grand Rapids, MI, US

problem #15

Nov 182013

Malibu 2LZ 2.0lturbo Dohc 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,132 miles

Bought the 2013 Malibu new in February. November the car started to act like I needed to give it gas or it was going to stall. Got the car to the dealer, first they said it was the head. They got the head in and covered it up, because they didn't have the pins. 2 1/2 weeks later. Yah the pins came. But it's not the head " We need to contact GM you need a new engine.

One month later. New engine. N/Charge. Several loaners. One week with no car. When I got a call to see how they did I said good. But I think they should also pay for one month car payment since I could not drive my new car. It took a month or two but the did.

* This was my first clue the car was a lemon* -Engine -Coolant leak -Excessive Crank no start -Both rear wheel hubs -Now electrical problem over a month now and 3 visits. Car stops while driving, dash goes, radio goes. Car goes dead, Steering locks.

Many dollars thrown into repairs, on a car that is 4 years old. Besides making payments. I don't trust GM anymore.

4 years later I don't trust my car, sounds like many other people don't either. If our car doesn't kill us it may kill someone else. Then what?????

- Wanda M., Grand Rapids, MI, US

problem #14

Jun 052015

Malibu Chrom 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

I have had this car for two years when I first purchased in May 2015 it ran fine but, after two months I started having problems. The car loss power three times. Once a car cut me off and I hit my brake and the steering column locked and the car lost power. Fortunately I was still able to avoid the accident.

I took the car to a Chevy dealer and they couldn't anything wrong with the car. As a courtesy they changed the battery. I had purchased an extended warranty when I bought the car :( I have occasional glitches after that and then last fall I would use the auto start on the car and it started losing power again. When I would drive the car it would just lose power, everything would shut down for like a second and then power back up again. So I stopped using that feature and the problem stopped.

The week before last I was driving in a curve and the steering wheel locked and the car lost power and started going into the other lane. When I hit the brake all power came up and then it stated the alternator error and second key error. Which I only have one key. I had my mechanic look at it and we looked on here for the fix. I bought the positive battery cables and he installed them and all was well until yesterday. IN 5 am traffic my car lost power. When I turned on my signal light it lost power. When I put it in park it lost power, everything went black and the engine shut down.

If anything happens to me I have to my kids and my family to sue the pants off of Chevy/GMC because I am a single mom and that car is my only means of transportation. And if any thing happens to my kids when they are in this death trap I promise if it takes me every dime I can find I will sue GMC because they will fix the sunroof free of charge but, will not take electrical problems that makes a car lose power while driving on the freeway and that can make steering columns lock so you can't avoid a crash is more serious then I will make it my life's mission to make sure they won't make that same mistake again.


- Tina D., Humble, TX, US

problem #13

Feb 022017

Malibu LS 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,233 miles

As many others I have found out from this page have a very similar problem with the radio flicking on and off multiple times, interfering with steering by slight locking (very uneasy almost scary on the highway) and multiple other things controlled by the electrical system. Chevrolet here is acting as though this is a problem. The problem has gotten worse and my mother is at her wits end being scared that if she signals her steering is going to cut out. I find it astounding that not only could I find hundreds and hundreds of people that had the same problem and that the one user even provided the solution and part numbers right on this page, I believe it was complaint #8. Very disappointed as they are giving her problems because it is just out of warranty. I believe as do others it should be considered a recall issue and that the consumer should not have these issues with a car that now only has 41 000km that's approx. 30,000miles. Absolute garbage. Because of all the helpful reviews and youtube videos and videos I've taken on my tablet she or I should not be paying for this. Is it going to take someone crashing and having lawsuit bigger than they can handle to have morals?

Update from Apr 7, 2017: Again, like many of the dealership "not having any clue about this". I didn't believe him and wondered how it only took me 10 minutes and this site which seems fairly reputable and genuine having the problems down to every last detail. Of course I got the well we certainly don't want you in an unsafe car so they provided a courtesy vehicle for free but said they would not pay for it out of their pocket but they will talk to GM and try to get it recall status or fix it for free. I'll update again when their "advanced technicians" confirm the problem with the UBEC and fuse leads being poor quality and after those cables were replaced it worked fine. If I have to pay for it out of my pocket when the car only has his few miles on it, I will fix it, sell it, and kiss GM goodbye.

- Derek M., Kelowna, BC, Canada

problem #12

Oct 102016

Malibu LS 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

So the car randomly loses power and of course I cannot steer the car during these times. I took it to the dealer who replaced the negative cables just like some other people have had done. Did not fix the issue. It has been in the dealership 3 times and is now back with GM. They have had my car for 9 days. This ought to be a recall and have someone find the fix.

- Paul E., Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #11

Dec 082016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,299 miles

My 2013 Chevy Malibu has been experiencing an electrical issue randomly over the last few months. When driving. the touch screen radio module and dash lights would briefly shut off and then come back on. Unfortunately yesterday (12/8/16) while I was reversing into a parking spot the electrical issue happened, but for the first time my power steering locked up on me as well. I couldn't get my wheel to turn and my car felt like it had lost all power. When the screen module and lights came back on my cars power seemed to return, but I didn't have full turning radius of my steering wheel it would just lock up and then release repeatedly. While driving home on the freeway the same night the electrical shutdown and the power steering locked up on me twice, both times only briefly. It's freaking scary to lose your ability to steer while driving 60mph. I'm just thankful I wasn't in the middle of my morning commute which consists of icy/windy roads when my steering decided to go tits up. With all that said, I don't have a death wish, so my car is currently being serviced with a Chevy dealer and I'm interested to hear what the root cause/issue is and how they are able to fix it, if they are even able to.

