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VERY dangerous reduced engine power issue!!

Malibu Another long running GM name, the Malibu has overcome many changes to be one of the top mid size sedans heading into its eight generation.

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Old July 22nd, 2015, 1:18 PM
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VERY dangerous reduced engine power issue!!

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Old December 26th, 2013, 2:09 PM
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Thumbs down VERY dangerous reduced engine power issue!!

This has happened to me 4 times in the past two weeks, and I am honestly lucky to be alive. I have a 2011 Chevy Malibu with 58,000 miles on it. My husband and I just moved from Dallas to Atlanta, so I have had to make several trips back and forth to handle things with our home in Dallas. The first time this happened, I was about 70 miles outside of Atlanta going 70 MPH on the highway surrounded by 18 wheelers. Suddenly my traction light and service engine light came on and the reduced power notification came on, the car slowed to about 10 miles an hour very suddenly and the car was shaking violently.

The 18 wheeler behind me could not stop fast enough and the only reason I was not hit was because I was able to veer onto the shoulder. Terrified, I sat on the side of the road for several minutes after turning the car off. I started it again and it began driving normally, but the service engine light stayed on. Since I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere and it was extremely dark, I got back on the road again to get home. I made it to Atlanta, but the same thing happened again when I was entering the city on the loop. I basically coasted home. We took it to Goodyear the next day because that was the closest place. They told us it was the gas pedal sensor and charged us $265 to replace it. The car seemed to work normally until a week later I was back in Texas when the exact same thing occurred when I was going 60 MPH on the highway.

Luckily, I was close enough to yet another Goodyear to coast in. They told me there was a frayed wire on the throttle body pigtail and they replaced that for $113.40. Again, the car seemed to work normally for a few days until I was again on the highway, this time in Jackson, MS and the same situation happened again. I was able to coast into a Chevy dealership this time. Here they told me that the problem was the Engine Control Module and they replaced it free of charge saying it was under warranty. Since I spent all day there, I was now faced with driving to Atlanta in the dark, not trusting that this would not happen again. Thank God I stopped in Birmingham and got a hotel room, because the whole thing happened yet again. I got it towed to a Chevy dealership the next morning, and because it was now Christmas Eve, no one would even look at it since they all wanted to go home at noon.

So that I would not have to spend Christmas alone in a hotel room, I rented a car to get to Atlanta. It is now the day after Christmas, and the Chevy dealership just called to tell me it is an internal failure of the throttle body, and it will cost $550 to fix it. So, I am faced with driving 3 hours back to Birmingham, paying all that money, only to risk my life driving it 3 hours back to Atlanta, hoping this won't happen again. Oh, and if you are wondering why I didn't trade it in somewhere in this whole process, it is because I currently owe more than the trade in value. Sorry for the long post, but I feel helpless and hopeless at the moment, not to mention I am broke now. I hope I make it back to Atlanta in one piece.

Thanks, Chevy, and Merry Christmas!

Last edited by IB Nolan; January 20th, 2016 at 7:36 PM.
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Old December 26th, 2013, 10:08 PM
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greenfield3 Welcome to the forum...
Sorry to hear of your Malibu tribulations....
The "reduced engine power" error can be caused by many items... believe it our not the reduced power condition is meant to keep the vehicle working in its most basic operational mode so that you can get to some place safe... ironic, I know...Turning the engine off for a few minutes and restart can sometimes clear it, as you experienced, for a short while...

The throttle position sensor or the throttle body are usually the items that I hear most associated with it...You might check with Chevrolet Customer Service via this forum... if your engine control module was covered under warranty, the throttle body may also me covered under the drive-train, and if not they may still be able to assist you...
use this link Chevrolet Forum - Chevy Enthusiasts Forums - View Profile: Chevrolet Customer Service to send a private message to GM's customer service folks and see what they can do for you...

