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2011 Malibu Engine power reduced

crandolph1crandolph1 Posts: 1
edited December 2013 in Chevrolet
I have a 2011 Malibu with 37500 miles on it. I was just at the grocery store with it and it drove fine on the way to the store. After leaving the store the car started up fine and drove through the parking lot without issue. As soon as I pulled on to the road the car started jumping and the rpms kept shifting from 1500 to 500. The service engine light came on and I got the service esc message and the engine power reduced message. The car would not travel over about 5 mph.

I limped to the stop light, through the flashers on and shut it down. I gave the car a minute and started it back up. Still the same issue. Without giving the car any throttle and leaving the transmission in park the rpms continuously shifted from 1000 to 500 and I could hear the engine revving and slowing. The car was shaking fairly violently.

Once the traffic light turned green I drove the car into a nearby parking lot at about 5 mph and shut it down in a parking spot. I opened the hood to look to see if anything was visibly wrong but couldn't see anything obviously wrong.

I started the car back up after a few minutes and it seemed to be idling without issue. I was now able to rev the engine up to 4000 no problem. I attempted to drive the vehicle and was able to drive it home without issue although the service engine light was on.

I plan to take the vehicle to the dealer in the morning. Does anyone have any idea what could have caused this issue so I can give the dealer an idea to go on? I am rather angry that this is occurring just 1000 miles out of warranty, it does NOT give me a good feeling about Chevy. I was planning on purchasing a Silverado next but now I am a little sour and make look at a Ford...


  • bc60bc60 Posts: 16
    Do you have a sunroof on your Malibu? My wife's 2010 has a sunroof and one morning she went to start it to go to work and the reduced engine power light was on and wouldn't go out. We drove it to the Chevy dealer and they said that a drain line for the sunroof was clogged and overflowed and got an electrical connector wet which caused the problem. The sunroof drain lines go through the inside of the A-posts and the clog was somewhere in there. They cleaned out the drain line, dried out the connection and everything has been fine since.

    I asked the technician if there was some way I could maintain these drain lines to prevent this in the future and he said no.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,068
    We're sorry to hear this happened with your new Malibu, crandolph1, and we hope that all went well with your dealership visit. If you would like for us to check into anything for you, don't hesitate to contact us via email at with more information (including your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, and a summary of the situation).
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • rope2rope2 Posts: 1
    Yes there is a way to maintain sunroof from leaking ,,When you open sunroof in front there is the drain that you can wipe inside out the pollen and dust that collects especially in the budding season.. That will keep drains clean.. They will not clog up and flood back into A pillar and under dash,, Check out once a month if needed...
  • I had the same experience yesterday! 2011 Malibu LT, about 40000 miles. Drove fine from Chicago to Milwaukee; drove home from work about a mile, those same messages appeared and the engine light came on. Had to have it towed home.

    Waiting to take it to Chevy dealer to repair tomorrow morning; I will be piXXed off if this is not covered by some kind of warranty.
  • 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.

  • Mrs. Greenfield I am with you I have the same problem going on right now a day before new years eve they told be it we cost about 800 dollars to fix and its not covered under warranty its a 2010 it only has 70,000 miles on the car. The technican was rude I had to have the car towed at 5am it shut off luckily in the parking lot where i work. i went to retrieve items out of the car and the techs were just standing around talking doing nothing when they still had well over two hours they could be working on someone elses vehicle. And then when I called to say I would have it towed home they told me I have to pay 95.00 when they didnt even do anything. I had a 2007 malibu before this purchase they dont value customers and I am currently looking to purchase from somewhere else

  • I started having this problem with my 2011 Malibu LT for the last 6-7 weeks. I brought the car into the dealership and they replaced the MAP Sensor. I drove the car off the lot, got about 5 miles away from the dealer and the problem returned. Brought the car back, they kept it for 2 days and could not repeat the problem. Now, 4 weeks later, the problem has returned. I brought the car to the dealership, they got the Service Engine light to turn off and they believe it has something to do with the Engine Control Module, however, since they were unable to reproduce the error, GM says they are not allowed to replace the part. So essentially, I am driving around in a ticking time bomb just waiting to get stuck in traffic because GM won't let the dealership fix the part they believe is causing the issue.

  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,068

    Hi mplsmark,

    We're sorry to hear of the repeat concerns that you are having with your Malibu. Please fell free to send us an email to if you would like for us to take an extra look into this concern. We will be glad to help.

    Kristen A. GM Customer Care

  • curbedcurbed Posts: 1

    I'm having the same problems with my 2011 Malibu LTZ. Has GM found a common cause for the “ESC stop, engine power reduced” error/problem?

  • catmamma02catmamma02 Posts: 2
    I had this problem occur yesterday about an hour away from my home. I was at a friends home and the car would not start when I went to leave. Had it towed to the dealership, but they were already closed for the day.

    Guy who towed it thought it has to do with the ECM - battery was ok. Now I am wondering if I should start looking for another car! From what I have read here, it seems folks are not having luck getting this fixed properly and this is a potentially dangerous issue!
  • catmamma02catmamma02 Posts: 2
    This is a 2011 Malibu with 63000 miles on it.
  • a_ra_r Posts: 9
    I have a 2007 impala LT 104,800 miles same issue took it to 2 shops they can't figure it out. Midas said it was spark plugs and wires the throttle body needed cleaned and needs EVAP canister. Did all of that same problem. The 2nd shop does not know what is causing the issue I am the original owner of this car and I can say that this car has given me more trouble than any car I have owned previously. And those have been older with many more miles. I contacted GM as suggested above and I'm still waiting for a reply.
  • Update: this has happened to me two more times since my original post. I have had the ECM, gas pedal sensor and throttle body replaced. It is currently being looked at by a Chevy dealership. No prognosis yet. There is a thread on another forum (link below) with full details.

  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,068

    Hi greenfield3,

    We're sure the dealership is doing all they can to correct this issue with your vehicle. Please feel free to keep us updated on the progress of repairs and if there is anything we can look into for you, we're more than happy to help.

    Amber N.

    GM Customer Care

  • tsm1967tsm1967 Posts: 1

    I almost died today. Car lunged forward at a major interception, then light came on "engine reduced power" and the car died, no warning! Two cars almost hit me and I had to push my car off the road wearing high heels. Stepped in a pot hole and sprained my ankle. Finally got my car to crank and was a nervous wreck to get it to the dealership with it lunging every time I had to take off. Dealership charged $100 an hour because, of course, it's out of warranty. They found it is from a clogged drain line in the sunroof caused an overflow and got the electrical connector to get wet. $499! And I almost died from this! I've read so many similar stories on this issue. Where is the recall?? Can you say Lawyer?

  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,068

    Hello tsm1967,

    My apologies to hear you experienced this while driving! I am glad to know that you are safe and that your dealership was able to resolve this concern for you. If you'd like, we can document your feedback in our database. Please send an email to Attn:Andraya with your contact information and VIN if you'd like our assistance.

    Andraya GM Customer Care

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