2012 Chevrolet Malibu Problems

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu had three major recalls involving failing seatbelts, steering mechanisms, and brake lights. Click here to learn more!
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan was full of style and available with a gutsy 252-horsepower six-cylinder engine. However, three recalls have been required over its lifetime to address some serious safety concerns with failing seatbelts, steering mechanisms, and brake lights.
J.D. Power ranked the 2012 Chevy Equinox as the third-best midsize car of 2012 with a rave quality and reliability rating. However, some 2012 Malibus had been produced with serious flaws. The most worrisome recall involved a steering shaft issue that could result in a complete loss of steering control.
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The most common 2012 Chevrolet Malibu problems

Over its decade-long lifetime, the 2012 Chevy Malibu has had a total of three recalls.
The first recall involved a steel cable anchoring the driver’s side seat belt. The cable was known to fail, meaning that in the event of a crash, passengers could be at risk of injury due to the insecure seat belt mechanism.
The second recall dealt with a steering shaft joint bearing that was inadequately supporting the u-joint in the steering mechanism. If this failed, it could result in a complete loss of steering control.
Finally, there was a recall to address an issue with randomly illuminating brake lights, due to a failing brake application sensor. This resulted in brake lights either illuminating without the brake being pushed or not illuminating at all. This issue also affected the cruise control system and certain crash avoidance features, thus raising a lot of potential risk.
Here are some other common complaints about the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu:
  • Failing electrical system
  • Failing airbags
  • Engine issues
  • Poor forward visibility
  • Uncomfortable second-row seats
  • Ignition problems due to failing pass lock sensor

Is the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu reliable?

For the most part, yes. Despite these issues, the 2012 Chevy Malibu has maintained a fairly consistent track record overall. J.D. Power gives it a quality and reliability rating of 89/100. RepairPal also gives it an excellent rating of 4.0/5.0, ranking it ninth out of 24 midsize 2012 models.
Average annual repair costs are about $543 according to RepairPal, meaning they’re not the most affordable to maintain among competitors, but they’re still well below average. Your 2012 Chevy Malibu is also less likely to end up in the repair shop with a severe and expensive issue.

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