Home Warning Lights Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu: How Can You Fix This?

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu: How Can You Fix This?

by Kelvin Yates

The Chevy Malibu is a good car, but just like every other automobile, it’s not one hundred percent perfect. Some owners have recently complained about reduced engine power issues a few years after getting the vehicle. If you have noticed that your engine is not functioning the way it should or the check engine light keeps coming on, you need to contact a professional to help you. Several reasons may cause the engine power reduced Chevy Malibu problem.

The most common cause is a faulty accelerator pedal position sensor. A defective accelerator sensor reduces your Chevy engine’s power output and total functionality. At this point, your car dashboard will display the “engine power reduced” warning. 

Engine power reduction makes it very difficult for you to accelerate your car; it can also result in bad fuel economy. What are the other causes of engine power reduction in your Chevy Malibu? Find out in this article.

Engine Power Reduced

Almost always, whenever you get the engine power reduced sign on your car, especially Chevy Malibu, it means the performance of your car has diminished. The powertrain control module of your vehicle will send the power reduction signal when it notices a fault in your car engine and the entire system. If you still have your Chevy Malibu user manual, check the section about the driver information center for more details.

Chevy Malibu engine power reduction may limit your car’s ability to speed; it will reduce the overall performance of your vehicle or even block fuel supply to the engine. What are the causes of the engine power reduction? Find out below;

1. Electronic Throttle Actuator Issues

When your car has electronic throttle issues, acceleration becomes unusually difficult. What the TAC (throttle actuator control) system does is that it works together with PCM to control two accelerator pedal positions; this system monitors your car acceleration and the amount of airflow that goes into the engine. Any throttle body malfunction will trigger the reduced engine power mode.

2. Faulty Pedal Position Sensor

A bad pedal position sensor results from a dirty and damaged electronic throttle actuator, and it will lead to a reduced engine power issue. It could be the case that one or both of your car’s APP (accelerator pedal position) sensors that go into the accelerator pedal are faulty.

3. Circuit Problems

Circuit issues such as poor wiring, bad connections, and so on can limit or stop the TAC system from functioning properly, thereby causing reduced engine power.

4. Engine Performance Issues

Your car may have reduced engine power issues because your vehicle lacks the required power to function correctly due to an underlying condition. For instance, if your engine’s high-pressure fuel pump is damaged, it will limit your engine power.

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu

A reduced power engine on your Chevy Malibu will significantly impact your car’s performance. It will affect your fuel economy and car acceleration when your engine power is limited; maintaining the same power becomes difficult and consumes more fuel. Reduced engine power also increases emissions and pollutants. What is the cause of the engine power reduced Chevy Malibu?

1. Mass Airflow Sensor And Throttle Body Issues

The mass airflow sensor and throttle body monitors the amount of air that flows into the engine; if it’s faulty, it will limit your engine power.

2. Damaged Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are responsible for the air/fuel ratio in the engine. Once they are damaged, they will cause reduced engine power.

3. Engine Misfire

When one or some of the cylinders in your car engine are not functioning properly, it will cause reduced engine power.

Signs Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu

Sometimes your Chevy Malibu engine will not produce the required amount of power, and the reduced engine power light will not give a sign. Apart from the engine power light, below are the signs you can look out for if you think your Chevy Malibu engine is not functioning well.

  • Your Chevy Malibu is now consuming too much fuel
  • The engine is producing more pollutants than usual
  • Difficulty while accelerating
  • Pressing the accelerator further down to get a bit accelerating response

If you notice any of these signs, you need to contact a mechanic to help you diagnose and sort out whatever the issue is.

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu Error Codes

Whenever your car dashboard displays the “engine power is reduced” alert, there will always be an error code following it. These codes will help you know the issue and how to repair it. The codes include the following;

  • P0121 – Throttle/pedal position sensor/switch A circuit range/performance problem
  • P0122 – Throttle/pedal position sensor/switch A circuit low 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

If you see any of these codes on your dashboard, get in touch with a mechanic as soon as possible to help you check your engine.

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Equinox

If you drive a Chevy Equinox and see an “Engine Power Is Reduced” signal with an exclamation mark on your dashboard, there may be several reasons. First, your Chevy Equinox will go into reduced power mode whenever your vehicle computer notices a system malfunction. A dirty and damaged throttle body is the most common cause of reduced engine power.

Some cars have a system that will allow them to still function well for a while before breaking down, the system is called Limp Mode, but your Chevy Equinox will display “Engine Power Reduced.” If your Chevy Equinox goes limp mode, you must immediately pull over and check your engine.

Reduced Engine Power Light

The reduced engine power light indicates that there has been a reduction in the flow of air/fuel into your car engine. As helpful as the reduced engine power light is, it’s also very confusing because it comes on at different times for different reasons. Keep reading to know what to do when the reduced engine power light comes on in your car.

The warning light comes on whenever your car or the engine needs maintenance, repair, fluid change, or oil change. The light can also indicate that your vehicle is about to break down or dirt is preventing the air intake from functioning; at this point, the light will stay ON until you fix the issue.

