Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu (Possible Causes & Fix)

What does engine power reduced mean on the Chevy Malibu? If you were wondering, wonder no more, we will answer that in this post. The Chevy Malibu has proven to be one of the best mid-size SUVs on the market though without its fair share of problems.

Boasting great performance, decent-looking exterior, and great for its price point, there is a lot to be desired about the Chevy Malibu. One of the problems that it’s known for though is the engine power reduction issue. What is it and what causes it?

In short, Engine power is reduced in the Chevy Malibu due to the accelerator pedal position sensor malfunctioning. The result is reduced power output from the engine. You will see an “Engine Power Reduced” warning on your dash.

Unlike older cars that use a cable accelerator system, newer vehicles use a sensor that translates the pressure you place on the accelerator pedal electronically to the engine. Unfortunately, the sensors sometimes fail and do not send the signal to the engine. This is the case in the Chevy Malibu when this happens.

What is the Effect of an Engine Power Reduction?

The accelerator pedal sensors are a part of the vehicle’s Electronic Unit (ECU) which is responsible for receiving, interpreting, and activating the relevant component based on the input from the sensors.

Though there are several advantages of this advancement in-vehicle technology, there are also drawbacks associated with the ECU. One of these issues is that there are usually some system malfunctions.

The reduced engine power message is actually a protective mechanism designed to protect your engine in situations where there may be significant damage to the engine or any of its components.

What causes Chevy Malibu to Show “Engine Power Reduction”?

There could be several causes of the “engine power reduction” error message popping up and they are all associated with the ECM.

The ECM works with pedal position sensors and throttle position sensors to establish the position and the force applied to the accelerator to release more air into the engine. Either of these failures could lead to an error message showing. Let’s look at these closer.

Faulty Pedal Position Sensor: one or both the sensors could be faulty leading to inaccurate or no data being communicated to the ECM. Faulty Throttle Position Sensor: Just like with the pedal position sensors, if one or both of these is faulty, power to the engine will be reduced.

Circuitry Problems: Faulty wires or poor connections can all play a part leading to wrong or inaccurate data reaching the engine.

How do you fix a Chevy Malibu’s Engine power reduction issue?

Unless the problem is too complex follow these steps you should be able to fix your problem easily:

  1. Check The Cables
  2. Check Sensors
  3. Check The Throttle
  4. Check the Airflow Sensor
  5. Check the Electric Control Unit
  6. Check on Catalytic Converter
  7. Check Battery Check on the Transmission Fluid

Depending on what part of the vehicle has the problem, fixing it could cost anywhere from $100 to $500. In some instances, it’s as simple as cleaning the throttle body and getting your vehicle out of Reduced Power Mode.

Fixing such an issue requires more complex and advanced technical equipment, people who prefer performing making these fixes tend to not have the requisite tools to do it perfectly.

Instead of wasting time and money trying to fix the issue by yourself, in most cases, it’s more effective to have professionals handle the job for you. A reputable repair shop can get the Reduced Power warning to stay off—and that will get you back on the road.


Due to its problem with the engine power reduction in the Malibu 2016 and 2018 a class action lawsuit was launched against GM stating the issues mentioned above and how they endangered the life of a Mr. Rothschild. GM had to issue a special coverage adjustment in 2019 to fix an issue relating to this very problem in the Chevrolet Malibu.

The Malibu has issues with the Engine Power Reduced mode which switches on because of a defective component and having it fixed can save you in costs and from an accident if your VIN is one of the thousands recalled by GM.