Engine Power Reduced in Chevy Malibu In 2018: What It Means

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Experiencing an “Engine Power Reduced” warning in your Chevy Malibu can be concerning, especially when it impacts your vehicle’s performance and reliability. This message typically indicates that the car’s computer system has detected an issue that could potentially damage the engine or affect its operation. 

As a precautionary measure, the system reduces the engine’s power to prevent further problems. Understanding what triggers this warning, the symptoms you might experience, and the steps needed to fix it can help you address the issue promptly and effectively. 

According to reports, several customers of the 2018 to 2022 model of Chevy Malibu face this issue. Because of this unwanted issue, they file a class action lawsuit against General Motors

And in 2019, General Motors extended warranties on faulty accelerator pedal position sensors to address the issue.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and solutions for the “Engine Power Reduced” message, providing you with the information needed to get your vehicle back in optimal condition.

What Does It Mean?

When your Chevy Malibu displays an “Engine Power Reduced” message in 2013 to 2022 models including 2018, it means the car’s computer system has detected a problem that could affect the engine’s performance. 

To prevent damage and ensure safety, the system limits the engine’s power. This is often referred to as “limp mode” because it allows you to “limp” home or to a repair shop without causing further damage to the engine.

Top Causes of “Engine Power Reduced” Message

Several issues can trigger this warning in a Chevy Malibu. Here are some of the most common causes:

  1. Throttle Body Problems:
    • The throttle body controls the amount of air entering the engine. If it gets dirty or malfunctions, it can cause the Power Reduced message. A dirty throttle body can be cleaned, but if it’s faulty, it may need to be replaced.
  2. Faulty Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor:
    • This sensor communicates the position of the accelerator pedal to the car’s computer. If it fails or sends incorrect signals, the computer may reduce engine power to prevent potential damage.
  3. Malfunctioning Mass Air Flow Sensor:
    • The mass air flow (MAF) sensor measures the amount of air entering the engine. If it’s dirty or faulty, it can send incorrect data to the computer, triggering the “Engine Power Reduced” error.
  4. Issues with the Electronic Control Unit (ECU):
    • The ECU is the car’s computer. If it malfunctions or has software issues, it may incorrectly reduce engine power. This could require reprogramming or replacing the ECU.
  5. Problems with the Transmission:
    • Transmission issues can also cause the engine power to be reduced. If the transmission isn’t working properly, the car’s computer might limit engine power to prevent further damage.
  6. Sensor and Wiring Issues:
    • Faulty sensors or damaged wiring can lead to incorrect signals being sent to the ECU. This can cause the system to reduce engine power as a precaution.

Symptoms of “Engine Power Reduced” Condition

If your Chevy Malibu is experiencing this condition, you may notice the following symptoms:

  1. Loss of Acceleration:
    • The car may accelerate more slowly than usual, and it may struggle to reach higher speeds.
  2. Dashboard Warning Light:
    • The “Engine Power Reduced” message will appear on the dashboard, often accompanied by the check engine light.
  3. Rough Idling or Stalling:
    • The engine may idle roughly or even stall, particularly when the car is stopped or moving slowly.
  4. Poor Fuel Economy:
    • Reduced engine power can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, meaning you’ll have to fill up more often.
  5. Limited Speed:
    • The car may not be able to go over a certain speed, making highway driving difficult or impossible.

How to Turn Off Engine Power Reduced In Chevy Malibu?

Fixing or turning off the “Engine Power Reduced” issue involves diagnosing the underlying problem and taking the necessary steps to repair it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to address this issue:

Step 1: Scan for Trouble Codes

The first step in diagnosing the problem is to use an OBD-II scanner to check for trouble codes. These codes will help identify the specific issue causing the reduced engine power. You can buy an OBD-II scanner online or have a professional mechanic perform the scan.

Step 2: Inspect and Clean the Throttle Body

If the trouble codes indicate a problem with the throttle body, you should inspect it for dirt or damage. Cleaning the throttle body can sometimes resolve the issue. Here’s how to clean it:

  1. Turn off the Engine: Ensure the car is turned off and the key is removed.
  2. Locate the Throttle Body: It’s usually found between the air filter and the intake manifold.
  3. Remove the Air Intake Hose: Detach the hose connected to the throttle body.
  4. Clean the Throttle Body: Use a throttle body cleaner and a soft brush to remove any dirt and debris.
  5. Reassemble: Reattach the air intake hose and any other components you removed.

Step 3: Check the Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor

If the sensor is faulty, it needs to be replaced. You can find the sensor near the accelerator pedal. Here’s a simple guide to replacing it:

  1. Disconnect the Battery: Always disconnect the battery before working on electrical components.
  2. Locate the Sensor: Find the accelerator pedal position sensor near the pedal.
  3. Remove and Replace: Unplug the old sensor and remove it, then install the new one and reconnect the battery.

Step 4: Clean or Replace the Mass Air Flow Sensor

A dirty or faulty MAF sensor can also cause reduced engine power. Here’s how to clean or replace it:

  1. Locate the MAF Sensor: It’s usually found near the air filter housing.
  2. Remove the Sensor: Disconnect the electrical connector and remove the sensor.
  3. Clean or Replace: If cleaning, use a MAF sensor cleaner and let it dry completely before reinstalling. If replacing, install the new sensor and reconnect the electrical connector.

Step 5: Inspect and Repair Wiring and Sensors

Damaged wiring or faulty sensors can cause signal issues that lead to reduced engine power. Inspect the wiring and sensors for any visible damage and repair or replace them as needed. This step might require professional help if you’re not comfortable working with electrical components.

Step 6: Check the Transmission

If the issue is related to the transmission, it’s best to have a professional mechanic inspect it. Transmission problems can be complex and may require specialized tools and knowledge to fix.

Step 7: Update or Replace the ECU

If the ECU is malfunctioning, it may need to be reprogrammed or replaced. Reprogramming the ECU might involve updating the software, which can be done by a dealership or a professional mechanic. If the ECU is damaged, replacing it may be necessary.

Preventive Measures

Taking preventive measures can help avoid the “Engine Power Reduced” message in your Chevy Malibu. Here are some tips:

  1. Regular Inspections: Have your vehicle inspected regularly to catch potential issues before they become major problems.
  2. Quality Fuel: Use high-quality fuel to keep the engine and sensors clean.
  3. Timely Repairs: Address any warning lights or unusual symptoms promptly to prevent further damage.
  4. Proper Storage: Store your vehicle in a garage or covered area to protect it from harsh weather conditions that can affect sensors and wiring.

This error  message on your Chevy Malibu indicates that the car’s computer system has detected a problem affecting engine performance. Common causes include issues with the throttle body, accelerator pedal position sensor, mass air flow sensor, ECU, transmission, and wiring.

 Symptoms include loss of acceleration, dashboard warning lights, rough idling, poor fuel economy, and limited speed.

Fixing this issue involves diagnosing the underlying problem using an OBD-II scanner, inspecting and cleaning or replacing faulty components, and performing regular maintenance to prevent future occurrences. 

By following these steps, you can restore your Chevy Malibu’s performance and ensure a smooth and safe driving experience.

Note:- If your Chevy Malibu issue still persists, then you can visit the official GM Authority website. So well skilled GM technician resolve this common issue faced by Malibu owners. 

Stephen Madison
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