Question

2012 Chevy Malibu starts then dies

I just got a 2012 Malibu, with 56k miles, from a dealership. Within the first week of owning it, I had two instances when I start the car, but it dies within 2-3 seconds. I tried starting it a few more times with the same result except it dies even faster. Then I wait a minute or two and it starts up just fine.
-->No check engine or other warning lights. No anti-theft lights. No fault codes of any kind.
-->When it starts successfully the car runs great. No loss of power, speed, etc.
-->I try to rev the engine while starting but accelerator pedal does nothing.
-->Both instances occurred after driving 10-15 minutes (enough time to warm everything up), shutting it off in a parking lot and letting it sit for about 20 minutes, and then attempting to start again. Cold starts are always perfectly fine
Dealer is looking at it right now. Last update was that they could not repeat the problem (drive some, let it sit for 20 minutes, then start). It has started every time just fine for them and throws no fault codes. They are stumped and after looking over car forums for hours, I am stumped. Any ideas?

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Comments
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Clarification Request
When it dies

is it acting like it's running out of gas or does it start up and die like shutting the engine off with the key ?
I asked this as I had a Chevy motor that tried to start and when I let go of the key it died ,
It took 5 years to figure this one out as the mechanics could find nothing wrong until it happened to him one day and he immediately knew it was in the distributor , the gear on the bottom of the distributor shaft where the pin runs through the gear and shaft was worn out. A new distributor fixed the problem...

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Answer
since those use multiport injectors

it sounds like a possible fuel pump problem, or fuel line blocked by a crimp somewhere. Have them check the fuel line pressure.

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Answer
2012 Chev

As James mentioned, could be weak fuel pump or plugged filter. Also, could be faulty CTS. Pushing on the accelerator does nothing other than giving the engine more air. I would assume that the dealer will scan the computer for codes and data. GM coolant temp sensors will default to -41F when they go bad, thereby causing a flooding effect when the engine is warm. When the engine is cold, it likes that extra fuel (since there is no choke). The ONLY time that you would want to push the accelerator is if the engine is flooded, and then you would hold the accelerator to the floor until the engine fires up. When you go to WOT (wide open throttle) it, actually, shuts off the fuel. Think of the accelerator pedal as an AIR pedal. Not gas.

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NOT the fuel pump

The dealer finally got the car to act up while they had it in their shop, but there were no fault codes or anything to indicate what the problem really was. So they replaced the fuel pump and gave it back to me. Later that day, it acted up again. So it is back at the dealer for Round 2. I suspect it has to do with the ECM, perhaps something to do with the air-to-fuel ratio that the computer doesn't like. Or maybe a sensor that is giving the ECM the wrong data (Maybe you were hinting at this with CTS, but I don't know what that stands for). Any other thoughts from you guys?

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did it work any better at all?

This reminds me of a problem I had with an 80's carburetor car. I know that's very different from your car with electric pump and fuel injectors, but the same thing can happen in both. My problem then was a corroded rubber hose connection that had let some chunks fall out of the hose, all while not leaking fuel, and it traveled up and at times one particularly large chunke would move up in the filter I should have replaced previously anyway and would block the flow of the fuel. It was intermittent, the car running great at times, and then suddenly shuddering and dying, ON THE FREEWAY! I finally discovered what it was when I flushed the entire fuel line and the bucket I caught being pumped out showed the rubber chunks inside it. After replacing the fuel filter and ALL those rubber hose connections from the tank to the carburetor, I had no more problems with it again.

Fuel injected cars also have thick hoses and these (newer to this old fart) fuels also have alcohol added in, which has a corrosive effect on rubber in those hoses. It's possible you have a similar problem with a corroded hose as I did years ago.

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Not that

It's not that for sure. The engine dying is too deliberate, and once it starts it runs as smooth as ever. I never lose power on the highway or anything.

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CTS issue?

CTS= Coolant temp. sensor. Have them clean the throttle body and IAC (idle air control motor), also.
This, you could do yourself if you have any experience or most any auto repair shop, as well.
Loren

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Update

I talked to the dealer yesterday and they said they replaced the fuel pump relay which wasn't it. I didn't quite understand everything he said, but basically they were in contact with GM and found that in the fuse box (or FROM the fuse box) there was some wire that goes to the fuel pump that when it heats up it becomes too short (I thought metal expanded with heat???). So when you try a warm start the fuel pump does not get a signal and will not work. This makes sense because the first time it dies the engine sputters for 2 seconds then dies, but the other times it won't even try. So the engine is getting the pressurized fuel that remains in the system but the fuel pump is failing to sustain pressure so the other starts get nothing. They got some more wire from GM and are hoping this fixes our issue. I will update you soon.

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Wire too short.

