Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu: Effective Tips To Fix It

Engine power reduced Chevy Malibu is common among 2016 to 2018 Chevy cars. A reduced engine power causes the vehicle to slow down to 20 miles per hour (even when on the highway) and suddenly lose power.

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu

This has been a major problem for several Chevy Malibu owners, preventing them from accelerating to a high speed. This guide answers different questions on the Chevy Malibu engine power reduction.

What Does Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu Mean?

Engine power reduced warning light on your Chevy Malibu instrumental panel or dashboard means that your vehicle’s performance is already limited. The powertrain control module (PMC), your vehicle’s primary computer, triggers the reduced power mode as soon as it detects a problem with the system. 

In some situations, the power-reduced light might be on when the PCM detects a drop in the car’s performance due to an underlying issue. The Engine power reduced mode causes your performance to reduce and prevents it from accelerating.

Sometimes, the car may be difficult to drive because PMC has stopped delivering fuel to the engine. There are many reasons for reduced engine power. In the case of the Chevy Malibu automobiles involved in the class-action complaint, the problem is allegedly caused by a faulty accelerator pedal position sensor that is a component of the electronic throttle actuator control (TAC) system.

– Why This Happens

The most likely reason the engine power reduced sign keeps appearing for Chevy Equinox SUVs is when the throttle body is dirty. Generally, some warning signs show your car’s throttle body is unclean.

Why This Happens

Keep an eye out for the following red flags to prevent receiving this annoying message:

  • The “Check engine” light comes on 
  • Uneven airflow caused by grime buildup 
  • Electrical issues 
  • Inconsistent or slow acceleration
  • Poor or high idle 
  • Reduced fuel economy 

– Effects of Engine Power Reduction on Chevrolet Malibu

A decrease in engine power can have a negative impact on your vehicle. For beginners, it can make it more difficult for your car to accelerate. This can be risky if you’re trying to pass another vehicle or move onto the highway. Another drawback is that it can lower your fuel efficiency

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu

If your car doesn’t get enough power, it has to work harder to keep going at the same speed. This results in increased fuel consumption and higher gas prices. Increased emissions may also result from a decrease in engine power. If your car doesn’t have adequate power, it can start to emit more pollutants.

– Common Signs

Sometimes, the reduced engine power light might not appear, but there are other signs to know if your Chevy Malibu engine power has been reduced. The most common sign is when your car takes time to accelerate. Other common signs are:

  • You’re producing more emissions than usual
  • Your fuel economy has decreased
  • You have to press the accelerator pedal further down to get the same response

If you ever notice any of these symptoms or signs, you must take your vehicle to the mechanic immediately. They will diagnose the issue and fix the problem.

– Warning Lights

When the sensor in your Chevrolet Malibu car detects a reduced power flow into the engine, a warning appears on the dashboard. This causes the sensor to trip and display this message on the dash as a warning. For added emphasis, a “Check Engine” light might also come on with this warning.

One sure-fire technique to look for the following warnings is using a code reader to read the warning light. Several auto repair firms read the codes without charge, or you can get this at your neighborhood hardware store. This can be an excellent place to begin any diagnosis to determine the seriousness of the “Engine Power Reduced” notice.

– Engine Power Is Reduced Error Codes

Whenever you spot the engine power reduced warning signal, some error code might show alongside it. These codes are applicable when detecting the issue and making repairs. Some of the common codes and their meanings include:

  • P0121 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch A Circuit Range/Performance Problem
  • P0122 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch A Low Circuit Input
  • P0123 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch A Circuit High Input
  • P0222 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch B Circuit Low Input
  • P0223 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch B Circuit High Input
  • P0220 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch D Circuit
  • P0221 – Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch D Circuit Range Performance

When you spot any of the above codes, take the vehicle to the mechanic immediately. They’ll be able to conduct a diagnostic test and make the necessary fix.

– Fixing “Engine Power Reduced” on Chevy Malibu

The simplest way to figure out what’s going on is to do a diagnostics scan on the car. This process requires an OBDII scan kit.  Most people don’t have one lying around, so you should arrange the service as soon as possible. 

Visit any top car dealership shop around you. They will do a diagnostic check on your Chevy Equinox, identify the issue, and take care of it to ensure you get back on the road as soon as possible.

