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The four-cylinder Malibu was updated with a six-speed automatic transmission that improves fuel economy and throttle response for this model year. Otherwise, Malibu remains well rounded overall. The car handles well and has a competent powertrain, along with a very quiet, spacious and well-trimmed cabin.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu has been recalled 3 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years *Redesign year
Worse Better
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
NA
NA
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
NA
NA
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 500,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2018 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Chevrolet Malibu owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

“additional problem with the rear fuse box. Had to be replaced”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

“Lights have to be changed by someone who is highly experienced, as it is very difficult. Front of car needs to be disassembled”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“To replace a $6.00 light bulb, you have to take your car to the dealership and pay over $100.00 in labor. I chose to replace the light bulb myself. Did research online. It required removing entire front end of car 20+ bolts/clips, it took 3+ hours to complete this task. It use to take a few minutes”

Lisa M., FL (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.6-L V6)

“Replacement of Headlamp Bulb requires expensive disassembly and reassembly”

Joel L., GA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Headlight went out & in order to replace it, you have to drop the front bumper. Labor cost was $100. Bad design!”

Marianne P., IL (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Wiper motor or washer

“Wiper transmission broke where it connects to the wiper motor”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
12V power plug

“Plug replaced due to no power to plug”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Factory recall, not exactly sure why”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Recall”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Ignition, brake lights, air bags, suspension, GM brakes recalls”

Anonymous, GA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Lights do not come up automatically, delayed. Still not completely corrected by Chevy”

Anonymous, IA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“There was a recall having something to do with the rear brake lights”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Unsure)
Warning lights

“recall brake lamp, switch wire harness update”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“thermostat occasionally seems to stop working then spontaneously starts working again. Happens more in cold weather”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“I washaving problems w/the check engine light & my car shutting off while driving and the car jerking when pressing on the gas pedal from a start, & as long as my check engine light was on, the remote starter would not work”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Premature brake wear

“Brakes wore only after about 6 months”

Chuck S., CT (2012 Chevrolet Malibu Unsure 3.6-L V6)

“I have never before had to replace rotars and pads on a leased vehicle. Only 30000 miles on them, with no indication of problem at previous inspection”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

“I have replaced the rotors in this car twice in less than a year, and it now feels like I will have to replace them a third time in less than 2 years. I have no idea why they are wearing out so quickly”

Joanne P., ME (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“wound not stop warping had to replace with aftermarket rotors”

Loyd W., VT (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)

“they had a problem with the rotors warping”

Asa B., MA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“brake calipers needed to be ground off due to excessive buildup”

Anonymous, WA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Apparently when someone fixed the brakes previous to my owning the car, they failed to oil the driver's side front calipers”

Anonymous, ME (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Car needed new brakes after 52000 miles”

Jon D., MI (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“pads needed replaced”

Wayne H., PA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Electronic or air suspension

“Factory recall involving ECU”

Chris W., NY (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)
Power steering pumps and hoses

“electronic power steering sensor problem, repaired under warranty”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

“whirring noise”

John G., OH (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)

“wheel bearings replaced with 50k miles”

Loyd W., VT (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel cap

“Original cap was broken due to wear and tear, then replaced with a generic cap that didn't fit and the problem re-emerged”

Anonymous, NV (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Check engine light came on 5 times in 3 years. 2 times for e-vap sensor, 2 times for gas cap, once for fume canister issue”

John K., NY (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Engine light comes on when gas gap is not secured properly. Gas cap needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel injection system

“electrical problem caused fuel injection system to fail?”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS Unsure)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

“Water pump had to be replaced”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.6-L V6)

“wind noise in drivers door”

Anonymous, CT (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

“Rattles as it picks up speed. Squeaks as I brake. Las Vegas has high winds and this adds to the rattle. Handbrake does not work, and did not work from the first day I bought this used car”

Anonymous, NV (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)

“excessive noise; has not been remedied”

Gary S., TX (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

“Engine kept shutting down and loosing power. After several repairs/diagnostics it was found that carbon chip/flakes built up in the engine causing problems. Had to tear down engine and rebuild”

Chuck S., CT (2012 Chevrolet Malibu Unsure 3.6-L V6)
Timing belt or chain

“The timing chain shield came lose and rubbed against the chain which then put aluminium shavings into the engine oil and the shaving closed the oil pump which caused the engine to fail. under warranty got new engine”