With how many other Chevy Malibu owners are experiencing this same exact issue I am surprised and frankly disappointed with Chevrolet for not having this extremely dangerous defect on their recall list. Come on Chevy, do the right thing and get this defect on your recall list. Protect your consumers.

- akywa, Federal Way, WA, USA

problem #10

Sep 232016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

In September 2016 I contacted GMC because my daughter was driving my 2013 Malibu and the cars lights begin to flicker, radio blinking on and off and finally the car shut down and she could not steer it. My daughter was terrified, I told her to park it and GMC had a tow truck to pick it up the next morning.

The lady at GMC said that they would give me a rental at the dealership, but when I got there according to them, they could not, due to the miles on the car. GMC Hailey in Richmond was very honest about the car, I showed the mechanic the video of the car jerking and radio flashing..but he could not get it to replicate itself. The diagnostic test showed nothing, the computer did not record any activities from this car (So the little "Black Box" is definitely not working). The mechanic said he tighten the ground wires, but he didn't know what else to do. My son picked the car up; said it was driving just fine (October 2016).

December 2016 my daughter called me screaming mom this car is going to kill me...Again, she was driving and the lights starting blinking, radio started flashing, and the car shut down...Almost hitting another car and pedestrian this time....I have been screaming to GMC that this car is not safe and it is going to kill somebody....To be such a big company they don't give a crap about their customers and everybody I come in contact with I warn them about GMC. They leave no alternative other than to surrender the vehicle, VIN # 1G11C5SA6DF251079, Gold Chevrolet Malibu, and I pray that this car does not kill anybody.

- Vickie T., Forestville, MD, USA

problem #9

Nov 212016

Malibu LT1 2.5L 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,678 miles

2013 Chevy Malibu LT1 with 41k miles. All incidents listed were intermittent at best.

Initial symptom was power to the radio cutting out. At first I thought it might be a fuse or a loose link. Then the entire instrument cluster would lose power along with the radio. Always for a brief moment (1-3 seconds max). Next thing that happened was all power was lost when I parked it. I would park it and lock it, then when I would come out to unlock it the remote unlock failed. I unlocked with the key and when I turned the key in the ignition nothing happened. No lights, no bells, nothing at all. This is when I took it in the first time. I was charged a diagnosis charge, but nothing was found or fixed.

Just a couple days later, the symptoms continued, only this time I lost all power when driving. Turning left at a busy intersection the power went out completely, including the power steering. For three seconds I had only manual control over steering. This was the SECOND time I took it in. This time I wasn't charged for diagnosis because they found the advisory about this electrical problem, but again nothing was fixed.

I logged all of the power loss incidents for a week, including the steps I took to diagnose the issue. At first I just tapped on the fuse block next to the battery. Parked power loss would return after a few minutes. Finally I started wiggling the thick power cable connected to the positive battery terminal and restored power in a matter of seconds. I shared all of this information with the dealer and they were finally able to make a repair. Two cables, Chevy p/n 20781417 and p/n 13293804. Each cable was double the cost of what you would pay at a parts store, and labor was $365, bringing the total repair cost to $607.

This should be addressed as a safety issue because total power loss at 70mph on a busy interstate IS A SAFETY ISSUE. I can only hope it turns into a recall so I can get a refund for my costs. This cannot be considered normal wear and tear, car cables have been manufactured for better than a century. Has quality gotten so bad that a simple copper cable is only expected to last 3 years?

- Kevin C., Coralville, IA, USA

problem #8

Nov 012016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

I Just Purchased This Car, Only Had It For Not Even A Month And It Shuts Off On Me After I Put it In Drive and about to push the gas. Check engine light comes on when the problem is about to start. It sucks I do not feel safe driving a new car that I just Purchased . I've read everyone else's complaints on this page and just got worried even more. It only shuts off on me when I'm backing out. Never in mid drive. Even though it feels like it will at any second.

- Martika T., Lehigh Acres, FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 012016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

There is a serious problem with the Malibu and it seems after making several calls to two different Chevy dealers and researching the issue online no one seems to know exactly what the problem is. My 2013 Chevy Malibu was just fine until last month when the engine randomly starting shutting down and then restarting its self while driving down the road. Of course my bumper to bumper warranty has ran out and the drivetrain warranty will not cover anything electrical (according to the two Chevy dealers I contacted) I refuse to pay over $100 for a diagnostic test which will reveal nothing or better yet have a service man tell me something is broke when in fact its not just to save his butt and make money for the dealership. Chevy needs to do a recall on this issue now BEFORE someone is killed. this is a serious safety issue and needs to be addressed by GM/Chevy. I have contacted the customer service department of GM but have yet to hear back from them.

- Pam R., Butte, MT, US

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