– When To Seek Professional Help

The warning signal should prompt you to schedule a meeting with your mechanic. Getting your car to a repair shop as soon as possible is important if you notice a decrease in engine power. They will be able to find out the root issue and carry out the required fixes. 

The “Engine Power Is Reduced” signal usually only requires a simple fix. It could be as simple as adjusting or replacing the accelerator pedal position sensor. However, it can be more serious in rare circumstances, like when an engine misfires. 

Regardless of the root cause, it’s essential to have the issue resolved before it affects performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions. Aside from these, it can be hazardous when you try to pass another car or move onto the highway.

– Will the Malibu “Engine Power Reduced Alert” Fix Itself?

No, the Malibu engine power reduced alert problem won’t fix itself; it can only be fixed by simple things like replacing or tightening the accelerator pedal position sensor. However, some cases might require more than these solutions on special occasions like engine misfires.

– Cost of Fixing

What is the engine power reduced Chevy Malibu cost? The cause of the reduced engine power determines the cost to fix it. Most of the time, the issue can be solved by just tightening or replacing a single component. 

However, the issue could be more complicated in some cases, such as when an engine misfires. The potential cost of repairs will vary according to how serious the problem is, and the price is between 100 to 600 dollars.

– Driving With “Engine Power Reduced” Signal On

You can still drive your car even with the “engine power reduced” signal on. However, there will be a reduction in engine power. Traveling beyond a specific speed is prohibited since it can be hazardous on busy routes. Getting your car out of limp mode is possible by letting it sit for a while. 

However, this is temporary because the “engine power reduced” sign will appear again after a while. The vehicle has to be fixed by a service center for the issue to be resolved.

– How the Issue Started

Federal regulators like the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration received tons of reports about the flaw in the engine of 2016-2018 models of Chevy Malibu cars. This alleged flaw involves the accelerator pedal position sensor and causes a sudden loss of engine power. 

How the Issue Started

In most of the reports, drivers were driving at highway speed, and suddenly, their vehicle power unexpectedly reduced to 20 to 40 miles per hour. They often had to drive at dangerously slow speeds on the highway. The drivers claimed that when the problem occurred, an “engine power reduced” signal would appear on their dashboard or instrumental panel. 

They also claimed that the signal continued to appear even when they restarted the engine. However, some drivers reported that they could drive at normal speeds again after switching off the ignition and restarting the car. At the same time, others claimed that their acceleration pedal position failed and would not work even if they restarted the engine.

– GM Actions

In search of a solution, owners of 2016 to 2018 models of Chevy Malibu reported the matter to their respective dealers. However, the dealers told them nothing was wrong and that the accelerator sensor was perfect. The GM didn’t even try to improve the sensor to resolve the problem. Drivers even complained that when they asked for a change of their accelerator sensor, their dealers told them the parts were out of stock.

For drivers who got a replacement for their accelerator pedal sensor, they discovered that the change was ineffective, and they continued to experience the problem. This implies that GM has been incorrectly detecting the problem or removing the bad sensors and replacing them with unimproved versions. 

This also means that GM has been using a band-aid solution to solve the problem. GM has refused to announce plans to recall units of Chevy Malibu affected by the engine power reduction issue. Also, the NHTSA hasn’t opened any investigations regarding the affected models.

Chevy Malibu Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor

The Chevy Malibu sensor can be found on the accelerator pedal. It is a tiny, black sensor that keeps track of the pedal’s location. When the sensor stops working, your car may have various issues, including a decrease in engine power. The most recent models of  Malibu feature a “drive-by-wire” accelerator technology as opposed to older models, which used a cable accelerator system. 

This indicates that the throttle body and the accelerator pedal are not physically connected. Instead, the sensor tracks the location of the pedal and communicates that data to the vehicle’s computer. The computer then instructs the throttle body on the power the engine needs. The computer may send incorrect data to the throttle body if the sensor isn’t functioning correctly. 

As a result, the engine will not receive enough power, causing a decrease in engine power. In some circumstances, you can solve the issue on your own. You can adjust or replace the accelerator pedal position sensor if it’s broken or damaged. However, it’s best to seek professional advice before making any repairs.

What Are the Causes of Chevy Malibu Engine Power Reduced?