Please do follow up on this post with the results, good, bad or indifferent, it could really help someone in your same position, and it will give others the opportunity to chime in if they have had the same issue...
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Old December 27th, 2013, 2:03 PM
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Greenfield3,

I am sorry to hear about your experience. I would like to look into this for you. Please private message me your name, VIN, phone number, address, and dealership. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Old December 28th, 2013, 1:33 AM
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Picked up my car from the Chevy dealer in Birmingham, paid $515 to repair the throttle body, and thankfully made it back to Atlanta safely. I did contact GM customer service directly, and they said there was nothing they could do since I did not purchase the car from a Chevy dealer. I am left to pursue other avenues to recoup some costs. Still don't know if it is fixed for sure and I will never feel safe in this lemon of a car. My Chevy experience stinks. They said I should contact the dealer to see if they will help. We will see. I guess if they will not help me a lawyer is my next step.
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 4:53 PM
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Angry engine power reduced / stabilitrac

I have had the same issue with my 2011 Equinox. Last winter it happened several times. Each time I left the motor off for about 10 minutes, then had no more issues when the weather warmed. 3 different dealerships told me to bring it in the next time it happened - and just drive it in, don't turn off the motor. I live in a rural area. I cannot drive the car at 10 mph for 150 miles to the nearest dealership. All 3 told me to not bother to bring it in unless I was having the problem. Monday, it was 19 degrees here. And, it happened again while I was driving 75 mph on the Interstate with a truck behind me. VERY SCARY. I still have no answer from anyone.
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 5:16 PM
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marciejayne Welcome to the forum...

without more diagnostics of what the cause is, it can be hard to pin it down...
With the information above, you could use a process of elimination, I would check the electrical connections to the throttle body and make sure they are sound, solid, and clean.
I'd consider having the throttle body assembly cleaned...

If it comes back the next course could be replacing the throttle body assembly, but again that can be shot gunning parts, but it may lead you to the root cause...
If you can have the codes read, write them down, have them cleared, post them here, and lets see what comes back....
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Old January 7th, 2014, 12:52 PM
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Had this happen to me today. First time ever. Could extreme temperature changes be a factor in this. We are experiencing extremely low temps today. Usually our normal is in the 30's and today we are at 7. I did manage to get home. And after a few mins went out and restarted the car and seemed fine only check engine light on. But now have gone back out and won't turn over. So stressed!!!!
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Old January 7th, 2014, 3:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrissie10 View Post
Had this happen to me today. First time ever. Could extreme temperature changes be a factor in this. We are experiencing extremely low temps today. Usually our normal is in the 30's and today we are at 7. I did manage to get home. And after a few mins went out and restarted the car and seemed fine only check engine light on. But now have gone back out and won't turn over. So stressed!!!!
What's the code for the check engine light?

What does your manual say about it?

Something like this perhaps? :

Engine Power Messages

ENGINE POWER IS REDUCED
This message displays when the
vehicle's engine power is reduced.
Reduced engine power can affect
the vehicle's ability to accelerate.
If this message is on, but there
is no reduction in performance,
proceed to your destination. The
performance may be reduced the
next time the vehicle is driven. The
vehicle may be driven at a reduced
speed while this message is on, but
maximum acceleration and speed
may be reduced. Anytime this
message stays on, the vehicle
should be taken to your dealer for
service as soon as possible.
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Old January 8th, 2014, 7:07 AM
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I've had similar problems, I had my cruise control set to 70 MPH it randomly kicked off and my seciurty system light came on losing power and speed, pull over shut the car off re start and had no issues. this has happened a few times.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 9:08 AM
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I have recently had this happen twice in the past week with my 2011 Malibu LTZ. The first time it happened I was sitting with the car in park in an automatic car wash and it started dinging and said 'REDUCED ENGINE POWER' and then it flashed something about the traction system, and the engine light came on. I drove it home, with no actual power issues except a slight decline in acceleration ability. I let the car sit for the rest of the day and the next morning it worked flawlessly. I was driving to work this morning in the rain and it did it again?? still no reduction in actual power, but it is telling me i have reduced engine power again? Has anyone found out if this is, in fact, covered under warranty? I really don't want to sink money into trying to find out the cause of this...... any help is greatly appreciated!!
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