malibu steering issues

Chevy Malibu Power Steering Problems

Known for its excellent driving and handling, the Chevy Malibu is a midsize family car with an eye-catching stylish exterior design and, safety and comfort-focused interior. Which brings up the question: does the Malibu have any problems with its power steering?

The short answer is that Chevy Malibu does have some problems with its poor steering, so much so that General Motors (GM) had to recall some of the 2004 – 2010 models. The problem was related to a faulty sensor or electrical component failure.

Black Chevy Malibu

What are the problems causing power steering issues?

A lot of issues can result in the failure of the power steering and this can endanger the lives of the drive and the passengers.

The following are some of the issues that can cause the power steering of a Chevy Malibu to fail:

Electric Steering Failure

When the steering of the vehicle feels stiff or does not respond to the action you take on the steering wheel, this could be an indication of Electric steering failure. This is a non-hydraulic failure meaning it would have been the components of the power steering system or module that would have failed. This results in the electric assist of the car not responding accounting for stiffness in the steering wheel.

Chevy car steering wheel

Audible Alerts for Belt Drive Issues

When there is an audible noise under the hood of the car, the belt drive of the car might be in danger of breaking. The audible alert comes out as a grinding or squealing noise as make turns.

Importance of Fluid Quality in Hydraulic Power Steering

The power steering system is hydraulic meaning its efficiency is reliant on the purity of the fluid in use a higher quality fluid offers more compared to a dirtier one. Contaminated fluids however can be devastating to the steering system.

If the fluid is used while contaminated it can result in blocks, friction and even cause the hydraulic or its components to fail. Fluid levels for the proper operation of the system need to fall within an ideal range. It is within this range that the system can work optimally with no issues.

It is apparent however that excess fluid can cause high pressures and if the fluid is not enough it will exert a force that will not be enough for operating the hydraulic system. The power relay between the engine and the power steering pump is facilitated by belts.

Belt Maintenance and Hydraulic System Integrity

The belt is vulnerable to physical and chemical forces that result in the belt fraying and breaking. The belt is also susceptible to corrosion as well the end result being complete system failure.

The central part of the hydraulic system is the steering pump, and although it is a robust and durable component it eventually gets worn out. Often times like in the situation with the dodgy belt, there is an audible noise whenever you are turning the steering wheel.

When you hear this noise, it is an indicator your system is about to fail. The hydraulic elements that make up the power steering of a Malibu succumb to excessive stress, especially when the force acts suddenly. It causes a break or critical crack in the pump or belt.

It is therefore advisable not to put too much strain on your system by using rough roads.

Fixing the power steering of a Chevy Malibu

Using a code reader for a car

It is of great importance that you keep an eye on the car’s power steering and its failure can result in a fatal accident if you’re not careful.

The best mode of operation when it comes to power steering is to observe strict and regular checkups. The power steering hydraulic system comprises a hose that has a high and low-pressure side. The hose is vulnerable to leaks and as a result, one should constantly note the fluid level and regulate it to avoid any problems.

Stay vigilant when it comes to Chevy Malibu’s fluid levels. When do decide to take it in for an oil change remember to also include an assessment of the coolant, power steering fluid, and brake fluid? And in the case that your fluid levels are low or dirty have the system flushed.

Early fixes for your vehicle’s components can make it less likely you’ll have to incur the expense of buying a new pump. Fixing the power steering can be a very complex affair and as is best done with the right equipment.

Making use of a code reader can help pinpoint the exact problem with your power steering. Without the aid of this or a scanning device, it can take forever to find the root cause of the power steering problem. When conducting your checks remember to focus on fusing and repairing, wire breaks and disrupted connections.


While the loss of power steering is a serious safety issue it is important to stay on top of it but practice proper maintenance and stay vigilant especially when the steering feels off. The 2004 – 2010 recall by GM shows just how serious a matter this is.

And if the steering starts to feel heavier, stop as soon as you can, pull onto the hard shoulder on a motorway or to the side of the road on other roads. Then get the garage to come to you – make sure that you take all the normal safety precautions, turning on hazard lights, watching out for traffic.

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