The causes of Chevy Malibu engine power reduced can be divided into mechanical and electrical reasons, and they include faulty spark plugs, engine misfires, damaged fuel pumps, a blown fuse, defective throttle control sensors, or a faulty mass air flow sensor.

As you can see, there are various reasons why engine power-reduced warnings can appear on your dashboard.

– Faulty Spark Plugs

A spark plug helps with igniting the air/fuel mixture in the mixture. There may be a decrease in engine power if they are fouled or damaged.

Faulty Spark Plugs

– Engine Misfire

An engine misfire may occur when one or more of the engine’s cylinders does not ignite properly. As a result, engine power is reduced.

– Damaged Fuel Pump

The “Engine Power Reduced” light on the dashboard may appear if the fuel pump is malfunctioning because the fuel getting to the engine is insufficient. There are several methods to verify this claim. For instance, take the keys out of the ignition and place them in the “run” position, which is just before the position where you would start the automobile. Before you begin the automobile, wait for a hum or whine that lasts about two to three seconds.

You should hear this sound because the gasoline pump attempts to increase pressure to start the automobile correctly. If you don’t hear the sound, you might have a malfunctioning fuel pump, which would explain the “Engine Power Reduced” warning.

– Blown Fuse

Another reason for engine power being reduced is a blown fuse. You can either buy a code reader for your automobile or take it to a mechanic to have them look for the code that can indicate a blown fuse. Once you see this, you can open your Malibu’s fuse box and use an automotive test light to check each of the appropriate fuses individually.

Blown Fuse

Hold the test light’s pointed end against each of its terminals when testing each fuse. If it illuminates, the fuse is functioning properly and must not be replaced. If it doesn’t, the fuse needs to be replaced because it’s damaged. To eradicate the problem of engine power reduced warning, you can replace the bad fuse with a good one.

– Defective Throttle Control Sensor

The throttle control sensor’s defect is another reason for the decreased engine output. According to a class-action lawsuit, Chevy Malibu vehicles have an engine flaw that causes them to suddenly lose power. This is allegedly caused by malfunctioning the electronic throttle control sensor and accelerator position sensor. 

As a result, the vehicle could lose power at any time. The “Engine Power Reduced”  warning on the dashboard frequently appears when driving at highway speeds. In some cases, the vehicle decreases to just 20 miles per hour.

– Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor

The right air/fuel mixture entering the engine would be another problem with the fuel getting to the engine. A malfunctioning mass airflow sensor is to be blamed for this. An airflow sensor accurately measures the amount of air entering the vehicle in order to add the correct air volume to the fuel-air mixture to ensure that the engine operates as it should. 

The mixture may become unbalanced if the mass airflow sensor is damaged or unclean, resulting in the “Engine Power Reduced” warning. To fix it, you can find it right before the box where the air filter is kept. A red locking clip ensures that the flow sensor is linked to the airflow manifold by holding it in place. Remove the red clip with a flathead screwdriver and save it for later. 

The electronics for the airflow sensor can then be disconnected by pushing in on the tab. Two T15 screws are used to fasten the sensor to the manifold. Once the screws are removed, the airflow sensor should be easy to remove.  Repeat the procedure to reinstall a new Airflow sensor, starting with the screws and ending with the red locking clip.


Chevy Malibu is an excellent car with its lovely interior and amazing abilities. Through this comprehensive article, you have now learned everything about the Chevy Malibu reduced power engine, so let’s have a quick review of some of the important points discussed.

  • Engine power reduced Chevy Malibu is common among 2016 to 2018 Chevy cars. A reduced engine power causes the vehicle to slow down to 20 miles per hour and suddenly lose power.
  • If you ever see the “reduced engine power” warning light showing on your instrumental panel or dashboard, it implies that your vehicle’s performance is already limited. 
  • The most likely reason the engine power reduced sign keeps appearing for Chevy Equinox SUVs is when the throttle body is dirty.
  • A decrease in engine power can make accelerating your car more difficult. This can be risky if you’re trying to pass another vehicle or move onto the highway.
  • Getting your car to a repairman as soon as possible is important if you notice a change in engine power. They will be able to find out the issue and do the required fixes. 

If you own a Chevy Malibu, especially the 2016 to 2018 models, you’ll know about the reduced engine power. Go through this guide to see how you can find your way around it and get your vehicle back to the highway.

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