Reasons Behind Chevy Malibu No Power – A Complete Guide

A Chevy Malibu no power issue is one of the worst nightmares for every Chevy enthusiast.

Imagine roaming through an empty street in the dead of night when your engine goes dead out of nowhere!

In response to readers’ increasing requests for Chevy Malibu troubleshooting tips, my team has compiled a list of possible causes and solutions you can apply instantly. Stay tuned for more.

What Causes Chevy Malibu No Power In The Engine?

malibu no power
Why Does My Chevy Malibu Say Engine Power Reduced

Why does my Chevy Malibu say engine power reduced?

Problems with the sensors (O2/MAF), throttle bodies, air filters, fuse, EGR valves, and engine oil likely cause Chevy Malibu no power. Let’s delve further into it: 

Faulty MAF (Mass Air Flow) Sensors

MAF sensors are designed to monitor and measure the engine airflow, ensuring your Malibu’s combustion chamber has an adequate fuel-air ratio.

So what happens if these functional devices go wrong?

The PCM (Power Control Modules) will trigger false alarms due to incorrect data input, activating both the “Reduced/No Electrical Power” mode and the P0130 code.

These three common issues might be the start of it all: 

  • Open ground wires
  • Faulty connections
  • Dirty sensors

Malfunctioning Throttle Body

Like MAF sensors, throttle bodies also control the engine’s proper airflow. Their operational failure put the Malibu in “No Power” mode while prompting the warning lights to illuminate.

One of the following three factors is to be blamed for a faulty throttle: 

  • Dirty body
  • Wrong ground connections
  • Loose connections

Failing Spark Plugs

It’s hard to imagine how an engine can run smoothly without high-quality spark plugs.

Technical issues, natural tear and wear, corrosion, or anything happening with these spark plugs will cause the Malibu to cut its engine power short.

Overheating is the most common offender of such issues. Consider turning off the A/C or adding some coolant!

Faulty Automobile Sensors

You know that MAFs are not the only sensors in a Chevy Malibu, right?

In fact, the design has incorporated numerous other sensors to guarantee the vehicle’s consistent performance – such as the oxygen sensors – which help determine the fuel-air ratio within the diesel engine block.

The “No Power” mode will be sparked as the O2 sensors break down. Aside from that, expect the other four symptoms to rear their ugly heads as well: 

  • Bad mileage for the gasoline engine
  • Decreased engine performance overall
  • Check engine light (CEL) flickering
  • P0130 code scanned by an OBD reader

Issues With The Fuel Pumps And/Or EGR Valves

Fuel pumps function exactly like their name suggests, pumping tank fuel to the car’s engine.

A faulty, clogged, or worn-down fuel injector fails to deliver the fuel mixture on time, reducing the car’s power. Fix or replace the fuel pump immediately!

Another possible problem I’ve encountered stemmed from the EGR (Exhausts gas recirculating system), which manages the engine emissions.

Once they malfunction or get stuck open, power reduction is only a matter of time. Worse, I even experienced poor acceleration and rough idle.

Blown Fuse

Though not as common as other issues, blown fuses can also trigger “No Power” mode, especially if the underhood fuse box is closely connected to Malibu’s control system.

No scanner or code reader can help you locate the exact fuse that goes bad. The only option available is to look under the hood’s dashboard and inspect each fuse one by one.

Dirty Engine Oil

Even a child can grasp the critical role of engine oil, which greases and lubricates all moving parts in an engine.

Letting dirt, water, or any other impurity infiltrate the oil can be the death of your car; they cause serious engine failure (burning valves, seized pistons, etc.) and even accidents on the road!

Hence, no smart drivers should underestimate regular oil changes.

Can’t even remember the last time you bought new oil? It’s time to do so now. And for those who use synthetic oil (like 0w-20), click here for more advice on oil change intervals.

Jammed Air Filter

Air filters remove dirt substances in the air before they enter the engine, working closely with the MAF and O2 sensors to foster a healthy and non-polluted combustion chamber.

It doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together and guess what would happen if these filters get clogged!

Cleaning the filters properly should dispel the issue; if it doesn’t, other troubles are clearly at play.

How to Bypass/Jump-Start Chevy Malibu No Power Engine?

2017 chevy malibu reduced engine power recall
Jump-Start Chevy Malibu No Power

Replacing all the faulty compartments listed above is the ultimate solution.

But what if – as mentioned above – the car gets dead-stuck on an empty street at a godly hour without any auto shop around? 

Then bypassing/jump-starting the engine will be the best temporary remedy until further replacements and fixes are available.

For Manual-Transmission Malibu

Step 1. Push the car to the hill’s top. Do so yourself or turn to others’ help.

Step 2. Depress its clutch and switch to 2nd gear.

Step 3. Switch the ignition (key position 2) on without starting the engine. Insert the key and turn it one step from left to right.

Step 4. Release the brakes while still keeping the clutches depressed. Start coasting down this hill (or ask people to push the car again). 

Step 5. Quickly disengage the clutch as the speed reaches 8 KPH (5 MPH). Your engine should start at this point. And if it does not, depress and release the clutches one more time.

For Automatic-Transmission Malibu with Batteries

Step 1. Ask for some help from other drivers. Park the second car close to yours.

Step 2. Shut off both vehicles and remove their keys. Switch on the “Emergency Brake’ mode for both.

Step 3. Find the battery terminals. Once done, establish necessary battery cable connections in the following order:

  • 1st red clamp – positive terminal (your car)
  • 2nd red clamp – positive terminal (the booster car) 
  • 1st black clamp – negative terminal (the booster car)
  • 2nd black clamp – any metal piece on your engine

Step 4. Start the booster’s engine first before starting yours. Gradually increase the booster’s idle speed to quicken the process.

Step 5. Disconnect the jumper cables/ battery connections in reverse order (refer to Step 3).


why does my chevy malibu say engine power reduced
Question of Chevy Malibu No Power

Can You Drive In A 2015 Chevy Malibu Engine Power Reduced?

Yes, but only for a very short distance. Even the jump-starting tips above do not have permanent effects; you must go to the root of the problem and fix it as soon as possible.

This answer also holds true to previous years (ex: 2013 Malibu engine power reduced) and even later years (2016 Chevy Malibu engine power reduced)

How Much Does It Cost to Fix A 2016 Malibu Reduced Engine Power?

The price ranges from $100 to $500, depending on the specific parts that need patching.


My research and experience on Chevy Malibu no power problems can hopefully lift some headaches for you.

Take the car to regular maintenance service every few months to diagnose/ troubleshoot early-stage issues before they worsen. Write to me if you want more advice!

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