Although ANYTHING is possible, sounds "way out there" to me. Yes, please let us know if that was really the issue.
Loren

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Wire

Did fixing the wire work? I had the fuse box in the trunk replaced last year before winter and it worked until about March this year when it got hot again. If I take out fuel pump relay when it happens and I put in a cool relay it’s starts fine until this one gets hot and I turn off the car again then it’s rinse and repeat. At least this way I’m never stranded. Please let me know

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Relay

Hi, Austin; That symptom tells me that there is too much of an amperage load on the fuel pump circuit. Could be the fuel pump, itself. Are you keeping the fuel above 1/4 tank? The pump relies on the fuel to keep it cool.
Loren

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Wire

Thanks for responding. I usually try to keep more than half a tank. When it gets below a quarter I always fill up. https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/Discussion-t40965_ds781358 If you look at this blog you can see here are several people with this issue. One persons did post that changing the wire has worked for him. I have a mechanic looking at the wire issue on Monday. The problem is that there is no code being thrown. I have gotten the car to act up every time at the shop but when you do anything to the fuse box to try and test it the car starts up with no problem. When this happened last year they replaced the rear fuse box and that worked for about 5 months and now I’m back at stage one again. You can search 2012 Chevy Malibu fuel pump wire and see this is a huge problem that Chevy has not addressed. I also put in a complaint with Chevy. Hopefully more people put on the complaint so they can have recall. I have seen several people replace he fuel pump and hay has never fixed the issue. This is a costly replacement. Thank you and if you have any other advice I would appreciate it

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Wire

Hi, Austin; You just caused me to remember something. Some years of GM, when we'd replace the fuel pumps, the service guide would tell us that the 'pigtail' going to the pump needed replacement with an updated harness. As I recall, the harness was about $40. ? Also, some Chrysler products, as well.
Loren

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Update

So there was a burnt wire. The wire from the fuel pump relay to the fuel pump. I did replace the fuel pump and the harness because they have to drop the tank to change the wire so I figured might as well. So far so good. Anyone with this problem needs to have your mechanic check this wire. Your car will never throw a code. I hope this helps since I know for 6 months I have been dealing with this and I know how fustrating it is.

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Same problem

I’ve had the exact same problem. Been in and out of the shop for weeks, replaced fuel relay and fuel pump. And yet same issue. I’m bringing it into Chevy with the info from this forum. I’m wondering if it is this wire, is that a costly repair? Already dropped a thousand on the fuel pump..

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Answer
In the same boat

Hi im having the same issues with my 2012 malibu and i was wondering if you were able to find out what the problem was?

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Wire

I changed the wire from from the fuel pump relay to the fuel pump. The wire was burnt pretty bad. I also changed the fuel pump since hey had to drop the tank. It runs so nice now.

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2012 Malibu Fuel Pump and Relay Wire

@austin_lawson how much did it cost to replace the wire? What is the color of the original wire?

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Related, but relateable?

A big thank you to all of you for reminding me of the fuel system's relay and related wiring. Though my vehicle is a early 90s era lumina with GM's classic LH0, I've also experienced and resolved this issue in the past, its just been so long that I'd forgotten.

My previous cause for this symptom was the fuel pump relay, which at least in my vehicle is sensitive to heat. I'll test the relay and inspect the the wiring tomorrow. You'll hear from me soon.

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Exploratory

Relay didnt fix it this time and the fuel tank wiring from the front of the vehicle to the rear isn't exposed, it enters the cab, leading me to believe it doesnt see too much wear and tear.
Moving forward i'm going to inspect the primary wiring harness going from the pump relay to the computer and places beyond in search of melted wire bits. Will update

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Fix?

I have a 2013 Chevy Malibu LT and I have a similar problem to yours. My car runs fine it just dies every now and then when I come to a stop but before it shuts off it sputters. It only happens when I am in gear and idle. It throws no codes. I have had the spark plugs and wires replace. A new alternator a new fuel pump and filter. A new fuel module programmed by the dealer. It has been to the dealer and 2 other mechanics and no one can diagnose the problem. Can anyone help me??

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Similar issue

I had a similar issue..it was the clamp that on the engine cover that tightens down on the air intake..which why my car was throwing a mass air flow sensor code with no check engine light.

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possible soution

you or your mechanic should clean the throttle body on the vehicle and see if it fixes the problem. this is a very good inexpensive solution to the dieing when coming to a stop issue. this isnt fuel related usually from what your explaining. i deal with this issue all the time. and 90% of the times its that simple... t-body cleaning

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issue resolved?

did this wire replacement fix the issue? having the same issue at our shop a current customer is having. as this article explains i did replace the fuel pump and relay. worked fine for a day and poof same issue. i did the abover repairs b4 i came to this forum as it made since to me in resolving the issue. want to be assured if your wire replacement fixed the issue or not b4 i do the same for free for my customer. seems like a logical next step. but that may temporarily fix the problem does anyone know what is causing the problem of the wire being burnt? usually a bad ground or high resistance in the wire would be the culprit. can anyone update me with results?

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