really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,316 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #33

Aug 032014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
The front and rear passenger door locks have intermittently locked and unlocked until August 3, 2014 when both door locks would not lock or unlock using the key fob or the lock/unlock switch on either door. The front and rear driver's side doors have not exhibited this problem.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #32

Jul 042014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
The door locks began locking and unlocking while vehicle was running and in park. After turning ignition off and then back on, door locks continued locking and unlocking while driving as well. Then, the door lock switch on driver's door stopped working. Last time this issue started and continued with key fob no longer working, and only way to lock doors was manually and unlock driver's door with key and manually unlock remaining doors. Dealer replaced door lock actuator and key fobs to fix problem. Why is this happening again and within a few months of already having been fixed once" is there a recall for this" I do not want to pay for same repair repeatedly.

- Harlan, IA, USA

problem #31

May 072014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that while attempting to park, the steering wheel seized. The contact also mentioned that the door locks were unlocking and locking independently several times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who could not duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact was aware of a NHTSA recall number: 14V153000 (steering) and stated that the vehicle was included. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 103,000. Updated 10/09/2014 the consumer stated while steering, the vehicle would pull to the right. 3/25/2015

- Westland , MI, USA

problem #30

Jun 222014


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the doors would sporadically lock and unlock independently in the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing, but not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 61,000.

- Lyman, SC, USA

problem #29

Jun 132010

Malibu 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the brake lights had an intermittent short circuit. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who diagnosed that the brake pedal actuator needed to be adjusted twice; however, the failure recurred. The power locks failed and don't work from the inside of the vehicle. The contact was not included in NHTSA recall campaign number: 14V252000 (electrical system, electronic stability control, exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic, vehicle speed control). The vehicle was scheduled to be inspected and repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000. Updated 09/16/14 the consumer stated he believes the BCM is faulty beyond a bad connection; causing the power locks to malfunction. Updated 1/15/15

- Brecksville, OH, USA

problem #28

Jun 062013


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the rear interior power door locks failed to unlock when the key fob and power lock module were activated. The doors could only be unlocked manually. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Walmut Ridge, AR, USA

problem #27

Apr 252014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Door will not open. I was locked in my own car at the gas station. I manually pulled up on the door lock and still couldn't get out. I rolled the window down and pulled on the outside door handle release and nothing. After pushing every button several times and putting the car in and out of park I finally managed to get out. 2 days later the same thing happened but I was outside the car. I had to crawl from the passengers side to get into the drivers seat to get to work. Since the door locks were acting up I pulled the fuse and decided to do it old school and use the key to lock and unlock my car. Good idea until I was leaving work and the key wouldn't open the door. Great!!! hey, I will just unlock the passenger door and climb in. Did you know there is no place to insert a key to unlock the door on the passenger side" I do now. After much cursing I managed to get in using the key but then the door wouldn't close. Oh my god I thought. I had to use 2 bungee cords to hold the door close so I could drive the car 25 miles home. I didn't mention that the back door quit working over a year ago did I" I think it is time for a recall. Being locked in your car in not a good thing. Imagine if the first responders couldn't get you out of your car if you were in a accident because of faulty door actuators. I see multiple complaints of this defect and now it is time somebody has to step up and do their job and address this issue. Apparently somebody has to die first and sue everyone involved to make something happen.

- Trempealeau, WI, USA

problem #26

Apr 022014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
While driving door locks continually go up and down and while parked door locks open and close until we took fuse out to stop. This is a safety hazard can't open door while its doing this and can't lock doors, because they start going up and down again, afraid will drain battery or cause an accident because of this distraction.

- Furlomg, PA, USA

problem #25

Apr 072012


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated the rear passenger and rear drivers side door do not lock or unlock properly. Sporadically the doors would not respond when the contacts vehicle was in the park position. The dealer was not made aware of the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and declined to provide the contact with a remedy. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 40,000.

- Maplewood , MN, USA

problem #24

Mar 262014


  • 27,610 miles
Rear right door (rear passenger) lock failing to open. Started to randomly open and now it's totally dead. If the door fails to open getting my kid out of the car in an emergency can be impossible even for other passengers sitting on the back. This needs an urgent investigation. A lot of owners have the same issue and surprised to see a lot of complaints here as well regarding the locks/actuators. GM is aware of the issue about actuators failing consistently too, in some occasions they have made the replacements free of charge or at a discounted price.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #23

Nov 232013


  • 35,000 miles
To the NHTSA person reviewing this: Please assist on this issue, we depend on you escalating this issue. The problem contained here is a major safety issue potentially catastrophic condition waiting to happen. We (owners of Chevy Malibu of years 2008-09, and 10') need an investigation to be initiated. Summary of problem: The Chevrolet Malibu 2008,2009, and 2010 has a manufacturing problem with the door lock actuators (which open and close the locks on the doors). For the Malibu year 2009, at approximately 35K mile mark all power locks of all four doors randomly open and lock at any vehicle forward speed at random times. An unprecedented amount of lack of safety concerns have been brought up from countless customers through different websites and are beginning to come in a more formal manner such as this public tool. Safety flaw: Since the opening an closing of the locks on doors is of random manner and of rapid frequency (opens and closes very fast) it poses all occupants to remain inside the vehicle unable to escape in the event of a fire, vehicle crash, or any other emergency. Likewise, when the intent is to have the doors locked it poses the issue that the door locks will become open at unexpected times. Solution: Avoid casualties, incidents, and keep the safety of our loved ones in mind. We need the NHTSA to launch an investigation on this issue.

