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The Chevrolet Malibu is known for its superb comfortability, excellent handling, and impressive fuel economy.  It’s also affordable, making it a great choice for those looking for a new ride. Whether you’re planning to buy a Chevy Malibu or you’re already driving one, it’ll be helpful to read up on its reliability ratings and the common issues you may encounter as your car racks up mileage.

Is the Chevrolet Malibu Reliable?

The Chevrolet Malibu has a good reputation in terms of reliability. RepairPal gave the model a reliability score of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it 9th out of the 24 cars in its segment. Meanwhile, J.D. Power gave the 2021 Malibu a predicted reliability score of 89 out of 100.

Chevrolet Malibu Common Problems

Just like any other vehicle on the market, a Chevrolet Malibu may also develop issues as it gets older. Here are some of the most frequently reported issues across its model years:

Loss of Engine Power

Engine-related issues top the list of 2016 Chevrolet Malibu problems. Several owners have complained about reduced engine power and noticed symptoms like excessive vibration and whistling noise coming from the engine. In most cases, an engine overhaul is necessary to resolve the issue.

Failed Passlock Sensor

Passlock sensor issues are a common complaint across several Chevrolet Malibu model years (1997-2016). In most cases, the passlock sensors in the ignition lock cylinder of the affected Malibus are prone to failure. A no-start condition may develop when this happens.

Some owners have also reported issues with their vehicle’s anti-theft system. Most mechanics recommend replacing the ignition lock cylinder to fix the problem.

Transmission Failure

2010 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ Chevrolet Pressroom
Some 2010 Chevrolet Malibu owners have complained about transmission failure at around 101,550 miles. Image source: Chevrolet Pressroom

Some 2010 Chevrolet Malibu owners have complained about transmission failure at around 101,550 miles. Some also noticed symptoms like jerking and difficulty changing gears.

In most cases, the transmission of the affected vehicles had to be replaced or rebuilt to solve the issue. Fixing this type of Chevrolet Malibu transmission problem can cost you as high as $3,260.

Turn Signal Switch Failure

Turn signal switch failure is a common complaint about 1997-2006 and 2010 Chevrolet Malibus. Once the switch fails, the hazard or turn signal flasher will continue to click even when the turn signal is switched off. Replacing the faulty turn signal switch usually resolves the issue.

Power Door Lock Problems

Issues with the power door lock topped the list of 2009 Chevrolet Malibu problems. The door locks of the affected Malibus wouldn’t lock or unlock at certain times. Several owners have reported that this problem usually happens during the summer months when the temperature is high. To fix the issue, the owners of the affected Chevys had to replace their faulty power door lock components.

Headlight Issues

2009 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ Chevrolet Pressroom
A few 2009 Chevy Malibu owners have complaints about their headlights. Image source: Chevrolet Pressroom.

A few 2009 Chevy Malibu owners also have complaints about their headlights. Their wirings shorted out, while others had to replace their busted headlights twice in a short period. There were also reports of problems with their low beam headlights.

Depending on the exact cause of the problem, you may have to replace the wiring harnessconnector, headlight assembly, or switch to solve the issue.

CD Player Not Working

Some 2005 Chevy Malibu owners also reported issues regarding their CD player. Reports show that the CD player malfunctioned at around 72,150 miles. The problems usually started with a stuck CD.

If you encounter similar issues, it’s best to take your Chevy to a mechanic for repairs, especially if you have limited knowledge about your car’s stereo components.

Power Steering Malfunction

The power steering on some 2004 Chevrolet Malibu may malfunction after around 81,600 miles. According to the owners of the affected units, their power steering goes out intermittently from time to time. Several drivers complained that their power steering would lock up abruptly while they were driving.

Issues involving your Chevy’s power steering system should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent road accidents. In most cases, replacing a faulty steering column fixes the issue.

Cracked Intake Manifold Gasket

Premature wear on intake manifold gaskets may cause coolant leaks in some units of the 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. Besides replacing the damaged gasket, some mechanics also had to conduct a coolant flush to fix this problem.

A cracked intake manifold gasket is common among General Motors (GM) vehicles manufactured from the late 90s to mid-2000s. Experts speculated that the coolant that GM used for their vehicles reacted with the intake manifold gasket. This causes the gasket to crack and leak coolant. There are several class-action lawsuits regarding the issue.

Broken Front Coil Spring

If you’re planning to buy a used 1999 Malibu, watch for front coil spring issues. Some owners have reported hearing clunking and banging noises when turning their wheel.

Most owners had to replace their springs and struts to solve the issue.

Aside from the issues mentioned above, your Malibu may develop other problems over time. But don’t worry. As long as you do your research and address any faults right away, you can make the most out of your Chevy’s service life.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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Judith Coons

I have a 2006 Chevrolet Malibu and I have replaced the brakes at least 6 time and it only has 125194 miles.

Pamela lee

Car idling too high while driving than shuts of have to lock all doors than it start up again

Pamela lee

Car idling too high when it drive than cut off have to turn car off open and lock doors than start again and it repeats

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