What’s Up With Chevy’s Engine Power Is Reduced Warning?

Driving with an engine that’s power has been reduced is a potentially dangerous issue. This is a common problem for Chevy Malibu from the years 2016 to 2018. If you see the warning “Engine Power Reduced” come onto your dash, it can mean many different things, and it can be confusing on where to start.

In this article we are going to show you what can cause the engine power to be reduced in Chevy Malibu and if it is still safe to drive under these conditions.

Why Has My Chevy Malibu Power Reduced?

This warning on the dashboard occurs when a sensor in your vehicle reads that there is a reduced power flow into the Chevy Malibu (examples detailed below). This triggers a warning for the sensor to trip, making this message appear on the dash. A “Check Engine” light may also come on with this warning, for added emphasis.

Chevrolet Malibu 2018 dashboard.

One way to check for the following warnings is to have the warning light read using a code reader. This can be purchased at a local hardware store or there are some auto repair shops that read the codes for free. This can be a good place to begin for any diagnosis to see how serious the “Engine Power Reduced” warning is.

Can I Drive With Engine Power Reduced?

There are some risks associated with driving with this kind of warning. At best, the driver can experience difficulty shifting gears, and poor gas mileage. At worst the car can suddenly lose power when this warning is applied, which can be dangerous, especially at highway speeds. That is why, for safety concerns, it would be best to fix the problem as soon as possible, either by doing it yourself or seeing a professional mechanic.

What Causes Engine Power Reduced?

There are several ways that the sign “Engine Power Reduced” can appear on the dash. We will divide them into electrical and mechanical ways that this can happen.

Firstly, there are electronic ways that the car can lose power.

Blown Fuse

One way can be through a blown fuse. To check this, you can either purchase a car code scanner or take the car to an auto repair shop and have them check for the code that can show a blown fuse. Once you see this, you can open the fuse box on the Malibu and individually check the necessary fuses using an automotive test light.

Auto mechanic using car diagnostic scanner tool.

When testing each fuse, place the pointed end of the test light to each terminal inside the fuse if it lights up, then the fuse is good and does not need to be replaced. If it does not then the fuse is bad and needs to be replaced. Replacing a bad fuse can solve the problem and get rid of the “Engine Power Reduced” sign on the dashboard.

Defective Throttle Control Sensor

Another reason that engine power has been reduced would be the defect in the throttle control sensor.

There has been a class-action lawsuit that claims that Chevy Malibu’s have an engine defect that causes them to abruptly lose power. Allegedly, this is caused by the electronic throttle control sensor and accelerator position sensor not working properly.

This can happen at any time, causing the cars to lose power. This has been most prevalent at highway speeds, in some cases slowing to just 20 miles per hour, with the “Engine Power Reduced” sign on the dashboard.

These are just some of the electronic ways that a Chevy Malibu can lose power with the Engine Power Reduced warning. Then there are the mechanical ways that the power can be reduced to the engine.

Bad Fuel Pump

One way can be related to the fuel getting into the engine from the gas tank. If the fuel pump is bad, this can mean that there is not enough fuel getting to the engine causing the “Engine Power Reduced” sign on the dashboard.

There are a few ways to check this. One way would be to take the keys into the ignition and put them into the “run” position, just before the position where you would start the car. Then listen for a hum or whine sound lasting for about two to three seconds before you start the car.

This is a sound you should hear because the fuel pump is trying to build up pressure to properly start the car. If you do not hear that sound, then you may have a bad fuel pump, and this can cause the “Engine Power Reduced” warning.

Defective Mass Airflow Sensor

Another issue with the fuel getting to the engine would be the problems with the proper air/fuel mixture going into the engine. This can be caused by a bad Mass Airflow Sensor.

What a mass airflow sensor does is properly read the amount of air coming into the car so that it can put the proper amount of air into the air-fuel mixture for the engine to run properly. If the mass airflow sensor is bad or dirty, it can cause the mixture to be unbalanced, leading to the “Engine Power Reduced” warning.

To fix this, you can find it just before the box where the air filter is stored. The flow sensor is secured with a red locking clip that makes sure it is connected to the airflow manifold. Using a flat head screwdriver, remove the red clip saving it for later. Then push in on the tab and you can disconnect the electronics from the airflow sensor. The sensor itself is secured to the manifold using two T15 screws.

Remove these screws and the airflow sensor should come right out. To re-install a new Airflow sensor, repeat the steps in reverse order, starting with the screws and finishing with the red locking clip.


There are many things that can cause the “Engine Power Reduced” warning on your 2016 to 2018 Chevy Malibu. They can range from electrical to mechanical. These can be anything from a bad fuse to a bad fuel pump. Fixing this can range from the easy and simple to those that can be expensive.

The important thing is to get it replaced quickly, as this warning can mean anything from reduced fuel economy to sudden engine power loss and a loss of speed when a driver would need it the most.

We hope that this article has been helpful. Comment below if you have any questions!

Avatar photo
About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!

Leave a Comment