The reduced engine power light may also come on when there is a low fuel level, reduced oil temperature, and high coolant temperature. If this light comes on and you don’t know what to do, do well to contact a mechanic.

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Silverado

If you get the engine power-reduced signal on your Chevy Silverado, the speed at which your car runs will decrease. Most of the time, you get the sign because the engine management sensor ECU has generated a fault and can’t control how the engine functions anymore. What are the possible causes?

1. Throttle Body

This is one of the common reasons for reduced engine power on your Chevy Silverado. It means the ECU is not getting enough voltage response from the throttle, and it won’t be able to determine how much acceleration your car needs at a particular time.

2. Oxygen Sensors

Your Chevy Silverado oxygen sensors monitor the oxygen level in the exhaust to achieve the required air/fuel mixture. When the oxygen sensors begin to malfunction, you may not get the reduced engine power signal, but if you plug your car code scanner, it will show an oxygen sensor-related code.

3. Throttle Position Sensor

The throttle position sensor (aka the throttle body sensor) is essential to the functionality of your Chevy Silverado. Knowing how much gas is going into the ECU will be very difficult if this sensor is not functioning well. Also, the TPS monitors when to switch transmission.

4. ECU

A faulty or damaged ECU can trigger the reduced power engine condition. The ECU controls all the above sensors and combines them with the data it gets from several other data to manage your car engine.

Reduced Engine Power Chevy

If you notice reduced engine power on your Chevy, below are the common causes, and you can fix them.

1. Throttle Body

In old vehicles, wires were connected from the pedal to the throttle body; however, it’s not the case in modern cars. Several upgrades have been made to accommodate computers and electrics.

Old and modern vehicles are both similar in that a physical throttle is essential for airflow into the engine; once the throttle body is damaged, the amount of air the engine gets reduces. A small amount of air in the engine leads to engine power reduction.

Also, if the throttle valve is blocked by excess carbon build-up, it won’t function properly. Bad throttle position sensors can also trigger your Chevy’s reduced engine power condition.

2. Bad Mass Airflow Sensor

The MAF sensor works together with the ECU to determine how much air should go into your car engine. To learn more, you can check out our guide on what is a MAF sensor.

A malfunctioning mass airflow sensor will trigger the reduced engine power warning, which you will notice when accelerating more than usual. You can fix this by cleaning the sensor with the right product. If the symptoms show, it’s time to replace the airflow sensor.

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Malibu

3. Faulty Fuel Pump

The primary function of the fuel pump is to supply fuel into the combustion chamber and generate power. Typically, a faulty fuel pump will prevent fuel supply into the engine, thereby causing reduced engine power.

The issue becomes very serious when your car engine needs to produce more power, for instance, during acceleration on the highway, when you are towing heavy loads, or you are driving on rough terrain.

Check if your fuel filter is not blocked, the underlying fault might be a bad fuel pump (you can learn more in our guide on what does a fuel pump do and how to know if fuel pump is bad). If the filter is in good condition, it’s time to replace your faulty fuel pump. To solve this issue, top up your car’s fuel when due and avoid driving while on low fuel.

4. Transmission Failure

Your engine is not functioning well if its power is not getting to the wheels. If your car has automatic transmission, and you don’t top up the transmission fluid when necessary, it will result in reduced engine power. If the issue gets too complicated, the best thing is to replace the transmission immediately.

Chevy Malibu Years To Avoid

The Chevy Malibu came into existence in 1964, and it’s a midsize car that offers practicality and style. It is reliable, has an excellent lifespan, and is available in different models. However, there are some Chevy Malibu years you should avoid whenever you want to purchase one; these years include;

  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2013
  • 2016

The Chevy Malibu produced in the listed years has several issues, and the most common is engine problems. These issues require expensive repair, maintenance, and replacement.

Problems With Chevy Malibu

Chevy Malibu has produced top cars since it came into existence in 1964, to the extent that most car enthusiasts brand it as one of the most reliable midsize sedans. However, some problems are prevalent with most Chevy Malibu; they include;

1. Transmission Problems

2010 and 2011 Chevy Malibu has serious transmission issues, and according to some reviews, the 2010 Chevy Malibu is the worst on the market. Users have complained that the problem occurs when the car reaches 97,000 miles, and you will have to repair or replace it at about $3,250.

2. Engine And Fuel System Issues

The 2018 Chevy Malibu is the main culprit of engine and fuel issues. The issues include engine oil leaks, coolant, and gas cap errors. The problems occur between 5,000 to 7,000 miles.

3. Electrical Systems Issues

The 2004-2015 Chevy Malibu has severe electrical issues; the most common is the electric power steering system issues. The repair cost is around $80 to $110. Other electrical issue includes turn signal switch failure, inaccurate fuel gauge readings, and poor terminal contact.