- Lake Stevens, WA, USA

problem #22

Feb 192014

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
The driver's side door latch failed to open. Neither the inside nor outside handles worked. There was no accident, abuse or indication of imminent failure. It was extremely difficult to exit the vehicle; my daughter needed to crawl across the console. Would be even more difficult (perhaps impossible) in an emergency situation. I searched the Chevrolet owner forums on the internet and found many people with the same problem going back years. Dealer service personnel knew of the problem; offered to waive usual $108 diagnostic fee for repair. Chevrolet customer assistance agreed to pay $37 towards necessary correction if I paid the first $200.

- Kenmore, NY, USA

problem #21

Jan 202014


  • 82,000 miles
Left rear door lock actuator failed to operate. This is the 3rd rear door lock actuator to fail on this car. Original owner, replaced 2 locks under warranty, now a 3rd actuator failure. This door is the primary door used for entry/egress by children. This is a serious safety concern due either the inability to safely remove a child in an emergency, or leave the door unlocked while driving. There are many, many complaints of the same problem on this vehicle nation wide over the last 5 years. Please initiate an investigation into this safety issue.

- Pasco, WA, USA

problem #20

Aug 232013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
The Malibu my wife and I own have had problem with the left passenger door lock not being actuated when commanded. For example, when the door was commanded to lock, it would stay unlocked. But more seriously, it would stay locked when commanded to unlock. I took it to neuville motors in waupaca, wi, a GM/Chevy dealer, to have it fixed. According to a service manager at the dealership, door lock actuator malfunctions in Malibu from that model year is common and he sees many of them come in with exact same problem as my car's. I believe a door staying locked when commanded to open is a serious safety hazard if a rapid evacuation out of the vehicle becomes necessary. Also, if the vehicle rolls on the side of the opposite side of malfunctioning door, evacuating passengers occupying rear seats can be a challenge as the only door available may stay locked when commanded to unlock. I have contacted GM, but they insisted that they are not responsible as the vehicle is out of warranty and a recall was not issued by your administration. The reference number of my complaint with GM is [xxx]. I believe this is a serious safety issue if children/elderly/pets are occupying the rear seat, or the passenger in the back seat becomes unconscious in case of a crash. Please consider issuing a recall if the problem is a common one. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #19

Jun 032013

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
In these Chevrolet Malibu, when the car is put into drive the doors lock automatically, when placed into park the doors unlock. Without warning the door lock actuators quit working and leave your car either locked or unlocked. In case of emergency you will be scrambling to unlock the door manually.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #18

Sep 042012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The door lock actuator on both rear doors fail to unlock the door. Apparently this is very common in 2008 and 2009 Malibu's. considering that my children (as I am sure many others), it is unsafe to have vehicles doors unlock from the outside. Further, given the placement of the physical nobs (in the far rear) it is impractical to allow someone in the front seat unlock the rear doors quickly.

- Prior Lake, MN, USA

problem #17

Sep 072012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
I have a Chevy Malibu 2009 last year one back passenger door started not locking or unlocking, later after that another one and now none of the doors lock/unlock automatically. I did a search this online and it looks like they are thousands of complains of this same issue. I contacted the Chevy service department and they stated that this is not something that is cover under warranty nor they have the responsibility of repairing it because is not a hazardous or a safety issue. For me I believe that is a safety issue. The car is suppose to automatically lock the doors when you move into drive and unlock when is moved back to park, also if a car is equip with a security system and I press the lock button all doors should lock. Chevy service department chargers $300 per actuator plus the cost of labor this is a heavy price to pay, I understand if one goes bad but having all 4 doors go bad within months of each other for me this is a manufacture defect.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #16

Jul 182011


  • 50,000 miles
Door locks randomly locked and unlocked. I could be driving or the car could be parked and the door locks would go up down up down. If it locked, there was no way to open it, I was stuck in the car. I felt it was such a hazard that I just had to remove the fuse that operated the door locks.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #15

Jun 132012

Malibu 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the doors failed to unlock during high temperatures. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for a diagnostic. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 58,000 and the current mileage was 80,000.

- Albany , NY, USA

problem #14

May 012013

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
I was in my driveway preparing for windshield installation. Kept on hearing intermittent clicking. Realized it was the power door locks. They were not fully locking or unlocking, only attempting to. It continued for a few days then stopped for a few weeks. Yesterday we were on a 75 mile drive and 75 miles back with the locks incessantly going through their intermittent rapid cycling. I never know for certain if my doors are locked or not. Besides being extremely distracting and irritating while driving, there is the presence of a safety issue. There are a lot of scenarios that could be played out.

- Saint Michael, MN, USA

Read the next 13 complaints »