I have 2011 Malibu. The Service ESC, engine power reduced, and service traction lights are all on. Car starts jerking and bogging out. I have it in the shop 4 times in past 3 weeks. Any thoughts?


Asked by Jan 12, 2015 at 07:32 AM about the 2011 Chevrolet Malibu

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have had the throttle sensor cleaned, then
replaced. Still nothing.

28 Answers


Was that the GM garage ? Your service codes can be read by a code reader anywhere to get the codes, google them, and find out what tests to run, or the condition the computer is implementing as a result. Ask your parts store if they have a code reader. write down what the codes are. read about each one, but you want to know why it is jerking or bucking. Fuel pressure ? Sensor malfunction? EGR valve ? Who knows? And what were the tests and results of your last 4 times you mentioned ? A car's computer may default to a runable strategy but act up and use a predetermined plan. The sensors may be out of range or giving data outside parameters. The predetermined plan lets you get it to the GM garage and get help to make it run right, then the computer can return to responding to your actual data.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

When the mechanic read the codes they said it was the throttle position Sensor. So they cleaned it a yr ago. Car worked fine until 3 weeks ago. I took it in once again the code read the same thing. They cleaned it again. A week later it started again. So they thought it was the battery. They changed it. I didn't even leave their parking lot before it messed up again. So then they changed the throttle body thing. And i get in the car drive home and it did it again. I have put a few hundred dollars into fixing the problem, and now it has to go back into the shop.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

You must seek help from the GM garage. Your shop is cleaning your throttle body, replacing it, and replacing your sensor that measures throttle opening, but they are not addressing your symptoms as well as your code, they are not completing the work. They have repeats of the condition and a recurring light. once the light has been on, the computer can put itself in a self management plan, or predictive mode. It stays in that mode. it returns to that mode. Their work should include the pinpoint tests, inspections, repair, clearing, and complete drive cycle, if the code recurs, they cannot resolve it ? they are to contact GM or the emissions authority to see if they are missing info about your calibration. I do not know, and am truly going from experience but only Mr. Goodwrench can help. Give him a chance to remove aftermarket parts or complete the work and implement GM updates or processor correction. Also, address the other symptoms. Some computers can also miss symptoms that indicate an issue and there may not be a code for what your tech at the dealership would know must be the case. Arrange a rental car, bring your receipts, give them research time or hotline time or whatever they need. That can simplify when the pressure is off but they understand the importance to the customer. Providing them a narrative letter helps the info get communicated, and they can refer to all the symptoms.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Continuing to drive a car with multiple symptoms could end up damaging the catalyst or rendering it ineffective, because of its cost, it is best if you seek their help soon and not wait. You do not want someone to keep slapping bandaids on this one in my humble opinion.


Thank you


Mine is doing the same thing ... did you ever find problem?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

does your vehicle have multiple problems? have you had an inspection for obvious causes, codes read ? What were they? read the first answer on this page please mr. goodwrench or the emissions certified shop they can recommend can get you all the help. doing your basic needs only can be checked by any shop.


Then read the third post. doing part of the work, but not the complete needs being met, can put you back at the first step. Too many people's ideas, without a complete solution, is obvious here. a real driveability tech may find a concern with the work that was done, or the completion of each step.


My 2011 Chevy Malibu has these three exact messages. I have an appointment with the dealership Friday. When I brought the cast on originally, after looking for about hour, they said I had a water leak which read doing onto the electronic accelerator causing it too temporarily short. Estimate $300 - $1500 to tear apart the dash and find and fix the leak.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I have a 2010 Malibu... it has been doing this for over 2 years now. Funny thing is; it only does it during the winter months. December through Feb. it does the same thing, same codes, same check engine light. I deal with it until it causes a permanent problem, GM service department is lost and they are only part changers, not full mechanics that really troubleshoot. If they cant read it on a screen or code, they have no clue.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

So. . . I got an answer which isn't probably the root cause. The inner seal on my driver's door has been crimped which is allowing water to drip onto the electronic accelerator (how I miss the day of mechanical linkage). The dealership ordered the part a week and a half ago and was supposed to call me when it comes in ($175). In addition, I've tried to get recall parts installed on my car twice; the first time they said they didn't get the parts even though someone called me and told me they did. They second time, they said one 1 of the 2 parts were shipped to them; and it was broken! I seriously doubt I'll ever buy a Chevy again! (I miss my 1976 Chevy Impala)

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Hi I have a 2011 Chevy Malibu I was driving home and the engine light came on and this came across the dashboard Eng Pwr Reduced can you tell me what that means

22 of 22 people found this helpful.

For me, the electronic accelerator had a connection ( I believe in or near the firewall) which had been soaked with water by the leak I described above. The dealership took it apart, cleaned it, put it back together and put a silicone sealant/gel around it to protect it from moisture until my new door seal comes in (which I'm still waiting on). I haven't had that engine light message, or a loss of power since (so far).

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

i have a 2011 chevy Malibu and i havnt had any promblems until now the ESC service light came on i called the dealer and they told me its going to be 99.00 dollars to look at it im praying that its not going to be a high price when they tell me whats wrong with the vehicle .......Answers please?????