Leann C., OH (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Cylinder head

“Warning lights and many electronic functions weren't working correctly. Chevrolet Dealer found problem to be cracked cylinder head and rebuilt top half of engine under warranty. The blower motor has failed twice in the last year and replaced”

Bruce L., NH (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

“When shifting from Park to Reverse, to Drive, the car jerks a little. When the RPM is low and I press the gas, the car also jerks at low speeds”

Brad M., BC (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)
Transmission leaks

“Right transaxie leak covered by extended warranty”

Joel L., GA (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission computer

“would not recognize reverse”

Anonymous, AB (2012 Chevrolet Malibu Unsure 3.6-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Oil leaks

“Oil leak creates insecurity, since one does not know when it is time for ol change. It is a nuisance and a costly affair”

Anonymous, NV (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)

“axel leakes”

Robert P., IL (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Accessory belts or pulleys

“Misaligned belt from the factory caused the engine to shut down. Pulled over, restarted the car and drove to the dealer”

James V., TX (2012 Chevrolet Malibu Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

“The lighting around the knobs went out”

Brad M., BC (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.6-L V6)

“The resistor on low fan speed failed. Had the same problem on 2003 Malibu”

Marianne P., IL (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

“does not work; will not eject”

Gary S., TX (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

“Channels would turn by themselves”

Larry B., KS (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

“The under mounting that's black and beneath the front bumper and front end fell off while traveling on the interstate. This in turn ripped the front bumper section, which will require replacing the entire front end since it is all one unit”

Mary B., KY (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.6-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

“Typical Cheverolet piece of shit”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat belts

“recall”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Compare 2012 Models

No Data Available
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
SEAT BELTS
May 08 2015
If the cable breaks, the seat occupant may not be properly restrained in the event of a crash, increasing their risk of injury.
Summary:
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles manufactured April 8, 2010, to October 11, 2012. In the affected vehicles, the flexible steel cables that connect the seat belts to the vehicle at the outside of the driver seat and the front passenger seat may be bent from being sat on while entering the vehicle. This repeated bending may result in the cable breaking.
What should you do:
GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the outboard lap anchor mounting bracket and inspect the flexible steel cable, replacing it as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on November 16, 2015. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 15031.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 15V269000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 437045
STEERING
Jul 21 2014
A joint bearing that fails prematurely may cause separation of the u-joint resulting in a complete loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Dorman Products, Inc. (Dorman) is recalling certain replacement intermediate steering shafts sold under the Dorman, OE Solutions, and Solutions brand names, part numbers 425-167, 2425167, and 7-3074, for installation on 2004-2012 Chevrolet Malibu, 2005-2010 Pontiac G6, and 2007-2009 Saturn Aura vehicles. The affected steering shafts may have a yoke that inadequately supports the u-joint bearing resulting in a premature failure.
What should you do:
Dorman will notify owners, and dealers will refund the purchase price or replace the steering shafts, free of charge. The recall began in September 2014. Owners may contact Dorman customer service at 1-800-523-2492.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 14E044000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 7304
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:SWITCHES:BRAKE LIGHT
May 14 2014
Any of the above failure conditions increases the risk of a crash.
Summary:
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2004-2012 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles manufactured May 16, 2003, through October 11, 2012, 2004-2007 Malibu Maxx vehicles manufactured June 25, 2003, through April 5, 2007, 2005-2010 Pontiac G6 vehicles manufactured May 26, 2004, through January 4, 2010, and 2007-2010 Saturn Aura vehicles manufactured April 24, 2006, through May 26, 2009. In the affected vehicles, increased resistance in the Body Control Module (BCM) connection may result in voltage fluctuations in the Brake Apply Sensor (BAS) circuit. These fluctuations can cause one or more of these conditions: the brake lights to illuminate without the brake pedal being pushed; the brake lights to not illuminate when the pedal is pushed; difficulty disengaging the cruise control; moving the gear shifter out of the 'PARK' position without pushing the brake; and disablement of crash avoidance features such as traction control, electronic stability control, and panic braking assist features.
What should you do:
GM will notify owners, and dealers will attach the wiring harness to the BCM with a spacer, apply dielectric lubricant to both the BCM and harness connector and the BAS and harness connector, and will relearn the brake pedal home position, free of charge. The manufacturer distributed an Interim letter to customers on July 14, 2014. The recall began on August 18, 2014. Owners may contact General Motors customer service at 1-800-222-1020 (Chevrolet), 1-800-762-2737 (Pontiac), 1-800-553-6000 (Saturn). GM's number for this recall is 13036.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 14V252000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 2440524
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