Engine Power Reduced Chevy Impala

If you notice that your Chevy Impala engine is producing less power than required for your car to function well, you need to find out what may be causing the issue to know how to repair or replace it. The causes of reduced engine power in Chevy Impala include;

  • Bad throttle body
  • Problem with the oxygen sensors
  • Bad throttle body position sensors
  • Malfunctioning ECU
  • A blocked catalytic converter 

Chevy Reduced Engine Power Recall

If you have a Chevy Malibu produced between 2016-2018, you most likely would have encountered a reduced engine power issue. It’s been a common issue, and users have not gotten a satisfactory answer from the brand. Some users have decided to sue the brand; they complained that the “engine power reduced” signs appear between 20 to 40 miles per hour.

Chevy has not recalled these cars yet, but maybe it will if the complaints won’t stop.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Engine Power Reduced Mean

Whenever you see the engine power reduced sign or you are in an engine power reduced situation on your car, your car’s performance has declined because the engine is not producing the required power. Your car’s power train control mode often triggers this mode because it spots errors in the engine and the entire car system.

How To Fix Reduced Engine Power

The reduced engine power issue indicates that you need to repair, fix or replace something in your car system, especially the engine. To fix this issue, clean your car’s air filter, inspect the ECU and several other sensors it uses to control your vehicle, inspect the catalytic converter, check sensors, repair or replace the exhaust leaks, and check the electrical system of the car.

How To Reset Reduced Engine Power Light

In most cases, the reduced engine power light will go off after some time. However, the best way to reset the warning light is to fix the issue that made it come on first; fix your car engine issues, and the light will go off.

How To Bypass Reduced Engine Power

To bypass the reduced engine power, check the cables of your car, inspect the sensors and throttle body, inspect the operation of the airflow sensor, get professional help if the issue is from the electronic control unit, repair or replace the catalytic converter, check your car battery, check and top up your car’s transmission fluid.

What Causes Engine Power Reduced

There are several causes of the reduced engine power, and the most common is a faulty Throttle actuator control. Once this system fails, it triggers the reduced engine power condition. Another cause of this condition is a clutch failure; when the clutch fails, the car begins to produce annoying noise and pulsation issues. Faulty connectors and cables can also cause reduced engine condition; check your oxygen and mass air flow sensors; they are culprits in this issue.

How Long Does Chevy Malibu Last

Your Chevy Malibu should last for about 200 000 to 250,000 miles if you use and maintain it properly. You can enjoy great functionality from your Chevy for up to 17 years before it begins to require constant repair and expensive replacement of its parts.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Reduced Engine Power

The cost of fixing reduced engine power in a Chevy Malibu or other Chevy cars depends on the Chevy year you got and how severe the issue is. If it’s a minor engine issue, it can cost you up to $100; if the problem is severe, you will spend up to $500 to $700.

Can A Bad Battery Cause Reduced Engine Power

In most cases, a bad or dead battery won’t cause reduced engine power; it will rather trigger the check engine light to come on. However, a bad or dead battery may be why your car is not starting because the car system is underpowered.

What Causes Loss Of Power In A Car

There are several causes of engine power loss; they include; blocked air filters and blocked air injectors which cause low fuel delivered to the car engine. When your car’s air filter is damaged, it affects the combustion cycle because the engine is not getting enough air, causing power loss in the car. When the air filter, fuel injector, and air injector are faulty, it affects the entire exhaust system, and when this system is damaged, there is power loss. Other causes of power loss include damaged spark plugs, faulty sensors, and several mechanical issues.

Can I Drive With Reduced Engine Power

To avoid complications of any sort, avoid driving with reduced engine power; instead, call a mechanic and sort the issue out. When the reduced engine power signal displays on your car’s dashboard, you have no quick way to determine whether the issue that triggered that condition is severe or minor. It could be a minor issue or a severe engine problem, or an electrical malfunction.

Why Does My Car Say Engine Power Reduced

If you see the reduced engine power signal on your car’s dashboard, it means the functionality of your vehicle has been reduced because of one or several engine errors. The best thing to do to rectify this is to get professional help.

Is It Safe To Drive With Reduced Engine Power

You should not drive with reduced engine power. Once you get the reduced engine power signal, acceleration becomes difficult, especially on highways. In the worst case, your car will break down, leading to expensive repair and replacement of some parts.

Where Is Chevy Malibu Made

Chevy Malibu is made in Fairfax, Kansas.

How To Disable Start Stop Chevy Malibu

The automatic start/stop switch on or off your car when necessary to save fuel and gas. You can only temporarily disable this feature by clicking the AN OFF button close to your car’s gear shifter.

Can Low Oil Cause Reduced Engine Power

Low oil is not a common cause of reduced engine power; however, some modern car engines have a Variable Valve Timing system that functions under oil pressure. Low oil in the engine can affect how this system functions, and it can lead to a lack of acceleration. In rare instances, low oil triggers the limp or reduced engine mode.


The engine power-reduced Chevy Malibu results from several errors in the car engine and the entire vehicle system. Go through the article to understand the causes of this condition and how to fix it; if you can’t fix it on your own, get in touch with a mechanic.

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