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

Update on my post: It cost around $200 total to replace the crimped door seal and have the dealership take the electronic accelerator apart, clean it, put it back together and put a silicone sealant/gel around it to protect it from moisture. I've had the light come on once since then, but I turned the car off and restarted it and it did not come back on. So I'm three months without a problem. :)

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

What dos service ESC means

13 of 13 people found this helpful.

My car just got the same issue today.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

What can I do to fix it?

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

Since my post of 5 months ago, I've experienced the sluggishness of acceleration, but have not had the ESC warning come back. This leads me to believe if your dealership should be able to take the electronic accelerator connection apart, clean it and reseal it - if your root cause is moisture like mine.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

I have just experienced the same issues described above with my 2011 chevy Malibu. This seems to be a common problem. I cannot continue to put money into this car. Has anyone heard of any recalls pertaining to these issues?


It's not the seal it's the drain tube for the sun roof they get clogged in some cases.they become disconnected and all that water goes into the headliner and drains right down into the drivers side and all the electrical connections. The fix is quite simple and can be done with simple hand tools. Pull up the carpet so it won't mildew Some times you have to remove the a pillar plastic trim, remove sunshade sometimes you just have to remove the screws, and let it hang on the headliner, remove the center holder for sunshade pull down headliner gently you will see the tan tube laying beside the drain, I recommend using a piece shrink tubing slip it over the tube and reconnect the tube to the drain slide up the shrink tubing and use a blower dryer and heat it up until it shrinks down tight be care full not to burn anything. Next on the left side of the dash next to the door panel there is a triangle shaped plastic cover that snaps in remove it and you will see the main harness connector It's gray and has I think 24 wires disconnect it and use compressed air to blow the water out of the connector and all the wires you can reach. I install a house fan inside and the interior drys out usually in a day or two. When you put all the connectors back together use dielectric grease and clean any corrosion.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The ESC (electronic stability control)/ Service Traction alert for warning-check engine light is for a for a series of the 2000's Chevy Malibu models. The recall code for it is 13036. You can go to my.GM.com/recalls, put your VIN number in & check if you have an open recall unnserviced. Mine has been serviced and it's doing it again. Check your state lemon law guidelines to see if you have standing for over 4 services (at dealer, maybe not your local mechanic).


Does your car idle really bad when you're at the traffic light ??? Can you feel it shaking ??? Of it does .........the problem is not the fuse box , not a water leak , not the injector or coil pack , not the solenoid , etc etc .... The dealers are full of #$!@..... They don't want to do the JOB !! which is replacing the whole head since one of the valves is burnt ....this problem engaged all those messages on the panel and of course the check engine.....that will solved the issue for once . Tell them to test the pressure in your valves .

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Same ESC issue going on year 3. They replace some part under the gas/ brake peddle. Started again after one month. So 2 more diagnostics resulted in nothing. ESC light come on in warm weather. So winter past and ESC light is coming on again. Even weirder, supper hot in Ohio and no ESC light but my seat belt warning comes on even though its buckled. Well we are back in the high 70s/low 80s. Got the ESC light. this is ridiculous. Of course they want me to pay for an in depth diagnostic but with no guarantee they can find the problem. I am still tying to find a solution as of today Jun 20, 2017. Good luck to everyone.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I am having the same issues. 2011 LTZ only 60k. Took to dealer told me dirty valves. Had work done with oil change $189. 2 weeks later seem worse. As a GM stockholder i want to drive it right to Detroit and drop it off. GM knows the issue and will not recall.


Hi everyone who is joined in frustration! :) As of this month, Sept 2017, I have not had the ESC warning light come back; however, the sluggishness / surging during acceleration when between 20 - 35 mph or 2000 - 3000 RPM continues and is getting progressively worse. There are a couple of things I need to do with the car, such as replace the serpentine belt. I will also, probably, have my injectors cleaned. After all that, we'll see. Good luck!


Hey everyone. We own two Malibus, 2012 and a 2013. This morning my son was on his way to school, and the 2012 went crazy (service ESC, reduce engine power, service traction, etc.) just like you guys. I had replaced the AC compressor, condenser/drier and expansion valve and screen just two weeks prior to having this problem. Considering the fact I don't believe in coincidences, I checked the wiring harness around master cylinder and the coolant bottle to see if I had jostled something. I discovered the crappy battery connection from the factory on the negative side was loose. I had tightened it properly, but it was still loose. The car acted crazy again when I drove it, but after disconnecting the negative for a minute, it would run normal for a while, eventually, though, it would go back to its old tricks. Frustrated with the garbage they called a battery terminal, I cut it off and replaced with a brass aftermarket. This seems to have cured it. I'd suggest to everyone to check their battery terminals and see if they are coming loose or not. A bad ground connection would definitely foul up a computer. I hope this helps.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Help, I own a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu that CONTINUES TO BREAK DOWN... My Car has extreme sluggish acceleration and hestites at Idle? The weird thing is all the warning Lights Flash at Times and it always sends A Po420 Code? I installed an ENTIRE new exhaust that did not fix the issue???? This car is a hunk oF Crap. That crazy thing is I work for An accredited Repair shop as a Service Manager and still can't Fix this Car? My Techs have told me There done trying to Find the "ghost" problem.. PLEASE HELP DIRECT ME TO THE SOLUTION??

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