The Worst Chevy Malibu Model Year You Should Never Buy

The Chevy Malibu is a popular car on the road today. Its appeal boils down to the features it offers with the inexpensive price points you see at dealerships all over the country. Really, who wouldn’t want to get more for less money?

However, despite the popularity it mustered among General Motors drivers, it also has another thing going for it, and it’s not something good. This car has seen its share of complaints for several years – the worst one being the 2010 model. Car Complaints shows why the 2010 version is definitely the one to avoid.

Chevy Malibu transmission problems

The Chevy Malibu at the North American International Auto Show
The Chevy Malibu | David Graff/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The transmission is the most common issue reported for the 2010 Chevy Malibu. In most cases, it went out at around 90,000 miles with no warning. Some replaced it with a repair cost of approximately $3,000, and one customer had to replace it twice in 10 years. There were no warning signs of it going out; it would just stop going into gear. Many customers said even the fluid levels were fine, making this problem more of a mystery.

It seems that the manufacturer identified the problem as a wave plate that broke inside the transmission. GM Parts Super Store said that the cause is from shifting gears numerous times. To fix it, you have two options. You could either have the transmission replaced, or you could have someone rebuild it for you. The third option would be to replace the wave plate long before it gets to the 98,000-mile mark, which is what they report to be the average number of miles it occurs at.

Other problems plaguing the 2010 Chevy Malibu

The second most common complaint with the 2010 Chevy Malibu deals with an engine stall issue. Many drivers became frustrated when their engine died while driving at low speeds in traffic. Quite a few of these experienced it with less than 500 miles on the car. Repairs performed include replacing the alternator, battery, ECM (engine control module), and the camshaft sensors. None of them seemed to work as the customers claim the issue continued.

Another frustrating issue for Malibu drivers involves the brakes. Owners reported that at random moments, the brake lights would come on when the brakes weren’t actually pressed. When they pressed the brakes, the lights would go off, which could confuse drivers behind them. Some owners complained that other dash lights would also come on at the same time like electronic stability control. In 2015, they put a recall out for the body control module replacement to repair the brake light issue. However, drivers, who had it done before, continued to experience the problem randomly after that.

What other model years of the Malibu have issues?

According to U.S. News & World Report, the 2010 Chevy Malibu is not the only model year to have complaints filed against it. In fact, the 2008-2012 model years had the most problems reported. The issues range from faulty brake lights to door lock problems of power steering issues. A recall went out for the 2008 to 2009 models for replacement of the steering motor control unit and a torque sensor. You can get the same repairs done with the 2010 to 2012 models if your vehicle falls under their new extended warranty of 10 years/150,000 miles.

The 2013 to 2015 models also received complaints. These included power steering issues, engine stalling, and wheel bearing problems. The 2013 model has a recall for the generator control module replacement that they felt caused the starting and stalling problems on the Malibu Hybrid models. The newer models from 2016 and up have some complaints reported, but they seem to be quite a bit fewer than the previous models.

If you’re looking to purchase a Chevy Malibu, the newer generations seem to be the best bet at this point with fewer complaints. If you purchase an older one anyway, be sure they have the recall repairs completed to give you the best chance of not getting plagued with the same issues other drivers experienced.